Monthly Archives: June 2009

Stuck in customs

Gone too far.Time for change.

Gone too far.Time for change.

Brands like Nirma and Liril might be doing reasonably well today but are they becoming victims of over-successful advertising? Over-successful advertising! Phew.

None of them  have come out of the shadow of their  iconic branding.

Liril finds it hard to move out of its waterfall and lemon freshness theme. The new nirma ads still present the nirma girl and the modern nirma jingle. Great! Isnt it?

While competitors are sweating out paying millions to advertisement agencies to do something creative, these guys still get the impact with their decade old advertisements.

Or wait. Is there a monkey on its back that refuses to jump off.

A great jingle does wonders. They provide distinctness to a brand that none else can compete with. A good one also results in complacency. Complacency accompanied with the fear of failure prevents any further change. Lets drag it as long as it is successful or atleast seems successful, think the brand managers. Merry it was in the  beginning . Jingles gave a chance to the brand to rise from obscurity to a force to be reckoned. But now the same brands are struggling to get themselves out of this sinking sand. The more they struggle the more they sink.

With buzzing competition, companies desperately feel the need to position themselves differently. Nirma’s new ad tries to do the same. The ad goes well until the old demons arise and we find out that even the packaging is still the same as 80’s.

Come out of shadows

Come out of shadows

Nirma loyalists might be happy that  Nirmas synonymity with a poor mans washing powder detergent might be over.  But do new consumers want to switchover? No. Why would I change from an HUL or a P&G product to a detergent that still looks ages behind.

The ads might be great (I haven’t seen them though) but what admakers have to realize is that a nirma customer does not want to know what your storyboard intended to target. Read this rather amusing comment on the new rebranding effort by Taproot India’s co-founder Santosh Padhi.

“It’s such a simple thing: Nirma has always conjured up the image of washing clothes in a bucketful of water. So, an underwater ballet was our answer to owning the ‘water’ premise. We wanted to take this fresh approach to the brand as a celebration of its lineage.”

One reader commented “wow. this is the biggest scam ive ever seen. kudos to the servicing guy who sold this really expensive, well executed no doubt, but throughly clueless ad to the client. and whatever does owning the ‘water premise’ mean? im stumped mr padhi.”

Many problems

Many problems

Rebranding brings along many predicaments: brand image dilution, loss of loyal customers, lack of adopters, complete failure, financial burden of re-branding, re-positioning and many more. But when they attempt  the re-positioning by mere ads and not changing product aspects it results in a losing proposition.

So the sensible approach would be to take the offensive i.e rebranding, in a phased manner. Tweak your old jingles continuously and then replace them with a new one or a new type of messaging altogether, but slowly and complement the changes in the product too. It shouldn’t just be old wine in a new bottle.



Filed under Branding

Jingle bells. Jingle bells. Dont Jingle all the way.

“A Jingle is a memorable slogan, set to an engaging melody, mainly broadcast on radio and sometimes on television commercials.”- Wikipedia.

The Liril Waterfall Girl

The Liril Waterfall Girl

We all remember the melodic “washing powder nirma” campaign. One of the campaigns that have become synonymous with greatest advertising. It has been 27 years since the irrepressible tune was let free to cast heir spell. It is still a major part of the brand albeit roles are changing overtime. Some other famous jingles have been – Hamaara Bajaj campaign, Man ki shakti tan ki shakti Bournvita campaign, Pan Parag paan masala, The ‘la la la la la la laa’ Liril campaign, mango Frooti, char boondhon waala Ujala campaign and so on. More recently the captivating theme music that has epitomized a brand called Airtel (it cannot be classified into a jingle actually; nevertheless, it is a necessary adaptation).

A great jingle has huge advantages. Jingles once adopted and accepted by the public can be your company’s beat for years to come. Their nature does not force them being changed after a new marketing manager takes over. Nirma, Ujala, Pan-Parag, Liril must have simply saved millions just because their jingles sold them and made them effective. Whereas, competitors like Ariel and Surf were coughing up money to brand and position them. Nirma got that through one shot. It straight away became a runaway hit with the middleclass. I wont be surprised if they sang the jingle while washing clothes.

Come to Year 2009.

Wheaties quartet

Wheaties quartet

Nowadays any successful jingle is compared to Nirma. About what they did right and just about anything. Even if they are incomparable. I would be surprised if such an attempt succeeds now. Jingles generally do not go well with the audience today. All the famous ad jingles now are the ones that were well established and are now, technological tweaks of the classics.

I fail to understand why Nirma’s jingle success is compared to almost any ad that sings. The basics that time were different, so were the consumers. Now, if you have an ad concluding that everyone chooses X product, it comes as a conny ad rather than an effective one.

C’mon will you buy a cereal brand now if it says this

Have you tried Wheaties?
They’re whole wheat with all of the bran.
Won’t you try Wheaties?
For wheat is the best food of man.
They’re crispy and crunchy
The whole year through,
The kiddies never tire of them
and neither will you.
So just try Wheaties,
The best breakfast food in the land

Probably you might. Probably. Yet it was a sensation in 1926 when it was first aired; it revived a failing Wheaties brand that was about to be dumped. More information on wheaties advertising here.

Time for Change. Jingles.

Time for Change. Jingles.

Nirma still has the same ad jingle but since it has already built up a brand it has some regular buyers. But I am pretty apprehensive about a new customer doing the same. The famous ad jingles and other aspects often become a monkey on the back. It is a cornelian dilemma between should they retain their image or go for a overhaul? Both hurt. We shall have a post on the dilemma later.

 Nirma is trying to position itself higher with its new ads but still can not muster up the courage to change its package. I hope they have it planned, I have a feeling they have. I hope that they take the sensible route of gradually distancing themselves from the perception it is stuck in.

Jingles are effective even now but their extent of effect is debatable. Even Airtel’s jingle, if it can be called so, is tweaked periodically to prevent staleness. The lifetime is certainly shorter and minor modifications need to be done.

I cant remember a single recallable new jingle. Its not because there haven’t been but simply because I don’t consider them relevant. The sub-consciousness blocks it off.


Filed under Advertising, Marketing

Which ZooZoo ad did you like the most?



ZooZoo fever still has not abated, I believe. Why? Because the website results show that the maximum searched word to find my posts had something related to ZooZoo. Why not put another interesting post, I thought. I think, therefore I am…a fool!

So, 29 ads hit the screen during the IPL. Not sure if when we will see ZooZoo next. My sympathies especially to girls who find them “sooo cutteeee!!! ” and the ZooZoo fans on FaceBook and just about everyone who is in love with ZooZoo.

I thought why not rate them? Not a bad idea. But 29 ads! Hence I thought of a small mechanism that just makes my life easier. It is no great concept, unfact it is pathetic. But it has helped me piece this post up and it might help you also if you wish.

The steps are as follows

ZooZoo emoticons..After all they are humans too!

ZooZoo emoticons..After all they are humans too!

Following link gives you the 29 Vodafone ZooZoo ads released and their titles according to the vodafone website. or go to afaqs if you dont want to download the ZooZoo ads.

Step No 1 – Copy the 29 titles on MS- Word or write it if you feel like. No issues.

Step No 2 – Mark the ad as Y,N or D. And DO NOT WATCH THE ADS NOW! Its OK if we dont know a couple of them. Lets be honest once in a while. Now, these are the,..uhh.. whatever you call them. Lets say codes!

Y – Yes, I remember the ad. Yeah man! I am good at remembering atleast this.

N- No, I dont remember the ad! How could I forget it! How uncool!

D- Dont exactly remember the ad. I have it in the tip of my brain but cant figure it out. Confused!

Step No 3 – You will have three categories of Y,D and N.

Group them. I guess you did not get it! Dimwit! Group all they Y’s, D’s and N’s together. Remember Birds of a feather flock together.

Step No 4 – This is where you have to wreck your brains more than you thought while getting a valentines gift.

Each ad in the Y category can get 3,4 or 5 points, based on how much you liked the idea.

Each ad in the D category can get only 1 or 2 points based on your re-checking the ad and the preference for them.

Each ad in the N category(Sorry people, hold your breath together!) gets no point! i.e. Zero. C’mon if you

And the winner Vodafone ZooZoo is..

And the winner Vodafone ZooZoo is..

dont remember then it doesnt deserve to get any marks. This might be the ony chance you will ever get to play a teacher and oppress rather than feeling oppressed. What goes around comes around.

Got the hang of it?

Note : A little change of rule, let a little bias creep in. You can rate one of the ads in Y or D category with the maximum i.e 5 marks or the minimum i.e 1 marks ( What? You want to give zero? C’mon, have some mercy on those cute empty headed egg face creatures.)

Step No 5 –  Now you have rated all the ads and now categorize them again! Hold on dont lose patience now! Put all the 5’s together, 4’s ,3’s and so on.

Step No 6 – Now what? Now you are the King… or the queen too (scared of feminists these days!). Time to tell me to screw off and say that you know enough to carry on. Way to go!

Rank the similar marks ones according to what you prefer or enjoyed the most. Hey no motherly love here! No giving of same rank to two. And in the end tada! You have your list of 29 ads and their rankings. Feel good about yourself. Man! You are clever. Keep visiting.

Here are my verdict (Verdict!!)on the Vodafone ZooZoo ads.

  1. Stock Alerts                                                 (Y, 5)
  2. International Roaming                               (Y, 5)
  3. Fashion Tips                                                (Y, 5)
  4. Beauty Alerts                                              (Y, 5)
  5. Exam Results                                              (Y, 4)
  6. Group Sms                                                  (Y, 4)
  7. Star Of The Match 2                                  (Y, 4)
  8. Bhakti Sagar                                                (Y, 4)
  9. Call Divert                                                   (Y, 4)
  10. Facebook                                                     (Y, 4)
  11. Background Music                                     (Y, 3)
  12. Magic Box 2                                                (Y, 3)
  13. Busy Message                                             (Y, 3)
  14. Cricket Commentary                                (Y, 3)
  15. Musical Greetings                                      (Y, 3)
  16. Torch Magic Box                                        (Y, 3)
  17. Chotta Credit                                              (Y, 3)
  18. Vodaofne Phone Backup                           (Y, 3)
  19. Star Of The Match                                    (D, 2)
  20. Cricket Alerts                                            (D, 2)
  21. Magic Box                                                   (D, 2)
  22. Love Guru                                                  (D, 2)
  23. Call Filter                                                    (D, 2)
  24. Voice Sms                                                   (N, O)
  25. Maps                                                            (N, O)
  26. Recharge Online                                        (N, O)
  27. Ringtones                                                     (N, O)
  28. Email On Vodafone                                   (N, O)
  29. Games                                                          (Y, 1)

Let me know yours too. Atleast the top 5! or the bottom 5! I am not a snob! Suggestions to refine the rankings are welcome!


Filed under Advertising