Monthly Archives: March 2010

IPL 2010 and advertising

IPL has been a sort of a SuperBowl equivalent of an yearly bonanza for the Indian media and entertainment section. If you get noticed during IPL then you have arrived. If you search in YouTube for IPL ads you have the zoozoo’s popping all over. A great success for the vodafone team simply because of the unaided recall that they are being able to generate.

There was an interesting innovation visible in this years IPL, the ten second main screen ads that play in between the overs, while you are glued to the game and not channel surfing. It has been the most remarkable contribution to advertising in cricket by this years IPL. A clever innovation to break clutter – create your own space. People just dont have the option of switching the channels because its just ten seconds and is in between a match. Karbon, Micromax and Munch have used the service. I should say that Micromax and Karbon have more than had a remarkable run in creating awareness albeit at a high price but no kind of BTL activities would have lent these brands an air of being accepted as they are slowly getting.

One smart thing that Micromax did was it connected itself with something known all the time while advertising. This created a sense of ease and familiarity among the viewers and hence had a lesser entry barrier into their minds. For eg: the positioning as the FaceBook mobile. People know what FaceBook is all about and hence were subconsciously accepting the brand entry into the mind because it could cling on to a part of augmented memory of the brain i.e. to the FB link. Similarly, now they have connected it through Akshay Kumar. Although I am not a big fan of celebrity marketing but till now it seems to work for Micromax.

Another boon for the advertisers of the IPL came the partnership of youtube and IPL. It gave them extra eyeballs and somewhere along the line people are still comfortable with the same kind of advertising on youtube as on tv and do not switch in between the ads. Probably because of its novelty in the Indian markets. The level of resistance has not built up.

Even if they do they would go to a facebook page or check mails and the audio of the commercial still plays behind. Something that advertisers would be more than happy to contend with. Rather than cancelling out the ad totally by surfing channels here atleast the audience is subject to some kind of exposure.

I even liked a couple of Axe commercials,one of my favorite brands, in today’s match. Not because they were great and are cannes material, far from it, but the fact that it exploited what Axe stands for in ten seconds and got the message right across and amused the viewer a little bit. They were badly directed but the idea went straight through and the fact that they connected it to cricket further lowered the barrier to resist the commercial. The Axe effect!

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Filed under Advertising, Mass media

iGod : Apple

Apple

Always wanted to blog on this. One of the most beautiful brands – APPLE. Its almost every ad agencies dream to have Apple on their client list. Because Apple does not sell products, it sells an image, a lifestyle, an attitude. An image that people are willing to pay that extra for. Al Ries and Laura Ries often talk about the failure of double branding. Two brands clubbed together for a single product. For eg: Chevrolet Cobalt, Sony Bravia etc. They maintain that two is never better than one. At least in branding. Reason: Over a period of time people tend to get confused with the value or the promise that the brand stands for.

Apple nurtures its brands. Let it be the mac, the ibook, ipod or the iphone. They let it grow on its own and do not forcefully tell you that it is the Apple iphone or the Apple ipod, its just simply put as ipod by Apple in their communication. There is something  that it does beautifully that many brands fail to do. It manages to glide graciously into their category extension without having to compromise on their image. Apple was only computers before 2000 but last quarter ending december 26, 2009, Apple sold 3.36 million Macintosh computers, representing a 33 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 8.7 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 100 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 21 million iPods during the quarter, representing an eight percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.Source: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2010/01/25results.html

For ex: Al Ries in his biblical book on marketing ‘The 22 immutable laws of Marketing’ tells that a brand that loses its single mindedness and Focus is a brand that is going to be doomed. The examples are of Motorola that tried to enter computers, semi conductors after being the pioneer in Mobile telephones, the leader of which is Nokia that left its other businesses to enter and focus on only telephones.

Apple advertises its product independent of the Apple brand which just sneaks into the last frame of their ads with their company logo. Let it be the macs, the ipods, the iphones or the recent ipads. However they derive their equity form the strong brand that Apple has created. They always seem to come with a magical mixture of a good product and great marketing.  The ‘i’ has become a brand in itself but still does not disturb the equilibrium created by Apple. Nowhere do the image of Apple and ipod clash. They just weave into each other. Even within the ipod there are different ‘perceived’ brands. There is the nano, the shuffle, the touch and the classic. All these vertical extensions fail to confirm that extensions make a brand weaker. It does not if there is logic between the extensions. None gets confused between the promise of any of them. Branding does play an important part in any company or a products success but somewhere along the line its impossible to sell unless you have that perceived differentiation. Apples products are extremely well differentiated. The shuffle is only has 2 and 4 GB, whereas the nano has 8 and 16 GB, the touch is has 8, 32 and 64 GB and the classic is has 160 GB and even the price points never merge. The offering merges only at the 8 GB offering that Nano and Touch provide but they too are highly differentiated from each other.

People don’t think like marketers or say the ‘arm chair critics’. For them Apple is a company that makes beautiful devices let it be computers or music devices.

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Filed under Branding