Tag Archives: David Ogilvy

So you do not have a differentiator. Now what?

Got an Idea?

When do you do when you do not have an idea. You badly want one..  ever been in such a situation? I am sure you would have been. Never be depressed in such a situation. Let things happen around you and watch them closely. This is something that has always worked for me. Whenever I have sat to think about an ad and I get nothing that is brilliant, I just go under a shower and just let myself free and wander and think about whatever comes to my mind and guess what ? I always do find n answer. And I say always. Sometimes I just doodle around and voila I get an idea out of nowhere. Simply because my accidental stroke of the pencil actually gave rise to a good idea.

I know this is not much like any of the other posts but today I am just happy and hence want to share it with you all. In fact I got so crazy that I thought of lovely ads for Volkswagen, Surf Excel, MaxFresh and a good one for my college and I am proud of that.

Positioning: The battle for your mind

Often I notice that I get stuck when the product or the entity I am thinking of advertising does not have any differentiation because according to me that is what enables a good ad. The presence of a creneau in the head of your prospect where you can put your differentiator and see it grow and occupy a ladder in the mind of your prospect and eventually see your brand build and gain identity. But what if you do not have a differentiator or the fact that you do have a good differentiator but the prospects or the target do not perceive it to be present. Advertising is all about perception. It is not the better product that wins the race but the better ‘perceived’ product. So no matter how good and solid GM cars are they will not be perceived as good as Volvo because they own the differentiator of being safe and solid.

So what do you do when you do not have a differentiator?

You look for what I put as, soft factors. Go through the irrational route, capture emotion in your ad. Human brain is a sucker for emotion and is hardwired to be emotional. And sometimes it is the most powerful way to capture the mind of your prospect. Be the prospect and think what he/she would like to listen, in fact love to listen. You cannot bore people into buying your product, you can only interest them said David Ogilvy. Especially in a print ad make sure that you are not in the zone of indifference, either the prospect should love your ad or hate it. The former obviously being the most ideal situation but the latter at least gives you a chance to learn and impress your prospect next time, when he/she is least expecting it to be. Print ad gives you a marvelous opportunity to talk to the prospect, alone. If you can make the prospect read what you want to say then you have done a good job for sure. What’s the big deal in making them read, you might say? But hold on. “The Average readership of a body in magazine ads are 5%” and this figure is of yesteryears, it’s surely come down now. So, that means if you don’t treat the print ad with respect and thought you waste 95% of your resources and with sky rocketing print media charges that is really high figure.

Now since you have decided to take the soft route of persuasion what all are the factors that you can incorporate in you communication?  Use humor- It always has above average recall. Put a slice of life in your ads and make them realistic and hence charming. Add emotion and always back it up with a rational excuse to justify the emotional content. Be honest and genuine. Honesty shows up in an ad. Well these are just some of the ways.

The sucker emotional brain

If you love your ad then others would like it. But if you only like your ad, others won’t be that impressed. Make ads that mean something to people, so that they can connect the dots. Pat wolfe, author of Brain matters: Translating Research into classroom practice , explains, “Neural networks ‘check out’  sensory stimuli as soon as they enter the brain to see if they form a familiar pattern, If they do, a match occurs, and the brain determines that the new stimuli are familiar. In this case, we could say that the new information makes sense or has meaning. What happens if there is no match? The brain may attend to the meaningless information for a short period of time because it is novel; but if it can make no sense out of the incoming stimuli, the brain will probably not process them further……An idea will be meaningful only if it relates to the listeners experience”



Filed under Advertising, Branding

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.


Filed under Advertising, Branding, Marketing