Wednesday, January 31, 2007

In Devil we trust ..!!

A bus stops and two men get on. They sit down and engage in an animated conversation.The lady sitting next to them ignores them at first, but her attention is galvanized when she hears one of them say the following:

"Emma come first.Den I come.Den two asses come together.I come once-a-more! .Two asses, they come together again.I come again and pee twice.Then I come one lasta time."

The lady can't take this any more, "You foul-mouthed sex obsessed pig," she retorted indignantly. "In this country. we don't speak aloud in Public places about our sex lives."

"Hey, coola down lady," said the man."Who talkin'about a sex? I'm a justa tellin' my frienda how to spell 'Mississippi'."

I bet you're going to read this joke again!...... Jumping into conclusions which has been a favourite past time of Marketers and their Advertising partners as well......

Foresaking and forgetting brand icons that are well drenched in the minds of the consumer (thanks to the wonderful advertising of the past) ,and going in search of new images and symbols often spending heavily and reaching no where.....

Classic is the case of the pink rabits of Duracell and Energiser which in our MBA classes was often discussed. The companies dumped it, the agency forgot it as an outdated icon but the people remembered it...so much so bunnies became the talk of many towns.... The Energiser bunnys similiarity with the duracell one of course made people often get confused, although there are distinct differences between the two — the Energizer bunny wears sunglasses, has larger ears, is a different shade of pink and has a different body shape. Also, while the Energizer bunny is a single rabbit, the Duracell bunnies are a species. The Energizer bunny is always depicted with a drum, as the Duracell bunny toys of which it is a parody had drums, but the actual Duracell bunny advertising campaign has moved beyond this, and Duracell bunnies are usually depicted as doing something other than beating a drum..........Anthromorphism in its best form.....

Images getting registered in the minds of the consumer and getting fixed in the locus there and even before the consumer is bored the advertiser and his agency assumes that they are and withdraws the images......

The Onida story, which is the Indian version of the topic of the day shall be taken as an example...... they made the devil and then killed it only to resurrect it after 8 long years.......Doing away with its stern and forbidding look, the Devil in its reincarnation ,as per the creaters, looked more approachable and consumer-friendly....The Devil however in its earlier avtar (the hard, unfriendly and negative avtar) still remained one of the most recognised symbols in the durables industry, especially in the '80s, when it struck the right chord with consumers......It was a smart counterpoint to cliches, hyperboles and beliefs that surrounded durable and electronics advertising at that point of time....first solid state TV was one TV s touted seeling point while another one said that it has a unique 7-IC circuit.....no one bothered, not even the advertiser, as to whether some one among the readers (TV never advertised in TV then..the logic is simple..IF they have a TV why should they be shown a TV Ad again...?) really understood all this high funda USP's...

Box like TV sets....slopdash designs....socialist pricing...and sloppy advertising charecterised the days TV market where Onida showed the cheek and nerve to be audacious enough to have a new look ( a better looking monitor for instance ,thanks to JVC and the partnership..).. new media choices ( a TV brand advertising in TV as well as in print for the first time) and roping in the negative tone to seek and gather audience attention....

Remember the print ads of the day with the broken TV screen ( broken by envy!!) but the eye balls lingered on... the TV ads came( with 100% share of the voice....mind you..) with the Devil and for the first time on TV someone thought like you and me.. said that envy is real.. envy exists... and having and showing envy is OK.......
For the first time someone didnt preach or advice.... some one said it is true to show off..to flaunt..to wish and even be jealous.... no long moralising.....no lectures and sermonising...no saints and angels.... a devil who talked to the child in us, as a child and not as a hard parent or a pretending to be adult......and then the mistake the devil had gone when the agency was changed...There is an arguement that the devil was becoming irrelevant as more houses had TV and penetration was more and hence there was no 'neighbours envy' and hence the drop......Times changed of course, but for this category the type of advertising
remained the same as MIRC and Rediffussion would jump to agree...just see the fact..after a long slump and slouch period where the brand suffered a lot of misbranding, and after O&M left MIRC between the Devil and the deep sea (pun intented) to advertise for LG, Rediffusion took over and the Devil was bought back in 2004 and sales simply shot up......

Still the 'neighbours envy, owners pride tag' ( which to date remains one of the most remembered taglines in India) was not refounded for many reasons but the fact that the envy comes first and not pride should be seen in a more meaningful context and not simply as another tagline.....Pride is positive and a common thing to possess, a feeling that most advertisers love to weave around their brand and its communication..Envy is negative and again a common thing but which no one brags and the dare devilery here, with the Devil and the green envy tag is simply the best in Indian advertising annals ...He walked against the tide, against the whole crowd and suddenly every one stopped and changed their direcion.......

Why the Devil now? because media reports suggests that again the Devil is poised for a revamp..? MIRC is calling for a pitch ostensibly in an attempt to make a new suited and sauve Devil, still new and more modern and much more contemporary....

Why do I love this Devil..?

Simply because it is a Devil..the negative in me..in everyone.....

How Devilish the new hip and trendy Devil, is going to be..?


" But watch out, the time has not come yet; another hundred years at least do we have to pretend to ourselves and to others, as the witches say in Macbeth, that beautiful is what is ugly, because that which is ugly is useful and that which is beautiful is not." ..........Lord Keynes

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2 comments:

gururanganathan said...

quite an intersting article!!!! even i love the devil ..and my kudos to the agency who made it...envy is in every human being but i love the way they showed it!!!(the old one)!!but the new ads aren't that attractive!!!!i feel onida has always been showing the negativity in human...i remember an ad in which the old womens in the house increase their tv volume when a dog barks and the person outside gets scared......but ads are all cool but is it selling???(as before)???

Marc stevenson said...

I really couldnt connect at first.then got to learn alot of history thanks to orkut and very many thanks for the nice work that u r doing. keep going. Love for Advertising is visible. I shall be a regular admirer and critic.

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