Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wherever you go......

Indian advertising industry lost a young and creative adman, V Mahesh, senior creative director, O&M, Bangalore. The 32-year-old Mahesh, who was most famous for his well-appreciated Hutch campaigns which made the dog and the boy famous,, passed away after a heart attack. Mahesh was regarded as a creative genius by many in the ad world. Apart from his creative ingenuity, he was also known for his congenial personality. It is learnt that the entire team of O&M is in a deep state of shock at his unexpected demise.

senior creative director and friend, Rajiv Rao was his close friend. Mahesh and Rao’s partnership dates back to 1994, when they launched themselves together at Heartbeat, and then to Ambience Publicis in 1996, where they spent three years. They then moved to O&M, first in Mumbai in 1999, and then three years later, in Bangalore.Apart from the Hutch campaigns, Mahesh and Rao have also worked on the Titan ads featuring actor Aamir Khan, as well as the recently released Lenovo ads.

The duo has won two gold and two silver lions at Cannes, a silver pencil at the One Show and two grand prizes at the London International. And these are just the cream of their achievements.

That is a glimpse of the obituary published in agency faq's today. Mahesh was revered for his exceptional ideation skills and combined with Rajiv , his best freind it made roaring success.

Forget other campaigns that were in their names, the Indian ad world will remember Mahesh for gifting us the wonderful duo of the dog and the boy, for making a dirty looking pug and a skinny lookin boy, the heroes of their idea ,rather than a cute puppy and a even cuter boy.

The Marketing problem which Hutch had( the TG percieved that they had no net work) was complex, but the talented creatives, the lesser known duo solved it with amazing precision and remarked display of ad creativity, making the Hutch sales soar, even up to 77% at one point of time. The Indian ad world will remember that.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.if that is the case,Britannia Little Hearts' (orange flavour) outdoor campaign and soft drink Mirinda (again orange flavoured) both took off on the Hutch ad concept in a blatant spoof campaign for which Mahesh responded-"The recent Mirinda ad is stupid. It is like a parasite who is trying to drink from our very successful campaign. Usually bad ads are spoofed rather than good ones. But anyway, this one has worked in our favour. We were at one point planning to send a champaigne bottle to the agency that made the ad!"( Indiantelevision.com). We remember that..

I consider the dog and the boy idea to the best in Indian Big Idea's and I am sure most of the ad watchers do that..it was so simple and yet so sophisicated, it was an idea next door and yet no one ever saw it, it was ground to earth and yet brilliant.. it was amazing..the Indian ad world will surely remember that.

The hutch campaign is sighted as a good example of 360 degree or IMC as ad world calls it..Taking a brilliant idea and taking it every where, every customer aperture(the touch points) where the message meets the TG.. it came as TV ads.. in print.. as T shirts... in waiting sheds.. in Tea cups.. in Chennai marathon... wherever you go, it followed....Mahesh, the Indian ad world will surely remember that.

At last ,the boy wasnt there and the dog alone came running and hissing, when from Orange Hutch changed to Pink.. there were a hue and cry, but it was simply stupendous.. The Indian ad world will remember that.

Ads couldbe simple and still make the TG as well as the clients happy.. good ads could entertain the TG and could sell the clients brands too.. that probably was the single most message that as a creative ad man ,Mahesh, is leaving as a legacy.....

My wishes to O& M and Rajiv to take it forward.. let his soul guide you guys..

My heart felt condolences.. to all the bereaved..

such men never die, they live for ever, in the hearts of their beloved...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

an ad a day..

the one time wonder!!!!!.....its TV version is supposedly the longest in Indian advertising.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Life after death...

"Mobile phones can be addictive as cigarettes. This is what mobile operators are counting on as they fall over each other to offer products with 'lifetime validity'. Experience, according to leading operators, proves that anybody who has a mobile phone in his hand, will sooner or later, start using it for making outgoing calls and once they are in the "incoming free for life trap"they are in for ever."

This is a media report, which I bumped into. A serious issue and I thought I will deal with it seriously. We have been seeing the cellular service providers and their Marketing and Advertising magic wands for quite some time now.It seems they do same things and together. This category or sector never existedin India, and when it came it came with a bang. The days when incoming calls were a dreadful dream, are gone for sure but are we getting what we deserve?

Arent we still taken for a ride by this cartel?

If you say that now we have choice, shouldnt we take it as, the house wife asked to choose between, a thief, robber and a rapist...

Mobile user base in India is zooming, but consumer satisfaction is not. Out of 11 mobile operators in the country, Tata Teleservices, Aircel, Idea, BSNL and Reliance Infocomm have fallen considerably short on their performance parameters vis-à-vis 2004, according to a survey.Mobile user satisfaction has gone down on parameters such as sales, network quality, billing, customer care and value-added services, according to the third VOICE & DATA Mobile Users' Satisfaction survey. The decline was a general industry trend, which spanned almost all operators.

However, despite this, the overall user satisfaction went up by 0.92 percentage points compared with 2004.” The survey brought out that the Trai benchmark (95%) on quality of service remains as elusive for all operators except BPL and MTNL. “The worst performers have been Aircel and Tata Teleservices," it said. Aircel, which topped the chart last year, is at number 10 this time.“However, there has been a considerable improvement in the satisfaction level of Hutch and Reliance Infocomm users".

" The best improvement has been in the case of MTNL, which jumped over 10 percentage points to claim the top spot along with BPL," according to the survey, conducted with a sample of 3,763 users in urban and rural clusters.Users in B and C circles remain the most dissatisfied. “Operators seem to be more inclined on increasing their subscriber base -- one reason why B and C circles have witnessed the highest level of growth in recent months." As none of the services are at their optimum, users have few expectations from various components of their mobile service like value-added services, billing integrity and customer care. That's the big reason why the overall satisfaction is a shade higher than that in 2004.GSM and CDMA users are not happy with the network performance. The satisfaction with network is lower in rural India.
“BSNL and Reliance Telecom customers are the least satisfied with their networks. BPL and MTNL, who scored the highest in overall satisfaction, scored low on this score," it said. Customer satisfaction with billing has also gone down over 2004. Except for Infocomm, there was a significant decline in satisfaction level of customers of all operators. Compared to GSM users, CDMA users were more willing to change operators because of billing issues .

Combined with this is the fact that CSP's promise offers that are many times ficticious and hiding plain facts.Telecom authority TRAI issued a consultation paper on the slew of tariff plans promising lifetime validity to mobile phone subscribers. TRAI is of the opinion that these offers raise some issues which must be addressed in consultation with consumers, service providers and other relevant organizations. The seven issues raised in the consultation paper are:

1. Long-term viability and sustainability of tariff schemes with lifetime validity

2. The concept of lifetime validity

3. Change in traffic patterns and IUC (Interconnect Usages Charge) regime

4. Protection against hike in tariff

5. Implications for the orderly growth of the telecom sector

6. Existence of exit options

7. Whether there is a need for asymmetric regulation of the service providers, requiring prior approval of tariffs from the authority.

God knows what has happened, but in the field things are the same..

My friend who took a "life time -no recharge" offer from Airtel recently, with a grin told me his experience.He recharged for 1000 rs and thought now for his life time he will not have to recharge. He then called 123 and found out ,to his ultimate shock that for Airtel , his life time was only three years.. after that he will have to be dead and gone or will have to recharge, if he wants to "enjoy uninterrupted services".

Now Idea proclaims... free outgoing calls for the first two minutes.....

after that...?????

Of all the celebrities who endorse, of all the chaxes who put their brains to work overtime.. arent all of them the same...

Is their life after death..?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Niche by niche...

"It is this incessant desire on part of people that has inspired Paras to dedicate itself to issues that might appear to be trivial, but in reality, are quite significant in life. The range of such issues is extensive. To identify them, one simply needs to be sensitive towards such problems. And make the right solutions available. At Paras, the process behind finding every such solution is backed by extensive consumer research, often carried out in an obsessive manner".

This is how the Paras pharma website describes their customer orientation. In the recent past, this is one Marketer who have truly lived up to the Marketing theory that good Marketing is about customer orientation and identifying the needs and wants among the customers and seeing the gaps available and fit in with suitable products. Niche by niche, slowly but surely, Paras is everywhere, amazing the marketing community with its vivid product range, astonishing the mutinational goliaths with the number and types of gaps that existed in the market place and awe-inspiring the customer with such variety. Be it Moov or Setwet, be it Livon or Krack or be it the afterbaths..... Paras has made Kotler smile with its customer orientation, giving what the customer wants , not what they somehow make in their factory and want the customer to somehow buy.

Paras Pharma founded in 1980 is where new ideas take shape regularly. Each of these ideas are tested, extensively researched and once approved, produced. The process of shaping up these ideas into full-fledged products involves hi-tech facilities and huge production capacity with manufacturing plants situated at Kalol, near Ahmedabad and now at Baddi in Himachal.The phenominal growth of Moov as the major brand in the Rs 400 crore pain-relieving rubefacients market throwing out Smithcline beecham's Iodex and forcing it to change its decades-old avtaar of the gooey black pain balm in its unattractive black bottle packaging to the natty, happening Iodex Power Cream is simply marvellous. The company has grown to that levels that media reports were agog with news of Pfizer and Godrej among others trying to get stake in the ever growing Paras.

The success recipe for Paras is simple. Their brands are the solution for perceived needs and requirements of the common man.They concentrate on ' specialising in exact solutions',Finding 'solutions better than the existing ones' and 'focussing on the small consumer whom has a strong sense of value for money'. And more importantly they communicate this strong points, with constant and consistent communication through big spends on TVC's , in a category where customer loyality is near to fickle or non existent. “Paras is the classic case of a company which has been one of the most aggressive advertisers on the small screen in several products despite the fact that this can be a major risk in case the brand fails.” The success of Paras products also clearly illustrates how even OTC brands can be built and sustained through advertising “provided it is based on market research, product development and evaluation and a deep understanding of consumer behaviour.”

Paras brands sound simple, beleivable and they look like one of us.. a neighbour next door.

I am yet to come across an agency personnel from Mudra or Triton, who have been with a Paras brand, but I have a feeling that they must be a lucky lot.... to be able to work with an enlightened client....

It is simple, the recognition that the ability to learn faster than your competetors , may be sometimes the only sustainable comptetitive advantage you have.
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