Case Study: How Afzal leveraged brand

recognition using the World Cup through the Bowled Out Campaign?

Objective:  planned for creating Brand Awareness for Afzal Hookah Molasses in different nations


Hookah flavours


Brand awareness


The Hookah Molasses, better known as Shisha has been a growing market in recent years, owing to the increasing popularity of Hookah among teenagers around the world. In 2018, the Hookah Molasses market was valued at the US $ 730 million & this number is estimated to reach the US $ 2760 million, by the end of the year 2025. It is a consistently growing industry with a CAGR of 18% growth. Taking this into consideration, aimed at generating brand awareness for Afzal Hookah Molasses in various countries. A point to consider here is the fact that Hookah is a category that is forbidden from being publicized on major media like television. The vision of Walnut Folks, which is the official marketing partner of Afzal was to create & increase a community of Hookah lovers globally through multiple interesting campaigns they do from time to time through sources like Instagram.


With over 77 internationally renowned flavours, loved by people in over 19 countries, spread across 5 continents, Afzal is a preferred brand for Hookah Molasses globally. The impetus to Afzal’s popularity is a large number of flavours they provide, some of which are exceptionally unique. All of Afzal’s molasses flavours can be divided into 5 sections, namely Fruits, spicy, Cool, sweet & beverage. Owing to this extensive range of flavours, Afzal boasts of having a flavour for every kind of Hookah lover. Each of these flavours is long-lasting & strong but yet, smooth on the throat.


Walnut Folks coveted to increase Afzal’s brand awareness across countries where Hookah is an increasing trend. Another objective was to bring together Afzal lovers from these countries & build a community, which will further help in increasing Afzal’s brand recognition. To do this, Walnut Folks used the Cricket World Cup as the opportunity & started the Afzal Bowled Out campaign using Instagram influencers from across 4 countries to spread awareness regarding Afzal in quite an interesting manner throughout the Cricket World Cup season.


Hookah as a category faces strict rules and regulations for any online advertisement.


With the regulations imposed on preventing various categories being openly advertised on electronic media, it was a hard feat to publicize Hookah without violating regulations. Walnut Folks’ idea was to use Instagram Influencers as a medium for organic engagement to generate & spread posts, helping in publicizing Afzal.

With more than a billion users today, Instagram is probably the biggest Social Media platform today, which can be used to increase recognition for any brand. The biggest class of users of Instagram are young people, what we call as Generation Z. Another thing that this generation highly appreciates if sports & cricket is a favourite throughout the globe.

Due to this, of all the countries taking part in the Cricket World Cup, Walnut Folks chose 4 countries where Hookah is an emerging trend & used Instagram Influencers to generate brand awareness regarding Afzal among their followers.
The idea was to use Instagram to unite Cricket Lovers to make Afzal Hookah Molasses a part of the celebration throughout the World Cup season.


Afzal Bowled Out Campaign successfully gained the recognition we had hoped for: CHALLENGE Afzal though being a widespread & popular brand across the globe, there were two major obstacles in the way of helping Afzal reach more people. 
  • Hookah as a category is banned from being publicized through major media like running ads on electronic media or using video ads major platforms like Google, Facebook or YouTube. So, the challenge was to find a source to reach more people through other sources.  Instagram Influencers as an organic medium to publicize Afzal’s product was perfect for the task.
  • Another factor was the global presence of Hookah. When present in so many different countries, a single factor was needed that could help unite them all to create a community of Hookah Lovers. A single factor was needed, common to all these nations & people, who were complete diverse from each other in every aspect from languages to cultures.


Walnut Folks’ creative solution to both the challenges required creativity and were solved as given below. Hookah being one of the controversial categories which are banned from being publicized or advertised openly, mentioning a word as simple as ‘Smoking’ could have rendered the whole campaign useless. This ruled out options like media ads or publicizing videos off the list. What was needed were organic mediums to increase Afzal’s brand awareness. The creative solution to this was through Instagram Influencers’ Social media posts. The content needed to be so that no rules are broken & yet Afzal’s recognition could increase positively. Secondly, to publicize Afzal in all the 19 countries they sell their flavours in, finding a single factor which connects people of all these countries was essential. And Walnut Folks figured that such a factor will be Cricket. Cricket is a highly popular sport among the younger generation, which is also the target audience to Afzal, owing to the increasing popularity of Hookah among them. So, they used World Cup as an opportunity to reach out the maximum number of people in these countries using their Cricket fever as a way of uniting people of varied origins. Afzal Bowled Out Campaign did just that with Instagram Influencer of the four nations.


The first step was to reach out to the right influencers, based on the criteria of selection of the influencers. Walnut Folks wanted to select influencers not on the basis of the number of followers they had, but rather judging by the creativity of their feed & the quality of content they had used to engage more with their followers. Next, 4 influencers were finalized from each of the 4 countries. The idea & objective of the campaign was shared to them, explaining each & every detail regarding the Campaign. The Influencers’ expectations were also negotiated for smooth execution of the Campaign. Afterwards, Afzal’s flavours & other deliverables were safely delivered to each influencer. Under the campaign, each influencer was supposed to create a post every time there was a match involving the team he/she supported. He/She had to be creative to use Afzal Hookah as a crucial part of their Cricket celebration. The posts needed to be consistent throughout the World Cup season, every time the respective countries had a match. The posts included everything from static posts to videos & even story posts at times.


Digits don’t lie. And true to it, the success of the Afzal Bowled Out Campaign can be explained as follows. The influencers in the campaign reached over 118 thousand people through their engaging content, helping Afzal increase their reach to a fair number of people. A complete report of the campaign can be given as below.


Total Followers


No. of Videos Created


Static Posts


Story Post

Let’s Give A Similar Growth To Your Project!