Monthly Archives: May 2009

Brand endorsements, Star testimonials (3)

 

Celeb Ads : Thumbs Down

Celeb Ads : Thumbs Down

Now. For all who haven’t read the previous two posts (1 and 2)and are not going to read either. The last two posts have been about why star endorsements do not work generally, about its impact. In fact, many people don’t get affected by star testimonials at all.

Reason – they have lost their novelty. The mediums of communication have increased. Gone are the days when TV did not need a remote as there were no more than 5 channels.

Any great brand ambassadors tries selling almost everything. Endorsing more than 10 brands. Clutter and confusion. People want to associate a brand to a person but when an endorser acts for 15 ads there is no consistent image.

Brand endorsements will always be there. There is some chimeric imagination attached to them. I fail to understand why. When I talk of suits and clothings I remember Raymonds because of their classic teacher student ad and more recently of the business executive with his dogs ad. Check all Raymond ads here. Whereas, Amitabh’s Reid and Taylor hardly registers an impact and SRK’s Belmonte can be brushed off. Both from S.Kumar’s. The stars are way bigger than the brand. They look out of place. While making a brand endorsement, avoid what SRK brands, Amitabh Bachchan brands etc are doing and then its hard to find where one can go wrong. Brand endorsements to charter a different way for sure.

 

Suicide : Celeb endorsements going wrong

Suicide : Celeb endorsements going wrong

Brand endorsements are mostly not worth the buck passed. Many backfire and there are great chances that the ad fails before it takes off. Ask 7up who advertised in Ireland keeping Roy Keane as the central theme during the world cup. He was sent back without playing a match and 7 up had hardly sold any bottles. Back home everyone knows the Pepsi blue billion campaign fiasco that left millions of Pepsi blue bottles unopened. But still I maintain that celebrity endorsements in sports will continue as long as it is relevant. Sachin and Pepsi’s memorable “Nothing official about it”, ambush marketing campaign during 1996 world cup was one such instance. But I don’t know how effective Sachin was trying to sell Aviva life insurance.

 

The Cost benefit ratio is highly tilted towards the former and spills over to do more damage than just incurring cost, it can even tarnish the image. Ask Siyarams who advertised with Hansie Cronje and suffered ignominy when the match fixing scandal floated. Read related Cronje-Siyarams article. McDonalds and Sprite took a beating when Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault. Kobe-McDonalds controversy article for more. Same holds true for Chris Browns Wrigleys endorsement and Michael Phelps for Kellogs, which dumped Phelps after he was seen smoking marijuana, what a brand association.

Then why does Nike and Adidas use brand ambassadors? How are they succesfull?

Ogilvy on Marketing

Ogilvy on Marketing

I would simply like to quote David Ogilivy here “Testimonials from celebrities get high recall scores, but I have stopped using them because readers remember the celebrity’s and forget the product. Whats more, they assume that the celebrity has been bought, which is usually the case. On the other hand, testimonials from experts can be persuasive – like having an ex-burglar testify that he had never been able to crack a chubb safe.” And he was not talking about 2009 but earlier than 1983, when the stars did not hire advertising management companies. They hardly starred in a couple of ads. Nothing has sold Nike more, than three words “Just do it”.

 

Nike as far as I know do not endorse through film stars or entertainment celebrities. They do it through experts of that field. Cricketers, footballers, tennis stars and so on. Their shoes are designed by them, the players and various celebrities. Hence they are connected with the product. M.S Dhoni, I can bet my life on it, did not design any finance plan for GE Finance (still flustered with that association, check out the GE money Dhoni ad and wonder) and neither does SRK eat Sunfeast biscuits for which he advertises.

One of the most successful brand associations have been that of Michael Jordan and Nike. Why?

Because he was connected with the brand. Any successful brand endorsement has to have a direct and strong relationship between the brand and the product and not ride on the popularity aspect. See Jordan Nike 2009.

 

Identify the right endorsers than popular.

Identify the right endorsers than popular.

Another recallable partnership is Tiger Woods- Accenture brand. They haven’t simply put in tiger woods and made him say that Accenture is the best. They have developed a relation with him. Accenture is designated as the exclusive management consulting and technology services partner of both Tiger Woods and the Tiger Woods Foundation. In addition, Accenture advises the Tiger Woods Learning Center on technology support, including the TWLC eLearning system. Plus, I don’t think accentures clients work with them because Tiger Woods is their brand ambassador.

Finally check this report out by the European commissions research.

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Brand endorsements and star testimonials (2)

Who says we need brand ambassadors?  

 

 

Who says we need brand ambassadors?

 Airtel always ropes in big stars to advertise for them and 2008 was no different. Airtel led the top ten brands led by celebrities.From sachin, SRK, Karishma ,Madhavan, vidya balan, and now saif  and kareena.But Airtels best ad ever by them was the one featuring kids playing football. Airtel got synonymous with every Indian only when the theme song was released and that too was the backstage genius of AR Rahman. None of the brand ambassadors magic has impacted anyone because people know that they are just any people who will endorse just about anything provided money is there.SRK endorses 39 brands now. Dhoni endorses close to 15 brands.GE money is one of them. Read It here(http://www.ge.com/in/news/20060821.html).  They say that “The campaign is in perfect synergy and fits in well with Dhoni’s “Can Do” attitude” .What? Lousy.  I can imagine the GE guys responsible for it sitting in an office and saying “We are out of ideas to advertise a financial service” and someone must have suggested “Lets put in dhoni then, we can fill him up in the ad where there is nothing to say!”. No wonder GM is almost bankrupted given that their financial spinoff has so much of sense.

David ogilivy in the book Ogilivy on advertising concludes the book by giving his 13th prediction of advertising industry that “ ways will be found to produce effective television commercials at a more sensible cost” . Fingers crossed.

Fight the creative block : put brand ambassadors!

Fight the creative block : put brand ambassadors!

Tata Indicom too had a creative block and as a result Kajol was endorsing it with insane ads.They were exchanging phones in the middle of the road when the other persons phone had network issues! The monk who has never seen a TV or a mobile will tell you that it is a terrible idea.Idea paid 30 crores for a 3 year (9days of shoot per year)deal to abhishek bacchan, few ads have been good but did you pay 30 crores to get a few good ads.The 30 zoozoo ads were shot for 3 crores in jus ten days and those ten days have been more impactful than the last one and half years of  “what an idea sirjee ads”. Another example of a celebrity becoming bigger than the brand. Now see how Vodafone had a star in its ad and judge. Vodafone  Emmanuelle Beart ad.

Think new, think fresh

Think new, think fresh

BSNL too fell in the bait and brought in Preity Zinta, dancing in the beach(ad video) and shooting weird action scenes(ad video), and now Deepika padukone. I mean one could have made that ad with just about anyone and save up that money to hire some good creative guys to make a far better advertisement for you.

Now have a look at this ad. BSNL wanted to position itself among the youth and it carried the above adverts and look how one Vodafone commercial positions itself.Vodafone commercial.  

The star ads might seem to be a hit but then  that is a shroud beneath which none prefers to peep into.

For all those who read the article.I loved it.The original composition of the vodafone mayfly ad. Watch K- OS love song video.

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Brand Endorsements, Star Testimonials (1)

 

Celebrity endorsements: It was all fine then..

Celebrity endorsements: It was all fine then..

Indians first had a dash of celebrity endorsement when cricket got transformed from dull white to Kerry packers pyjama cricket. Farooq Engineer was roped in by Sara lee’s Brylcreem . Soon Srinivas Venkataraghavan started endorsing  Philips bicycle and  Nescafe, Erapalli Prasanna ,Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi  also followed .

 

A celebrity does wonders to the brand. Celebrity presence gets you the eyeballs irrespective of the ad quality and there is instant recall whenever you see the brand or the endorsee. The product gets that vital endorsee push that incentivizes the early adopters to try the product. The belief in the product is much higher than a non-endorsed product. If SRK is endorsing it, then it has to be good, goes the saying. There is always an informal buzz going around. Controversies help too.

Is that really everything? Is there more to Celebrity endorsements? Yes there is.

Brand endorsements are overpaid and uneconomical. There was a time when star testimony could do wonders to the image of the brand. Sachin said “boost is the secret of my energy” and boost was there at my home. Those times are over. Majority of the people now, do not get influenced by a brand endorsement. Those times TV had a special charm being the only entertainment source and anything broadcasted on the television caught attention.But the screenag era is different.

 The common defense for brand endorsements are that it automatically translates into wider reach and recall is more than a normal ad. But what is the use if there is reach but no impact? A smaller viewer base does not necessarily mean that the impact is less. Impact of an ad over a period of time shapes the future recall. Sustained  impact is the most important aspect. Vodafones  ZooZoo have succeeded in doing that. Fa has roped in Bipasha Basu as their brand ambassador but who do you think will impact more? Fa advertisements or axe adverts that do not rely on a celeb strength but highlight the product usp of naughtiness. Even when they used a celeb, Ben Affleck  for axe click they made sure that he was not bigger than the theme.Infact he was nowhere close to distracting. That is the way to go.

 

Brand endorsements : They are all the same.

Brand endorsements : They are all the same.

The problem with brand endorsements is that the endorser often becomes larger than the brand. The ads are woven around the brand ambassador rather than the endorser being a part of the ad. Many advertisements simply have been low on creative quotient. Their impact is just orgasmic. Lasts for a few seconds and forgotten. Many times, the brand image plummets along with the star. Sreesanth is a great example for the same. He endorsed a well known group called Muthoot. Now people laugh at them for having him represent the group. Brylcreem too have Sreesanth and whenever the ad comes people are busy telling how stupid he is rather than remembering the brand.

 

However, its not the end  for the brand endorsers . Beauty products still need brand endorsements. The same goes for sports goods also. Infact while writing this post in between itself I have realized that it is not that they have become impotent but the fact that brand endorsements need to get a change, provided that they will still be there in some form or the other. One is bored with the audience  being taken for granted. The lack of creative flow is passed on to the audience with a celeb sewn on to a tattering script. Nike and Adidas break the clutter and are hence noticed.

 

Brand Endorsers ripping money?

Brand Endorsers ripping money?

Better than spending on brand ambassadors it is much more fruitful to hire a powerful creative agency that could provide you with an excellent theme that resonates with your product. In fact, a brand can create differentiation just because it is not endorsed by anyone. Winner ads are those that resonate with the target audience.  

 

Recall the ads that you like. How many of them are Celeb endorsed ?

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Marketing for the youth.

A recent Mtv study claimed that the Indian youth associate themselves with a brand like a trend and not just a logo.

Marketing for the youth

Marketing for the youth

Man! This provides marketers and producers an enormous opportunity .For any brand to do well or any trend to become a trend as such, one needs great connectors and influencers.You need people who can spread the product around and hence get the word of mouth publicity, which honestly , has not been given its due importance by marketers. Paid form of awareness is taken as a sure shot to glory.Word of mouth can spread across impactfully more than any medium or marketing channel. The rule of 300 can indeed be a great deal if carefully planned. Well its not that we don’t realize the importance but that we cant find a way implement it.

 

Youth make most of their purchases because of peer group influence and we also have this study that gives us wonderful insights.It says that every two in three Indian youth discuss about a brand and influence each other. The Indian youth once he/she sticks to a brand does favour it for a long time.and hence it is much more easier for brands to make a connection or a bond with their consumer here than in abroad. A recent report, I read had concluded that there was a 74% rise in digital media spend and that is very crucial when you have to reach your consumers.Eventhough this report claimed that tv still plays an important role in the decision factor of a youth. This is the best time to make a connection with them and the word of mouth will take you forward. They will join you in twitter, become a fan on facebook, join your communities. They will talk about your product so much that it will become a market researchers dream and often a nightmare too.ask skoda.

Brand love

Brand love

 

 

Anyone who is not using the internet as a possible communication medium is doing a big mistake.The ad companies in the west were surprised by the rise of the internet there and were unprepared.We cant afford to do so.Internet presence just does not mean putting up ads in various portals, that is not even 10% of the job at hand. Large companies can create a web presence without any doubt but the small and medium companies cant do so.There are huge avenues for them in the internet era.Opening up a blog does not require much effort and it reduces the distance to your third party also and is a good channel of communication too.I honestly don’t know if twitter is over hyped or actually effective, it can be used to communicate business developments and come across a wide group of interesting professionals.Linked-in is another such site where one would like to have some presence.Internet is where the future businesses will expand into.

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Advertising : Gearing to face changes. Or is it?

First came the production concept, then the product concept, the selling concept and finally, the marketing concept. The concept of caveat emptor  slowly transposed  into caveat venditor where the customer was the king or the queen as my previous post had mentioned.

We are seeing one such gradual transition. From a sellers economy to buyers economy. Something like that is being noticed in the advertisement arena.

Confused For choice: Clutter

Confused For choice: Clutter

Currently, We are in the mercy of the websites  and  advertisers who torture us with their painful creativity. They show what they have made even if we dont want to see it. A sellers economy. Websites have become painful too.All glitterati, flash advertisements and terrible pop-ups.

That might not be the case anymore. We might be slowly transforming or forcing a transformation. An adless entertainment era.

The uninterrupted entertainment experience that a consumer greeds for is resulting in interesting developments. Online  video streaming websites are an example of growing factor of adless entertainment .Hulu being one of them, has all the episodes of major T.V. series. However, recent events have made sure that it does not have more than 5  latest episodes of  certain series’. Same goes for DVR’s like tivo , the next gen T.V that allows you to skip ads ,record TV, online scheduling etc.  Similarly, Replay tv had got itself into  trouble after their  ‘autoskip’ feature for ads had some unfriendly corporate support.Youtube channels is another adless example. I had read an Accenture research article, claiming that a sizeable chunk of viewers were ready to pay extra for adless Programmes. Beware Marketers and admakers.

Ad free Entertainment - TiVo

Ad free Entertainment - TiVo

Are Television ads becoming less relevant day-by-day ? Or is it that the ad quality has fallen down, taking viewers for granted. Radio earlier ensured that an ad would get widespread publicity but then it gradually died out as the target audience was not really responding to the same old radio ad. However, the spike of new spiced up channels promise a better future.

Television presence will continue, but with questionable impact. A  recent example  were the Indian elections. All the hoopla about right and responsibility to vote, didn’t perturb the  Indian youth, much. Although the recall was on the higher side.

The dynamics will change. A future where ad makers will make an ad which will queue the systems and the audience can pick by his/her will , the ad the person wants to watch. The ad companies will be paid by the number of views of the ad , adwords click- style.There might be a third party website that allows readers to use other website pages on their website without any ads. Killer idea!

These were some examples of why advertisement might  become on-demand like many T.V.  programmes. As for the viewer , delightful  forms of ads, to capture his/her attention, will spring up and for the marketer it might be a disguised opportunity. One needs to make impactful ads than just putting a bunch of   scenes loosely interwoven in  30 sec platform.

Break from the clutter : Interactive ads

Break from the clutter : Interactive ads

The next gen ad service, especially TV, would have to be extremely interactive where the ad indulges the audience. More on how it could indulge the audience in coming posts. Please let me know if you have some ideas about the same. Would love to know them.

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The Marketers Dilemma : The Screenager.

Technology Swamped 

 

Technology Swamped

 

The mobile rings, you wake up. Check up on the overnight emails and reply. Time for office. You listen to music on the ipod while travelling. Tweet and network in between through your smartphone. Reach office and your computer accompanies you the whole day. You comeback home and there is your PC, ipod, smartphones, televisions, PlayStation etc.

Welcome to the age of  Screenagers. This is what the Economic Times pointed to in their recent Brand Equity article

Marketer’s Dilemma

Screenagers dont have enough attention span to grasp the ad message as they have too much to do in too little time. It is like solving a Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Web2.o is a boon to reach your target audience. But what Is the use if most internet ads face the fate of a spam.

What can a marketer do?

We have entered into a very important demographical phase where the youth are the majority, atleast in India. There is a barrage of information under which the screenager is buried all the time. The screenager, totally time strappedsneaks in every minute possible to network, tweet and update themselves.Smartphones and netbooks have just taken it to another level.

Catch them in their addiction itself. Reach them on their screens with interesting, short content. No matter how interesting you might be the screenager has enough tools to ignore you and bookmark you.

Managing overload

Managing Overload

Out-door advertising will gain importance. The attention deficit, youth suffer from has to be supplanted by Outdoor media. Here again the golden rule is simplicity, tell only what the screenager wants. Remember the screenager is smart enough. Anything cluttered and he/she wont bother much. The outdoor media should lead the screenager to some form of screens.Websites or Phones.The new axe OOH ads have had a home run in that respect. Simply outstanding. If that can be done then your advertisement has managed to get ahead.

Agreed, Web2.0 is important but dont just leash out on the web, thinking that your ads will reach millions of people.A million people concept is a double edged sword.Carefully  analyze, where you want your ad placed. Empathize and avoid any internet marketing mistakes.

During recessionary times characterized by low purchases, Make your ads talk less and connect more. Screenager is intelligent enough to understand that Deepika Padukone uses orbit everyday rather than her having to tell that orbit is her personal dental specialist. Stupid ad. The age of star testimony is over.

Clear Mesaage

Clear Mesaage

Reach them when they are more relaxed. Capture the screenager for undivided 5 seconds, and you will be looked up on the web. Again in this respect OOH advertisements play a great role.Fantastic insight by Axe again. Read more.

Consumers now want a dialogue with a brand and nothing promotes it better than regularly updated blogs, a great pulse.

Thematic ads will be the way to go, with other sub ads under them. The recall value will no longer follow the old formula of dragging the same ad for a month. More short ads in a month is better than one big ad.

Web 2.0 is all about interaction and if you dont interact with the screenager, he/she flips and surfs over you.

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Why ‘A’ ZooZoo is better than ‘The’ SRK.

Love alertsThe Vodafone Zoozoos shot 30 ads in ten days.Do I even need to talk about SRK here?

Zoozoos have no tantrums.We know how unfussy the  Brand ambassadors would be.

People did not have to wreck their brains to understand why the Zoozoo ad was made.I just feel sad for us, who see SRK ads.What a waste of time and ad space.

Zoozoo comes, People smile even after the ads, yearn for more. SRK ad comes and people play the zoozoo commercials buffering on Youtube.

A Zoozoo wont advertise for Airtel.SRK surely will go to Coke(sprite) and thats when you realise that his deal with Pepsi is over.Too old for Youngistaan? Well he surely takes “Seedhi baat, baaki all bakwaas” to his heart.Clear hai?Not clear.

Zoozoos make us feel that life is simple.SRK ads make me wonder if engine power is proportional to mileage or not? What the heck.

The first thing that strikes when you think of Zoozoo is Vodafone. SRK, I can think of Emami,Himani,Hyundai,Tagheur ,Pepsi (correction : Coke) and others that I dont bother to recollect.Then why did the other companies hire him if I cant remember his ads nor care for what he sells?

A Zoozoo does not charge close to 5 crores per 3 day shoot,a very minimalistic approximate.Infact 30 zoozoo ads were done in 10 days for 3 crores.But we certainly know someone whose crore figures are more than days per shoot.

A Zoozoo will not make you change the channel.CricketNeither will SRK , not worth that effort for an SRK ad, anyways, he will be there in other channels too.

Zoozoo does not need to say anything.Even the incoherent mumblings are pretty effective.Well, SRKs effective speech is as good as incoherent mumblings.Buy Belmonte,Buy Emami, Buy Hyundai.You just wish that he shuts up.Well, he does.The only ad he keeps quiet is for Tagheur and because it is a print ad.ZoozOO

They dont make the Zoozoo talk.They have to make SRK talk, squeeze out every ounce of money they spent.That again is not worth it.

Zoozoos are on-screen for 30 seconds and the message is conveyed.SRK is on-screen for one , one and a half minute and the message just gets lost while he keeps on turning and zipping Santro and other Hyundai toys in the ads.

Vodafone’s, Zoozoo won millions of hearts, this IPL.SRK’s Kolkata Knight Riders won one game.

And the last one, Zoozoo’s can be many but there can be only one SRK!

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