Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Onam.!!!!!

Kerala is in Onam fever.... and I am off for a week to my roots, to be what I like to be... the common man.. away from blogs, academics, and the cacophony of urban life !!!!

Happy Onam!!!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It has been my constant endeavour to be bringing to you various aspects of Advertising and Marketing communication through various posts . Since I understand that a large section of my readers are of the student type, I need to add more funda to Adformula, so that the enthusiasts, who but are new will also get to know more of the ad industry. The Adfunda series was an attempt in this direction and now I am starting a new series (Adspeak) where the ad lingo's will be defined...

First is a simple one...

It is a paid for advertising produced and printed in the editorial style of a magazine or a newspaper in which it appears on the condition that it is clearly entitled as "advertisement" or "promotion". In practice though, such disclaimers—such as the word "advertisement"—may or may not appear. Sometimes euphemisms describing the advertorial as a "special promotional feature" or "special advertising section" are used.

The basic logic behind an advertorial is the belief that people(The reader) gives more credibility to editorial content than the paid in advertisements that come in news papers. Forget Thomas Jefferson who said, Advertisments are the only truths to be relied upn in a news paper....

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Fun Gun !!!

Two men were digging a ditch on a very hot day. One said to the other, "Why are we down in this hole digging a ditch when our boss is standing up there in the shade of a tree?"

"I don't know," responded the other. "I'll ask him."

So he climbed out of the hole and went to his boss. "Why are we digging in the hot sun and you're standing in the shade?"

"Intelligence," the boss said.

"What do you mean, ‘intelligence'?"

The boss said, "Well, I'll show you. I'll put my hand on this tree and I want you to hit it with your fist as hard as you can."

The ditch digger took a mighty swing and tried to hit the boss' hand. The boss removed his hand and the ditch digger hit the tree.

The boss said, "That's intelligence!"

The ditch digger went back to his hole.

His friend asked, "What did he say?" "He said we are down here because of intelligence."

"What's intelligence?" said the friend.

The ditch digger put his hand on his face and said, "Take your shovel and hit my hand."

Intellegence and holes.... who knows them better than advertising guys...!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Grow Up bache...!!

The best of adformula series !!!

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 challenge 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?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tata Do Co Mo - doing the new...!

Tata DoCoMo the GSM service from the Tata stable is here…. Another one HUH? I sighed when I thought of the prospect of a weak ME TOO player in the Kerala market which already has a war between an Airtel vs Idea vs Vodafone vs Reliance vs BSNL vs Aircel vs MTS vs Virgin .. UAE based Etisalat is on ground already with its basic works…With Tata Indicom ,Tata is already in the CDMA market but as it is well known the CDMA market is a smaller cake and the GSM one is a bigger cake and therefore the Tata DoCoMo.

Do Co Mo is there everywhere…. After the teasers that went on for a while and the revealers that wasn’t that great as expected,after the ads that unveiled the logo’s( they were good ads and you can see some of them here…)… it has become omnipresent (A telecommunication client with deep pockets is any agency’s jack pot and its rivals envy) ....In marine drive, in the walkways, in the shopping malls, in my car yard, in twitter where I go once while ( docomo id : tatadocomo which has about 1000 plus followers already ) in the FM radio’s (50 to 60 second ads which can at times make you crazy) and in the TV of course and yet it does not irritate beyond a point……NTT Do Co Mo of Japan which has only 26% stake (and the rest is with TATA thus creating the TATA Do Co Mo) dominate 74% of the logo said some literature and I felt like.. arey wah !!! No one says Tata Do Co Mo now.. It’s just the Do Co Mo and it sounds good.. and it is working without the TATA tag….…… cute, peppy ,rhyming and simple….
Tata DoCoMo’s advertising ( I tried getting them on You tube but in vain… will post them when I am able to locate them..) is banging, true that they are not amazing works of exceptional creativity but they are what ads basically should be…..communicative and creative..!!

First came the footballer who strikes a goal and then rejoices with his jersey pulled up to cover his face and as he runs in joy, bangs on to the goal post and falls flat.. then came the guy in the plane who gets to seat next to a lady and when he is about to strike a conversation, he is asked to move his seat, first to his chagrin, and then to his delight, when he gets to place his ass between a voluptuous blonde and a sexy damsel, one of them instantly falling on to his shoulders in sleep….. And the message? Life can change in a second… why talk of a minute?

It just says “Do the New” with the amusing Do – Co – Mo sounds and each ad has a story, the inviting fun and mischief and great climax…

No big faces, No Dogs, No South African creatures and no big IDEA’s being swept around… Simple Job.. Simple differentiation (second is the new minute) that is striking a cord with people (people are shifting from A B and C to Do Co Mo and I am seeing it...) or is it that simple… ? The pulse is dragged down to 1 second from the existing 1 minute..... Sure the cost might be the same but the rounding off will be to the nearest second and not to the nearest minute.. and that makes a hell lot of difference for people who value money…And I can give you a list….Why pay for two minutes when you have spoken for only one minute and 3 seconds..? “Don’t pay for something which you don’t use” is a proposition that works….

Apart from the simple differentiation, and the simple logo and the simple ads, the tag line Do the new, is simple as well… its similarity with Do the DEW, of Mountain Dew didn’t go unnoticed but I guess it could be taken as part of the game considering that both are players in two different games…In a cluttered market place, the rule to be seen is to stay different and Do Co Mo has done it (began it) well… As they say well begun is half done !!! (I am forced to compare this with Reliance since Tata and Reliance are the only guys in both the GSM and CDMA markets) … The Reliance launch of their GSM with Hrithik Roshan and this one… which is better?

Kudos to Chaks (KS Chakravarthy, National Creative Director, Draft FCB Ulka) and his team……

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Fun Gun !!!

A Guy was playing golf one day and he got lost. He saw a lady up ahead of him and went to her and said, "Can you please help me, I don't know what hole I'm on."

She told him... "You are one hole behind me. I'm on 7; you're on 6."

He thanked her and continued playing golf.

Later he got lost again. He saw the same lady and went to her again kind of embarrassed. "I'm sorry to bother you again but I'm lost again, can you please tell me what hole I'm on."

She told him..... "you are one hole behind me. I'm on 14; you are on 13."

Again he thanked her and continued playing golf.....

When he finished he saw her in the clubhouse. He went up to her and asked if he could buy her a drink for helping him out. She accepted.

As they were drinking and talking he asked her what she did for a living.

"I'm in sales." she said.

He replied, "No kidding so am I. What do you sell?"

She said it's too embarrassing to tell. But after he kept pleading to know what she sold and finally, she said she'd tell him if he promised not to laugh.

He promised.

She said, "I sell Sanitary Napkins".

He immediately fell to the floor laughing hysterically.

She said, "You promised you wouldn't laugh"..

He replied (still with tears in his eyes), "I'm sorry, but I couldn't help it. I sell toilet paper..... I'm still one hole behind you."

For the ad folks and others who cherish Adformula, let me wish a wonderful week end !!!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Cadbury's Diary Milk- In No man's Land... !

What are the different ways of experimenting with a brand and taking it from place to place and market to market…? Ask O&M, or just sit and watch the ads they make time and again for Cadburys Diary Milk, which once was good in connecting to its right TG but has slowly lost both, the idea of who is their TG and how to connect to them….

The new ad is about celebration again (that has been the platform for years now and it is extended here again) with a song 'Khush hai zamana aaj pehli tarikh hai, Meetha hai khana aaj pehli tarikh hai” which just means sing and rejoice, it's salary day today… this ad is getting a lot of recall for the money being spend… the media agency is doing its job(!) .. a hell lot of road blocking and the ad is there everywhere....... the idea stares from the newspaper and blares its horn from the TV of course….from FM radio’s and as SMS’s every first day it pooh-pooh’s ( they have tied up with BSNL, MTV, Star channels, with HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank to send out text messages to account holders on pay day etc etc)….. But the big question is: - what is the big Idea?

Cadbury’s is the undisputed leader in the Rs 2,000-crore per annum chocolate market and Cadbury Dairy Milk is its warhorse with some 34-35 % market share….. Though it is strong in bars (Five Star) and tablets (Cadbury Dairy Milk), Nestle has made inroads with its light offerings like KitKat and Munch. Worse now is an increasing health awareness, among the larger public which is attracting consumers towards lighter chocolates — a trend that will only get stronger in the days to come.

In this given scenario is this a strategy?

The conception of this new ad relates more to the old India which was socialist, stupid and loved the license Raj and famed protectionism….. Come on guys….. Take a long walk….…. The India of today doesn't wait for salary day to do a bit of indulge and that too on a piece of chocolate…. I have nothing against any brand going down the socio economic ladder as DM is doing with every new ad trying to sell to more masses, but the question is- are you retaining the original buyers..?

Is this an endeavor to move this product which is of variety seeking nature to a habitual category… Can it happen?

Is it just an effort to break the clutter? Then yes they have broken it.. but what next… is it making more people buy more than they bought before?

Is it an attempt to get synonymous with the Mithai category after being generic with the name chcolates…? If yes ALAS.. God save you guys….

Pay day is surely an occasion to celebrate but that is all? You want people to stop buying on other days… ? like I do.. every week end.. every time I walk in to a friends home, every time I visit a super market with my Kids… From every day buying to one day (JUST ONE DAY) buying? I sure don’t belong to the SEC to which you now talk to, but does that mean that I cannot be your buyer…..?

Diary milk and its ads by O&M have enchanted an entire generation and that provokes this outburst when I see the world’s most creative agency parading the wonderful brand as Radha and Miss Palampur ( in a gross under utilisation of the great Big B) and now this one.. This one for sure is better than the Radha and the Big B ads which was probably the biggest disservice to the brand….here at least (as compared to Radha) there seems to be an idea (no Big Idea still) which is let out half baked and it will lead to indigestion…..The celebration platform was and is kept intact all this years but….. See these ads from the past and then let us continue….

Now….can one compare these ads made in 1993 (or 94?) with the Radha ads? With the Big B ads where Pappu passes his 12’th grade, the Kenya ads? With the new Pehli tarikh ones?… The celebration platform is intact but isn’t the big idea missing….?

Pehli taarikh (the first day of the month= salary day) is important, I admit......I am a salaried guy and live life on the first week of ever month.. But I would rather plan, prepare and purchase a pair of jeans or a shoe on the Pehli taarikh and sing a song when I buy it…… a bar of chocolate is intuitive for me… and it has to be that way for the seller.. Or is it not..?

When you feel like eating chocolate you will have it & you wouldn't for sure wait for the pay to come to buy the is not such a big deal to buy a chocolate and no decision or planning is required for it….

It is surely a big deal to market chocolates.. the big players have bigger headaches... Next time when I have a celebration -Will I buy a diary milk? is the question.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Midweek Musing !!!

There is no such thing as a permanent advertising success ,famously said Leo Burnett . That is amongst a host of other things that legends like him have left over as food for thought for the succeding generations of advertisers.

I was addressing a group of young Wanna be ad professionals at a media workshop last week when some one asked me this question..

Why do ad makers make seemingly stupid mistakes...?

Seemingly stupid is an excellent usage....... I told the guy ( with his specs and skepticism flowing out through his large eyes he looked like an odd man to be in advertising )

I knew he didnt get his answer... he waited and so did the crowd,,,,!!!

I was there as the subject expert and couldnt give an anser like.. if only we had an answer, all marketers would have made excellent ads.... I had to give them a more believable answer...

Can you give me an example.. I asked him...

Ohhhh........ he exclaimed... very well sir.. here we go.... Liril for instance... the zoo zoo's for instance...?

Oh... noooooo....... the crowd echoed in rejoinder..... the zoo zoo and bad ad??....... no one would agree....

The guy didnt give up... I do not mean that the zoo zoo was bad.. but why it has dissappeared and why the pugs and girls are back?

Can I answer? .....I asked the guy....

Liril I agree the flip flops but the brand and its agency will have a reason... making the brand contemporary or something like that.. may be they dont want the ghost of the past and the waterfalls to linger.. it is their baby.... I said even as the large specs went up and down .....and the zoo zoo's were created only for the IPL season and with IPL over the cute white creatures have gone too.. That is the information I have....

In that case ... he asked again... who decided the quality of ads... the agency or the client?

I smiled and quoted Leo Burnett again .....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....

Every client gets the agency and advertising that it deserves and every agency ends up in the kind of client that it desreves as well..

Amen !!!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Fun Gun !!!

Ad guys usually face this.. not a banana but the arrogance.... and why not it is they who are screwed very often...
Have a happy blasting bombastic week end folks !!!!
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