Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Horlicks VS Complan-the comparison war !!...part 3

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

Spontaneous trait transference as we saw it may or may not happen when brand A compares itself with Brand B but one thing that can for sure happen among the masses that see the ad is the phenomenon that ad researchers have termed as sponsor misidentification. This is the customer/viewer confusion as to who is actually sponsoring the ad is many a times a main by product of such comparative advertising.....

When the viewer belongs to the so called SEC A (the upper strata) may be the story becomes different and the job may be done…I mean the ad may be effective in the sense brand recall may happen but assuming that recall and attention is equal to ad effectiveness would be as stupid as assuming that since people have a smile when they see you they simply love you…But in any case direct comparative ads are far better and decent than the indirect comparative ones( remember the Pepsi vs Thumbs up humbug some time back)

Marketing is war and the war strategies are used without mercy here as well.. Defense and offense.. no matter what ..the end result is what matters… finding weakness in the leaders key strength is the main and most usable offensive principle in the marketing warfare.. as Pepsi would vouch and its war with Coca cola over the last so many years bears testimony. Coke had to claim that they are “The real thing” in face of such offense which later was abandoned for the lesser impressive and unexciting “Coke is it” and the rest is history .Coke is what? Or what is it? you may never get and answer….The blind tests that Pepsi did and since it was a bit sweeter than coke (9% to be precise) the tests favoured Pepsi and in the worst of marketing blunders coke changed its formula and bottle.. Now the Real thing had gone and Coke jumped into the new and improved bandwagon when its users wanted and loved and bought it for the OLD taste/sweet/formula/communication/brand whatever it stood for. The real thing that coke was had made the difference and it was lost in one stroke… this is what too much of comparison can do to anyone… even the giants….

It can some times be really dirty and cruel jokes.. Hyundai dealers in north were discredited to have come up with ads ridiculing their competitors who sold the Daewoo cars with tag lines “Car at your homes, company on the roads” when Daewoo ran into rough weather financially and went bankrupt. For Daewoo who introduced the concept of comparative advertising in India ( decent and side by side or A-B comparison) this below the belt attack came as a rude shock and for the people who saw it, it was free knowledge that even car majors can go bankrupt… if it is Daewoo today it can be Hyundai tomorrow….

To sum up let us derive some rules for those who are hell bend on comparing and get compared….

1 Comparative advertising should not be misleading and should not make improper use of the reputation and name of the competitor .

2 Comparative advertising should only compare things that can be compared.

'apples and oranges' are two different things…

3 Comparative advertising should objectively compare demonstrable results.

The comparison must impartially compare relevant, verifiable and representative characteristics of the goods and services, such as price, reliability, quantity and safety.

4 Comparative advertising should not confuse the consumer.

The consumer must not be made to think that the comparative advertising originates with the competitor (hope Horlicks and Complan is listening..)

5 Comparative advertising should not negatively reflect on the competitor.

The comparative advertising must not harm the competitor's good name or be disparaging with regard to his brands, activities or products( ahem!!!)

The consumer is a smart ass.. or that is what he believes at least. The last tirade and the war of statistics/ facts/figures and fiction between the two malt majors- Horlicks and Complan reminds me of the proverbial crabs… no one will allow another one to climb up…

And that is to say the least…. !!!

Tail piece:-

How do you compare American, British and Canadian English?

Americans: Spell words differently, but still call it "English".
Brits: Pronounce their words differently, but still call it "English".
Canadians: Spell like the Brits, pronounce like Americans.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A recession letter !!!


Recession regards!!!

I am sitting at my office where till a week back we had about 21 guys with lots of fun and frolic but as of today, this Saturday (yeah we have started working on Saturdays as well) we are just 15. I know you are bad in numbers so I will make it easy for you… 21-15=6…..the rest of 6 has gone… not in search of greener pastures but for want of a choice. You know the agency world….. Its fun… may be we have had so much and too much of fun that even God’s would have felt jealous. The sword of recession has fallen on us so sharp… every day when some one from the top calls some one to his/her cabin the heart beats go up… pink is not only a color denoting gays ..Not any longer… when the creative guys who sit opposite to me were asked to leave last week, they didn’t cry but didn’t laugh either…... they were still and didn’t talk anything… for all the beautiful verbal skills that they had and displayed in umpteen ads, that day no words in their literature could convey what their eyes did… fear… now which is reflected in mine as well … the media manager who took me in here is asked to go in what came as the ultimate recession shock for me…

Now it’s only a matter of time when I too will have to go or else some miracle should happen… The airline client that I am working on as a client service executive should up with his ad budget or at least go back to his volume of advertising before this Bloody f&^%$ng recession… or else as Chithu ( India ka FM yaar) promises things should go back to normal very soon… hey Chithu is the home minister now na… anyways… that doesn’t make any difference to the real situation here… in my agency the only creative work that is happening is to indulge in a guessing game as to who next and which client next will call up and say what… every time the phone rings we all shudder…and since I am the only guy in account management I at times feel relaxed but at times feel odd and insecure…

I love this place dear, this industry… and hence cannot really believe that when hard times come; it’s the ad money that gets cut first… what is the reason…? When you are in a plane and flying high and when there is a crisis that is developed, which fool will switch off the engine…?

Is it not the same??

Or am I in the wrong line..? if everything is coming on my way I guess I am in a wrong lane…

Will it remain the same for ever…….this beloved industry?


What is in a name yaar??? 27-Dec-08

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Fun Gun!!!

Q: What's the speed limit of sex?
A: Sixty-eight -- at 69, you have to turn around.

How I hope all questions that clients ask in Advertising could be answered with such ease and fun....

Week end wishes people... !!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Times Of India- riding the Mumbai wave

Advertising has this unique power of swaying the reader if said the things which needs to be said in a proper fashion. The power of well written body copies is something which now by and large has become a thing of the past.... the assumptions being that the TG( reader/viewer) do not have the time to sit and read all the long verbosity, pictures speak better and more effective than words and that the age of the printed word is gone..... Times of India seems to be walking against this wave of belief when these ads appeared to praise the hero's of India' latest terror attack.. the emotional Indian and the same emotions may make us sit and read the whole of the ad which we may not do had it been a product or service ad.... the emotional speeh akin to Marc Anthony makes people ponder and that is what ads are supposed to do ..primarily...!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Fun Gun !!!

Working at a theater box-office ticket window poses many challenges in dealing with people........

When a disgruntled customer at a window exclaimed, "No Tickets?" What do you mean NO TICKETS?"

The women waiting on him smiled sweeting. "I'm terribly sorry, sir,"

She replied. "Which word didn't you understand?"

Now that happens quite often when ad guys communicate as well ..right? within ad agencies, and with their clients is it not quite often,,,,,....?

Now that it is a week end, its fun time folks... Enjoy !!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Horlicks or Complan-the comparison war !!...part 2

Continued from part I....

To recap from part one where I left you with…

1. Comparative advertising is a form of advertising in which two or more named or recognizable brands of the same product class are compared and the comparison is made in terms of one or more product attributes. That is definition but the clause of the SAME PRODUCT CLASS MAY CHANGE AND STILL IT COULD BE CALLED COMPARATIVE ADVERTISING)

2. The comparisons can be:-
a. implicit (brands implied but not named), or explicit (brands named);
b. the comparisons can be vocal or visual;
c. and the claims can be of complete advantage, of supremacy on some attributes but not on others, or of parity;
d. And the advertised brand can have a market share smaller than, roughly equal to, or greater than the comparison brand. (Even the leader can compare but why the hell?)

3. Regulations and norms about comparative advertising differ around the world, (some have no rules while others have tough ones.. some are liberal like the US ( see the Pepsi joy of life ad and you will know how liberal is liberal..) While in some like India it takes time to interpret as is the case in the Horlicks vs Complan court battle now.

Now getting on….I have answered a couple of phone calls and many mails and scraps on this topic particularly from friends who haven’t gone and lived abroad. Now that gives me enough reason to conclude that this is a cultural shock and may be to an extend when it happens more , when more brands compare and get compared the average viewer in India will get accustomed to the fact that the compared and the comparing are all the same, like the political parties.

Interestingly, all academic research that I was browsing through seems to support the logic that a direct comparative ad from a market follower is least likely to lead to higher awareness for the compared-to market leader (because the market leader is already well known), whereas a market-leading brand has the most to lose from a direct comparative ad (by creating "free" awareness for the compared-to smaller brand). This leads to the conclusion that while low-share brands ought to use direct comparative ads; market leaders perhaps ought to use non comparative or indirectly comparative ads (those that don't name competitors). … Hmmm…. that made me ponder and yawn… the academic researchers have missed it somewhere or the Horlicks guys haven’t heard of this logic… whatever is the case this new one in Indian advertising is amusing and if it goes on you will get to see everyone jumping into the fray and agencies encouraged to wash more dirty linen and open all cupboards and skeletons falling down…

Followers may (!) gain more from direct comparative ads in another way which the leader if he initiates the comparison war will find it later a curse of his own creation. The comparison ads may make the buyer put both the brands in the same "consideration set," by increasing the degree to which they are perceived as similar to each other. Comparative advertising in that case becomes more and much more effective than the regular ones where one just extol ones own virtues .The supposed distance between the leader and the follower which when is higher ,the leader stands to gain and when the distance lessens the advantage is lost and the follower stands closer to the leader.. Is Horlicks listening?

Studies, studies and more studies and yet the market remains as elusive as it was even before all these studies…The more the closer it becomes to the leader, naturally the higher should be the sales of the compared you thought? Not always .....says another study (!!)…. who is compared and with who is compared is another issue…? who attacks and who counter attacks is also important Forget all the studies ..one cannot seriously think that this war will cut deep into Horlicks share and leave Complan smiling…It would be, to put it simply, foolish to assume that comparative ads sway attitudes and preferences because, while people may indeed notice them more, they nonetheless may consider such ads as disgusting, less believable and less informative (especially if they happen to like the brand being shown in a negative light.)

Worse they may even attach with the accuser, all those worse things that one accuses of the other …when Horlicks says Complan is bad the consumer may think.. why is Horlicks saying this? Aren’t they equally bad as well?

Psychologists call it as Spontaneous Trait Transference …. But who cares ?

The war is on….

To Be Continued……>>>>>>>>>>

Top 4 letter words in Advertising!!!

The suspense is over and the winners have all gone to the nearest bars and beer parlours... the loosers will need to think and do some study than using four letter words sitting in the same bars and alchohol joints...Mean while the reckoner team has come up with the fourth ad in the series and here it is... the fun world of advertising is summarised in this compilation....

Advertising rocks !!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Top IN things in Advertising- the agency reckoner part 3

Just one day to go for the great announcement as to who and what is going to top the charts as far as Indian advertising is concerned. Whether the clients are having sleepless nights as the agencies are, is another question but this is for sure an awaited event. The creatives behind the series of ads ( the third one posted here) deserves appreciation in any case for being so very factual and true of the advertising world today.. Adformula wishes in advance, the participants of this great race, an exiting finish and hence more business and more importantly wonderful advertising in the next year.

visit also the reckoner blog ....
Bingo !!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Advertising FOX PAS es... oops...

Click on the pic to get a better view if you have not done it already... Seeing this fox pass.. oops faux pas I miss the ad world... the heat and dust of it... the blood and din... the smiles and stares, the ego's... the whims ,fancies....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Fun Gun!!!

Husband and wife decide to make a password for sex, they decide on 'washing machine'. Later in bed that night husband says, "Washing machine."

Wife replies, "Not tonight darling I have a sore head."

Half an hour passes and she feels guilty so she says, "Washing machine."

Husband replies, "Too late it was only a small load so I decided to do it by hand."

Is it not again the case with ad agencies and their clients that by the time the realisation dawns, the load would be done...???

Enjoy the week end people... and come back fresh on Monday....

Friday, December 12, 2008

What do clients say in Advertising?

The Brand Equity Ad agency Reckoner is a much awaited issue every year to know who tops whom and who snatches what from whom....Packed with power lists, rankings and analysis, the Agency Reckoner is a concise guide to India’s most admired creative and media agencies and the 6 th edition is to roll out next week setting the rumour mills on, fulltime. Ogilvy will retain the top slot or not in the creative side...or will a new dark horse emerge? and who among Mindshare, Madison and Starcom will head the media agency scene,,,, these are questions that the Indian ad world is waiting to get answers for.. but as of now this ad, created by rediffussion tells it all....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Horlicks or Complan? the comparison war!!!

"Beauty is a relation, and the apprehension of it a comparison".....
------ Gerard Manley Hopkins

The recent Horlicks – Complan spate has triggered a new row hitherto unseen and unheard in Indian advertising……. Blatant Comparative Advertising.

Comparative advertising, as the name suggests, is advertising where a party (the advertiser) advertises his goods or services by comparing them with the goods or services of another party. Such other party is obviously his competitor and is often the market leader in the business (Horlicks with about 60% and Complan with about 15 %). The comparison is often a desperate attempt to eat into the share of the compared and is characteristically done by either signifying that the advertiser's brand is of the same or a greater quality to that of the compared or by denigrating the quality of the compared product (in the Horlicks vs Complan case both has happened and frankly I am quite confused as to who is saying what and should I stop buying both and go back to age old practices like banana powder and raggi malt).

Now that this ad has evoked the topic, I plan to bring out my gyan on the subject and hammer who ever is bothered to read it. Comparative advertising can be as blatant as the ones that we see now in the Horlicks-Complan who is better and why? war of visuals and words or can even be subdued and suggestive as in case of a Baleno comparing it with the "luxury German cars" on the market. If you rewind a bi,t Captain Cook when it launched had an ad that made a not- so- overt- but -not -so -covert reference to Tata Salt by showing a package that looked exactly like it. As such advertising does not contain any trademarks it is not relevant to the law of trademarks (it may, however, constitute a breach of the code of ethics of the watch dog ASCI who watches and barks but seldom bites).

Comparative advertising as a practice does not have to be limited to the use of the identical trademark, as creative advertisers will often do play of words. It was often used to suggest the brand leader ship that you compare your brand with a brand leader or often an icon but in some other unrelated category. For instance when one writes a copy which says Lotus bawa the BMW in shoes, it is just to show its brand position and not to derive from the brand equity of BMW and for sure not to ridicule or demean it. When Whisper was launched ,again, it was and had to be compared with Carefree listing out the features that the new brand had and the old one didn’t (alas!) but without taking the name of the compared. this left the old one bleeding and the new one absorbing it fully..( the pun is intended)....This again is better off and more acceptable to the compared even though he will grumble but can do nothing more.

If the points in comparison is testable and as long as it is provable it seems the courts have no issues here, and I am told that the Mumbai high court didn’t upheld Complan’s case when Horlicks started the tirade digging at the 23 vital nutrients and all the grow faster claims and bingo they are also here with all the dirty linen on the streets, washed and washed."Dogs have not the power of comparing.A dog will take a small piece of meat as readily as a large, when both are before him” said some one and how true right?? Isnt it a pity that a brand as great as Horlicks has to resort to this scale of gimmickery to sell itself? That but is a different case which we will disscuss in the next episode.

One question I have often heard being asked ( last one week I have heard this many times in the class room)is whether it is "legal" to be doing this…? If it means and generally it means that if you would be in danger of a lawsuit if you ran a comparative ad without asking permission of the other brand….. the attacker can be taken to a court of law if your ad is disparaging, that is if you claim anything about the competitors product (i.e. that your product is cheaper, faster, etc.) and it can not be substantiated in a court of law. One thumb rule is that usually such ads should be done by a reputable agency that uses statistically sound research techniques to make claims (blind taste tests, independent laboratory, etc.) so that the claimant later does not look like a fool falling flat on their face. In extreme cases it can benefit the compared too. Remember a case when Burger king ran ads about how its french fries beat McDonalds in taste tests and the result-...McDonalds actually saw a spike in french fry sales while the king did not….

Now that was interesting eh??

To be continued….>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Fun Gun!!!

A tourist from Albegestan goes on his first overseas trip.Upon arriving, he is visibly puzzled filling his visa application. The border official looks over his shoulder,and sees the tourist trying to write 'Twice a week' into the small space labeled 'SEX'.

The official explains: "No, no, no. That is not what we mean by this question. We are asking 'Male' or 'Female'."

"Doesn't matter," the tourist answers......

Now that sounds like some client for whom IT DOESNT matter who is their agency.... anyone chalega.... Fun has come guys... njoy ur week end....

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The best of Adformula...My Ass is Bigger than his...

As originally published on 22/11/05....

Let us call him Anand. He was in love,and the girls father wanted to meet the guy to decide on his qualification to marry the girl. So here comes Anand to his would be F-I-L's house , a big , sprawling mansion which blew him off.. He was a poor guy( and had the mandatory inferiority complex), and fell in love with this rich girl Arathi( that is the way it should be.. have u not seen bollywood masalas?)

U'r a handsome guy... so charming.. flattered Arathi's father-- now let us talk over dinner..
Anand was full blushing as he walked to the dining table

Dinner started. Everyone was seated..

Our hero found himself in a very tight situation.. why?.. he wanted to FART.. but how? will it not be shameful if he does that..? he thought and thought but his bowel pressure wouldnt listen . it came out with a funny sound.. He looked embarassed ,and started sinking, cursing his bad stars. But then the F-I-L had that presence of mind...

Tiger--- he shouted at the dog , lying near to Anand under the dining table.---- go out.....

Anand was happy.. he simply loved the guy.. his would be F-I-L , who saved his face ..Relieved he decided to let him loose once again and farted ,this time with added volume.

Tiger--- again shouted the old man...

Anand was gleeful... the dog is gettting the blame.. so I can be relaxed and can be farting more..

So did he.. this time the volume was more...

The old man stood up and shouted at the dog...

Tiger.. get the hell out from under that table before this bastard shits all over u....


The ad creatives are great guys( no pun intented).. who convert a brief ,often vague and unclear (many clients dont know what they want to communicate.. let us discuss it later on), often highly technical and complex to great mind blowing ideas that touches and stays with us for ever...

Can any one forget the Cadbury's girl running into the cricket field? or for that matter the Fevicol series, that won a standing ovation at the Cannes?.. Can any one ignore the Dog and the Boy campaign which made the now famous duo of O&M famous, which solved a complex marketing problem( the target audience liked Hutch network but thought it as having no network) through a simple communication which made Hutch sales go up by 77 %...

So what is the Anand story doing here...Some ad creatives are Anand's.. they like the laurels but blames.. they like to pass it on..they take the bouqets with blush, but the brickbats they simply transfer to colleages and subordinates ..some are bothered about their Abby's and if possible Cannes.. some talk to the competetor.. some talk to the competetor's ad agency creatives(My ass is bigger than his).. some talk to their own ego's.. the result is clear.. ad's which are so churned out doesnt even sell the clients brand, forget Marketing.

Some day the client will call the bluff... the Czar creative will stand exposed like anand...

The guys who suffer from 'My ass is bigger than his' complex should wake up to the reality.. it simply means ' I am a bigger asshole than him'

Am I right?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Apply now.. Durex condom tester ...

Durex in Australia had some time back called for applications for what it claims could be the world's best job - condom tester.According to Durex "any Australian over the age of 18 could apply for one of 200 positions as a condom tester".One thing's for sure - it's a job where employees won't mind taking their work home and burning the midnight oil....
Yesterday was world AIDS day and hope people will get more reasons to wear a condom , if morality is a no issue for them...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Fun Gun !!!

A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor's office.
After the check-up, the doctor took the wife aside and
said, "If you don't do the following, your husband will
surely die".
1.Each morning, fix him a healthy breakfast and send
him off to work in a good mood.
2.At lunch time, make him a warm, nutritious meal and
put him in a good frame of mind before he goes back
to work.
3.For dinner, fix an especially nice meal, and don't
burden him with household chores.
4.Have sex with him several times a week and satisfy
his every whim.

On the way home, the husband asked his wife what the doctor
had told her.

"You're going to die," she replied.

Now you know why some clients behave the way they behave to their advertising agencies and same vice versa....
Fun is waiting... enjoy your week end folks...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vodafone- Happy to help....

Amazingly simple and as usual to the point.. Now I love Vodafone ads more after seeing the empty vessels and noises in their market....

It is a different thing whether they are actually so happy to help... I beg to differ here as a vodafone customer but still it is great ,,,this communication ....

and this one........

and another one which makes us smile...

and this one which is truly cool...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Airtel to Bharti...Jingoism rules !!!

When you stand for what you believe in you can change the world ......says the new Airtel ad….

It is a cool ad to watch no doubt and bit tickling the INDIANNESS in all of us but a closer analysis gives a feel of jingoism with which a brand, facing competition ( Airtel is still the market leader with a major percent of the share and closely followed by Reliance and Vodafone) launching a tirade ,proclaiming its Indian tag with a clear hint that the others are foreign or videshi and hence un trustable. Jingoism is good to hear and even wonderful to live in but odd to take on in your life. The implication that Vodafone is a videshi and so to keep away from it is simply a deplorable concept, not only because the ad comes in English (a videshi language) and the tie up with Wal-Mart (videshi again) that Bharti is so proud of but also because of the fact that old style, Ambassador car like be Indian, buy Indian nonsense will not make brands, any longer.

“Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it” said George Bernard Shaw, and even that is not evident here where the typical Indianness to feel proud of the golden past because the present is bad, is evident… and in any case what did Airtel and Bharti for that matter give back to India and to its people to be proud of? To stand for and change their world?

It is good that big brands and first movers in a market slowly change their communication from we are also there to totally owning up their category. Heinz when it says have ketch up the world knows what they mean, they don’t have to say Heinz ketch up, same with Maggi… owning up the category is but a risk and you need to have the confidence of the category leader to be doing that, not just the fear and fright of an also player who is afraid of the other players and hence resort to jingoism. Airtel did start that journey but novelty suddenly gets lost to no mans land... ( see them here) with the famous “Deewarein gir jaati hain, faasle mit jaate hain, jahan do baatein ho jaati hain (Barriers break when people talk).” campaign which all said an done made some impact but lost that sheen with its agency change and this new one (Percept…. I am told) is nowhere taking the brand to the category leadership and that too when history is full of blood bath of leaders (read it as first movers who created the category) but lost out battered and badly bruised when others over ran them with innovation and better communication.

To quote Samuel Johnson, “Patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel” and I seem to with difficulty agreeing with that statement when I see this ad. I agree that it is just my viewpoint and there may be many for whom this ad had engulfed them as a tour de force and evoked the Indian in them, for many this ad is would have been simply marvelous, still some would be completely taken over by patriotic emotions but for me it is plain jingoism born out of celebrated ignorance and a confused brand in the crossroads of its journey to leadership. Alas the agency, who should be the parent who should take the kid to the path, seems to be more confused.....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Fun Gun !!!

Frank was excited about his new rifle. So, he went bear hunting. He spotted a small brown bear and shot it. There was then a tap on his shoulder, and he turned around to see a big black bear.

The black bear said: "You've got two choices.I either maul you to death or we have rough sex."Frank decided to bend over. Even though he felt sore for two weeks, Frank soon recovered and vowed revenge. He headed out on another trip where he found the black bear and shot it.There was another tap on his shoulder.This time a huge grizzly bear stood right next to him.

The grizzly says: "That was a huge mistake, Frank. You've got two choices. Either I maul you to death or we have REALLY rough sex."Again, Frank thought it was better to comply. Although he survived, it would take several months before Frank finally recovered. Outraged he headed back to the woods, managed to track down the grizzly and shot it.He felt sweet revenge, but then there was a tap on his shoulder. He turned around to find a giant polar bear standing there.

The polar bear says:"Admit it, Frank, you don't come here for the hunting, do you?"

Sounds like our own Advertising guys who make the same mistake time and again.... happy weekend folks... Blast your hols (not Holes)....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Malayala Manorama.. the power of 16 lakhs...

Every time the ABC and IRS figures are out , media houses across the county jump into the fray with facts and figures and some times a strange combination of both which makes no sense to the average reader. The ordinary mortal is not the TG but the media planner is and yet some of them makes sense to us.

This advertising campaign in Malayalam( my mother toungue as well )conceived and executed by TBWA in Kochi, longtime ad agency behind the Manorama ads, has hit media and the skyline of Kochi (where I live) raising many eye brows. It is not an outstanding creative but simple and routine stuff on the contrary , which makes the eyebrows rise.

The idea is to anounce the achievement of 16 lakhs copies and to announce it with Good morning (when the news paper strikes your door steps) as its core theme... 16 lakhs pics are arranged in an ensemble to create images that symbolises morning.... a tea cup, a rooster and a sunrise...

Kudos to the TBWA team for being different....of Kishore Varghese, Subhash, Arun Raj, Arun Komal, Eby, Girish,Vipin ,Ebin and Akbar who was behind this exceptional advertising campaign...

It takes real creatives to make complex things simple... any fool can do the other way round !!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Girl is Slightly Pregnant

Originally published on 21 st Nov 2005>>>>>>>>>>

In 1969, Samm Sinclair Baker( yes ,the guy whom the then ad world called an "ungrateful dog") wrote and published "The permissible lie", which simply exposed the world of advertising.It shocked the world.. The plain speak which stripped ad men thread bare, was nothing short of a blasphemy, but even after decades nothing much has changed.... advertising ,observers accuse, still remains the same.. the same duplicity and pretensions galore...

Who are to blame for this state of affairs ? who will bell the cat..?

Much has been researched and written about advertising and its ill effects in the society.Advertising, “is the rattling of a stick in the swirl bucket of capitalism ” said George Orwell. It has been blamed as responsible for all the ills of the society.Even I( "even" because advertising had been my profession and passion, even now) do accept that it contibutes to the negatives, but it contributes along with others like cinema and internet. Can they be banned because they have bad effects too? The option ,for advertisers will be to stick on to truth as far as possible.. say truth, even hide unpleasent truths but never say a lie...

Ever since the dead and gone residents of Pompeii advertised for marriages and wine, and perhaps even before that, advertising has been the art, science and what we know it today, and what we (ok. most of us) don’t know, is, was and would be the soul of marketing activities. To put it simply, “If Marketing is a whore house, Advertising is the pimp". (For those who took it as offensive), "if Marketing is a flower, Advertising is the fragrance”.

So the customer has to be alert..The advertiser will sell the client{(the one who makes soaps)(remember the fairness granules )} and will up to an extent be bothered about the client only.One who thinks that a skin which will put coal to shame can be be transformed into something which will glow and reflect, deserves to be fooled.Any house wife who gets carried away by cleaning liquids(liquid bleaching powder added with fragrance and a brandname,for which you pay a premium price) which cleans dark, dirty lookin floors(which generally are made dirty during shoot using powdered graphite or such materials) making them glow like polished metal ,is inviting the marketer to beguile her. Any fool will get the kind of advertising he deserves.. As someone from the advertising industry quipped about "too many accusations"about "misleading advertisements" - 'if there are men to eat dog buscuit, why the hell are you barking?"

.. I dont agree fully to that piece of arrogance.But I will surely say that, the customer should wake up to the reality that no fairness creams shall make a dark skin fair.. it is simple science.
So the people who dont know this science should be fooled and marketing jaggernauts (the same giants make fairness stuff here and tanning stuff in the west) allowed to reap all the profits?

Certainly not. But 'caveat emptor' is always better. It is simple.. very few advertisers admit that they lie. " The permissible lie" as Baker called 'slight 'exaggerations- some do accept they do.but it is like admiting that "my girl is slightly pregnant". Isnt it?

Footnote: "What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public". ~ Vilhjalmur Stefansson, 1964

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Best of Adformula....

Adformula will republish the best from the 4 year old annals of the Adformula archive... The posts will appear once in a fort night and is mainly for the readers who have joined late and have not got enough time to dig in into the past....

The first post will appear on Monday (17 Nov 08)...

Keep visiting !!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Fun Gun !!!

Seen in my local paper's "readers sales" section.

Complete set of encyclopaedia Britannica.
45 Volumes.
Excellent condition.
2500 Rs or best offer.

Reason for sale:- No longer required.....Got married last weekend.....Wife knows everything(!!!)

Just as some clients in advertising do or just as most advertising professionals think they do... have fun guys ... and come back for more ....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gold spot- The zing thing...

Gold Spot was a popular orange-flavored soft drink in India until 1993. The brand was owned by Parle, but was sold to Coca-Cola when it re-entered the Indian market in 1993. Gold Spot had a catchy punch line - The Zing Thing. Gold Spot was withdrawn from the market in order to make space for Coca-Cola's Fanta brand in line with the world majors global policy.

Gold spot for me is nostalgia… the school days where the breaks in the canteen , the meagre pocket money was extingushed for the zing thing.. the ads that was aplenty in whatever media was available ( no clutter, no competition and virtually no confusion)… surprisingly ,inspite of all the favours that seemed to support the brand the communication was attractive and captivating… lazy guys werent there it seems, taking the ride for granted....

See the ads and you will know what I mean…My age group and my seniors will know even otherwise.... no big time strategy planning and head honchos at work, but they did the job ....of communicating… The zing thing !!!!

Adformula salutes the byegone brand.. We miss u !!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

David.. keep walking !!!

From Germany, a lovely campaign created by Scholz & Friends, Hamburg for the German Olympic Sport Federation. You'll better do a lot of sports... Copy says: "If you don't move, you get fat"....... and see how David has become obese.. I am sure , Michelangelo would not have thought of it in the same angle when he designed David !!

Scene 1.. Take 1 ( Part II)

Continued from Part I

Tril was supposedly a path breaker with Endura007 which cleaned the clothes, killed germs and gave sparkle like no one else did… It still wasn’t sinking into the jug head Indian buyers mind set that India and its dirty clothes needed German help to sparkle… The Indian detergent market was not the same like Europe from where Tril came from if it was P&G ‘s Ariel which ruled the charts , in US it was Tide and no Ariel would be available… definitions of premium varied and so did the varieties of Tide or Ariel that one got in their respective markets

The Rs.5,700 crore detergent market in India which is segmented into two product categories - powder and cake was one tough nut for Tril to crack….. Sub categories like concentrates/compact (variants of Surf, Henko, Ariel), premium (variants of Surf, Henko, Ariel), mass premium/mid price (Rin, Mr.White, Tide and regional brands) and popular (Nirma, Wheel, Chek) made it difficult for the brand managers and the advertising agency to decide where to enter and where exactly to position. Tril after careful analysis decided to take the mass premium category and that is why this actor from the south was chosen to come all the way and dip dirty clothes, take them out and show ho it sparkles…research said she had the appeal… she was loved by the mass and yet had a premium appeal… she looked premium and yet was mass like material…

The first Tril advertising (launch ad) which Ram and co had made with no famous star in it had shown the offer of this unnamed product for maximum whiteness effect…. The sparkle and the clean which no one else did gave,….. The house wife tries the product and lo and behold, she gets the promised whiteness. After which the product's brand name appears from heaven as Tril….

The competitor was not to be left behind…. He had to prove that this unnamed detergent powder that is offered for trial does not provide that super whiteness and even if they do the unnamed new fellows cannot be trusted…. And they showed a lead female actor who wore cotton saree to look like an ordinary bharathiya nari waxing about the super whiteness of the time tested age old brand while unnamed detergent gets pushed to the background by a group of women talking about the excellent performance of the old brand…

What could Tril do but get another star to counter propaganda..? And the research luckily agreed to the very obvious… get the competing star to kill the other one….

The phone rang again….

Hello … said Ram….

Hey Ram…. We are on the way… said Guru….is everything ready?

Ram didn’t say YES… it was understood that when the unit was there since early morning they would be ready and tired of waiting….

Ram let out a huge sigh of relief … he had his plans for the ad shoot and release… had to rush back to Chennai after the post shoot works… had other brands in his kitty competing for his attention… The life of a client service director was in soup… the more clients in his kitty the more was the confusion… the bigger ones got the better attention and the smaller ones were never happy with that fact of life… the bigger ones weren’t happy either with the divided attention that they got… after all they paid through their noses for listening to them at least ,full time…

The phone rang again….

Hey Ram ..said some one… this time it was not Guru…

Khurana here… I have sad news for you and Tril…..

What is that? Asked Ram

The other guy is reducing its price by half… said Khurana who was head of the research team back in the Chennai agency office…

That means?… asked Ram visibly annoyed

That means now Kite detergent powder will be available at 23 Rs and not 43… said Khurana…. They call it as the biggest ever consumer advantage transfer…

My foot …..said Ram…..

He knew what it meant to his brand… Tril…. It was a price war that was launched… and quite un expectedly,,, the whole shoot now became futile an effort.. after all the strategy was to talk about value for the mass premium segment…

A car came and the whole unit stood up….

Like a dream which came true, the star descended from it…

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Fun Gun !!!

Anitha stormed up to the front desk of the library and said, "I have a complaint!"

"Yes, ma'am?"

"I borrowed a book last week and it was horrible!"

"What was wrong with it?"

"It had way too many characters and there was no plot whatsoever!"

The librarian nodded and said, "Ah. So you must be the person who took our phone book.I was searching it every where"

Heard that most of front line ad agencies are employed with knowledge managers of the same genre..... and Sorry the fun gun this week is coming after the week end.. so for a change enjoy the week folks !!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Men in Aprons..invade the reader !

Young men hate tidiness, and maintaining a house is a hell of a job as most of the bachelors here who read this will agree. That was the thought behind a book by the title Men in Aprons written by Alex Mattis, a 30-year-old (female) journalist in London and published by Electrolux, the Swedish appliance maker.
Now that different if not new..right?
The company had a problem.
With houses headed by single men…
Metrosexuals and the new gen guys… the IT kids and the Yo Yo types … the problem seem to be here as well .. and marketers you can try this route as well… after all you need to communicate with them right? They don’t see TV ..Apparently don’t read new papers and stuff.. hate pop ups and things like that in the net…
But hey…. seems most of them read books like Chetan Bhagat’s… and this seems to be one route worth a try,,,,,( a kind of product placements.. after films, TV shows, music and video games).. apparently, few of these guys also would be liking to live a neat life with dishwashers, vacuum cleaners or ovens.
The gripping theme of "Men in Aprons," the story of a twenty something Londoner named Dan who is "the envy of his friends" but is lost when it comes to laundry and tidiness at home. The 171-page book, written in simple style went on the racks and hit some sales….
It is is like appearing here and there ..though not yet become a trend....
The jewelry brand Bulgari, for instance, paid the writer Fay Weldon to use its name in her book "The Bulgari Connection," while Carole Matthews, for a fee, mentioned the Ford Fiesta car in "The Sweetest Taboo." Other companies have sponsored writing competitions, hoping that their brand will benefit from association…. And brand names that appear in books are not just by accident but by plan, it is clear!
But "Men in Aprons" took the thought of branded literary content a bit advanced. While the Electrolux name didn’t become visible in the story that apparently, the story line was built around the benefits of good housekeeping. The book opens on a downbeat note when the protagonist, Dan, gets dumped. Making matters worse, his ex girl friend takes her appliances with her. Buy the right appliances and follow a few simple tips, it suggests, and you too can get the girl of your dreams. The hero lost his girl (?) because he didn’t have the right appliances (the pun is intended) or may be he didn’t know how and where to use them…

"I'm sick of being your personal slave," she says. "I don't want to cook your meals every night. Nor is it my job to make sure the house is clean, the shopping's bought and the laundry's done."
Not a great read for the reader but they certainly steer the wayward Dan in the right direction, at least from an appliance-maker's standpoint.

In one heart-to-heart, for example, Dan asks how often he ought to change his sheets.
"Once a week, minimum," one of his male friends says. "And twice a week in summer if the weather's hot."

This sick men!!!.... my wife is gonna say

Chapters end on steamy cliffhangers like these, at which point the description gives way to practical hints about tidiness, obligingly provided by Electrolux.

After the discussion about bed linens, for example, the chapter-end tips include this suggestion: "Pick a washing machine with a big capacity, such as the 8 kg Electrolux Maxi Load and you can even use it to wash your duvet."
It is just a clue or a hint as to what new routes can the marketer adopt…

Soon we may get to read The three Nokia e 65’s in my life, or the Airtel connection

If they refuse to see you, go to where you can see them .. simple!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Union Carbide.. welcome to heaven !

The Bhopal disaster occurred in the city of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh here in India, resulting in the immediate deaths of more than 3,000 people and a more probable figure of 8,000 died within two weeks, and it is estimated that an additional 8,000 have since died from gas related diseases. The company is still fighting legal cases and the victims who survived the catastrophe are still languishing.

The ad that you see here promised heaven and it did for sure when the incident took place in the early hours of the morning of December 3, 1984 when the Union Carbide subsidiary pesticide plant released 42 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, exposing at least 520,000 people to toxic gases. In what the world believes was the worlds worst industrial disaster…
What a paradox !!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lays.. Only young can have fun?

People over 65... are grossly underrepresented on television. Correspondingly, heavy-viewing Annenberg respondents believe that the elderly are a vanishing breed, that they make up a smaller proportion of the population today than they were two decades ago. In fact, they form the nation's most rapidly expanding age group. (Waters, H. F. (1982, December 6). Life according to TV. Newsweek, 136-140.)

Now I cannot help but agree to an extent in todays context and even in the Indian way of life where elders are supposedly respected and revered, the scene is not different or great. nevertheless this ad is funny and did make ripples in the TG. Simple but crafted superbly and the climax takes one to the peak of hilarity !!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Diwali !

Have fun people but play safe in life and on Diwali...
Adformula wishes its readers a Joy ful Diwali !!!

Pic Courtesy: Vivek Nair of MAA Bozell,

Monday, October 27, 2008

Scene 1.. Take 1

While John Ford was directing a film for Sam Goldwyn, he fell one day behind the shooting schedule. Goldwyn came to the set and wondered what Ford was going to do to get back on schedule....

Ford asked, "Sam, how many pages a day do you expect me to shoot?"

"About five, I suppose," answered Goldwyn.

John Ford picked up the script, ripped five pages out and said, "Okay. .....Now we're back on schedule.....
The heroine came late as usual for the shoot and the crew sat there waiting, with no complaints, and even if they had, with no one to hear, it was pointless.... The shoot was for the German Detergent powder TRIL which has Endura 007 ( Now don’t ask me what is that... no questions in stories...) and the heroine, half clad ( again no questions please... she is half clad, regardless of the fact that she is not going to bathe with the detergent but to wash, still have to be half clad and wet, as she is the heroine and was bought to Mumbai all the way from Chennai, (with the client paying through the nose..) will dip dip and dip a dirty cloth into a bucket of water made black and the cloth when lifted will shine – white and sparkling…

Ram was in his humorous best and hence was ok with the fact that the heroine was getting late .Even otherwise it wouldn’t have made much of a difference since Guru was away at the airport to pick up the heroine who was flying from Chennai . She would come, then check into her hotel room and then later come for the shoot. The location was in one corner of the city, the hotel in another area and the airport in some other place.. Mumbai traffic will derail all the plans and the heroine missed the first flight and was taking another flight that could accommodate her, her big mother and her personal make up women who also doubled up as her secretary and chief motivator.

Ram had his mobile singing loud…

Yes Guru tell me… he said

Ram ….. The flight is late… Guru shouted from the other end…. Air traffic congestion….

Not again… said Ram … and when man..? hello hello….

Guru went off air as suddenly as he came and Ram sat there thinking of the expenses that are going to mount up.

Green pepper productions were in charge of the shoot and production works.Ram had chosen them after various faux pas that he had done in the past with various production houses some his choice or the agencies, some the client’s persistence.

Tril had no such insistence except for the director who was of their choice and was a good choice one had to admit...

The phone rang again

Ram Ram…. She has come… shouted Guru..,,, what a beauty ram…. Drop dead gorgeous my gawd….

Shut up you asshole… blurted Ram ….and stop drooling.. come fast…

Come where?... asked Guru… she will go to her hotel now and then come.. You know what she asked me my name… I even told her that before she goes I need to take a pic with her…. and you know what ..she agreed… she even said MY Pleasure…. Ha ha ha … can you believe it?

LORD….. cried Ram…. I can’t believe this … you are true… I can't believe this.. why the hell am I tolerating you….

Ok ok… I know you are jealous…now wait ok…..don’t keep calling… we are going to the hotel and will be busy in chatting … TATA… said Guru as he disconnected the phone…

But… hey… Ram desperately hoped that the guy other side still was there…

All humour had evaporated… Ram stood there burning in the hot sun !!!

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

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Fun Gun !

A beautiful, voluptuous woman went to a male gynecologist.The doctor took one look at this woman and all his professionalism went out the window. He immediately told her to undress. After she had disrobed the doctor began to stroke her thigh.

Doing so, he asked her, "Do you know what I'm doing?"

"Yes," she replied, "you're checking for any abrasions or dermatological abnormalities."

"That is right," said the doctor.

He then began to fondle her breasts.

"Do you know what I'm doing now?" he asked.

"Yes," the woman said, "you're checking for any lumps or breast cancer."

"Correct," replied the shady doctor.

Finally, he mounted his patient and started having sexual intercourse with her.

He asked, "Do you know what I'm doing now?"

"Yes," she said. "You're getting herpes; which is why I came here in the first place."

It is again a week end and in India a long week end... Have fun guys... blast your Diwali but PLAY SAFE<<<<

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Airtel DTH.. enough is little !!!

"Doctor, are you sure I'm suffering from pneumonia? I've heard once about a doctor treating someone with pneumonia and finally he died of typhus."
"Don't worry, it won't happen to me. If I treat someone with pneumonia he will die of pneumonia only."

How clear right???

It is a fact that the charisma of a well-known persona helps in tiding over the difficulty of over-communication and clutter that is an issue for the marketer these days….It however is no easy route to success.. It if often discussed and even in adformula I have time and again deliberated in various posts about the ifs and buts and the uninvited brunt that this practice can have on the brand.

The theories like 'Source Credibility Theory, Source Attractiveness Theory and Meaning Transfer Theory' provide the foundation on which the whole celebrity endorsement business works and also explains how the process of the celebrity endorsement influences the minds of the consumers. Having said that it also has to be said that today it seems the theory have all disappeared because it is no longer the one celebrity for one brand thing that is happening.. it looks like the era of multiple endorsers for a single brand or brand variant has arrived…

To proove the point there has been many brands that offlate has been lining up a host of faces well known and the more seems to be the better...

See this one....

Madhavan and his smile, and Vidya balan and her homeliness and the ads that featured them in the past have made the headlines for all the right reasons..
The campaign did a stupendous job and why not .. they roped in the right people and the gel was right… right fit… almost perfect… but two is not enough … we need a herd of them goes the trend and the logic behind the multi starrer ads that off late is hitting the screens is simple…

Madhavan plus Vidya Balan is better than no known face at all , but imagine Madhavan plus Vidya Balan plus A R Rahman plus Saheer khan Plus Kareena Kapoor plus Deepika Padukone Plus Saif Ali khan plus …oofff…. I am exhausted…

Unlike the Hero Honda Dhak Dhak misadventure this one doesn’t put one off in spite of the profligacy that glares on your face the first time you see it…

It is an awareness ad for a DTH service from a Airtel… This is a new category for most of the viewers and hence confusing with a host of players and almost every ad looking the same . Clutter.. confusion and to add it the celebrities…

This one communication but is clearly a clutter breaker with the opulent parade of well known people and the craft with which the faces are woven into the script as if it is just natural… it is not an easy job and kudos for the effort… and also for standing out in the muddle….

Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little goes the saying and how true if one sit and ponder....

The credits :-

Agency: JWT Delhi
Creative: Agnello Dias aka Aggi
Production House:Ramesh Deo Productions (RDP)
Director: Abhinay Deo
Music: Ram Sampath

Also read :-
Hire the star..Rent a bath tub..
Jyotika weds Surya...ahhaaaa...!!!!!
The Bermuda Triangle !!!!
Abhi, ash and all the cash!!!
Clinic All clear...Kiss of good bye !!!
Wow! Wow Sports Brands!

10 commandments of celebrity endorsements according to adformula...

1. Thou shall not take into service a celebrity, for want of other choices.
2. Thou shall not employ a celebrity, who is there, everywhere.
3. Thou shall not appoint a celebrity who is outdated/ controversial.
4. Thou shall not sign up a celebrity who doesn’t really connect.
5. Thou shall not hire a celebrity who lacks expertise in the category.
6. Thou shall not engage a celebrity because everyone else is behind him/her.
7. Thou shall not take on a celebrity, because the competitor has one.
8. Thou shall not assign a celebrity, every brand in your product mix.
9. Thou shall not utilize a celebrity without the advertising strategy in mind.
10.Thou shall not slot in a celebrity without a personality study of the celebrity and the brand...

Monday, October 20, 2008

BBC Travel India .. old pics, new dimensions !

“The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships”

BBC World News has come on air with Travel India, a six-part series of journeys to India’s spiritual sites, places of scenic beauty, urban business centres and underdeveloped rural areas…. A mix of every thing I must say.. every thing that India is…. And to add charm to the show is popular cricketer presenter, the vivid Harsha Bhogle, who is doing a good job( as usual)..

Harsha starts and his journey will take us from the deserted Rann of Kutch in Gujarat to the Rajasthan city of Bikaner and to the Golden Temple in Amritsar and then to Kashmir ,Wagah and then to the charismatic states of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh where he visits the holy city of Benares, Bihar and West Bengal to meet the tribes of Sunderbans. Then onto the new world IT hub of Hyderabad, before travelling to Kanyakumari. After his journey of the south, he heads to Nashik for wine tasting along with a crash course in wine making. Harsha then will travel back to Mumbai to wrap up his adventure, a trip that takes a full circle back to the point of origin.

“The Travel India series uncovers the diverse and unexplored facets of India as it stands today. It’s an exciting discovery of the unexpected which gives a unique and intriguing insight into amazing India.” As per the BBC claims and that appears to be true seeing the first part of the show…but for me as usual what was more exciting was the promo… see the ads…. See how the programme crux and the presenters USP is merged and shown as one..see how the fusion has happened with ease….

To quote from the legend Leo Burnett, again “I have learned that you can't have good advertising without a good client, that you can't keep a good client without good advertising, and no client will ever buy better advertising than he understands or has an appetite for”

Three cheers !!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Fun Gun!!!

A man suspected his wife was seeing another man, so he hired the famous
Chinese detective, Chen Lee, to watch and report any activities while he
was gone.

A few days later he received this report:

Most Honorable Sir,
You leave house. I watch house. He comes to house. I watch he. He and She leave house. I follow. He and She go in hotel. I climb tree. I look in window. He kiss She. She kiss He. He strips She.
She strips He. He play with She. She play with He. I play with me......... I fall off tree.

I no see.
No Fee

I guess now he works as a copy writer in some ad agency !!!

Chill out !!! its a week end again ......

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Old is Gold... Bread butter and Jam...

Those were the days of powerful copy writing and patient readers.. Both have become an extinct species now... but hey wait! who is going to read me HUH?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The MAD agency part 2

Continued from PART 1>>>>>>>>>>

Now what?........ was the question and no one had an answer,,,

We have to meet them up and then know what is in his mind ..lamented Ram

Can we tell em dat it is not possible? asked Guru the impossible

Tell whom what? Dream homes? Ram went mad by the easy solution that Guru was offering..

No Ram.. well leave it.. can I call Mandan Kumar and get an appointment to get screwed?

Ram had a big yawn really big one for the big bore that Mandar kumar ,the brand manager of Dream homes was,,, to win the battle was tough, to sustain the fortress seemed impossible…

Hey Guru ,,, said Ram, a bit mellowed down… let us make some alternative plans…

But what is his objection this time? Do you know that before making alternative plans? Guru spilled his frustration with no mercy...

Well let us list some reasons ....say 5 reasons that he can possibly have and have answers for that…

Ohh ya ya ya… Guru said with sarcasm… number 1. rang nahim hai… kuch maza nahim aya… now solution.. take some asian paints dealer and paint his ass,,,

Huh… said Ram…...while Guru again jumped in….. I will quit advertising soon but I swear before that I will make a clean up….

Quit and do what?

Run some brothel or a discotheque and make decent money…

Huh… U’r a sicko… said Ram…

And you are a saint… the pope Mr Mandan Kumar is waiting to declare you one… you just have to be there….laughed Guru,…

Mandan Kumar as usual looked stupid, at his office, where brands and brands where there everywhere, scattered bits of catalogues and pamphlets of all the real estate guys and builders in town flew here and there. It all looked the same for Guru, and even for Ram and that was the reason why they had given him the copy which was different and could cut through the clutter like a sharp piece of metal…

The brands guardian and the two ad agency guys who were the baby sitters, sat there for a while, with no one speaking up… Mandan was deeply into the copies that he had rejected, analyzing the stuff over and over again….

So what is new sir? asked Guru, even when Ram was queuing the right words in his mind to kick start the conversation.

New? frowned Mandan, and then keeping his thick glasses on his dirty table continued… as I told it is not striking…it is like… what to say…

Is it the color,,,, if yes… the green that we have is the correct match for the persona of our brand, and we had arrived at an agreement about that if you remember… Said Ram…

It is not the colour… said Mandan… see these kids and the dogs and the pool…

You don’t want them? Asked Guru

Well they need be there… but the kids could be better…can they?

Ahhhh.. said Ram… better in what sense…? You mean cuter?

Mandan stood up and walked to the window and stood there for some 25 seconds, staring into the road that he could see from his 7 th floor office…


Saalaaa.. said Guru… what drama Ram? what is he some bloody devdas?

Mandan turned and produced a pic from no where as if he was a magician…

How is this kid? He asked with a lot of delight brimming…

Ram kept his strategic silence, and in such situations nothing can replace experience…

… the room laughed at Guru’s laughter…….. he almost fell from his chair and still he laughed,…

Ram pinched his executive but to no avail… Guru went on in full blast as Ram saw Mandan getting rose, pink and then red, as blood rushed into his wherever and anger fumed from his holes…

You call this kid cute..? hahahhahaha ......Guru had no stopping….

Ram snatched the pic in desperation to save the situation…

Ohh ya nice..... he uttered, quite unconvincingly….. you want this kid to model for the ad… its cool…. I mean its.. well,,,,

Mandan came and sat in his chair and waited for a while for the laughing gas to be quelled…

Where is this kid now? Said Ram when Mandan raised his right hand to indicate silence…

You know who is this? Mandan asked Guru

Ram kept his head down.. he wanted to run away from the room, if possible jump from the seventh floor than face the calamity that was imminent....

No.. Guru whispered awkwardly

It is my grand son you looser and now will you be kind enough to leave? Said Mandan with a grin…

Actually the kid is cute.. wow… said Guru with a stupid beam as Ram banged his head on the table…I knew that it is your grand son….actually it is...

I said get out… shouted Mandan as he jumped up from his chair and as smoke flew in the room…

Guru was alone… Ram was not to be seen anywhere,,,,,

Tail piece :- Ram and Guru lost the account for sure but got and handled better ones... How better ? Wait for more in this space...


Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Fun Gun !!!

Mr and Mrs Sharma were unable to conceive children and decided to use a surrogate father to start their family. On the day the surrogate father was to arrive, Mr kissed his wife and said, "I'm off. The man should be here soon"

Half an hour later, just by chance a door-to-door baby photographer rang the doorbell, hoping to make a sale."Good morning, madam. I've come to...."

"Oh, no need to explain. I've been expecting you," Mrs. Sharma said cutting in.

"Really?" the photographer asked. "Well, good. I've made a speciality of babies"

"That's what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat"

After a moment, she asked, blushing, "Well, where do we start?"

"Leave everything to me. I usually try two in the bathtub, one on the couch and perhaps a couple on the bed. Sometimes the living room floor is fun too; you can really spread out!"

"Bathtub, living room floor? No wonder it didn't work for us"

"Well, madam, none of us can guarantee a good one every time. But, if we try several different positions and I shoot from six or seven different angles, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results"

"My, that's a lot of....." gasped Mrs. Sh.arma

"Madam, in my line of work, a man must take his time. I'd love to be in and out in five minutes, but you'd be disappointed with that, I'm sure"

"Don't I know it," Mrs. Sharma said quietly.

The photographer opened his briefcase and pulled out a portfolio of his baby pictures."This was done on the top of a bus in bandra east"

"Oh my God!" Mrs. Sharma exclaimed, tugging at her handkerchief.

"And these twins turned out exceptionally well, when you consider their mother was so difficult to work with"

"She was difficult?" asked Mrs. Sharma.

"Yes, I'm afraid so. I finally had to take her to Shivaji park to get the job done right. People were crowding around four and five deep, pushing to get a good look"

"Four and five deep?" asked Mrs. Sharma eyes widened in amazement.

"Yes," the photographer said, "And for more than three hours too. The mother was constantly squealing and yelling. I could hardly concentrate. Then darkness approached and I began to rush my shots. Finally, when the squirrels began nibbling on my equipment, I just packed it all in."

Mrs. Sharma leaned forward. "You mean squirrels actually chewed on your, um......equipment?"

"That's right. Well, madam, if you're ready, I'll set up my tripod so we can get to work."

"Tripod?????""Oh yes, I have to use a tripod to rest my Canon on. It's much too big for me to hold for very long.

Madam? Madam? ....... Good God, she's fainted!!"

Now that is what we call as COMMUNICATION GAP... and who else knows it better than the folks in advertising?
Its week end guys.. have fun !!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fool the couch potato...

TV Newsreader: "Hundreds are feared missing or dead in Florida following landslides and floods caused by torrential rains."
Couch potato: "Serves 'em right. What do they wanna go around following landslides and floods for anyway...??!"

It is about disconnect and the TV viewer is like switched off.. its oft debated as to why and what and all the reasons including media fragmentation to product placements( the heights of it can be seen in TV) is debated everywhere. Here is a TV channel whose specific serial -Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil (KDMHMD) which once was popular was seeing some dips in the TRP's and hence the channel resorted to the time tested atrocity of killing a lead charecter and come out with new paper ads across the hindi belt paying obituary to the departed soul and thus keep the rating high...

While any rating above 3 is seen as kinda good by industry norms, the show has seen a dip in its viewership in the last month. As per TAM ratings (C&S, 4+ HSM), in August the show had a TVR of more than 4, which dipped to 3.6 in September and that is an official version....

The media ,print here, is hopeful and praying that this become a pattern and their bags will cling...
So what next ? Rape the heroine and launch and ad to hunt down the culprit?

Come on guys... you call it path breaking ?

The discredit goes to :-
Client: STAR Plus

Advert title(s): Obituary

Creative Agency (Name, City, Country): Purple Focus, Mumbai, India

Work type: Client work

Published: Yes

Date of publication / release: October, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dare for more !!! daring to be different!!!

These three print advertisements show the red white and blue Pepsi logo in the context of photographs portraying extreme sports: “Surfer”, “Climber” and “Boarder”.....
The ‘Dare for More’ campaign consisted of three posters shown here, each illustrating sporting activities under extreme conditions; mountain climbing, surfing and snowboarding. In each ad the solitary sportsman is dwarfed by nature to the point of being barely visible at first glance as he ‘dares for more’.( the close up views are also given here for your understanding of how small we all look like when compared to nature…)
The best thing according to me is the central outline of each poster which aptly replicates the mode and colour scheme of the Pepsi logo: a band of red on the top (sky or mountain range) and a band of dark blue on the bottom (sea, cliff face or valley), with a strong white curve separating these two colours (snow, clouds or ocean spray).
Saw it? Amazing isn’t it???

This selection of layout and colours offer strong branding, even from a distance, to the point that the posters are easily decipherable as Pepsi ads even without the brand name or brand symbols touted, just the tagline ‘dare for more’. Extra branding comes from Pepsi’s round red, white and blue logo substituting the letter ‘o’ in the word ‘more’ and that is just a value add. It actually wasn’t required to register the brand…
Need less to say, it won many and acclaim and awards(Epica Awards 2007, Eurobest 2007 Print Silver, Eurobest 2007 ,Epica 2007 Print Gold, Epica 2007 Print Epica d'Or, Eurobest 2007 Outdoor Silver, Golden Awards Of Montreux 2008 Poster) but more importantly done a huge bit for the sales of the brand.. Now that is also important right???

Kudos for daring ..daring to be different !!!
Credits :

Agency: BBDO Germany GmbH, Duesseldorf
Creative Directors: Veikko Hille, Sebastian Hardieck, Toygar Bazarkaya
Copywriter: Christopher NeumannArt Director: Michael Plueckhahn
Art Buying: Birgit Paulat
Production company: Stefan Kranefeld
Imaging Account Executives: Heike Flottmann, Annika Lauhoefer
Released: November 2007

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hero Honda -Dhak dhak... bore to the core !!!

Bollywood glamour idols Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra, sensational cricketers Virender Sehwag, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma as well as ace shooter and 2004 Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Rathore … I am not giving a list of youth Icons here… it is the celebrity endorser list of the 3 min ad film that FCB has crafted for Hero Honda on their 25 th anniversary. The three-minute ad has it all — icons from the Mumbai film industry, heroes from the world of cricket and an Olympic medal winner. Hardly ever before has such a galaxy of stars been seen in one single advertisement…. Now some one dare to beat this seems to be the challenge…

It is a jam of celebs, this ad titled “Hero Honda Dhak Dhak Go”, serves just one purpose…. catch some wrong attention for the profligacy (Shot at five different locations across the country and abroad, including Mumbai, Jaipur and Kuala Lumpur, the project was spread over a period of two months… and all the stars, cricketers and an Olympian doing nothing ) and also for the road blocking as a media strategy with which this pitiable stuff was thrust upon us with impunity and no sense of how advertising works.

Dance, drama, chase, fights, fire balls, and a barmy mad script ( did they have one? ) and some cheap gimmicks that would have worked when Ramyaan and DD was on air…it is difficult to even believe that this company once gave us the “Fill It, Shut It, Forget It” campaign and such stuff..

“The idea is to celebrate this milestone in our journey retaining the brand’s core values but present these in a youthful manner.” Claims the company ....but how many people who see it will feel so?

How many of us will connect and make some sense out of this jamboree of celebs.. This naked parade of well known faces, who walk, dance, jump, play and do everything but connect the brand with the TG on a positive note…

The music track has been composed by Ranjit Barrot and is complemented by the voices of Shankar Mahadevan, Sukhwinder Singh and Shreya Ghoshal with its sufi touch makes some impact, one must admit but that is it…

You may have money and have a reason to celebrate… But where the hell did you pick up the idea that you can bore people to buy your stuff..?

And the Ad agency (FCB in this case) my salutes for this dare devilry...This ad is going to be a case study... How not to make celebrity advertisements... they are going to call it...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Fun Gun!!!

Now that was "once upon a time"... times have changed for the better for outdoor advertising
... Have a rock folks.. its a week end again !!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Karo Zyada Ka Irada... It is normal to be greedy !!

Forget Frederick Keonig and his pure thinking like , “we tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”

This ad which focuses on the human need or even greed ,has craft in it, a beautiful chain of events that sells the idea in a simple and yet compelling fashion…He who is greedy is always in want and who knows it better than the marketer… the gap of thought is always there and here it strikes …in the right gap….

There is a simple insight that “people always want more”..the same need and want game…and the gap between the two…. The right product, and a right positioning with a right communication strikes a right chord with the TG….

You now have to decide what 'image' you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place said Sir David Ogilvy, and here this brand and their agency seems to have got the game and the tricks to play it…

See this stuff...an egg box...…done by Equus Red Cell and Swapan Seth .....

…In a cluttered market such ‘differential thinking’ does work and this brand seems to have got it …

The older versions of their Karo Zyada ka Irada campaign also prove it and for my eyes, the newer one stands a bit taller and stronger than the older one…
See it here…

Not the best of the best ad till date but as of now, it is an eye catcher…

So Marketers.. better Karo Zyada Ka Irada

It is normal to be greedy !!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Fun Gun !

Now for all the bulbs that burn, many ad agencies are still roving in darkness...
It is week end again... have a blast people... see u on Monday !!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Get out-the world is waiting ! The Outdoor advertising story Part I

A peep into the ifs and buts of Outdoor advertising ....

Being different makes all the difference they say and here you are seeing some Out Of Home ads that follow this dictum in letter and spirit.. eye catching they are ...brevity is a theme across and the message and hence strikes the viewer like a thunderbolt... when world over Billboards are making a come back as OOH and other forms of outdoor media, such creative experiments that give wonderful results to the advertiser and the audience is a welcome change.

Long gone are the days when a bill board was a boring job for the executors, a pain in the ass for the advertisers and an eye sore for many a target audience member. This statement is notwithstanding the fact that there were beautiful exceptions that made history but exceptions rarely made the rules....

Outdoor advertising grows at an astonishing pace as one observe and it is ringing alarming bells for the ones who brushed this media down as not good to be seen in their media mix. As more people become mobile, as more cars and vehicles get into the street driving miles, to and from work and business, the number in the TG of the medium is going up dramatically. It is not the same old bill boards any more. It is a multiple choice and it is there everywhere. From billboards to street- furniture, from transit media such as buses, railways and mobile-vans to new alternate media such as mall kiosks, building boards and you name it.. it is there everywhere…The media planner of today has a problem of abundance …It is just his problem of choice depending on the type of TG that he wants to reach out….

A 2000 crore industry (as per the industry estimates) by 2010, Outdoor is not adding up to about 6 percent of total media spent (abysmal you feel? but it is getting better year after year) New players ( Clear Channel, News Outdoor Group, Kinetic, Aconda SA, Out of Home Media SA, Posterscope etc) are coming in giving a tough fight to the existing ones( OOH agencies like Ogilvy, Bates 141 (Wall Street), Jagran Engage, Primesite, Serve & Volley, Percept OOH, Aaren Initiative, Portland etc to name a few ). It is not easy but and even the seasoned players have been thrashing it in black waters…Clear Channel the world leader in Outdoor is in India for almost 8 years now and not making any significant change to be able to write back home.

Why is it so?
Problems galore…. Measurement ,the ROI element, creative limitations, flexibility, use of technology and the cost involved, the fragmentation ,non accepetance by the marketing community as a primary advertising
media ..it seems to be endless…

This story takes you through the saga…

To Be Continued>>>>>

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Open your eyes !

This superbly crafted film was made for the Eye bank association of India by Code Red films that emerged as a dark horse and made awe in the Cannes fest 07. It got rare reviews, ravishing feed backs and some metal but more importantly it opened many an eyes, to the reality that not all see the colours that we the more fortunate ones see and don’t see that easily in our hectic life.. It pricked the conscience of many who (I bet you did that as well) enjoyed the blush and imagery, swayed with the amazing music, got dissolved in the acting, saw the colours and had mirth in them, had laughter, relived past in a joyous nostalgia when the real point struck like a sudden fall of lightening…the climax… and then it pained…. A good communication indeed it is, for it does the basic work - communicates, simply and stunningly …

More communication is required here, India in particular, where the awareness ( basic info about eye donation) is abysmally low in spite of all the Aishwarya Rai’s and Amitabh Bachans who have done high-quality (and free, I am told.. HMMM!!!) work they have done in acting and exhorting in ads that told people to donate their eyes…In a recent survey among some 577 people across various Indian cities, a pathetic 22 % was aware of the eye donation and various options available…blissfully ignorant !!!

This ad has to be seen in that context, even though it is again a basic awareness ad and India needs more of reminder ads and ads aimed at families, who after the donors death comfortably disregard the promise, either because of ignorance, or misperception …The social ad makers have to take the communication to the next phase where it will strike the family unit and make it a culture, and slowly a custom ,to not only sign the donation papers, but also follow it when the good soul has left the body !!!

And the reach is a pointing question.. how many people would have seen this ad? or for that matter other ads with a social cause in mind? Why is it so?

How I hope that more people got to see this ad !!!

Next time when some one quotes Advertising as the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need show them this ad…

Credits goes to :
Lyrics : Gopal Datt
Singer : Ravindra Upadhyay
Music Director : Rajat Dholakia
Cinematographer : Amitabha Singh
Concept & Script : Manish Bhatt & Raghu Bhat
Producer : Subrat Ray
Project leader: Gajraj Rao

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