Monday, March 30, 2009

Advertising -the Axe effect>>>> Part III

Dear Ann:

I have a problem. I have two brothers.

One brother is in advertising, the other was put to death in the electric chair for murder.

My mother died from insanity when I was three years old.

My two sisters are prostitutes, and my father sells narcotics to high-school students.

Recently I met a girl who was just re­leased from a reformatory, where she served time for smothering her illegitimate child to death, and I want to marry her.

My problem is, if I marry this girl, should I tell her about my brother who is in advertising?

(Plaque presented to Arnold Barban by the staff of Leo Burnett on his retirement from the agency.)


Media and its role...

Media is commercialized. Profit is the very idea and competition is very much around, threatening. Recession and the resultant media expenditure cuts are eating into the revenue streams of media houses. (IPL may be an exception though.)

Just like Coca-Cola having Pepsi, Colgate having Pepsodent and Hero Honda having Bajaj, Star Plus has Sony, Sun has Vijay and x has y…... The more the competition, the more you have to commercialize and then, it is the sponsor or the ad agency that decides on what program should be on air and when….. if you think this is MISERABLE, so be it… watch a channel like Asianet and you will know how media violates all the norms to show ads than the actual programmes and make money ,I guess I should say mint money….Here I guess one should also admit the fact that some programmes, or many of them of the serial and reality show genre are disgusting watch than the commercials that interrupt them... care fully observe when you get home today, this phenomenon is there happening even at your home...

Practically all the shows and soaps, which we see are controlled by the advertisers…. ( I know that it is not news for you ..many of you..!!) Many people wonder why there are so many ads around. The simple fact is that without ads all these media will be costlier- more price for newspapers and magazines and more money for the cable operator. And as the corporate preferences about media change,( new media forms come up every day) media has to stoop many times for existence.

Reports show that local media which has largely ignored by the corporate before, now has started gathering more attention. Local cable channels mop up any where between 15% - 30% of audience share in prime time as per a recent Business World report. The fact that Grocery store chains like Food World, with many outlets across , spends pittance on mass media budget, but in abundance on local media is proof enough…

Print ads are generally considered less effective and hence less offensive, because they can be easily ignored but T.V and internet ads are more intrusive and often distasteful T.V ads appeal to all senses, they encircle, capture us in a carefully woven web.

The question of ethics ?

Giants like Hindustan Lever with its gigantic product mix and multitudes of brands and varieties of each brand in each product line, hence adopt a strategy of continuous communication with the customer in a well planned “pull strategy” and they are what they are today. Seemingly harmless ads, which appeal to our emotions like love and fear, are also not so harmless on a second thought. Hue and cry was raised against media for having shown some ads. Kamasutra and Moods resorted to enact a bedroom with all the sensuality associated with it in their ads only to be opposed far and wide.

Indian hypocrisy has now to a large extent died down, compared to the olden days when even the Liril girl in her bikini was considered a blasphemy and moral police troops worked overnight to send her into a bath room… When Marc Robinson and the girl in the KS ads were seen like devils, when Milind and Madhu were accused of being the reason for all the ill’s of thei otherwise heavenly nation…

Having said that, I must also say that Ad makers also go over board some times….How can any one substantiate the use of half – naked women in coffee and tea ads, talcum powders “for men” which drives women behind and lipstick stains on a man’s body? There was some coffee ad which showed a bed room, with its full glory and action, and 20 seconds of a 30 sec commercial went for the jerking of the bed leaving a mere 10 second for the brand name and the product to be shown and sold. No one wonder I don’t remember the brand name ( read it again !! I said SOME coffee ad )…Most of the people who saw the ad didn’t see the coffee thing… those few who saw it kept wondering whether to have coffee before bed or after bed !!!!

Even liquor is advertised, mostly in disguise as a soda or a plan water of the same brand name…. this is when it is clear to the thinking common man ( that is a new tribe in India) that a Vijay Mallya does not need a Kingfisher Mineral water to survive…..

The media, it is clear should play a more reasonable role but then the big question comes – on what cost and at whose expense?

Tail piece :Advertising tells us what unnecessary luxuries we can't do without....

Also read my other blogs chicken curry & confusion.....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Fun Gun !!!

A Catholic priest and a Rabbi are talking about job prospects:

"Well," says the priest, "there's a good chance that I'll be the next Bishop - maybe within the next couple of years."

marvels the Rabbi, "very nice. And after that?"

"Oh, I don't know, I suppose it's possible I could become Archbishop... given luck, and God's blessing."

"Very nice, very nice; and after Archbishop?"

"Ha! Well, you know, it's Cardinal after that, but it's really very unlikely. But in theory, I could become a Cardinal."

"Lovely!" enthuses the Rabbi, "the scarlet would suit your complexion. So what's after Cardinal?"

The priest smiles: "After Cardinal? Well, it's Pope - but I'm hardly likely to become... hmmm, oh I suppose it's just possible. If a Pole why not an Englishman again? Yes, I could just become Pope."

"Splendid! And after Pope?"

The priest looks at him in surprise: "After Pope? There's nothing after Pope! I mean, there's just God above the Pope - I can't become God."

"So why not? One of our boys made it." .................said the Rabbi...

Fun enough.... now go and blast the week end !!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The best of Adformula.... Grow up bachee....

Grow up bachee...
A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's artwork.As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.

The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."

The teacher paused and said, "but no one knows what God looks like."

Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing the girl replied, "They will in a minute


There are few types of agency- client relationships.. the most familiar one being the parent- child relationship. Here (for the uninitiated) the agency tells the client to do this and do that,,, lead them, bully them, love them, pamper them.. give them logic...

Here are a few key things that your parents teach kids! Granted, most of you will say that you learned these things all on your own - but I can promise you that your parents had a hand in there, as well.

Parents proved the theory of all LOGIC."Because I said so, that's why."

Parents gave you the gift of FORESIGHT."Make sure you wear clean underwear, you never know if you'll get into an accident."

Parents were always good for teaching IRONY."Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

Even before biology class parents taught you the fundamentals of OSMOSIS."Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

They are always ready to suggest a career - even as a CONTORTIONIST."Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

They taught that we even could control the WEATHER."This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

They taught us the basics principles of BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION."Stop acting like your father!"

Parents were the first to make us know ENVY."There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

Parents gave you that butterfly feeling of ANTICIPATION."Just wait until we get home."

They taught us what a marvelous gift it was to RECEIVE ."You are going to get it when you get home!"

Parents studied MEDICAL SCIENCE."If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way."

They were the first to instruct us HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT."If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

Mother was likely the one skilled in GENETICS."You're just like your father."

They were the very people that taught us WISDOM."When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

Long before we knew the laws of the world they instructed us in the ways of JUSTICE."One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you."

and last but not least...Loving mother and father - they taught you how to walk and talk until you were three or four, then ever after, ordered you to sitdown and shut up..Now ....Can we apply the above model in every Client Agency Relationship?..or atleast in every Parent-Child type of relationships...? what about parents who are bullied by their kids? what about parents who treat kids like outlets of their frustration? what about kids who are dull and dumb? what about parents who are so? what about parents who are inconsistent and quarrelsome? what about kids who remain kids and refuse to grow up?what about parents who treat them as kids even after they have grown up?

Too many questions?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Fun Gun!!!

Now all the ad guys would have seen it even before the pic is loaded.....
Rock on guys... its a weekend again !!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Visa Go... Way to Go !!!

Visa Inc has launched its first ever global advertising campaign with the tag line 'More people around the world go with Visa', shimmering the company's fruition to a single, global company.

The campaign which went on air in the US market in the first week of March saw colours on Holi, when it came out for the Indian eyeballs and across the world it is reaching people to awe, inspire and amuse them….

Visa after its much discussed consolidation of its entire creative duties with TBWA and its media duties with OMD on a global level, this campaign was much awaited and one should say that it hasn’t disappointed…At least not yet (!)….. The new campaign has the aim of putting its worldwide marketing under a single premise and tone that showcases the greater worth it delivers in comparison with cash and cheques and the promises that VISA offers which includes more security, more control and more convenience.. From cash and cheques to better and superior forms of electronic payments is what the aim is and needless to say it is done…

While it may be too early to comment on its reach and the after effects of such reach, kudos to the consolidation efforts, and the think global act local strategy with which the marketers and the communicators seems to be planning to achieve visual esperanto… Kudos to the brave efforts to reach the world in a single tone and tenor and yet be different from place to place according to the culture…The Indian versions are for you to see here while for more you may have to visit here.... The rich and varied textures and hues of the world is captured with all precision and beauty as could be done only by a world wide agency,,,, TBWA seems to have got back it olden day glory…

If you remember Visa was launched in India in 1989 with the tag line – 'Visa Power. Go get it' – with cricketer Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador …. It ran till 2003 ….The next campaign was about connecting emotionally with the consumer through 'Mind and Body. Heart and Soul' positioning statement. All these campaigns were created by RK Swamy BBDO until the global changes came about….. RK swamy and co did and good job in making the awareness, selling the idea “ to empower the consumer with 'Visa power' and then 'go' get what they desired”. Now, since the consumer is aware of Visa, the focal point has shifted to communicating that he can 'go' with it anywhere – be it shopping, marriages, dining or even for a holiday abroad.....

The campaign is claimed to be well suited for traditional and new media, and will strongly support Visa’s global sponsorship properties, plans and programmes as well as its committed merchant marketing programs. Visa’s international will also see a television commercial named “Gofesto.” The spot, which will be customized by each Visa region,(consolidation and yet localization) will take the viewer on a journey across the globe showing different people from different places enjoying what the world has to offer – from experiencing the great outdoors to taking simple trips to the supermarket. The spot reminds cardholders that life is not about collecting possessions, but more importantly, about collecting experiences…...

Visa also has created a micro site where people can go and paste pics etc and also other forms of digital extensions and the like are in the offing….360 degree perfect it looks like ..!!!

A well crafted strategy, to reach and be heard by people in the same tone and tenor, a client who understands and has deep pockets, an agency who is there in every nook and corner, the right media mix and above all the timing to recraft and get a re look, it looks like visa and the go campaign has got the perfect ingredients in the right mix ….

Well done Visa.. but way to Go !!!


Project -Visa Gofesto

Client -Visa

Creative agency -TBWA Chiat Day Los Angeles

Executive creative director -Rob Schwartz

Group creative director -Patrick O’Neill

Associate creative directors -Gage Clegg, Becca Morton, Jason Busa

Global director media arts- Lee Clow

Executive agency producer- Guia Iacomin

Associate agency producer- Chris Spencer

Production house- Paydirt

Director -Iain Mackenzie

Executive producer -Jonathon Kerr

Post-production company- Superfad

Executive producer -Kevin Batten

Creative director -Justin Leibow

Senior art director -Kevin Lau

Head of production -Angela De Oliveira

Producer -Camille Labouchere

Editor -Charles Jensen

VFX Supervisor/Flame- Artist John Shirley

Exposure Television, print, online

Thanks to Vipin Nambiar for his inputs........
Read my other blogs also... Chickencurry & Confusion .....................

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Airtel- magic realism...

There is a kid in every one .. even in the most moronic of us… and the kid somewhere at some point of time would have done this … this self assuring phone call to his dad and its desired effect is simple and we all have done it, some way or the other and that makes this a good one….

Done by Rediffusion Y&R a new angle … the trust angle, which is a hygiene factor, is bought in to the Airtel communication which the agency believes and claims to be having a far more fascinating than the network angle… Airtel which shocks(often) the poor viewers with out of the world crazy stuff, often infected with an overdose of celebrity virus, comes down to earth some times, gets sensible and talk to us in simple terms and makes us smile.. smile in agreement.. this ad is one of them.. no big hungama,,,, no brouhaha , no quagmires and hardwork to some how fit in a parade of stars who at the end of the day outsmarts and outlives the brand…

Magic realism as someone called such stuff, this realization that with Airtel you are never disconnected is a subtle message that gets into the information cluttered minds in a passive way… Even though in my flat in the heart of the city, Airtel simply fools me by refusing to show signal, this conspicuously uncomplicated ad baffled me the first time I saw it…then the more I saw I fell in love… Virej Dasani the kid, has done a wonderful job by not acting and just living, and the guys who made it ostensibly didn’t try to cultivate any bogus innocence out of the boy… Kudos for that…

Kudos to the entire team…Ramanuj Shastry, national creative director, Rediffusion Y&R, Deepesh Jha, creative head for the script, Vinyl Matthew of Footcandles for the direction…. And others…

Let this ground sense prevail…..

Tailpiece: Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising........ Mark Twain

Read my other blogs also... Chickencurry & Confusion .....................

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Recession conundrum& Agency blues...

The husband leans over and asks his wife, 'Do you remember the first time we had sex together over fifty years ago? We went behind the village tavern where you leaned against the back fence and I made love to you.'

'Yes', she says, 'I remember it well.'

'OK,' he says, 'How about taking a stroll around there again and we can do it for old time's sake?'

'Oh Jim, you old devil, that sounds like a crazy, but good idea!'

A police officer sitting in the next booth heard their conversation and, having a chuckle to himself, he thinks to himself, I've got to see these two old-timers having sex against a fence. I'll just keep an eye on them so there's no trouble. So he follows them.

The elderly couple walks haltingly along, leaning on each other for support aided by walking sticks. Finally, they get to the back of the tavern and make their way to the fence. The old lady lifts her skirt and the old man drops his trousers. As she leans against the fence, the old man moves in.. Then suddenly they erupt into the most furious sex that the policeman has ever seen. This goes on for about ten minutes while both are making loud noises and moaning and screaming. Finally, they both collapse, panting on the ground.

The policeman is amazed. He thinks he has learned something about life and old age that he didn't know..After about half an hour of lying on the ground recovering, the old couple struggle to their feet and put their clothes back on. The policeman, is still watching and thinks to himself, this is truly amazing, I've got to ask them what their secret is.

So, as the couple passes, he says to them, 'Excuse me, but that was something else. You must've had a fantastic sex life together. Is there some sort of secret to this?'

Shaking, the old man is barely able to reply, 'Fifty years ago that wasn't an electric fence' ……

My good old friend Raj who works as a Client servicing sup in a reputed Ad agency came online and was available to chat after a LONG time... recession and the related under employement I guessed, when he suddenly said Hi...

Raj: Hi man...

me: hey dude.. wassup?

Raj: cool man…njoying…

me: hehehe you sound like you just had an orgasm?

Raj: well nothing much to do so yeah kinda orgasm…now we face (like most of agencies here another probs….we can't release ads

me: ?

Raj: huge payment backlog to publications…

me: hmmmmmm

Raj: so they are not accepting the material that we send them for publishing…

me: ohhhh why u guys aren’t clearing it???

Raj: so we tried another 2-3 agencies to release through them atleast…. they also have same probs….

me: sounds tricky…..

Raj: so if they are insisting on a no release, we can very well close down….

me: shit……but who is keeping it pending….you guys or the clients?

Raj: client is paying us it seems….we roll it for some other things…. complete goof up

me: now that is totally unfair… now how u expect media to accept it?

Raj: True.. I am handling the account and now I don't know what to tell them…

me: u ask your bosses… the rolling stones…..

Raj: hehehe… you will be shocked…they are also clueless

me: huh.. what the fuck man…?

Raj: they are all ready to leave… it looks like no one has any idea about what it is going to be… recession is the reason.. but I don’t understand how in March it is affecting us.. it should be after March only….We even thought its like Austerity you know... but now we know its all goof up....

I left Raj there and started wondering… why do some people, never come back to life in spite of electric shocks?

Why is my beloved industry like this?

Tail piece:- So-called austerity, the stoic injunction, is the path towards universal destruction. It is the old, the fatal, competitive path. Pull in your belt is a slogan closely related to gird up your loins, or the guns-butter metaphor.....

Also read my other BLOGS... Chicken curry & Confusion

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Fun Gun !!!

Three men were drinking at a bar -- a doctor, an attorney and a biker.....

As the doctor was drinking his white wine he said, "For her birthday, I'm going to buy my wife a fur coat and a diamond ring. This way, if she doesn't like the fur coat she will still love me because she got a diamond ring."

As the attorney was drinking his martini he said, "For my wife's birthday, I'm going to buy her a designer dress and a gold bracelet. This way, if she doesn't like the dress she will still love me because she got the gold bracelet."

As the biker was drinking his shots of whiskey he said, "I'm going to buy my wife a T-shirt and a vibrator. This way, if she doesn't like the T-shirt she can go fuck herself!"

Now that reminds me of typical agencies and clients in advertising... every one gifts each other and loves each other... but do some one try to understand his partner?

Week end is here and I am gonna have fun.... TC...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Advertising... behind the axe effect>>> Part II

Continued from Part I>>>>>

The very first law in advertising is to avoid the concrete promise and cultivate the delightfully vague. ~Bill Cosby

Ads are glossy, glamorous and often larger than real life. Consumer products often try to sell itself, not for the product but for what the product promises. It is plain fact that, by using a product it is not possible to become or feel like some other person- a film star or a cricketer, still fair and lovely claims glowing fairness within days and abundantly sells itself capitalizing on the weakness of the Indian public for a fair skin. Equating light skin with beauty is a deeply rooted perception across Asia and in pursuit of brand success corporate giants like Ponds and Fair & Lovely has kicked up more fuming controversies that fairer skin . It has been seen more and enough in this blog in the past and hence let me leave it alone here…..

The human desire is to look young, smart, beautiful, handsome, cool, slim, happy, glowing, rich, pompous, different and what not…Each such desire is an opening for the marketer and advertising is the greatest weapon for the purpose. To put it simply if we have desire to reduce obesity we have a score of products from VLCC to suction therapy, Sugar free and Herbal tea to Diet Coke and Pepsi and all those TSN products, advertised through poorly dubbed stupid looking hour long miserable programmes which often question our commonsense.

India with its middle class (one of the largest in the world) and with the on going task of globalization, with all the 100 plus TV channels and numerous magazines and newspapers, all the websites and portals, and an average of six thousand messages passed on through every educated Indian mind (MAD index), on any given day and a barrage of products from LCD to local agarbathies and from laptop computers to loose garments in various brand names, the task of the advertisers is getting tougher day after day. He not only has the difficult job of telling the viewers that his product is the best, to build a brand preference, but has to, by hook or cook, tell and make them believe that the “other” products are useless. Comparative advertising; stooping below a certain level becomes a dirty mocking game as the cola war demonstrated and recently the Horlicks vs Complan war amply described. Thumps-Up and Pepsi, pooh-poohing each other using a khan or other and Sprite with its new set of realty ads, flavored with humour, after every new ad by the other one are all bearing testimony.

Can marketers create needs? As per the theory, NO. But in practice, he can create an unnecessary want. A middle class family has a need for daily washing their clothes but may not necessarily want a washing machine for that purpose. A successful marketer through the advertisement and campaigns fits into this “gap of thought” and makes the selling possible.

For a middle class man the resources are less and the wants are more. Living in a world saturated of advertisements, designed as scientific and informative, somewhere down the line, he obliges. He resists the temptation ultimately by yielding. Sometimes, the appeals are so strong and touches the viewers so intensely that there is no rethinking. As an end result, any average family today has to budge by compulsion rather than conviction. Horlicks or Viva for the “complete growth of children”, use Pepsodent, Colgate or Close- Up for “hundred percent germfree teeth” and total protection, feed new born babies with Nestle grow-up milk or Junior Horlicks, and worse use a Johnson’s baby soap to wash a two year old to keep its skin soft and “same to same” as a just born baby.

The Dandi salt Ad, which claimed the vital importance of salt that too, Dandi salt for the intellectual growth and brain development of children which hit the air some time back is still my favourite example of a STUPID ad…. This ad pretending to be scientific and rational hide the fact that dogs and dolphins do not consume salt and even before the advent of this salt there were intelligent people living in this country. And to be scientific and simple, salt has nothing to do with intelligence.

There are questions we never ask ourselves. We see an ad and ignore it. We repeatedly see an ad, we remember it, so that next time we walk to department store for purchase, it works and positively influences our brand preference. There is no such thing called as brand loyalty, in many consumer products like salt because of the habitual buying process associated with it, and it is proven fact that consumer have low involvement with most low cost, frequently purchased products. So the marketers have to repeat because ad repetition creates brand familiarity rather than brand conviction. Lie or no lie- repetition is the mantra.

Now the world is so small and so flooded with products and brands. The USP and ESP’s have changed. Health of children and of the family and wellness and beauty is a main concern for upper class and middle class people and this weak spot is gently but tactfully touched in many ads. Hence all the claims of 24 hours are oral protection, slimness in 30 days and fairness in a week. Pretentious USP’s like –“stain champions” from Henko, “colour guard” from Sunlight, “stain cutters” from Vim bar and “kid stains” from Surf and “friendly chemicals” from Friendly wash are examples of how “creative” our advertisers can be. Such newly coined words and ideas generally create wonders in the market but how long is an omnipresent question….

Close-Up released “shade card” with its toothpaste only to be matched by a “germ indicator” from Pepsodent. “Bio” was the buzzword and being bio or herbal was a short cut to success. Marketers understood the growing awareness among the educated class about the merits of vegetarianism and being close to nature and hence we had “bio fresh L.G.” and “Eco-freshetarian” Samsung and even “Eco drive watches” from Citizen. Fair and Lovely promoted its herbal version made with “Kumkumadhi Thailam” and it worked in the market. With celebrities like Meneka Gandhi endorsing products like Chandrika soap more credibility got associated with such products….

But this game was not to last for ever….

Tail piece: Advertising is like marriage. There may be a better way, but what is it?


Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Fun Gun!!!

This guy goes into a doctors and says "Doctor, doctor you've gotta help me. I just can't stop having sex!"

"Well how often do you have it?" the doctor asks.

"Well, twice a day I have sex with my wife, TWICE a day", he answers back.

"That's not so much", says the doctor.

"Yes, but thats not all. Twice a day I have sex with my secretary, TWICE a day," replies the man.

"Well that is probably a bit excessive," says the doctor.

"Yes, but thats not all. Twice a day I have sex with a prostitute, TWICE a day," says the man.

"Well, that's definitely to much", says the doctor."You've got to learn to take yourself in hand."

"I do", says the man. "Twice a day."

Have fun folks but keep your HANDS away may be......
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