The Sledgehammer

A Feel-Good Formula for TikTok Fame

September 29, 2020

At any given time, there are 200+ actual sledgehammers present in the Heartbeat office. To celebrate their first year on the team, each HB’er receives their very own sledge—a nod to our daily pursuit of tearing down tiresome healthcare marketing. To determine what is built in its place, we often turn to outside industries, cultural forces, and personal experiences. We eagerly share them with one another, and now we’re sharing them with you. Clear the way—here comes The Sledgehammer.

Looking for a dose of sweet, unadulterated delight? Then look no further than Melbourne-based Rohit Roygre, the No Fizzy Drinks guy.

If you’re among those who have yet to experience the joy of watching Rohit, here’s the scoop: he was addicted to fizzy drinks (like soda), and, fed up with his repeated failure to curb his addiction, he started a video diary on TikTok documenting going cold turkey. In his short videos, he poses against a series of drab backgrounds, speaks in a monotone voice, and rarely strays from his concise script.

Sounds pretty boring, right? The Internet would beg to differ—and once you watch his videos, you will too.

After 95 days without fizzy drinks, his TikToks have garnered more than 4 million likes and he has almost 250K followers. From his first video…

@rohitroygreNeed to get rid of my addiction!!! Thank you for your support.

♬ original sound – rohitroygre

to his fiftieth (especially great!)…

@rohitroygreDay 50: No Fizzy Drinks 👩‍❤️‍👨

♬ original sound – rohitroygre

to his latest…

@rohitroygreDay 13: Weight Loss Journey (with No Fizzy Drinks) 👍

♬ original sound – rohitroygre

he’s gotten vast amounts of support and positive feedback—comments, tributes, media coverage—to which he often attributes his success at kicking the soda habit. He’s absolutely lovable, earnest, and endearing—the puppy equivalent of a diet challenge. And he’s managed to captivate millions with his no-frills video journey.

So how does he relate to pharma marketing? While marketers may not hire Rohit as a spokesperson for their clients, his surprising success is a compelling case when it comes to branding and audience engagement in the digital-first era. Marketers would be wise to consider the 5 lessons this unusual influencer imparts:

1. He proves that accountability matters.
It’s a basic tenet of behavior change. Rohit acknowledges over and over again that the support of his followers powers his success. Breaking habits is hard, and when we have the support of a community, it’s easier to stick to new routines. How can marketers leverage this learning for their brands? Well, patient-focused healthcare marketing is often related to behavior change. Is there a way to build in accountability or community support into your tactical mix, whether that’s a commitment to monitor symptoms, a pledge to talk to a doctor, or a declaration of adherence to treatment?

2. His positioning is focused and his messaging is simple.
Right away, you get what Rohit is all about. There’s no confusing him for another Internet star, and you will remember him. Is your brand getting muddy in its communications? Will the audience confuse it for another brand? Will they even remember it? If the answer to any of these questions is unclear, it’s probably time to watch a few more No Fizzy Drinks videos.

3. He’s consistent.
His project, by definition, involves posting a video a day—and he’s announced that to his audience. Tomorrow, there will be a new video. Same goes for the day after that, and the day after that. If your brand’s communications involve a content cadence, make it regular, just like Rohit’s posts.

4. He’s wholesome while still being authentic.
Especially these days, people are looking for stories that make them happy, and Rohit’s does just that. But his story is also authentically him. There’s no questioning whether you’re getting the real deal when you watch his videos. In pursuit of inoffensive, feel-good vibes, pharma marketing has become notoriously inauthentic—the walks on the beach, the farmer’s markets, the grandparent-grandchild duo. One brand feels interchangeable with the next. But Rohit reminds healthcare marketers that brands and campaigns can be both positive and entirely unique, individual and utterly relatable.

5. He makes wellness cool.
The story of Rohit is a story of wellness. And he’s being treated like a rock star. His videos alone have gotten hundreds of thousands of views, but TikTok videos with the #nofizzydrink hashtag have gotten over 8 million views. And that’s not even accounting for #nofizzydrinks, #overallnofizzydrink, #fizzydrink or the myriad other hashtags that are now associated with Rohit. For pharma marketers, it means thinking about whether there’s a wellness angle for your brand, and considering whether it can be a centerpiece, rather than an afterthought.

Whether you’re making videos for fun or managing marketing for a major healthcare brand, success comes from clearly defining what you stand for, and using that to connect with your audience. So let’s toast Rohit (with a glass of water, natch) and make our own pledge: even if we can’t commit to fully giving up fizzy drinks, we can promise to keep looking for inspiration in unlikely places.