Tag Archives: coca cola

Super Bowl XLIV Bonanza

Super Bowl 2010

Another Super bowl concluded with the New Orleans Saints defeating the Indianapolis Colts’, 31 to 17. And we saw almost 60 ads aired by different corporations to vie for 106 million people who saw the bout on T.V and hence becoming the worlds most watched programme ever.

This years Super Bowl too saw Humor as a common strategy to gain the viewer attention.

U.S.A Todays Ad Meter ranked the first three ads in the following manner

  1. Snickers
  2. Doritos
  3. Bud Light

We need to take into concern that these ratings are derived out of an instant rating system from a focus group. USA TODAY’s Ad Meter tracks the second-by-second responses of a panel of viewers to ads during the Super Bowl and ranks them from best to worst. Hence, it might be too shortsighted to hail an ad as the best of the Super Bowl.

Snickers ad was neither funny nor serious but somehow people could connect to their message of ‘You’re not you, When you are Hungry’. Plus, the element of unpredictability made it a good ad. Although, I wouldn’t call it as the best ad.

Doritos ran four spots this year, which were all placed in the top 20. The peoples favorite was the anti-bark collar ad. It was funny but I dont think it was better than the Samurai ad. It certainly did make Joshua Svoboda be an envy to investment bankers! He created the ad for a mere $300 and is entitled to win $600000 from Doritos for being the second best rated ad this year.

Bud Light as usual was quirky and funny and memorable. Witty lines and an amusing storyboard made sure that people noted it and were involved in it. I even liked the ‘Not light, not heavy‘ campaign that they ran. But again it could have been better for a beer that did not have ‘Light’ mentioned in its name. You can not have ‘Light’ mentioned in your brand and communicate that the beer is neither Light nor strong, it is Bud Light.

I liked the Hyundai (Also the biggest advertiser for this years Super Bowl) paint ad as well but after the recent recalls in the car industry from the Japanese car makers, the South Korean car maker would have had to suffer. However, like the last super bowl ads Hyundai was smart and short and even attacked the competitors, in this case, the Mercedes CLS550, to showcase their product as superior.

A special mention for Google that flirted with TV advertising with a beautiful ad (the best ad according to me). The ad was powerful enough to evoke an emotion on the faces of the viewer and hence, undoubtedly, distinct. Something, that we could all relate.

Go Daddy slipped down the popularity, probably due to a repeated theme line. However, I feel it created enough memorability and reinforcement. Especially, with its imagery continuing on sexy and affordable to all. Women as usual were a major part in all the ads.

Coca cola played its sleep walker ad. It was visually nice but not exactly a memorable one. It somehow did not gel with the ‘Open Happiness’ positioning.

Then there was Cars.com advertisement that again started off brilliantly introducing Timothy Richman but somehow you just wished there was some more to it. An average ad. It did not have humor nor was too serious and fell in the same genre of the Coca Cola ad. A little more of work and it could have been a above average ad.


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Why India needs David and not a Goliath approach

Indiaa..Incredible India

Indiaa..Incredible India

What is India? Why is it Incredible?

“We were all so sad when you ran away from home. Your parents were disappointed and worried when you ran away to Bangalore, but they are happy to see you fine now. “

“I had to aunty. Or else I would have been like my brother and couldn’t have escaped from there. There was so much of trouble at home and they wouldn’t allow me to go to Bangalore for sure. So I had to run. But now that I have got my salary I am sure they are relieved. Please order whatever you want. Waiter! Bring a cup of coffee and two teas.” Said a family of three next to my table when I was having my tea.

This has been the story of India pretty much. The story of India that is eager to earn and consume. That does not want to be tied to boring chores but wants to explore the world that he/she sees. This is not the story of two India’s- India and Bharat, but that of layers of several India’s. Not a monolith but a multi- layered cake according to Rama Bijapurkar. It is a country that has made multi-national corporations kneel according to their whims. It is a country that has embarrassed the foreign companies thought process. A country deserving a different treatment altogether. “A treatment where it won’t be the best policy but the next policy that will succeed”, according to C.K Prahlad.

Indian markets need a David not Goliath

Indian markets need a David not Goliath

A place where the Goliaths of the world’s largest selling shampoo (Sunsilk)were left wondering how to compete against a David (Chik)who was selling shampoos in one time packs (probably used twice or thrice). A place where the lever brothers found that they couldn’t sell Surf against a small time Gujarati player whose name they couldn’t spell nor pronounce. A place where the worlds cult brand Coca cola, has sweetened its drink a little bit to suit Indian taste who generally prefer sweet but finds hard to replace a local brand Thums up, which is anything but sweet, whom they ended up buying and is still the most consumed aerated beverage in India. The irrational exuberance of a global brand flattening the world just hit a big wall when it came to the mother of all diversities.

It has forced globals to reckon that it is a different world altogether. It is a country where the world’s largest toothpaste brand Crest is taking a step forward and three steps back to even think about launching. A country that stops not because of a terrorist attack but of 22 people on the cricket field.

We are like that only

We are like that only

A country where drops certainly form an ocean. Where the bottom percentage of people (Strivers), around 106 million households, have just 2% of the higher household incomes (Prosperous, 2.2 million) but just due to its sheer size of being 48 times bigger, its consumption almost equals that of the prosperous.(Source: IRS Consumption pyramid, IRS 2008). A country where you can’t ignore ‘this’ (prosperous) nor ‘that’ (strivers) but a country of “this as well as that” (Read ‘We are like that only’ by Rama Bijapurkar).

Where it is not the needs and wants that are important as Kotler puts, but hopes and aspirations that dictate consumer behavior. A place which has made Theodore Levitt’s prophecy of a global brand that serves the customers with standard products worldwide, has fallen flat on its face. Where the consumer instead of being dumbstruck by western cults and emulating it, is watching and mixing it with his/her own culture and demanding something that the marketer could not fathom about. A country where the tastes and preferences are so distinct that you cannot predict the sales pattern of two adjacent districts separated by a few miles let alone a state. A place where technology penetration is as high as 63% in one state (Kerala) and just 14% in another state (Bihar). A country where the rural areas are almost ten years behind urban but still demand firms to make a tailored “right-value-right-benefit” product. Those who do that succeed in ways that shifts their economic centres. Ask Nokia. A country that has contributed to a lot of red ink in the firm’s balance sheet but still can’t be ignored for obvious reasons.

A country where consumers don’t upgrade according to your plan but you downgrade to their wishes. A country where focus is hard to maintain (Wonder what Jack trout and the Ries have to tell about this). This is India …Incredible India.. A country that might even see “marketing tourism” like medical tourism.. Where the West can learn about the emerging centre of gravity and how to woo the nasty unsparing consumer.


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Advertising: An obscenely misunderstood concept

“I know I waste half the money I spend on advertising,” department store pioneer John Wanamaker said. “The problem is, I don’t know which half.”

James Ready

James Ready

Advertisements are a paid form of showcasing your brand whereas Publicity is a non paid form of visibility or awareness. Advertisements is supposed to presell a brand. However smart advertisers stir publicity. Take a cheap beer James Ready for example. What was their tagline while they were advertising on billboards? “Help keep James Ready a buck. SHARE OUR BILLBOARD.” And soon there were people posting their messages and sponsoring the billboard. One such message read “Hey Rick, I haven’t forgotten. LINDA.” It won a category in cannes and created tremendous amounts of publicity.

The importance of advertising is overrated in our times and rightly so! There are so many brands trying to outwit each other and one needs to be ahead on the awareness factor. Whats the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of chocolate? Probably, Cadburys. Hence I am more inclined to buy that without probably searching for other brands. Hence you need to be positioned in the mind of your customer. Always!

But is advertising absolutely mandatory for a brands success? Not exactly. Take the case of Godrej no 1 soap. It has now climbed to the third position in a Rs 7500 crore soap market behind heavyweights, Lifebuoy and Lux. And how much does it spend on advertising? Just about 1% of sales, whereas the trend is close to 13-15% in FMCG. Similarly, The body shop was a result of publicity, Walmart has one the most minimal percentage of its revenues spent on its advertisements, Starbucks again follows the same idea, In its first ten years, it spent just 10 million dollars on advertisement. Its sales are more than 2.6 billion dollars.

Brand managers forget that advertising never creates a brand. I have seen a lot of instances when the first thing people want to do when a new product is launched is create awareness, no issues till here, but how? They want to advertise and reach to millions. Not a bright strategy.

It is always publicity that creates a brand and nothing is stronger than word of mouth publicity. Advertising may be needed to maintain but never to create, especially if you are dealing with shoestring budgets and advertising is treated as expenditure rather than an investment.

Successful brands are those that you talk about among yourself and to others. Ask an example of a global brand and coca cola comes the pat reply in any management school. Say fast food and there are plethora of hands raised wanting to give an example of how McDonalds does everything right.

Axe call me

Axe call me

If advertising could help then Miller would have been one of the leading brands in beer. It spent close to 50 million dollars to launch its miller regular and no publicity. RESULT: No increase in sales and 50 million dollars down the drain. Now compare the 50 million spent versus 10 million by Starbucks!

There are lot of issues with advertising today that will be taker on in another post that reduces the efficacy. Clutter in televisions, convenience of alternate mediums, dearth of creativity etc are some factors contributing to its ineffectiveness. Marketers have to realise that on-the screen efforts need to be supported by off-screen backup too just like what Axe did it brilliantly with its ‘call me’ campaign.

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