Monthly Archives: April 2010

Too bad to be true

Girl coming out of the sea in a Baywatch outfit.  Smiles. And the voice over says ‘ ismein kuch khaas hai. Ismein vishwaas hai.’ Then comes the J.K Cement logo. Stupid right?

Two cavemen are trying to make fire and one of them tries very hard to rub the rocks hard and create a spark but nothing happens. The other caveman eats some chips and spits fire and lo! Fire there is! Voice over comes and Bingo Red Chilli Bijli.

Micromax was another one during this IPL season with an annoying Akshay Kumar laugh being played all over the ad.

We all have seen a lot of ads that are just insanely stupid right? Some ads would have been thought off of being ‘creative’ if that is the word, by the agency and come out as serious pieces of badvertising. But some are simply too bad to be passed especially by pioneer agencies like the Ogilvy and mathers . O&M that handles the creative for ITC Bingo is one of them. They can not be mistakedly creating bad or rather odd pieces of advertising everytime. It seems too bad to be true. There clearly seems to be a strategy behind that.

In the chips category recently there was an ad by parle’s chips. The name I do not remember of which. (Rhyming J) I think it was smart chips. Well that ad is hardly emoting (an ad that just does not bring forth an emotional response in you), it lies in what I call the point of indifference of advertising. Whereas, bingo ads are downright stupid but they bring ‘what?’ emotion because of which it gets registered in your mind. For a category like chips, I wonder how much of a difference a smart creative ad would have bought. These are not ‘skin’ products. You do not wear them i.e. you do not really care about showing it off. It hardly matters if someone sees you eating a bingo or lays. In the end bingo is just as much of chips as lays is. There is no substantial  perceivable point of difference in the product. Hence, the recall factor has to be more. BANG ON. The ads seem to be doing that.

Similarly, my favorite, J.K Cement ad had everything that made it a 50’s ad plus the color. It was stupid. But it somehow amusingly registered. In cement again, the market is more price differentiated than on quality or perceptions. The decision maker is often your contractor and not you. You have the same ‘ strongest and most durable’ cement proposition with happy families or soiled workers surrounding the frame, in almost all the ads. J.K cement did away with all that and instead of having unattractive family or sweaty workers, they just had a girl in a Baywatch outfit! There was nothing to be remembered in the ad except the fact that it was the most outrageously low I.Q advertisement you saw and that it was of J.K Cement. And voila!  There you remember.. the brand name!

So next time before you say that an ad is stupid, just put yourself in Atticus Finch’s mind; always think from the other point of view. Know where the shoe pinches by wearing it.

P.S: By the way, read it from a FB friend’s friend that the logic behind J.K Cement ad it seems was that – from water comes sand and from sand comes cement. And the girl was cement ‘personified’ Ismein kuch baat hai, ismein vishwaas hai J

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Chuck celebrities. Its your marriage!

Just saw the new Tanishq ad. The fact that I remember it was Tanishq, is the reason I wanted to write this post. A simple and even predictable storyline. But it evoked an emotion. Smile. And that is the most important thing an ad should do; evoke emotions and not indifference.

Tanishq’s targeting was bang on – a crossover family. Forward thinking but also based on beliefs and culture. Here, Parents are seemingly okay about relationships. The woman has the right to take her decisions (the mother running towards the Tanishq store without being apologetic or being condescended upon. The young lady, free to reject marriage proposals, as well as decide later that she wanted to know more about the guy.) On the same time, there was also a stress on importance of marriage and the following of an arranged marriage culture.

Even the driving was done by the lady and not by her imaginary brother or the father himself, pointing towards the notion that she was a woman who could carry on the responsibilities and the family as well as any male counterpart. There was a sense of conspicuousness about the theme of a neo-woman whose family guide them for their personal decisions but give them her own space to decide.

Its positioning was something like ‘Jewellery that makes you want to get married’. That probably comes from an insight that a lot of indian parents imagine their daughters marriage whenever she shops for gold or diamonds. It narrows down the focus of the brand even more to bridal jewellery than simply any other jewellery.

The ad took you into a conversation; made you wonder what would happen and had a decent bit of charm thrown around and all this done at a disalarmingly simple look and feel.

Something more important that I saw was that the ads exposure was not in IPL. It was more on Zoom, ZEE and 9XM. That makes sense, simply because there are some brands that are giving in a lot of exposure in IPL but are more women targeted brands. For eg: Clinic all clear. Yeah, women watch IPL but more or less it is passive and a conservative guess would be that around 80% of viewers would be male.

And finally, the girl was pretty pretty too. (My beat just skipped.. funny..skip.beat.skip.beat)

(To get back my beat to normal) What was wrong with previous commercials?

Think about the Asmi’s and the Nakshatra’s and the Gitanjali’s and the Ganjam’s. Don’t even remember in which commercial Aishwarya Rai or Katrina Kaif starred. And one of them starred Bipasha too, guess it was Gitanjali. Apart from having highly photoshoped images, the video commercials looked highly complicated with dresses flowing a mile and the celebrities draped with red all over to give a bridal touch. Dramatic music also in some. It was all about looking as stunning as the star on screen and never about ‘YOU’ or how ‘YOU LOOKED’. I don’t remember all the ads currently (and my awfully slow net connection fails my attempt to youtube them) but most of them never went into the persona of the woman, this ad did.

P.S: Don’t hate me for the level of details I went into

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ZooZoo ZooZoo. How may we help you?

In the beginning of this year’s IPL, I found zoozoos to be not funny anymore. i was not sure. There were still some of them which made people laugh but as the tournament progressed zoozoos did become a sort of predictable and a non anticipated property. First year was great. There were close to 3.5 lakh zoozoo fans on facebook and each one indulging themselves in various applications like ‘what zoo are you’. Even if you hated them in the first year you just could not ignore them. However this year those who hate them are ignoring them. This year there have been just around 1 lakh additions to the fan base in facebook. The storyline hasn’t been strong in a lot of them and some are not that clear too. The ads were predictable and had too many noisy characters.

So, what should have Vodafone done?

There are two things that I thought they should have done.

  1. Bring back the pug

Reason

Pug was an equally loved and adored concept

Refreshing change from the egg head characters, would have taken out the familiarity and sense of repetitiveness that we have become accustomed to with zoozoos

Would have built up an anticipative atmosphere for zoozoos to return in next years IPL

Fresher and more real looking ideas could have been developed around the pug rather than the zoozoo

Pug themes are more easily understood than the zoozoo ones

2. A set of zoozoo commercials in a story format

As in, say they have 25 different commercials for IPL3. Create all the commercials in such a way that they are connected to the previous ones. Weave an interesting story in such a way that after every commercial one of their VAS is also revealed through the story. Yeah I know might be said easier than done but that is something worth trying out.

Reasons

The spinoff from this strategy could be involving users to make their own storylines and submit them.

Guess what happens to the zoozoo kind of contests, Which is your favorite zoozoo themes

This concept could have lifted the zoozoo closer to the audience by building specific characters like the moma zoozoo, the kid zoozoo, teen zoozoo. It just gives more depth to the entire strategy. This could even be extended to the merchandising too.

Like last year, ads could have first been shown in Facebook and this could have led to building up of a following that would have been more interactive

P.S: On hindsight, everyone is a genius.

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New trend in Celebrity Advertising?

Recently read an article on afaqs and decided to write this to delve into the topic more. Have you noticed any similarity between ads of pepsi, LG cookie pep, goodknight, clinic all clear, airtel, Airtel DTH and likes? Apart from being endorsed by celebrities, these are brands that have been using two or more endorsers lately. 1. LG Cookie pep has John Abraham, Abhay Deol and Genelia D’Souza busy selling off Abhays cool stuff. Or rather, zap it. 2. Airtel DTH launched with Kareena Kapoor, Saif, some Indian cricketers and A.R Rahman. All at your home. 3. Clinic all clear is parading the zero dandruff scalps of Asin and Bipasha 4. Pepsi’s Youngistan ka Wow has Sanjay Dutt and Ranbir Kapoor playing some really dangerous games. Earlier a bunch of cricketers too were hitting a six off the boat for Pepsi. 5. Goodknight had Rani Mukherjee for less smoke coils and now Vidya Balan for their cream 6. Garnier had Aishwarya rai walking like a supermodel (you almost thought that she is gona slip off) in a shiny red dress with a fake accent and Chitrangadha Singh as well as Genelia D Souza faking a lot of innocence on her face. 7. Airtel has SRK and turns to Madhavan and Vidya balan when they need romance. These days, it is the other guy who calls his dad and tells that he wants money for his birthday. His name skips my mind. A lot of people believe the fact that ‘A known group of celebrities speaking about the product is much more effective and reaches out to wider audiences’. In fact, these are the words of LG s marketing head. Some think that having two people is better than one and three is better than two. At the same time people believe that Indian consumers have come off age and make informed purchasing decisions. Well the matter is much simple than all this. Too many cooks are spoiling the broth. Suppose, you have to classify the above examples into like or dislike. That is which of the brands do you think manage their multiple endorsers better than others. So what have you classified? I am sure most of us like the way Pepsi, Garnier and Airtel manage multiple celebs better than GoodKnight, LG or Airtel DTH. Right? And here lies the answer. According to me, a lot of people miss out on the fact that multiple celebs work better when the brands are associative in nature. As in you would not mind flaunting that or associating or being loyal to the brand when in midst of a group of people. Pepsi is associative and Airtel DTH is not. DTH as a service has not gained that much of ‘perceived’ differentiation over one another that make them associative but you clearly have people who either like Pepsi or Coke. Garnier is associative but Clinic all clear is not. Shampoos at least in Indian market do not have that much of differentiation. Especially, if it is the sachets. One wouldn’t mind shampooing with clinic plus if all clear is not there. Same is true for GoodKnight, will I go around showing that I buy only GoodKnight. Not exactly. When the brand is associative, it makes sense to go with a larger number of endorsers given that they have a commonality vital to the brand. LG roped in the three for the new ad. The commonality being youthful energy or whatever the guys in marketing thought was the underlying factor. Well here is the down point, LG mobiles as a brand is not associative enough, at least in India, and that is why the idea is less likely to cling on. Same is true for Airtel DTH. Sun DTH without any gung ho advertising is way ahead Airtel DTH and a little behind Tata Sky. Same is true for Goodknight too, not likely to succeed with vidya balan or rani mukherjee. Not only is there no commonality among them apart from the fact that there are better looking actresses than them but we all know that they wont exactly be battling mosquitoes when at home, too.

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