Celebrity apps aren’t a novel affair. Consider this: in 2016, out of the 100 people who made it to Forbes’ Celebrity list, 30 had their own apps. Surely, the percentage has improved over time. The number of celebs has gone up too.
Modern-day celebs attach a lot of importance to “reaching out” to fans in more engaging ways. Sometimes, they even prefer their own platforms over traditional media to make important announcements. For instance, South African cricketer AB De Villiers announced his retirement from the game through a short video on his app. Global media outlets picked up the news much later.
In India, cricketers and Bollywood stars are the most sought-after celebrities. There is a growing market for celebrity apps in the country. And stars are out to tap into that.
In 2016, Sonam Kapoor was the first Bollywood star to launch her own app. It was modelled pretty much on Kim Kardashian’s official app, which has over a million users and is one of the top celeb apps worldwide. Several other film stars including Salman Khan, Alia Bhatt and Sunny Leone subsequently launched their personal apps.
Among cricketers, Sachin Tendulkar started the trend in 2017, when he launched 100 MB – an app that keeps fans abreast of all developments in his post-retirement life. From announcing his support for various public initiatives to posting brand endorsement videos and conducting live fan interactions, Sachin does it all on 100 MB.
And now, it’s Virat Kohli’s turn – the current poster boy of Indian cricket.
Virat launched his official app last week to mark his thirtieth birthday. Incidentally, this is also the year when he completes a decade in international cricket. Hence, it made for a perfect occasion to roll out a “gift” for fans.
However, at the very outset, the Virat Kohli Official App ran into a controversy (which erupted out of a comment made by the cricketer in response to a fan tweet). But that didn’t dampen user ratings. The app is rated 4.8 out of 5 and has recorded over 50,000 Play Store downloads in a week. Until yesterday, it was available only in India, but has now been rolled out worldwide.
All celeb apps have some common elements like videos, photos, wallpapers, social media posts, trivia contests and news updates. Virat’s app adds a fascinating element into the mix – ecommerce. (More on that later)
Let’s dig into the app.
First, you sign in with an email account or a mobile number.
The homepage is divided into three sections – Journey, Store, In the News – and a moving top panel. Journey and Store are also separate tap-buttons on the bottom menu bar. Virat Quiz and More are the other two buttons.
The Journey section highlights Virat Kohli’s career milestones across all three formats – Test, ODI, T20 – and IPL. There are bright icons that you can select to go through any stat you wish.
A sub-section under Journey is Stats that outlines his career numbers and compares them with his peers’ (past and present).
Journey also allows you to look for Virat’s batting record according to teams, venues, bowlers, and dates.
The In The News section curates news articles on Virat. Any new development in his life, on- or off-field, can be found here. So, from Virat launching a signature sneaker to being adjudged Player of the Series, all the news makes it to this section.
Articles open on an in-app browser (not ad-free that might experience some lag.
The Virat Quiz section seeks to increase fan engagement on the app. There are multiple quizzes to choose from – Memorable Moments, VK Facts, Virat vs Pakistan, Virat’s Milestones, and more. You can also select your difficulty level – Easy, Medium, Hard.
There is a Stats & Rewards tab in this section that helps you keep a tab on your score. You can ‘Redeem Points’ to get purchase discounts on brands endorsed by Virat.
This brings us to Store, possibly the most interesting feature of the Virat Kohli app.
Store turns the app into an ecommerce platform, where you can browse through and shop for apparel, shoes, backpacks, headphones, and other products endorsed by the cricketer. Currently, three brand stores are live on the app – One8, Wrogn and Muve Acoustics.
You select the store you want to shop at. Barring Muve Acoustics, which directs buyers to Amazon.in, other purchases can be completed right on the app. (Don’t forget to redeem your ‘reward points’ for discounts.)
The final button on the menu bar is More. It takes you to a list of additional content available on the app.
These include Social (curated posts from Virat’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds), Gallery (a selection of high-resolution photos of him), Downloads (which include wallpapers, cover photos and videos), Exclusive (which offers behind the scenes tidbits from his life) and Challenges (fitness and activity-related stuff that the cricketer urges his fans to participate in).
Do we need a Virat Kohli app?
The answer depends on how you look at it.
For a leading, overexposed celebrity like Virat, who determines the news cycle almost every day, what more do his fans need to know about him?
There are his social media feeds that already offer insights into his non-cricketing life. Then, there are hundreds of fan clubs and paparazzi handles that keep fans updated every minute.
But, the Virat Kohli Official App still doesn’t feel redundant. Because it successfully curates and packages all the above and more, adds a bit of Virat’s personal touch, brings in a shopping destination, engages fans with trivia and content, and puts it all out in an organised, easily digestible format.
Add to that, the app is beautifully designed. Its bold white fonts placed against an intense black background – perhaps mirroring the cricketer’s personality – make surfing a visual delight. The sections in the app are well-thought-out too, and is likely to appeal to a wide demographic, including his international fans.
So, if you’re a Virat Kohli fan, this app might the best thing out there!
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