Tag Archives: MicroMax

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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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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Advertising in Cricket

So India is playing South Africa in the much anticipated buildup to the IPL season 3 and the ODI series is already on its way. I am not sure about the advertising rates for the series but I noticed a lot of brands, albeit, small brands use the platform. Mobile companies surprised me a lot. Let it be Lemon mobile, Aroma,  MicroMax or Onida mobile, the mobile wars are getting hotter with everyone wanting to get into ‘one mobile that does all’ platform. MicroMax mobile even positioning themselves as the facebook mobile. Well all the ads were forgettable, nothing catchy about them but why I wrote this post was to address a different concern.

Have you seen the ads that come on the sides while watching a match. The match screen becomes smaller and moves a little towards upper right corner to make space for those banner ads that occupy the space on the left and down part of the screen A lot of brands seem to be taking a liking to them but I seriously doubt their efficacy. They are not done well at all.

There might be some reasons why advertisers are preferring this form of advertising

–          Flexibility in the message, one can have two different ads for two different banners and can easily mix and match

–          Cheaper to produce

–          Probably lesser cost to advertise

–          Catch the audience when they are not surfing between channels

–          Create a continuous flow from off the field advertising to live telecast point

And I must agree they are pretty logical reasons to advertise. However, there seems to something amiss in a big way. after a half an hour gap, I couldn’t remember any of the ads that came, barring one. Most of them had very average workmanship that allowed them to be less legible. My biggest concern still is that until and unless you use this technique (the side banner advertising) during stats presentation or during a field change, people are not going to notice it. I am not even sure if they do notice during those times but I am assuming that there is more reason to notice them when the ball is not in action. It is almost pointless to advertise when people are literally in their T.V screens. The centre of attention is the 22 yard pitch and the batsman and the bowler opposite. Typically, when the screen shifts to upper right corner to make way for the ads, The movement of the eye, involuntarily, is also in a similar manner and you tend to miss almost three fourths of the communication. I just found the WildStone side banner impactful simple because it was on a black background with big words that were contrasting and said ‘Don’t smell like a woman, smell like a man’. Apart from that, rest all were more or less insignificant and a waste of marketing spend.

So here are some suggestions if you want to take those spots:

–          Make it contrasting, don’t choose colors that blend in easily with one another

–          Do not have too many words

–          Keep your brand name at the bottom right corner, it is easier for the flow of the eye

–          Let the pictures be on the left and the words below towards the right (more or less what Ogilvy suggested for print ads)

–          Have it written in either English (preferred) or Hindi, don’t have an intercourse of hindi and English or a Hindi word written in English. Defeats the purpose.

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