Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DIGITALisation of brands ... the starting point...

It is a tale of social media make over..Six years ago when I left advertising and joined teaching, the world was new to this millennium. The Y2K bomb had burst and the world was quite more a safe place. Industry was booming, liberalization was quite happening, the giant Alcatel’s were slowly being replaced by sleek Nokia’s, more people traveled by air and discussions of more private airlines were on air..More people spend more on more and more unwanted products and more people looked slim, handsome and sexy.. more houses came up, more flats looked spruced up, new and more cars on the roads that made our cities look like live hell here on earth, more gadgets- wired and wireless-appeared, more communication happened and more faster it happened.

I but was more amused with the advent of new media spaces than when I was in full stream advertising. As a management teacher who taught the new gen the nuances of modern day marketing and advertising, I got into the net working sites like twitter, orkut and linked-in, little knowing that they are going to be the new media sites for advertising as well. The end of advertising as we know it said, Zergio Zyman and I bet it is happening. The agencies of the past I mean the ones who live in the past, the ones where the kind of places like I have worked, the ones who thought and still think that they know and hence they define Advertising, resist any such idea of the age old realm of Advertising moving from TV and the print to the new age stuff like DTH and OOH and worse to the twitters and facebooks which are more about tête-à-tête with the TG than about one sided announcements that Ad’s as we knew them used to be.

Today, Brands who thought old, (even the oldest ones) seem to be rethinking. Coke for instance is trying to balance its late acceptance of their awakening to the digital truth by being fair more aggressive in its digital presence. Coke now will think beyond giving away Coca cola T shits and will get digital in constant dialogue with the young through programmes like My Coke Rewards in the US and Coke Zone in the UK…

This is in continuation to the Sounds of Coca-Cola programme where people where asked to submit videos in which they replicate the noises they associate with opening, pouring and drinking Coke. To enter, but, participants need to visit Facebook, the social network, to find out the details, and then use an "app" to upload their entry, with the best efforts possibly going on to feature in an ad campaign. So you have to be the facebook type already or better become one to be of the coke type.. the message is simple… This all is happening in spite of their respective agency(ies) criticism of any thing which is new and digital…

India too isn’t left behind,,, given the oft quoted age group that is making India look younger than much before(54 per cent of the population is below the age of 25 and 72 per cent is below the age of 35)….the scene is fast changing here as well.. how else other wise can one explain the phenomenon where companies like Hindustan Unilever(remember the Lipton Stay Sharp online jigsaw challenge), Procter & Gamble, Cadbury’s and Tata Tea( jago re was a hit) have increased their digital ad budgets for individual brands.

India’s consumption driving group of youth are increasingly spending more time online and they are now no longer limited to the metros or the happening places as we called them.. Smaller towns and cities also have gone up in terms of spends… Well…. did I say PHENOMENON there? HUL, P&G, Cadburys.. etc spending more money on digital is phenomenon in itself because they are FMCG players basically and hence require more ad spend and more customer interaction points as compared to others because it’s the customer familiarity that drives their sales…The web is an equal if not a better tool (as compared to the main stream media) for awareness, persuasion and reminding – the basic functions of advertising as we knew it… (Being first in their ladder of thoughts)…Yeah! The reach and the coverage is an issue still in India given the socio economic facts but that doesn’t seem to be deterring our main stream brands in seriously going digital ….

The whole game is not new ..the world has seen success stories like Sunsilk's or Mattel's but the main stream mass advertisers have been shying away in spite of what digital marketing experts and consultants seems to be vouching for … between the war of choices one thing is but certain – the internet and digital space may not replace the mainstream media at least in a larger part of our landscape but can go hand in hand … the news is that it has begun !!!!

This is the concept of Sapir-Worf hypothesis that sociologists talk about when they suggest that 'the language that one speaks reflects the looking glass through which the person comprehends the world and act in it' is a quite important analogy for the Marketing discipline( the Advertising or Marketing Communications community in particular) to understand. The cart off is that ideas, concepts, and images in the wisdom of advertising (as we know it) shape and delimit the domain of Marketing communications as a practice……

Social networks and digital space.... Even if you're not ready for a presence there, go there; find your customers and observe them. Listen to what they're saying.... it is the starting point....

Is it not time that the sleeping ones too wake up?

NB:- even as I was typing out this article, my Google reader tells me this peice of news... Brands such as Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Gap have all developed iPhone "apps" in an effort to connect with consumers, and are enjoying a variety of benefits as a result, particularly when these tools have featured in ad campaigns run by Apple itself.

Now I guess my point is made .........

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Fun Gun !!!

The woman behind the senior citizen certificate counter asked him for his driver's license to verify his age. He looked in his pockets and realized he had left his wallet at home. He told the woman that he was very sorry but he seemed to have left his wallet at home.

"I will have to go home and come back later."

The woman says, "Unbutton your shirt."

So he opens his shirt revealing curly silver hair.

She says, "That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me" and she processed his application.

When he gets home, the man excitedly tells his wife about his experience at the social security office.

She says, "You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability too."

No matter how boasting the agencies can be about their silver hairs, the clients NEED NOT buy it....

Have Fun people !!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The technology flooded customer.. (the best of adformula series)

How information savvy are you?,,,,

How saturated are we with flow of information?....

Or is saturation a light description of the "how' things are as of now...?

A study ,which I read in some news a month back ( may be it has become outdated by now...), says an average Indian who lives in a metro and who has access to all the communication tools of the day..the "infosexual" ...( eureka,,, eureka.... I have got the term...) gets around 7ooo + information criscrossing his brain on any given day ( Dr Paul MacLean as quoted by Micheal Heppel- says "the brain is a triune brain ie :- with three parts... The Reptilian brain, the limbic system and the neo cortex....")OOOf was it too complicated.?.

Any way it doesnt matter....So the point is... all those information making the receiver go MAD--- Message A Day Index as the communications industry has "aptly" named the phenomenon......Information deluged human beings,attend selectively, distort lavishly and retain sparingly....Voila.... poor Marketing comunicator ( read advertiser....) do you make sure that your communication stands above the the great arch by Noah...Be creative...In
creative content as well as choice of media....

See one example is ..the friskies outdoor actually carries food for the can any one simply ignore that...MAD or bad ..such creative stuff hits the TGBe bold and different.... saw the &*%$ sucker ad..? the idea is simple..Dowry is the dirtiest word..any other word,,,even the dirtiest of swearing, would become a day to day lingo in comparison...

bold and beautiful ..aint it?

Now whats the lesson....for an academic couchpotato it is easy to advise..right you ad guys out there..?

It is easy to play from the gallery ...but right in the field the heat will burn your ass right...?

But I belong to the TG... and I will see u only if u want me to see u.. talk to me in my language...Got it... or are you caught in the deluge... deluge of vanity...?

(This article is published again under the best of adformula series and was originally published on June 19, 2006)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Alvida Patidev !

They're doing a new show: Celebrity Corpse, where you dig up someone after five years and try to guess who they were. -- Paul Merton [on the epidemic of tv celebrity shows]

The channel office looked like a disco on a Sunday morning….

Quite a mayhem which was the left over of the brain storming that was going on… the program team, the marketing team, the strategy people and who not… they stormed and stormed and what was left was misery and miserable looking faces….

Now what do we do? …. said the program head…. All the internal concepts seem to be non starters….

Rakhi is married off and now they are parading Rahul Mahajan as the groom… said some one.. Disgusting….

Jealousy was the raison d'être behind the whole discussion at the main meeting room of Channel U that day… all other entertainment channels were scoring well with the Such Ka Samna’s, Dus ka Dum’s and the Swayamvar’s…

I thought the Rakhi drama will bomb.. Who in the world would have thought that people will sit and watch and even adapt to this bizarre concept..? HUH… Rakhi and Marriage.. What a contradiction…?

3.5 TVR to 6.3 TVR the final day.. said some one with anguish and derision …. Our viewers also… sab ke sab budhu hai….

I had thought that the Star guys have gone bonkers …said the programme head as if in revelation… Rakhi would be the last one any sensible guy would want to marry…
But see what happened?

People laughed …… the Marketing guy quoted from Einstein… “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality”

We should think in that angle.. Something so vague and shocking…? Far from reality?

May be we should take a list of all controversy kids… and…said the Marketing head..

And… disrupted some one … marry them off???????

What are we ..? …..A TV channel or a matrimony agency… ?

Choot bole Kawwa kate… said some one.. Why not we do the other side of sach ka samna

Ridiculous… thundered a director… cant we have something original? I cannot believe that we have only copy paste ideas …

By the way sir.. came a rejoinder … none of this programmes are original… they all have parentage in the west…

Then scan the west…
said some one.. What is left..?

Ohhh that is like plenty… but what do we want? Controversy? Or TVR with controversy? .. or just to redefine the reality TV genre and create a grand daddy of Reality TV like Allen Funt's Candid Camera..?

Now that was like the real issue… FINALLY !!!

A long minute of silence…

Think about this……. finally said the programme head… I don’t claim this to be true but this is what I think of it.. the success of reality television is due to its ability to provide humiliation……

Question marks bloomed in faces across the room…..

I know….. I know ….said the guy .... what I said was that the general viewer have a desire to see others humiliated and we will provide it in plenty…..

A Shame show…? Humiliation TV? …………Said some one quite unconvincedly

Ahem… the task is tough but we want something or else we shall be dumped into oblivion…

And we don’t want Bakra , we don’t want KBC or Indian Idol, no no to Sa Re Ga Ma, and never a laughter challenge or a boogie woogie…

Idea… shouted some one….

Why don’t we have a “Dump your Husbands” show… said the guy standing up…. We will call it Al vida pati dev!!! It will be a shock for the viewer… a shame for the abandoned and a lot of money for the channel and the sponser…

Silence rained ….

For sure it will create controversy…chat shows will feature it… MP’s will discuss it, moral police will attack it, but people will see it…..

No one clapped for they knew it was not what they want probably…

No one said a NO for they knew that MAY BE this is an IDEA that can redefine the reality TV genre,,,,,

Tailpiece: There used to be a time when you would come home, and reality was so crappy, you would turn on TV to watch stuff that people had made up, so that you could escape from the crappy reality. Now, you go out and deal with d**kheads and morons all day, and you come home and go, 'I just want to go home so I can watch d**kheads and morons on TV.'…

---Patton Oswalt

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eid Mubarak !!

Adformula wishes its readers a wonderful Eid festival !!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Fun Gun !!!

Guide: “I welcome you all to Niagara Falls. These are the world’s largest waterfalls and the sound intensity of the waterfall is so high, even 20 supersonic planes passing by can’t be heard.

Now may I request the ladies to keep quite so that we can hear the Niagara Falls?”

I better say it and run away ...... happy week end friends !!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Adspeak- Roadblocking ..!!!

Signboard outside a prostitute's house:-
"Married MEN not allowed. We serve the needy,not the greedy".

The term "roadblock" is obviously taken from the traffic vocabulary, but in Advertising it means something quite different…... ' it is an aggressive form of media buying where tactically media space is bought in bulk so that on a given day or on a giver duration of time, the TG sees the ad/ communication of the spender in all the similiar media vehicles...'.
In print media it means that space is bought in every news paper for the same day and in television advertising, an ad is shown on multiple stations simultaneously or as near simultaneously as possible.

Media buyers have been greedy like their clients who demand more return and more reach as well as frequency ,defying logic, and hence resort to practices like road blocking,,,,, so a user is confronted with the same ad on numerous channels…a remote wouldn’t be of much help in such a case since it is the same every where… .Online roadblocks ( the one done in web sites) are able to mimic the effects of a TV roadblock in this manner by exposing their ad to massive home page audiences and expanding their reach beyond a single site buy. The ultimate objective, of course, is to obtain 100 percent share of voice.

This is very useful for advertisers who need to promote something significant and timely, like the arrival of a new film in theaters; the series premiere of a popular TV series; a major political, entertainment, or sporting event; or the launch of a new product. For this reason -- along with the ability to show video and employ rich media with a large page footprint, and their sizeable price tag -- roadblock campaigns have been particularly popular among entertainment companies and big-name brands.

The Hutch to Vodafone transmission roadblock in the Star channels was much discussed at that point of time( 2007) and now it is the HUL road block that is happening today across the star network channels…(Star Plus, Star One, Star Gold, Star Utsav, Star Movies, Star World, Channel [v], Star Jalsha, Star Pravah and Star Vijay etc etc )
… Lifebuoy will the lead it seems.. so if you want to see Lifebuoy and Lifebuoy only, keep watching star today….
Impression levels of course goes up as people are forced to see..
Reach (as media planners say) is attained by roadblocking but does the MESSAGE actually REACH( as the ad means it.. reaching the heart,,,,,) the TG?

Clutter is broken and there is no competition so its all yours, even though for just one day… but does the message stay where it REACHed?
In the internet world it happens more often and more smartly….Recently, pizza chain Papa John's ran a roadblock ad on Facebook promoting a free pizza for every user who became a fan of the brand on its Facebook Page. Thanks to the home page ad and an associated e-mail campaign, Papa John's garnered 131,000 new fans in a single day. As of March, it was the second fastest-growing brand on Facebook after Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. But it is not easy in the still old TV and print world…

The big question is…..

Isn’t the strategy leaving a somewhat objectionable impression of "blocking" consumers choice to see what they want?…
Isn’t it forceful showing ? Isn’t it that they may get bored and stop buying…?

“I am one who believes that one of the greatest dangers of advertising is not that of misleading people, but that of boring them to death” said the legend Leo Burnett… the advertising world of Media planners, buyers and strategizing isn’t bothered about the reach as the creative means it..

And there lies the problem…
Amen !

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Onida Devil... RIP

The Devil for Onida was like Michael Jackson to pop … simply intertwined and yet they threw him out only to be reinstated later… Now I hear that he is to be dead and gone again.. the devil and its brand (onida) is a case of various angles… Brand mascot and its role in brand management…Use of advertising appeals in marketing communications campaigns the ifs and buts of Promotion of consumer electronics brands in India and the games marketers play in the name of changing consumer preferences…

The Devil was one of Indian advertising’s ever popular mascots, my generation grew with it..

True its not the case with the younger generation the Y ‘s who have more money than the X’s and hence can and should buy LCD’s ,atom DVD players, Micro waves and washing machines…

True that for Indians now the ENVY part is not that present since the “ability of the buyer” issue is taken care of by loans and “willingness of the buyer” is the only challenge for marketers…

True that the new ads are being talked about as cute, ( I havent seen them yet) where a couple.. (modern, metro sexual, NO gender bias kinda couple) who shares work and enjoy work since they have all ONIDA products...

True that the new ads are direct and tell us more REASONS why to buy it than being an object of a neighbor’s jealousy…( for that matter most of the new gen don’t even know who lives in their neighborhood and they care the damn )

True that brands have to look modern and up to the times…

As I have wrote in the past.....In devil I trust... and so do a large section of people who dont beleive in the current agency talk on brands... we all have seen it that when the client chucks the agency out, the whole jargons and long talks vanish with a BINGO..... its has been the case in the past.. even with onida....Considering the fact that in 1998, Onida and the devil had parted ways only to be rejoined, one hopes that he comes back in some form..

Till then RIP dude…

Advertising- being simple..

Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.... said Albert Einstien and I use it here to tell how much complex is it to make things simple in advertising.....

Here I go with an ad which is simply shocking, simply marvelous and simply leaving a smile as it is communicative...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Fun Gun !!!

A young woman goes into the doctor’s office for a checkup. As she takes off her blouse, he notices a red “H” on her chest.

“How did you get that mark on your chest?” asks the doctor.

“Oh, my boyfriend went to Harvard university and he’s so proud of it that he never takes off his Harvard sweatshirt, even when we make love,” she replies.

A couple of days later, another young woman comes in for a checkup. As she takes off her blouse, he notices a blue “Y” on her chest.

“How did you get that mark on your chest?” asks the doctor.

“Oh, my boyfriend went to Yale univerisity and he’s so proud of it that he never takes off his Yale sweatshirt, even when we make love,” she replies.

A couple of days later, another young woman comes in for a checkup. As she takes off her blouse, he notices a green “M” on her chest.

“Do you have a boyfriend who is studying at Michigan University ?” asks the doctor.

“No, but I have a girlfriend at Wisconsin university..... says the girl.... but Why do you ask?”

Happy week end people, the straight ones and the upside ones....

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ad Funda--- Account Planning

Account planning is supposedly an agency department which ensures that understanding of CONSUMER attitudes and reaction is brought to bear at every stage of ADVERTISING development. Account planners use MARKET RESEARCH data to guide the process of devising advertising strategy and producing effective CREATIVE WORK. They have ultimate responsibility for the strategy and CREATIVE BRIEF. Their mantra is “relevant plus distinctive equals more effective”.

The best way to describe the role of the planner is as follows.

The FINANCIAL DIRECTOR says: “My Money”.
The CLIENT says: “My product”.
The ACCOUNT DIRECTOR says: “My client”.
The CREATIVE DIRECTOR says: “My ad”.
The ACCOUNT PLANNER says: “My consumer”.

From its beginnings in the UK in the 1960s, account planning has developed into a job function in most advertising agencies. It was imported to the United States, initially by the CHIAT DAY agency and gradually send world over. The initial concept of account planning was devised in the mid – 1960s by the late Stanley Pollitt (one of the founders of Boase Massimi Pollitt in 1968), who felt that as more data became available to agencies it was being used incompetently or inexpediently by account managers.

Pollitt suggested that a specially trained researcher should work with that account manager as an equal partner. The concept was more-or-less simultaneously adopted by J. Walter Thompson, which established a new department called account planning under Stephen King in 1968. When Boase Massimi Pollitt was formed in the same year, Stanley Pollitt introduced a slightly revised version of the concept there.

According to MT Tainey, a planner and managing partner of the agency ,"Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe", three caricatures of planners emerged in the 1980s......

1) Ad tweakers, planners whose skill lies in helping their agencies develop and sell increasingly entertaining, unexpected and colloquial advertising that appeals to the sophistication of the consumer.

2) Storytellers, planners who focus on the front end of the process, giving the fullest possible picture of the product and the consumer in the belief that the secret lies in some quirky detail that will inspire the CREATIVE TEAM.

3) Planners who are knowledgeable about the brand, its competitors and its market structure, who have a close relationship with the CLIENT (who consider them to be the fountain of all wisdom), but who are comparative strangers to the creative department.

Since EGO’s run haywire in the industry, account management (of which planning is a part of) is one of the main tasks in advertising agency business. Maintaining a good relationship with the client is the prime job of the department but long term planning is a prime requisite to keep on that relation for long… and long term planning is done by the account planners whose expertise will jump from industry to industry..... they should and is expected to know all about all industries … from cars to computers and cookers to condoms…most of the account guys in practice , begin at the lower level as client executives and bear the brunt of all ego’s but with age and experience climb up and reach the glamorous positions of account planning….
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