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!!!
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