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Zepotha: nonexistent movies as a marketing ploy
You kinda look like Sophie from Zepotha... 👀
👋 Hellooo! We’re The Z Link, a global Gen Z-led social media agency that helps brands reach our generation. The Digital Native, written by our Trends Reporter, Shaurya, takes a deep dive into niche internet micro-trends and subcultures, and analyzes them so you don’t have to. For any feedback, questions or suggestions, just reply to this email!
Did you know you know you look like that ONE character from Zepotha? WHAT? You don't remember Zepotha? You're joking, it's such a cult classic from the 80s! Stranger Things was based off of it. 😇👼🏻 Me when I spread misinformation. Social media is fake; we all knew that, but who knew people would create an entirely phoney movie… again. YEAH, AGAIN. It's happened before. Let me cut it short. Zepotha is a fake movie that users on TikTok have created a joke around; it’s a bit. Like “let’s pretend there’s an old classic movie called Zepotha, and confuse people about it”. Let's take a deep dive into why Zepotha, even though I have mixed feelings about it, is a genius move in marketing.
The Lore of Zepotha
Some users say it’s a direct response to Goncharov, Tumblr’s fake movie, but it’s not. It’s a marketing ploy employed by artist Emily Jeffri to promote their music. Jeffri created a post on August 12th, which went viral very quickly. So essentially, Zepotha is a horror ‘movie’ from the late ‘80s.
How it worked
The strategy is commenting on thirst traps, saying, “OMG, YOU LOOK EXACTLY LIKE _____ FROM ZEPOTHA,” or something similar. The problem with this is that it’s everywhere. Yeah, sure, Barbie was everywhere, but it made sense for Barbie. It was cohesive. People know Barbie, and people know the characters. Zepotha? Absolutely no communication between the people partaking in it. I have seen at least 5 different leads and different storylines. It’s a mess over there. Also, there’s just something that feels condescending about it. I can’t point it out, but something about it gives me the ick. I’m sorry. 😭
Where it went wrong
It's like an inside joke you can't avoid. It's hollow. It's doing nothing but creating confusion and frustration amongst people who don't understand it and/or don't want to see it. Imagine being around a group of people constantly talking about something exclusive to them and nobody explaining it; that's what Zepotha is. I love the idea, don’t love the execution. However, for all its faults, it was supposed to be a marketing ploy and that, ladies and gentlemen, it excelled at. Credit where credit is due; we're fair here (or at least trying to be. I'm a work in progress). I can see brands picking it up, but it'll never work as well. Trends on social media today are fleeting, and nobody would put in the energy to make fake, elaborate movies, especially when there's so much audience participation, only for them to be forgotten in a week, maybe two.
There’s already controversy?
Okay, it's nothing big, and it's not really controversial, but it's the internet, and people are so eagle-eyed despite being glued to the screens you'd think we'd have all gone blind by now. But the tea is that after Goncharov and before Zepotha, we had Jilted. And apparently, the creator of Jilted (not the actual movie; yes, there's a real movie), Calvero, had been at it for weeks, as pointed out by another TikTok user. The execution is where they differ. While both are for marketing, one is executed with intricacy. There are posters, plots, subplots, and specific scenes being mentioned, and there's cohesion all around. The execution's closer to Goncharov than Zepotha. Another thing the users have taken issue with is the fact that Jeffri's paying £500 to whoever makes a Zepotha short movie. The users' concerns are that those participating are not being compensated fairly. Emily put out a video clearing the facts; naturally, many of them came to her defence, as will I. She said she'll increase the reward amount when she does get signed to a record label. I say let’s give Jeffri a break, y'all. Participating is optional, and while £500 might not seem like a lot to people, it's a huge deal. She's doing the best she can, and I respect her, especially as an 18 year old artist marketing their music.
The verdict of the court of slay?
This is the conclusion. It's a short newsletter because there's not much to it yet. The internet loves a good niche bit. Zepotha is a fantastic idea for marketing, and the song's already getting so much traction. Instead of posting the same bits of the song and making that go viral and cashing on it (like Unholy), using a secondary form of marketing keeps the song fresh and gets people interested, but it can also frustrate and get people lost and deviate from what you're trying to market because everyone commits to the bit so much they don't answer people genuinely asking. Even though I posed an aversion to Zepotha at the beginning of the newsletter, seeing new videos about it has made me come around to it (of course, the music is a positive, too). Zepotha is a partial slay but a slay nonetheless. I actually hope the bit continues and we see a better fleshed-out plot for Zepotha because I'd be 100% sold (hell, I'll even make the script for it and "leak" it iykwim 😼 good god, I love marketing). I hope if they ever do it again, they get actual, genuine lore out from the get-go because, boy, would I love to gaslight everyone. Like no baes, you'd know if I were gaslighting you. You're so smart, aha. 😼 I'm kidding, but I would love for the whole fake movie thing to happen again, except now everyone knows, and it probably wouldn't be as fun. But again, lost media has always fascinated the internet. Maybe market the next song as one that was out in the '60s but lost for years and suddenly resurfaced. It is eerie, but I'd be invested. Someone, please do it and let me help. I'm begging.
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— Written by Shaurya, Trends Reporter at The Z Link
Connect with Shaurya on Instagram where she shares great content and lives her best influencer life as a fashion student in Paris. And she writes all of these great issues too. What can’t she do??? 🧐 Thank you for reading!