Campaign India Team
Jun 8, 2024

‘Vada Pav Girl’ and ‘Dolly Chai Wala’: Signalling the surge of India's regional social media stars

As audiences choose raw snatches of life from regional influencers over superficial content from influencers in urban pockets, a new medium for brand marketing has opened up.

‘Vada Pav Girl’ and ‘Dolly Chai Wala’: Signalling the surge of India's regional social media stars

Someone recently asked me, “What works on social media?” I responded that there is no easy answer to this innocuous question. 

Social media is a space where brands cannot afford to be predictable and monotonous. You have to be very creative, or people will quickly move to something else.

Thanks to these digital platforms, theatrics is no longer limited to a few privileged stars. Today, we can expect creativity to emerge from every nook and corner of the country.

Regional social media influencers are making the most of this democratisation of creativity to carve a niche for themselves. Recently, two such captivating stories made way to the national news—the ‘Vada Pav Girl’ and ‘Dolly Chai Wala’. Their unique journey shows how localised content can resonate with a national, or even global, audiences. The only caveat is that it should be authentic and creative.

A unique take

‘Vada Pav Girl’ and ‘Dolly Chai Wala’ are more than just digital personalities; they radiate realism and hence caught the attention of millions in a cluttered digital universe. It chronicles the life of Delhi-based Chandrika Dixit, a young woman who runs a food stall in the capital. Her exceptional skills in crafting vada pav has given the much-loved and humble Indian street-side snack an entirely new persona.

Similarly, Nagpur-based ‘Dolly Chai Wala’ has built a fan following for his unique tea preparations, his charismatic tea-serving rituals and his unusual style quotient. His meeting with the Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is probably the best testimony of his success and reach.

Their humble backgrounds and unique approaches is what makes these two individuals relatable and intriguing, setting them apart from scores of other content creators in cyberspace.

Regional influencers often bring out more unfeigned and low-frills stories, compared to their mainstream counterparts. Both ‘Vada Pav Girl’ and ‘Dolly Chai Wala’ radiate genuineness, instantly engaging their audience.

This authenticity goes beyond their food and beverage preparation; it extends to unfiltered interactions through their social media channels. These interactions makes a viewer feel like living a slice of the influencer’s life and not just scrolling through a video.


Brands queue up to tap regional influencers for authentic and localised content

Building the right environment

Aesthetics and the right setting holds the key when it comes to designing social media stories that click with the audience. Be it the ‘Vada Pav Girl’ deftly flipping a vada while talking to customers surrounding her food stall or ‘Dolly Chai Wala’ pouring chai in a perfect arc, viewers can’t help but watch each reel more than once. The vibrant colours of the food and even the surroundings they work make for a compelling viewer engagement.

Sharing relatable reels, stories, and memes is the new love language of netizens.  Once they are hooked by the initial visual and emotional appeal, comments, likes and shares naturally follow. Each share extends the influencer’s reach and adds to their overall impact (call it broader recognition in the society).

Humans are naturally drawn to stories of everyday people who have turned their ordinary lives into an extraordinary one. ‘Vada Pav Girl’ and ‘Dolly Chai Wala’ fit into this category of underdogs who can inspire others with their determination to make it big by documenting their journey. Love them or hate them, folks cannot stop thinking about such individuals and sharing their social media posts with others.

While ‘Vada Pav Girl’ and ‘Dolly Chai Wala’ are merely two examples of people who have struck big in the social media stratosphere, the success sends out a clear message—people will love the real, and simple stories from regional influencers over any superficial content. Hopefully, these regional influencers will also inspire many mainstream storytellers to be more authentic and creative in their storytelling.

Abhishek Vyas is founder and CEO of My Haul Store



Campaign India

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