Why every brand needs a Simp...

Saloni Surti
May 10, 2022 06:00 IST
Simp Marketing

Simps, stans, superfans - the terms are many. Simps, in simple words, are obsessed fans, known to go to lengths for the thing, person, or characters they love. As being a Simp becomes a part of the cultural fabric, its relevance in the marketing world increases too.

When I first heard the term ‘Simp’, my 30-year-old self applied the basics of abbreviations and assumed that it means simple. Like a simpleton or what the youth today calls ‘Normies’. But, boy was I wrong. Simp, in fact, means the exact opposite of simple - it means to be obsessed over some thing or a person or even a character. Mostly, a character if the Japanese Anime craze is to be considered - and yes I am still speaking English.

Alright let’s break it down for normies such as myself - Urban Dictionary defines a simp as ‘someone who does way too much for a person they like.’

This term has gained a different contextual relevance ever since the Japanese Anime (hand-drawn and computer-generated animation originating from Japan) and Manga (comics or graphic novels originating from Japan) series gained popularity, globally. The animated characters in these series often tend to amass obsessed fans who are not just followers, but ardent advocates of those characters. They create a world of fandom, where these characters are real. In fact, being a Simp is now a profession. 

But why are we talking about this? Why are Simps relevant to us as Social Samosa or to you as an advertising & marketing professional? Well, here’s the connection. 

The ‘Simp Culture’, an integral part of the youth fabric, gives us some keen insights into the youth’s behaviour today. It is an important indicator of how the younger demographic is comfortable getting obsessed with something (in a healthy capacity of course) and how the word Superfan is now more important to a marketer than ever. 

The Equivalent Of Simp Behaviour & Culture In Marketing  

Simps of the brand world could be called Superfans - passionate, loyalists who aren’t afraid to show much they love a brand or a product. Experts have been speaking about the importance of Superfans in marketing for a few years now, but the Simp Culture shows how they are now more relevant.

A number of brands have managed to achieve and engage with such superfans, Apple Superfans being the most common example. 

In 2019, Apple Superfans in the UK queued outside the stores for as long as 18 hours in chilly September weather to get their hands on the newly released iPhone 11 and this is a common phenomenon before all their new releases. I am told that being an Apple Superfan is an expensive affair - as expensive as INR 58 lakhs (in 2020) as it entails purchasing all the new and best Apple products - Apple Watch, MacBook, Air Pod, so on and so forth. And there are consumers and fans who do this diligently. 

Apple superfan accounts on social media are many, creators who will give you a view of what it is like to lead the Apple life. YouTuber iJustine, is known not only to purchase every Apple product released but also to invest in vintage Apple models. 

American, clothing and skateboarding brand, Supreme, is yet another in the list of brands that have experienced the love of Superfans. It is one of the most purchased and collected brands that has evolved into a “global cult”. 

Such is their fandom that each week the brand has a ‘Drop Day’ where they release a number of limited edition items, for which fans queue outside the stores for hours and line up on their e-commerce avenues. According to media reports, “on a “drop day” the traffic on the Supreme site can increase by as much as 16,800%.” 


Such is the love and obsession for the brand, that fans have been seen purchasing unconventional Supreme items such as a branded Supreme Clay Brick, Supreme Colgate Toothpaste, and Supreme Anatomy Models. 

Also Read: Let’s Potato Chips: When content marketing created a brand that does not exist…

The Sneakerheads culture can also be cited as an example of Superfans or Brand Simps. Sneakerheads are essentially sneaker lovers, who like Apple Superfans, will go out of their way, stand the test of time, and do all that’s needed to buy a given pair of, no points for guessing, sneakers. 

Limited edition and collaboration sneakers and their fans can be considered a completely different industry. Nike Air Yeezy 1 'Grammy' is one of the rarest sneakers in the world and at the time of its launch in 2009 was at a suggested retail price of $215. According to Wikipedia, in April 2021, the Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototypes, worn by West during his 2008 Grammys performance, sold for a record $1.8 million. 

The resell market of Sneakers is a parallel economy in itself and boasts of passionate consumers. Such widespread is the culture that “Sneakerheads have had a financial impact within the marketplace given the sale and resell activity within the sneaker community (Powell 2014).”

Mind you, these examples aren’t even the tip of the iceberg. The impact of Superfans on a product, brand, and even an industry, goes way beyond and the examples run way deeper. 

I know that the word ‘obsessed’ comes with many negative connotations, but when you consider brand obsession in a healthy capacity these Superfans or Simps have played an integral role in converting a brand into a cult. 

Why Now? 

Digital marketing has often been riddled with questions such as - is it paying off? The classic Math Men v/s Mad Men debate. You have a winning campaign, but is it translating into sales? Who are you speaking to and are they responding to your communication? As the social media economy expands, it becomes harder to measure KPIs, let alone RoI. Having, a set of superfans and engaging with them, answers a lot of these questions. 

When you’re speaking to a superfan or a set of superfans, you know they’re talking back. You know they’re out there in the real world, talking about you and standing up for you.

Secondly, as we say so much (and I mean SO MUCH) about marketing to the GenZ and Millennials, it is important to consider this aspect of their behaviour. Not only this generation has a wider disposable income, but they’re also more aware of their choices. They know exactly where they want to spend and how much. The number of kids I know, who saved up to buy an iPhone, is huge. 

Brands also need to take into consideration, how vocal this generation is. We see memes on how the GenZ gives it back to their employers or aren’t afraid to stand up to their families - this also applies to the brands they love. And this fact cannot be ignored. 

Brands and social media platforms have been seen taking a direction in this step (consciously or subconsciously, I am not sure). Zomato’s Close Friends list comes to mind as a good example. A few weeks ago, the FoodTech brand announced that they will be creating a Closed Friends list on Instagram, consisting of their superfans who interact with all their content. Their most loyal fans and followers are also seen making Stan (Simp) accounts as they scrambled to become a part of the Closed Friends list.

FinTech brand, CRED, too made its Instagram account, Cred Club private - creating a layer of premiumness for those who follow them. 


Last year, YouTube launched Super Thanks which allowed fans to pay their favourite creators as a form of gratitude, giving the creators an idea of their most loyal and engaged followers and a new monetization avenue. Twitter too released, Super Follow which enabled creators to communicate with and monetize their most engaged followers. 

Creators too are following suit. YouTuber friends group, Sidemen, launched Side+ for their most loyal and engaged fans. A dedicated paid streaming service for the Superfans, Side+ gives their stans (yet another word for Simps or Superfans) access to premium Sidemen content such as podcasts and videos, an opportunity to interact with the group, gratification in terms of prices and more.

Simps, stan, superfans - the term might change, but the relevance of Superfans is growing. How you find them and interact with them should depend on the nature of your product or service, but the fundamentals remain the same. 

Connecting it back to the Anime industry, The global anime market size was valued at USD 24.80 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 26.89 billion in 2022. Netflix has called Anime content the cornerstone of its investment. Anime Simps have played a dramatically huge role, in making this happen. Superfans have that power and you can harness it.