Saturday, September 29, 2007

The fun gun...!!!

A man enters a barber shop for a shave. While the barber is foaming him up, he mentions the problems he has getting a close shave around the cheeks.
"I have just the thing," says the barber taking a small wooden ball from a nearby drawer. "Just place this between your cheek and gum."
The client places the ball in his mouth and the barber proceeds with the closest shave the man has ever experienced.
After a few strokes the client asks in garbled speech. "And what if I swallow it?"

"No problem," says the barber. "Just bring it back tomorrow like everyone else does."

Now that shows how important it is to know where to stop your talk... attention
client servicing guys

Enjoy the week end folks!!! adformula will return on 3rd October after a long and extended weekend !!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pro or Anti aging.. which side are you?

Six, over-50 gorgeous women do their best 'calender girl' homage in this controversial campaign titled pro age campaign ,designed and executed by their time tested agency O&M,posing buck naked in the ad, which was banned from airing( see the tvc here) and landed Dove in all the mess,because it "showed too much skin". The positive side as I see it, is that it was the first time, that a brand, that too on skin care, was talking to women about aging in a positive tone...Dove, the global beauty brand, boldly challenged the “only young-is-beautiful” stereotype with this Campaign which aimed to sell pro aging (and not anti aging) products . Designed to expose what our anti-aging society has been hiding, proage celebrates women of 50+ by showing their honest, real beauty.

"The advertising campaign is certainly not about nudity, but rather about honesty. . We didn't want to cover these women or enhance their appearances, because they are beautiful just as they are" was the typical and expected company response... it was literally uncovering all of their age spots, grey hair and curves, demonstrating that women are genuinely stunning – at any age.
And the dove site full of delighted customer responses like this one..."Never the less, it is a wonderfull commercial, dignified, respectfull regarding women, has nothing to do wit sex, and the women are great!!! Thanks to the "dove" team for what you are giving us women in ower 50e!!!! "

If publicity was the aim,well it was done....The honesty part, to be frank I feel too small to be commenting on a brand like DOVE..its all history and it is better that we learn a lesson or two from it....

Monday, September 24, 2007

A lesson from the past...

This is a really old Rocky and Bullwinkle opening clip complete with a General Mills product placement. a good lesson for the agency idiots of today..... I admire how products were made a part of these old shows rather than today's method of somehow sneaking in products and giving us creeps. Hell, we know you can't have a show without
advertisements, you might as well make it blatant but not to try folling us ,the audiences.......

Invading the content (Part 1)

Moviegoers, for quite some time now, have been encountering what is referred to as Product/Brand placement woven into the cinema, as a part of it. It is a well-researched topic, and all possible angles of the issue have been researched, in India and abroad. In television, however a big gap exist between the phenomenal growth that is happening in product placements in TV programmes and the actual quantum of research that is happening.

Invading the content is a serious attempt in this regard (the funny ones that I have done before ,can be read here) after going through studies conducted about cinema so far and wherever needed have drawn parallels with TV and at appropriate instances have justified that Product placements in TV is distinctively different vis a vis Cinema. I am trying to trace the evolution of product placements as a Brand promotion/communication tool, establishes the reasons for increasing product placements in Indian TV scene, discusses measurement of cost effectiveness of such placements and as a concept propose a ‘model’ to determine the deciding factors of audience intolerance, which shall be named as the ‘Audience Intolerance Threshold Quadrangle’. It also proposed some generalized suggestions aimed at advertisers to prevent the audience stepping into intolerance threshold. This is a modified version of my paper in the same name ,which appeared in he Journal of Marketing Communication last year.......


Ramya Krishnan, the once silver screen diva of the south, stands tall in the center of a set made to look like an Egyptian palace or interns of a pyramid, proudly displaying glittering jewellery and glowing habiliment and proclaiming the names of a famous Chennai silk shop, and the Chennai jewellery shop where she located them from. The audience applauds, women bedazzled and men suspicious ,and the programme is titled ‘Thangavettai’or ‘the gold hunt’, which appears in the popular Tamil channel- Sun TV on prime time.

Product placement* in TV shows is a near to common phenomenon these days. A Lux sponsored fashion show weaved into the storyline of the popular Star Plus serial ‘Kahin To Hoga’, or an actor engrossed in a ‘Fair & Lovely commercial’, again as part of the storyline of yet another Star Plus serial, Kumkum — product placements, in television, is clearly on the rise. In cinema it has shown growth for quite some time now .The effect of product placements in cinema has been a much-researched topic but, the effect of product placement on TV programmes is an area yet to be researched fully, for different reasons. Invading the content is an attempt to throw light on this promotional tool and its interesting and growing influence, in India.

* Product placement is defined as the inclusion of, or reference to, a product or service within Cinema or a TV programme in return for payment or other valuable consideration.
[As per The Ofcom Broadcasting Code (UK), published in May 2005].

To be continued >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Fun Gun!

Now these are some of his strokes of brilliance!!

Teacher: What is 5 plus 4?
Mr. Bean: 9 Teacher: What is 4 plus 5?
Mr. Bean: Are you trying to fool me, you've just twisted the figure, the answer is 6!!

Friend: How many women do you believe must a man marry?
Mr. Bean: 16 Friend: Why?
Mr. Bean: Because the priest says 4 richer, 4 poorer, 4 better and 4worse.

Mr. Bean's Son: Dad, what is the spelling of it one c or two c?
Mr. Bean: Make it three c to be sure

Folks! i do have a doubt! Just like we see ads during advertising professionals see ads in their dreams???

The confused PUG !!!

Adformula and its obsession with the Hutch pug..rrrr... the Vodafone pug continues... its as cute as ever but this time more meaningful in this brand transition communication.I love the way the color change happened, with traces of pink remaining ,when he comes back home,the perplexed face of the pug and like my two daughters at home, the more I see, the more I love this advertising...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Orange and now red !!..Hutch is now Dead !!!

Orange,pink and now red
hutch to vodafone,set is the bed,
will the dog be now left dead?

Its an infeeling that I have when Vodaphone takes over Hutch, in a cruel tale of corporate takeover, merger or aquisition, whatever it is , a gonnabe case for the strategy sessions in business schools, the colour change is what bothers and amuses me. In fact regular readers of this blog would have got irritated by my scathing atttacks on the ever changing colours of Hutch and my admiration and fascination for its communication which I feel was one of the best that Indian advertising has been able to give us in the last ten years or so....

The history of makeovers in Hutch is quite interesting....From the initial MaxTouch over a decade ago, the brand was converted into Orange in 2001 (one may recall the ‘Hi!’ campaigns). Later, it was made Hutch elsewhere and Orange in Mumbai. Following this, in 2005, Hutch moved away from its orange-coloured logo and went all pink (simultaneously, Orange, too, was integrated into Hutch in Mumbai). well ! the brand identity changes vs the continuity of good services and network is what the questions is , seems people dont mind the color or the panting dog as long as the service is there.... but Hutch is now red is a bit unimaginable(Red is strongly synonymous with India’s other largest telecom provider Airtel)..even other wise this change is colours from an academic perspective is a bit odd, but so was orange to pink.....

Vodafone, it is learnt, will come in with innovative and discounted plans. So, if Reliance can do a 777 handset, Vodafone is slated to launch a 666 handset at the lower end. This will fit in perfectly with the company’s plans to try and capture the mass market.Whether it is going to confuse the already embattled Indian buyer or is it going to make things easy, is to be waited and watched while the pug runs around still, as the new bosses have promised to retain the now almost legendary brand symbol along with the cartoon charectors of the boy and girl, whenever a new service is announced.....

Now the oft praised and well applauded client agency relation, between Hutch and O&M may be reviewed and changes desired by the new team...The global advertising agency of Vodafone, Weiden and Kennedy, has also entered India last week, raising some speculation in the ad industry about a future shift in creative responsibilities from Ogilvy and Mather to Weiden.well that is bad news for O&M but one hopes that the brand and its communication continues with the same charm and be in touch with us for ever.... While the business and marketing part seems to be bright with the entry of this global giant, and with the deep pockets they seem to be having ostensibly as the media plan that they have made and touted as the first time in India, when the new change is going to there everywhere, from this night, in the entire star network and even others(a full-fledged launch across television, print, outdoors and the Internet is coming up ..) my worry is the dog, less due to the animal lover that I am, and more becuase of the ad guy that I am... Hutch ads was a revolution as well as a revelation..... the rest is history...

And the future, is simply unpredicatble...!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

PETA Ads!: Why 'non-ethical' treatment?

"People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) " is an organisation which value "animals" as friends- co-living beings on earth. We do often become inhuman, in order to become the safest and protected living things in the world. So we use fur, leather, ivory, snake skin and a lot of animal products. For this, we wouldn't care to msitreat the co-living things. Even though we love our pets, we are often indifferent to animals.
The advertisements are some of the less provocative and amusing ones. But 'PETA' had often become saviour to many celebrities. They had marched themselves to show their face in PETA ads to become popular. Some ads which go to the extremes (less of clothes!)- 'I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur' were criticised globally! ( PS: sex doesn't sell always!)
Instead of roping in celebrities and models, couldn't they show some role models- the animal lovers-tell their stories and promote love for those gentle living things!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

the joy of kids !!!

I have read some where "if all this talk about strategy in advertising were true, we wouldnt be left to see so many kids parading, talking big things and selling anything from chocolates to underwears ''... well an extent I agree to that, but this ad clearly is different, .... a cut above the rest... refreshing and rejuvenating .... how easy is it ,to communicate, if a right strategy is in place...!!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Are We Good Leaders?- Lead India Campaign

The "Lead India" campaign of TOI is inspiring. It says - India, its not enough, Let' start by dominating today and not just be "sleeping tigers" of Asia.
It says,
" If only we ran it.
Well, now we have our chance.
The Times Of India announces a nationwide hunt for a few good men and women - honest, brave, efficient, driven- who can take us from being an India Poised to an India Realised.If you think you have it in you, step forward.And together we'll take a shot at writing India's future."
Are they looking for social reformers or inspiring leaders or just politicians? India needs people with vigour, honesty and all the more goodness in mind and heart!. WE are the second largest populated country in the world. But as we usually say, when three people meet, there are 18 opinions. It remains to be seen, whether a campaign, although inspiring will generate good leaders.
Its in our minds. If we are ready to challenge ouselves, ignoring adulation and gossip, if we stand together against wrong decisions, if we stand together against abheyance, if we stand together against nepotism and bribery- but, we still boast about our differences!
Now about the advertising camapign, can TOI find from millions, those good samaritans who live for India?
and to lead people Shahrukh says, "People hate being told what to do, and what not to do. No one likes to be led by the nose. You must not make them feel you are the boss, guide, whatever."
Further, I find books of Swami Vivekananda, M.K.Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, A.P.J Abdul Kalam, S.Radhakrishnan- a few noted people and their lives more inspiring than the campaign. If India should be lead, it should be by people with "serene and sincere" minds and hearts.
PS: Hope it wouldn't be another popularity stunt!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Swatch- Puzzle in Motion!

We all need watches, when we run out of time. We all look at them when we run out of time. But a "swatch" is a kind of a watch, which shouldn't be watched in a hurry, because we will forget to see the details. But these advertisements , although eyecatching is a puzzle too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Advertising ...the art of Client Agency Relationships... part 7

Continued from Part 6 ........

Elements of the agency expectation pentagon(what the agency expects from the clients?



Candor is openness and throwing open channels of communication within and to the outside world, of the clients’ business. Organizations which practice candor, will forever be dynamic and with clear objects and goals and hence clear in their communication. Lack of candor results in accumulation of problems between the two partners and later on mostly ends up in the agency firing. Joanne Lipman quotes Ogilvy in the Wall Street Journal that “it is easier to fire your agency than to admit to your stock holders that there is something wrong with your product and management”. She lists out a series of agencies that had to bear the wrath of their furious clients “whose business problems weren’t caused –and almost certainly won’t be cured by advertising”

Ogilvy advised clients, to check how far the agency believes in candor. “If you say something stupid, do they have the spine to disagree?” If they do, they are ardent believers in candor, and it is better not to leave them to guess things.

An ideal state of candor practiced by the clients’ side would be a dream of every agency, as it knows that for such companies, the internal branding would be strong and deep to the core. External branding would be a blissful experience, then for the agency.
Rigidity in processes and filters and blocks in the communication networks, both horizontal and vertical, both within and the outside world, perhaps is the classic of agency complaints about any clients. Big or small, such clients exist as a pain for its agencies, which are relatively good, fast and efficient communicators and reciprocation from the clients.


Control – too much or too less of it -is a by-product of hierarchies and organization structures. Many corporates, still follow heavy hierarchical organization structures with levels and sub levels, and communications delays and hiccups are just common .Red tapism at the clients’ side is just as important an object of resentment as lack of candor, as far as agencies are concerned. Too many levels of decision making or rather the lack of it, failure to take decision, fear of risk as part of hierarchies are all common stumbles in the process of making CAS a reality. “To bore or bully the agency like this will be depleting the agency of its creative fire power”

Clients should have control over the situation and the levels of decision-making should be cut short. Agencies are not mere vendors and it is unfair to make them run from pillar to post. Such clients gave rise to the famous quote: “Clients get the advertising they deserve”.

The philosophy of the clients business should be shared with the agency to make the give and take partnership which I would like to call Client Agency Synergy, become true.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ye Kaisi Adda-

Its quite difficult to define friendship. It may or may not be long-lasting and a social networking site cannot probably become a substitute to a friend. A friendship quote says..
A good friend is someone we can count on, as well as being so much more.A friend is someone with whom we can relax and just hang out, have fun and share our innermost thoughts--deep dark secrets, lofty and noble goals, or our hopes, joys, and fears. A good friend allows you a safe space to share your deepest thoughts and needs--without worry of being judged, criticized or made to feel silly for feeling the way you do. Friends cheer each other on, laugh and cry together, and just plain commiserate and listen to each other.That's why friends are friends....Bettie and Jennifer Leigh Youngs.

But the advertising had glorified it to an extent to match with expectations and something more! it goes...youth goes..hope goes..children go......but friends stay. Yes, we are unhappy with our small nuclear families and would like to form a group of friends, but will a "bigadda" remain! in such relationships, as when known relationships seemingly created friendships remain?

But the commercial catches up with loneliness...and captures the need for friendship in everyone with a potent message!. And this big adda was launched, in the presence of beautiful bollywood diva Diya Mirza, pulling crowds.. I would give 8 in a 10 scale and the agency is Ideas at Work.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Fun Gun

An investment counselor decided to go out on her own. She was shrewd and diligent, so business kept coming in, and pretty soon she realized that she needed an in-house counsel. The investment banker began to interview young lawyers.
"As I'm sure you can understand," she started off with one of the first applicants, "in a business like this, our personal integrity must be beyond question." She leaned forward. "Mr. Mayberry, are you an honest lawyer?"
"Honest?" replied the job prospect. "Let me tell you something about honest. Why, I'm so honest that my father lent me $15,000 for my education, and I paid back every penny the minute I tried my very first case."
"Impressive. And what sort of case was that?" asked the investment counselor.
The lawyer squirmed in his seat and said, "My father sued me for the money."
PS: Some advertisements are more humorous, just take a look at "Havell's" new commercial.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Nothing But the Name!

Only just a day after UTI bank changed its skin to become Axis bank, it was announced that UTI bank has become one of the 50 most valuable brands in India. Brand Finance valued the brand at Rs. 829 crores.

Oh, we knew what we were giving up," says Hemant Kaul, President, retail banking, Axis Bank.For UTI Bank, "Axis" was selected from a list of over 50 possibilities. Given the bank's growing interests in other Asian markets including Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong, a "global-sounding" name was imperative. But is it more than "old wine in a new bottle?" See it here.

Simple Advertising Highly Irresistible!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Advertising ...the art of Client Agency Relationships... part 6

Continued from part 5

4. Compatibility

The agencies’ (Read the human beings representing the agency) ability to be compatible with the clients’ philosophy is very vital for transformation of Client Agency Relation to a level of bliss. Often it is complained that agency professionals refuse to communicate, or even if they do, use jargons to confuse. Mutual respect, of course is an ingredient, but many clients blame agencies possessing a “take it from me attitude”. Many times the agency and the client don’t agree even on the objectives of the campaign that they are planning. Most of the ads are made for awareness but awareness doesn’t necessarily sell the clients products, which agencies refuse to accept. It is good that the agency entertains the target audience, and walk up on to the scaffold of Cannes and Abby’s but what happens to the client’s sales?
“In pitching they show their reel, brag about their people, show a few case histories, flaunt all the promises, worse, some even bring all the wrong people (the best ones) for pitching, who will not be the ones, actually working on the account later on” this seems to be a typical client complaint..... Sergio Zyman refers to it as bait and switch and to avoid this he suggests that the contract should be specific about the persons working on the account .

Two classic gripes that clients have about agencies are......

why is it taking so long?
And why does it cost so much?

It is simply because agencies have other fish to fry, and clients generally don’t realize this or rather they like to think that the agency should be focused on them, solely. Researchers and authors have vouched on this as one key deterrent to the success of Client Agency Relation .


Czars are emperors or star employees on the rolls of an agency. Stars make a difference, often a celestial feeling for the accounts who work with them. The role of such stars may be limited in many accounts, and very dominant in same major accounts that the agency handles. Yet, this is true, in case of star creatives in India like Prasoon Joshi or Piyush Pandey. Presence of a Chaks or a Pops makes a difference with which a client perceives its agency and its seriousness of the account. May be the difference is just psychological, and at the functional level the czars contribution may be null, but that is a difference worth a look. Ever since S H Benson launched a journal for advertisers, wrote two books on best practices and organized an international advertising exhibition in London, as early as 1899,celebrity ad men, whom we refer to as czars make a difference.
Agencies seem to be doing their bit to make sure that the cream is added to. JWT India some time back ,in a high profile hire bought in Bruce Matchett as the Chief Creative Officer and National Executive Creative Director, from Singleton O&M-Australia, crossing one big geographical and cultural barrier. Also, to retain the existing czars agencies do their best. Almost every agency (some like FCB are exception) has the post of National Creative Director who largely exists as poster boys for the agencies and their clients rather than bring in some new vibrant creative culture. ...The big amounts that go to the maintenance of the czars make things a bit tough for the agency. “Most agencies get short term contracts and have very tight margins because of high salaries and such overheads. A typical agency would spend at least 60% of its gross income on payroll and staff bonuses” as reporetd in The Economist, (June 1990:17).....
But not all clients bask in the yesteryear glory of the Czar who works for their account. The creative duo behind the Hutch dog and the boy story weren’t any famous until the story broke. Hopefully they will continue their ‘out of the box thinking’ and will not let the one campaign take care of rest of their career.
Client loyalties in many cases lie with the person, as history would have it. Remember, when Charles and Maurice were thrown out of Satchi and Satchi, the only thing, which remained with them, is the unstinting loyalty of their clients like British Airways. Recent reports suggest that Trevor Beatie, the creative Czar at TBWA London, and the creator of the Controversial FCUK campaigns would be moving out of the agency and the client will follow the Czar......

To be continued>>>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Break The Rules!..

Is it essential to learn something from the environment to know how our advertising works? Can we simply break the code of making popular advertisements by just doing a detective stunt? Will we be able to find a pattern? Is there any language that consumer likes?

So these tips were given by some top notch advertising professionals!

Analyse many advertisements. Keep eyes open widely. The more advertisement we watch, it becomes easy to shortlist ideas.

Look for inspiration. Find inspiration from surroundings, jell with society.

Keep on writing. Throw away the rubbish; it will help you improve the message, which you want to convey to consumer well.

Be clear about the objective of campaign like introducing your brand in the market, or building its image, or informing the viewer about a particular offer, and so on.

Zero in on your target audience: Build your campaign depending on the target audience. Advertising is all about role-playing. You have to put yourself in the shoes of the specific group of consumers you intend to target. Make the viewer identify with what you are saying.

When working on the humour appeal: It is quite common that humour never goes unnoticed. It can be satire, mischievous and nonsense, verbal or non-verbal. Here there’s no typical thumb rule: Humour is quite effective for those products which consumers buy instinctively. If it is for a product which involves a conscious buying decision, humour must contain the message properly.

And the most important rule of advertising: There are no rules.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Stop!..Wink!..Shop and Go!

Retailing in India was a puzzling snake and ladder chase for many. Firstly, it was so difficult to understand the customers and secondly, there was no dearth of competition. Often we have heard the term "clothes maketh a man" and it is quite natural to judge a person by the clothes he/she wears. And during the festival seasons, the family shops and not just an individual and retail shops, draped with plastic sheets and colourful pamphlets announcing discounts and gifts. Shopper's stop couldn't maintain their momentum in 2001, and so finally went for a change in the communication. The commercials were mostly in black and white, the central character being a woman, with interesting backgrounds like a lorry, a taxi full of boxes, chains locking suitcases and like. This is one of Simrit Brar's design for shopper's stop- different with bright colours and an unusual touch. The promotions never went unnoticed. It had a different spirit and it boosted sales. Contract Advertising which did most of the commercials for Shopper's Stop is one of the leading agencies in India.
It stops the eyes of everybody. They always get curious looks.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Fun Gun

We stretch our time into different slices and all the slices just be a little more than 24 hours and 7 days.

Trring ttring at start of the day,
mouth is full of the huckle burry paste,
and I have a dip in water.
tring ring at start of the day,
I gather clothes strewn in the room,
To look like a joker after.
Vroom...........its end of the week,
So lets have fun and laughter!..

So my dear advertising yankees.. have fun!
Related Posts with Thumbnails