Praying and piggybacking: Who is Nesamani and why are brands talking about him?


Shruti Ramanujam

May 31, 2019 4 min read

Updated on July 21, 2019

The world yesterday realized that meme culture is well and truly alive in South India, for all of a sudden, social users everywhere were praying for a fictional South Asian character. #Nesamani and #Pray_for_Neasamani were trending both in India and worldwide. Everyone was left scratching their heads, wondering just what was going on.

Who is Nesamani?

Nesamani is a character played by Tamil actor and comedian Vadivelu in the 2001 film Friends. In the movie, this building contractor is tasked with repairing an old palace when an apprentice accidentally drops a hammer on his head.

Why was the world suddenly concerned about Nesamani?

A user on a Facebook memes page asked a harmless question about hammers, leading to a Tamil user making a reference to Nesamani. An innocent reply from the OP (original poster) praying for Nesamani exploded into a social media meme, with users and brands alike pitching in and praying for Nesamani.

Social media piggybacking

All the Nesamani related posts yesterday were a lesson in piggyback marketing. Every social media manager, including yours truly, is out there trying to craft contagious content. And what effortless way to go viral than to hop on the bandwagon of an event that’s already trending?

Yesterday, brands had a plum opportunity. Here was a fictional building contractor who got hurt with a hammer. This paved the way for any brand remotely related to safety, construction, insurance, and home painting to ride on the coattails of this social trend.

Here at Unmetric, we analyzed all the posts published by brands about this beloved contractor to find out which posts engaged best.

The tools we used for our analysis

We first detected that #Pray_For_Neasamani was trending using Unmetric Discover, which is a branded content catalog that also helps you find trending content, campaigns, and topics. Additionally, we analyzed all the Nesamani-related posts published by brands on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram over the past couple of days using Unmetric Analyze.


Top 9 Nesamani-related posts by brands

1. Chennai Super Kings (CSK)

Chennai’s home team, CSK, indulged in topical newsjacking by referencing not just Nesamani but also their team captain Dhoni’s stellar reactions times on the field. With over 357K interactions, this post was not just the most engaging of all Nesamani-related brand posts, but also CSK’s own most engaging Instagram post of 2019.

2. Chennaiyin FC

Chennai’s Football Club joined in on CSK’s fun, adding their own football superstar to the list of people who could have saved Nesamani. This was their most engaging tweet in the last 30 days and third most engaging in the whole year.

3. Nippon Paint

A meme about a painting contractor HAS to be newsjacked by painting brands—that’s the rule of social. Nippon Paints clearly got the memo, for they immediately tweeted this, getting nearly 8K interactions.

4. Blue Cross India

Blue Cross India went one step further and added screen grabs from other popular Vadivelu scenes, where he’s seen petting dogs. This post made it to Blue Cross’ top 5 most engaging posts in the last 30 days within just 12 hours of posting it.

5. Royal Sundaram Insurance

Being a meme about an injured person, insurance brands were quick to cash in on the Nesamani fervor too. Royal Sundaram pushed its own Personal Accident Insurance through the meme, garnering nearly 3.5K interactions.

6. AirAsia

This aviation company went as far as to offer to take a fictional character on a free vacation! We Indians really do take our memes seriously. This tweet received more than 5K interactions on Twitter.

7. NetMeds.com

This online pharmacy offered first aid tips for head injuries in addition to participating in the meme, becoming yet another brand doing newsjacking right.

8. UrbanTree

This construction company chipped in with a neat graphic on Careless Krishnamurthys—Krishnamurthy is the bumbling apprentice who drops the hammer on Nesamani’s head—making it the third most engaging post published by the brand in the last 30 days.

9. Schwing Stetter


View this post on Instagram


Safety is a choice you make. #schwingstetterindia #nesamani #prayfornesamani #pray_for_nesamani #nesamani

A post shared by SCHWING Stetter India (@schwingstetterindia) on

It is a given that construction equipment manufacturers will pitch in on this extensive meme effort, and Schwing Stetter India proved us right. This video is their second most engaging post in 2019 so far.

In addition to brands from the Insurance, Painting, and Construction industries, several other unexpected industries such as Oil & Gas, Professional Services, and Personal Care joined in on the fun.


In all, it was a great day for South India and its vibrant meme culture, for suddenly, the entire world wanted to know about their favorite comedic superstar.

For more social media and marketing campaign tips:

For more social media content ideas and ways to check out trending topics, campaigns, and major social media events such as this Nesamani meme, check out Unmetric Discover—the world’s largest branded content catalog that helps you explore over 1 billion pieces of branded content posted by more than 100,000 major brands in the last 7 years.

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