Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We Are Crazy About Pepsi.

It is not just we who are crazy about Pepsi. This would have been a challenge for the makers of this advertisement . These pachyderms are unpredictable-gentle at times and ferocious sometimes. Kudos to the makers! It was worth watching!

PS: Are they thinking that Pepsi drinkers are thick-skinned? or Are they targeting the zoo population? These questions are meant for a joke.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Fun Gun!

These are some of the 21st century insights. One day, we would see from a road from Washington D.C. to South Dakota, something like this:

People may not often get scary of bombs, but might become exhausted with something like this!..
Don't yell...we haven't still reached to this brink to fail in advertising

Thursday, October 25, 2007

'Coke' Side of Life

These colourful bottles are tellling stories about Coca- Cola brand. A brand which lives! and stays No.1 couldn't lag behind others. Will the new packaging tricks work?

Haven't we ever thought of 'Coke' being just another cola drink? if there are plenty of substitutes in the market, can this cola brand become inconspicuous, being one among the crowd?.. These were the questions which the marketing team of Coca Cola had been pondering over the years. The poster on the left was one made by me, using the coca-cola aids at cocacola.com site. The interactive website carries a lot of tools and games along with information about how the coca cola brand came into life.

But wasn't it losing its personality lately, when lot of blunt ads were shown in televison, with pretty young things flaunting Coke in their hands. But the team realised that somehow the essence had disappeared from the brand.

This is an art of 'Peter Blake' identifying pop icons with Coca Cola. The "Happiness Factory" advertisement of Coke, represented 'Coke' side of life as positive and optimistic. The agency Wieden + Kennedy, Amsterdam have done their due, under Executive Creative Directors-Al Mosley and John Norman!
The polar bear commercial was more encompassing and shown Coke as a token for acceptance and joy. They haven't missed the identity now! The brand is a stand alone hit!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What an idea?

Idea had been saying " an idea can change your life" for quite some time now........
For 12 years they have resisted the 'celebrity route' and yet remained good and got noticed. The jingle and the tagline contributed but Lowe Lintas has finally dragged them into the clutter and din where already there are too many players, all looking the same with celebrities vying and vouching and vomiting for the brands....Idea somehow remained away but alas, now they too have jumped into this grinding machine....

I hate this ad, inspite of its seemingly good ideation which may look creative on the surface but will not do anything much for the brand.

Abhishek is over used and has himself become a brand who stands for everything and thus has got diluted.. No..... he may not create any vampire effect per se but he may not sell the brand either...Like father like son, how good it was if we could associate him with only a couple of brands.. but then who am I to decide how much money he should make?

But Lowe..? have they all gone bonkers? what is all this hype about"leveraging the actor’s cool quotient" when there isnt any existing in the first place and even if some is left to be extracted, does the brand require this U turn now?

Idea’s brand qualities – youthfulness, spunk, energy, irreverence, smartness and intelligence – were found to be the same as those espoused in Bachchan’s screen persona. The brief from the client was rather open-ended. Lowe was encouraged to reinvent the brand, taking off from the last thematic campaign in 2006, ‘Monkey’, which leveraged significantly on the Idea tune.....reports the media... From Monkey to Mr Bachan........Three cheers to the brains behind this....

Its a creative blunder with 8 digit mobile numbers paraded and to ask a very simple question which the creative honchos in Lowe and the Brand wizards in Idea never seems to have asked themselves before getting their one ass lift up, for this not so pleasant idea to spread its foul smell.....

What is more easier to remember ..?..A name or the phone number ..?..and that too not of one person but of the whole village....?

And sitting in Kerala, Manipur or Kutch, poor Indians get to see pathetic and pitiably dubbed versions of the ad which stares at us, makes fun of us ... scoff and scorn at us with impudence...

An idea can change your life... even bad ideas can.. for the worse , but.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Invading the content (Part 4)

Continued from part 3 ..........

Measuring product placements

Measuring product placements in TV is like chasing a mirage. In cinema the effect is more outstanding as reported by the western media that when Tom Cruise wore a Ray ban aviator the sales went up by 40 % and when he wore an Oakleys in MI 2 the sales shot up by 80% ,as per Time magazine.... This is because, cinema gets audiences who are there having made a voluntary choice of exposure, and having spent money for entertainment, unlike television audiences whose involvement and degree of attention is questionable. Moreover, research has revealed that moviegoers, regardless of age or movie going frequency, actively participated in viewing experience and actively interpreted brands that they encounter there . But a time tested, believable mechanism to measure the effects in quantitative terms is yet to evolve. Buyers of such slots will have to succumb to the prices fixed by the seller, many times with no measurable justification. Many such buyers depend on the reputation and past success of the programme producer, the extent to which he allows placements and their own bargaining skills.

The basic premise that the ratings of a programme in TV need not be applicable for commercial breaks in that programme is the reason why product placements have come into prominence. It has been suggested by researchers, that even in programmes with high
Television Rating Points (TRP), the recall of commercials happening during the commercial breaks aren’t very promising, and some times even dismal You and I have experienced that very often .Havent we? When that is the case, will the fame of a popular programme be carried over in full glory, to the products placed in such programmes? It is a question yet to be answered.

Most of the researchers who have worked with Cinema product placements in focus, seem to have emphasized on the power of recall value as effectiveness of product placements and not much emphasis on the power of interpretation and the resultant attitude except a few works . Does recall contribute to attitude change? Those who have gone inside the topic have left it open for future research with the emphasis that, both recall and attitude effects after product placements should be studied . Industry practitioners like Zergio Zyman, also have often commended that “eyeballs don’t equal sales".Considering the fact that TV viewing is more casual and grazing takes place, more research in this area is necessary before any reliable measuring format can be accepted.
Some attempts like comparing the amount of time a product is exposed in the programme with the cost of an equivalent ad slot in the same programme and charging the same money from the client were done. But the authenticity and believability of such measures are disputable. Very often advertisers wonder why they have to spend so much of money for a not very apparent appearance of the product during a programme. Some attempts are made by television audience agencies like TAM(Television Audience Measurement) in this direction. ‘TAM received International Recognition & Appreciation when its Paper on “Evaluating Soft Brand Advertising on Television" (from an advertiser’s point of view) was announced as the Best Paper amongst 22 other strategy papers from various parts of the globe in European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR) 2004. This paper was a path-breaking analysis on Product Placements within TV Programs which already is a multi-million dollar industry in the West and worth a few hundred crores in India already. During Mid-2004, the concept of In-programme Product Placement was researched upon from a consumer point of view and presented at the World Audience Measurement (WAM) Conference in Geneva’.

A tool now in discussion is the Q-Ratio or the Quality Ratio from iTVX which delves into the quality of the placement, the visuals, how well it has been integrated into the story, based on which they arrive on the value it deserves .The quality of exposure of the brand is assessed frame by frame and how such exposure helps the brand, and around 50 characteristics of the placement is taken to arrive at the right value. This is an attempt to understand how these placements score in terms of quality and what valuations one can do in monetary terms for these placements....

Friday, October 19, 2007

Invading the content (Part 3)

Continued from part 2..........

The reasons for the rising level of TV product placements

1. In markets such as the UK, product placements are completely banned, while in Canada, one can do placements only in the general entertainment genre and not in the kids' sphere. In USA it is free and the trend is visible. In 1984 the total TV product placements in the USA was to the tune of 188 million dollars while by 1994 it became 464 million dollars and in 2004 it rose to a staggering 1878 million dollars. If in film and other media placement is also included the figure reached almost 3500 million dollars in 20042. Television product placement in the USA is growing at a faster rate than any other media but still only represents just over 1% of advertising spend.
In India there is virtually no legal restriction over the use of product placements in TV programming and it is in the rise.

2. One of the key principles which govern European advertising is the ‘separation principle’. This is designed to ensure audiences are not misled about the nature of the content – advertising or programming – they are watching. The Ofcom Broadcasting Code, published in May 2005, includes at Section 10 a specific requirement for commercial broadcasters to maintain appropriate separation between programme and advertising content. The principle of separation between advertising and editorial material has been an integral part of regulation since the first commercial appeared on the UK’s television screens in 1955. Indian cinema have had product placements from 1940’s since Coca Cola appeared in the classic ‘Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi’ but it was an exception rather than a rule. Since it was not a widely used tool India don’t have any key regulations in place .It is one of the reasons for the current increase in product placements in TV.

3. TV advertisements during commercial breaks arent considered fully trustworthy by the target audience. Most ads are not taken in face value or are seen as onesided. Most ot the TG does not absorb ads as a fish would absorb water but instead, they are made to adsorb. Hence products seen or mentioned as part of the content and not part of commercial breaks are taken in more as passive learning. Eva Steortz reported that viewers had an average recall for placements of 38% . The Indian success stories of P&G and the likes with the careful in programme product placement in ‘Khul Ja Sim Sim’ ,those tales of Nokia,Airtel, and ICICI bank rising to fame when they got associated with ‘Indian Idol’ and the case of Amitabh Bachan signing a Kotak Bank cheque, with a Parker pen and the famous Airtel jingle going on air during “phone a friend” in ‘KBC’ are all testimony to this phenomenon.

4. Increasing pressures on traditional broadcast advertising revenues makes it imperative for broad cast houses to think in favour of new avenues of money.Potential new contributors to the commercial broadcasting funding mix needs to be given due consideration. Product placement is one potential revenue source that has long been prohibited in television programmes by virtue of the separation principle in the west and by virtue of the controlled economy , anti multi national policies and the media monopoly, particularly in TV, that we had in India till the advent of 1990’s.
From when product placements accounted for just three per cent of the overall ad spends of brands in 2004, it went up to six per cent last year and analysts predict that by 2007, product placements would include almost 12-15 per cent of the total advertising spends of brands4. Clearly the broadcasters and producers are making hay while the sun is out- blaring.Greed as some quarters may accuse it, but the media house’s desire to make more profits is one reason for product placements in TV growing at this rate.

5. There are more than 80 television channels in India, reaching more than 24 million cable and satellite homes and with over 150 million viewers with varying and vivid tastes5. This is described by the familiar terms ‘Clutter’ and ‘audience fragmentation’ which according to researchers are driving product placements, through out the world . Yet advertising budgets climb up every year giving headache to advertisers and ad agencies. Consumer goods companies spend anything between 5 to 15% of their turnover on brand building and advertising. The largest consumer goods behemoth in India, HLL spent Rs 759 crores on advertising in 2003 and others aren’t quite different either. The results however aren’t quite promising. Message A Day index (MAD index) in Indian cities competently equal western cities and registering a products name and features in the TG have become a Herculean task.
In film and in programme featuring of brands and their usage works well than traditional advertising, and studies in the west have supported this finding. Researchers have recorded “strong recall” for product placements. Audience beliefs about product placement and their purchase intention after getting exposed to such placements and their correlation have been researched, even cross culturally and found to be existing by many .
Practicing Media planners have observed that brand recall through advertising is 18 per cent, but it is three times more – 53 per cent – through product placements in films. Also that if the in programme product placement is followed by the product ad in the next commercial break, the chances of brand recall is dramatically higher than simple ‘commercial break advertising’. This phenomenon, however needs more empherical research to be substantiated.........

To be continued >>>>>>>

From Baby Boomers to Gadget Lovers!- What we have to learn!..

Even though we wouldn't agree that age reflects in our decisions and that we can find age subcultures among the vast majority of people. We have often read major age subcultures like- the wannabe Gen Y, the sophisticated Gen X , the narcissistic baby boomers and now the new generation is a set of " Gizmo(gadget) lovers! Often these characteristics will influence in their normal decision making processes and in developing a loyalty towards any product or a service.
The baby boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964, are in the age category, in between 40 and 60. This was one of the most sought after segment as they wanted themselves to look young, lively, attractive and often bought for themselves many things, dwelling in a world of indulgence. As they were brand loyal, by building powerful brands, marketers could maintain a rapport with them.
The Gen X ( born between 1965 and 1979) wee more materialistic but quite cost - conscious and often ignored hype. They were not so impulsive in their decisions and they portrayed complex buying behaviour with lot of judgemental decisions. They gave more importance to subtle things and believed in enjoying life and often preferred freedom and flexibility. And, therefore marketing to them had to be more creative; focused on style, fashion and language!
But the Gen Y ( born between 1977 and 1994) were more pragmatic, technology savvy and were value oriented. They turned tables and always searched for a price-quality balance, but they were more brand embracing!.
But while the baby boomers are now getting old, the new category of gizmo lovers, the new generation have their own characteristics. Although they are very proud, stylish and adventurous, they are not as much brand loyal. They are technology savvy and spend their life in the web and in their mobiles, and marketing to them needs to be more innovative and media savvy!
Gizmo lovers are trendy, young, innovative, early adapters and net savvy. They are likely to be influenced from online advertisements and mobile phone ads, rather than newspapers and hoardings! They experience technology and embrace the most recent ones, leaving the lesser tech savvy versions behind. Innovations become the major requirement, in order to market, sell and satisfy the needs of these Gizmo lovers. We have to take cues from all these hints, as they are likely to be the decision makers in coming future!..
For advertisers, Living in the Present would be the major catchline!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wow! Wow Sports Brands!

Tiger woods, recently earned $87 million as endorsements last year, Phil Nickelson lagged behind him by $48 million. Manchester United's merchandise revenue was $23.6 million and had ticket revenue of $132 million. So fans are so adamant about their brands and why?

All have a love to become famous, almost everybody like games. We play games even at work! All are inspired by legends!

Jimmy Connors and Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, Pele and Maradona and many!..

"Golaazoooooooooo! Brazil", we have heard it many times again we will!

Teams are brands. Teams become legends too. Teams become more than individuals themselves like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Boston Red Sox!..

What Motivates us? Oh! even if we don't feel or even if we are sceptic, it is natural to be fond of games and players bcoz we are and we believe:

Freedom and adventure
Hard work is good. Success follows from hard work
People can improve themselves. Tomorrow is better than today
Caring for others, particularly the underdog
Being ‘young at heart’
So sports endorsements and sports professionals in advertising becomes one of the most common tools! and so be it!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Garden Vareli!..A Brand that Was!

Garden Silks, were just another apparel store selling sarees. Instead of showing the traditional values associated with sarees, to sell themselves, its ads had always been showing trendy and beautiful women in sarees, quite emotionally attached to them. As they innovated with materials and designs, they made a brand name for themselves.
The noticeable traits that differentiated their ads were
moving images of beautiful women in flowing designer sarees made it look more trendier- it gave an image that sarees are not always traditional, but very contemporary too! It became a normal choice for the working woman during 80s and 90s. Further, it matched with social transformation, as more women were encouraged to look out for jobs then. Its advertisementis still a remarkable model for silk apparels especially sarees!.
Check the ad here! Although sarees are uncommon in 2000s, Garden Vareli ads positioned "saree" as a trendy, stylish and appealing attire!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Picks for the Week!

I was just looking through some of the advertisements. They speak different languages. Some are plain and some are intutive. Some are clumsy and some are emotional. Some are talkative and some are funny. I liked them. They had lot of words in print! - they were amusing!

Movies weren't made with ads in them! So we'll never show them that way!
( But movies need ads to promote them and for the little money as it gets !)

Asian cousin meets French Technique. They Marry. They name their first born Suilan ! (for Suilan Hotels. ) .

The ad clears doubt from your minds. ( But, it says so simply that when two things combine, a third identity is formed. So it is never the same!)

They are good copies. But are they also a little bit clumsy?

Monday, October 08, 2007

smoking is believing !!!!

These vintage ads which look, creepy some times hilarious and some times shocking are the ones which if set today would have got dragged from court to court and from table to table.....
and this outrageous one which "claims" smoking is believing....better believe it...!!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Fun Gun!

Lesson Number One
A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?" The crow answered: "Sure, why not." So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Management Lesson: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson Number Two
A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy.

"Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients." The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fortnight, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

Soon he was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.

Management Lesson: Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Lesson Number Three
A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold, the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the
bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him!

Management Lessons:
* 1) Not everyone who drops shit on you is your enemy.
* 2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
* 3) And when you're in deep shit, keep your mouth shut
PS: Even "Che" becomes a brand, I wonder when "Bushism" would become the most popular brand. Advertisements are crazy indeed!

Friday, October 05, 2007

AT&T Rebrands!.. What's in a logo?

Branding is necessary, but re-branding is more than necessary. This could be the idea that we would form if we observe the branding activities of AT&T during the last few years.When he invented telephone, Graham Bell was not embarrassed, but he would be, if he listens to the story of branding strategies in AT&T.

With every merger it had tried to incorporate, a new logo, in order to encompass the values of merging companies and to create a new corporate identity.

The company which started as Bell Telephone in 1870s became American Telephone & Telegraph in 1885. n 1889, the first Bell logo (shown) was designed by the company's general superintendent, Angus Hibbard.

In the fifth Bell logo, a solid circle replaced the earlier concentric circles, while the name AT&T was ditched. Local companies such as Southwestern Bell now added their names to the right side or below the bell. When in 1982, AT&T had an issue regarding the logo,patents and monopoly, AT&T was forced to divest into seven companies. A new logo was given for AT&T, with a striped sphere suggesting global connectivity (subtly focused on the U.S.) and it was regarded as one of the nice logo designs. Cingular Wireless was created in 200o by SBC communications and BellSouth, which was given a logo- jack in orange!..as a new and enticing identity. The sphere became a globe later with its merger with SBC. Now, AT&T is again re-branding, by adding orange hue into it.

Is it necessary to change the identities often? A question which often arise during branding has to be answered. When companies form a new identity, after merger, should logo designs undergo a change? Will customers notice change in logo designs and appreciate them?

They may have underestimated how much equity was in the Cingular brand and are now trying to bring it back," says Rob Giampietro, one of the founders of the New York-based design studio, Giampietro+Smith. Simply attempting to blend the two further could confuse customers more, not less. "It suggests some lack of brand leadership," he warns. "What you could end up with is a 'bizzaro' version of what they think their customers' vision of the brand is." And that, as all branding experts preach, is a surefire way to appeal to no one in an attempt to attract everyone.

According to me, it had eclipsed Cingular brand, losing the leverage and significance among consumers, the campaign which says - "AT&T works in more places like Chilondoscow" . It catches the attention, it is likely that they miss the necessary meaning. Will consumers connect with the strange and unfamiliar names like New Sanfrakota (New York, San Francisco, South Dakota) and Newbosmento (New York, Boston, Sacramento)!..

The advertising campaign will cost them a lot. But will it result in a mistaken identity and diluted brand image?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Fighting for the kiss !!!

A phenomenal commercial!

Everyone wants skin as soft as a baby’s bottom, right?
Wilkinson let the metaphor inspire their latest razor commercial in which a husband grows envious of the pampering his wife is giving their child. In an attempt to win back her affection, he uses his secret weapon—the Wilkinson Quattro Titanium razor...... cliched but marvellously executed.... The computer-animated commercial goes on to show baby and daddy duke it out in a fight for kisses.

“There was a time when babies had a great life,” the commercial begins. “The softess of their skin got them all their mom’s attention. Then one day, fathers discovered a special weapon… from now on, fathers and sons can fight on equal terms. Men can now take revenge and win back their wives.” ...

I had a good laugh on this ad, with my wife sharing the bliss.. Now thinking of getting a new blade....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Invading the content (Part 2)

Continued from part 1

The evolution of product placements in Advertising.......

Three evolution phases...

Spot advertising

It all started as simple commercial breaks in Television. Doordarshan monopolised the Indian skies and they had fixed timings as to how many minutes of a half an hour programme could be earmarked for commercial advertising. When the skies opened up, the whole scenario changed in favour of TRP ratings and Day parts.

In their unquenchable quest for making money, channels and programmes filled the airspace with ads and more ads. In the whole process all the parties – the advertiser, the media, and the advertising agencies- had smiles all the way but the audience started despising the whole thing. Spot advertising as the common commercial break advertising is called has clearly lost its charm when it comes to ROI.


The sponsorship culture, evolved where prominent marketers- only the big ones could afford- got associated with popular programmes in media or with events like, Olympics and capitalized on the popularity of the programmes. Close Up Anthakshari in the north and Pepsi Ungal Choice in the south were such programmes, which rode on this ‘symbiosis model’. This model was the best for enabling passive learning to the target group (TG), where the advertiser was not blaring his horn from the rooftop. More over it is established by research that the virtues of a popular programme gets transferred to the sponsor and that up to an extent justifies the high spends. But they are prohibitively costly and could be afforded only by the juggernauts and it turned out to be a mutually deceiving exercise for the corporates and the sellers, about which Sergio Zyman has sarcastically commented-“Traditionally, the goal of sponsorship selling has been to find the biggest fool in the market". The next phase of the evolution, thus was just waiting to happen.

Product placements

Product placements have evolved as serendipity, as academic researchers vouch. The practice of using branded props in movies started as a casual process. Branded items were simply donated loaned or purchased for particular movie scenes to enhance their artistic qualities .But the growth to a fully commercial one was gradual. James Bond and the Austin Martin are famous among the examples of product placements in western cinema but it took time for advertisers to fully capitalise on the new opportunity, particularly in TV. Indian advertisers clearly took time to understand what really was happening. Unlike Advertising in commercial breaks and sponsorships, product placements, particularly subdued placing was able to actively contribute to brand recall and this mesmerized the advertisers. Now advertising agencies are having full fledged product placement divisions like the case of Leo Entertainment, a division of Leo Burnett
, which made the Thums Up placement a ravishing success in the popular Hindi film Kaante.However, all is not fine here either, because for the first time broadcasters and producers of programmes decided whether the heroine would use a Sunsilk or a Head & Shoulders, or for that matter she will take bath or not, in that episode.
This evolution is still happening and the future of product placements is yet to unravel to its full, but one emerging issue is -how far can the invasion of content be accepted without the TG noticing and breaking their silence.

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