Saturday, October 31, 2009
"My dear guests . . . I have a proposition to every man here. I will give one million dollars or my daughter to the man who can swim across this pool full of alligators and emerge alive!"
As soon as he finished his last word, there was the sound of a large splash!! There was one guy in the pool swimming with all he could and screaming out of fear. The crowd cheered him on as he kept stroking as though he was running for his life. Finally, he made it to the other side with only a torn shirt and some minor injuries. The millionaire was impressed.
He said, "My boy that was incredible! Fantastic! I didn't think it could be done! Well I must keep my end of the bargain. Do you want my daughter or the one million dollars?"
The guy says, "Listen, I don't want your money, nor do I want your daughter! I want the person who pushed me in that water!"
For years ,trust me I searched for the guy who first told me that advertising is a great profession... ! just Kidding people... Have fun this week end but be safe ,,,,,,
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The definitions for sure owe a lot to the historical development of advertising agencies and how they charged for their services... (today the scene has changes in many areas, drastically but the ghost of the past remains). In a nutshell, 'above-the-line' is any work done involving media where a commission is taken by an advertising agency, and 'below-the-line' is work done for a client where a standard charge(fees) replaces commission.
An advertising agency’s clients did not pay directly for its services;( the agency made its money as sales agent for the media). Hope the past tense is noted....Press, TV, outdoor, radio and cinema were above the line; direct mail, PR, sales promotions of various sorts, events and sponsorships were generally below.
Originally, advertising agencies would offer all these services and could subsidise the below-the-line activities with the commissions from the others. Over time, below-the-line activities became more specialized and separate agencies grew up to deal with them,( Thanks to the money makers who changed the communications industry horizons) and as advertisers negotiated to have rebates on commissions or to switch to fee payment, the economics of the old-style full service became unsustainable.
Two factors have largely contributed to the rise of the BTL on par with ATL...
one, With increasing consumer fragmentation and rising pressure on marketing communication to create brands and sustain branding pressures, BTL activities started substituting ATL activities and thus, there has been a steady growth in BTL expenditure.
two, a major impact of the economic slowdown was on marketing and advertising spends which started looking for accountability for every rupee spend and ROI in the short term became important and coupled with the consumption expenditure which fell BTL had to grow....
Today a wide range of communications agencies offer specialized services, so that a brand’s communications are normally fragmented among a number of different suppliers(I contract, ray and Keshavan, Mudra Max, Ogilvy Action, 141 Sercon, JWT Encompass, and RMG Connect are just a few examples).....
The expressions above and below the line linger on, but there is now much talk about the importance of “integrated marketing”, or “through the line” which is about how best to bring back together the fragmented pattern of activities in the better interests of the client. The Incredible India campaign,Commonwealth Youth Games 2008, Pepsi Blue Billion campaign,Pepsodent Bhoot Police campaign, Grand Kerala shopping campaign etc are amongst a few which have used these integrated route and was seen "on the line" .
Saturday, October 24, 2009
"Yes, this is June."
"Will you marry me?"
"Of course I will! But who's this?"
Dont you think most of our agencies for whatever reasons are ready to be married so .. with any one?
Have fun guys... its a week end again !!!!
Friday, October 23, 2009
The client sold chocolates and candies...and was good in that...We ( My second agency which took me to Europe) handled the creatives and the going was smooth..they werent a trouble making client ..No IKE 's.. no shocking surprises... no tantrums.. a dream client....
They came up with a new type of candy which would cause a "revolution" as per their brand manager ..It was as normal as any other candy form out side and when one starts eating but as you go in.. voilaaaaaaaaa it rocks..it turns sour...funny...shocking.. and then slowly you start liking it...that unconventional taste of this new candy starts slowly tickling you, and by the time you finish it you fall in love with it......oooppppssss..... you even feel that all those sweet candies which you had been having all these years were bland and insipid.The agency went celebrating...the product as described by the client ( for every crow and for even a crow, its baby would be the most charming, the most attractive thing in the world).. and before we guys could troop to the nearest bar for the success that was going to be ours ( the ad guys are bad guys---we celebrate the success that may come, will come , most likely come, shall come ,is coming, come, ohhhhh it didnt come...anything is a reason to celebrate..), the client gave the One liner that was what was going to be the brief....
'Expect the unexpected'...It said simply...
The brains cluttered together, confused, confessed and confined, astray and astute, wild and vivid, varied and voracious, vocal and vociferous....everyone thought thought and thought..but nothing evolved except crap and holy crap......Finally the one evolved, did so from a junior client service guy who had just joined, who had an Egyptian father and a Danish mother ( he looked like Menses 2 the Pharoah of Egypt..and we called him MUMMY...) it was some story which some one somewhere had told him which had this climax.....
It was simply stunning....
To be continued...
As originally published on July 31, 2006 and republished under best of Adformula series...!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Nothing ! would be the answer for most of us but when in the midst of competition, most of them are forced to full scale venture into Marketing Communication, albeit half heartedly. SBI ads in the past (Surprisingly SBI for example) was quite a misnomer for this notion and for a PSU (a public sector unit) bank it was indeed surprising for the people to see SBI rolling out ads which for the first time smelt class and appeal ….
That ,but was the spring .. a lot of trees bloomed,… it was fragrance all over…banks across the country went for an image revamp … logos got redesigned, now colors , new brand elements, new communication, celebrity endorsers and a lot of soft music… a whole new banking scene so much so that an NRI who came home after a gap of three years simply refused to step in to an Union bank of India branch seeing its new aura, little knowing that inside its all the same- the same old people, processes and procedures that reeked incapacity and incompetence and over everything a disgusting apathy to the customer( kasht se Mar..)…
But the Ads were good .. but then came the autumn season… recession and its vampire effect spilled blood… the main stream private banks which gave the public sector banks a run for their money ( and eventually forced them to look, talk and smell good in branding and communication) started falling like palaces made of cards.. branches closed down .. The 8 to 8 customer friendliness and plastic smiles vanished and notable enough, advertising virtually stopped… none of the new and improved banks thought of continuing communication with the market place during tough times…
SBI but is and was an exception… they went on in what any neutral observer could easily see as a huge communication vacuum and probably was the only big bank to be keeping talking to the people during the din and dust of a recession battle… The emptiness which others left and SBI still talked in was the best opportunity in the recent times but the ads that came out was more or less an also ran or at the max one can call it as a good idea married to poor execution( every Indian’s banker!)… Initially when the concept was fresh, it was attention-grabbing but then the drag and too much of overdoing the dish spoiled it..... Then they took the same idea from the ordinary Indian ( teacher, police man, boat driver ,street vendor and the like ) to great men like Tagore and Jagadish Chandra Bose and keeping on saying Every Indian’s Banker…
I am not saying that the ad’s are a total disillusionment but it could have been better… Agreed that Interpub (the ad agency behind this creative) is no O&M (who left SBI for Bank of India after having got accolades for its 'Surprisingly SBI' campaign) .. but Interpub in the past have shown better creatives for SBI- the 'Pure Banking-Nothing else' campaign for instance, which said ‘We could make all our offices look really plush. Instead we choose to establish 9,500 branches to serve you’. If that was a bench mark this one is making me a bit unconvinced- day after day !
Every Indian's Banker... !
My primary question is IS IT? because it is not my bank and so is my friends , colleagues, acquaintances and students.. I talked to about 25 people in a sample survey just to avoid being biased against India’s biggest bank, and no one had an SBI account…
Surprisingly? Not really !!!
My second question is even if it is SO WHAT? Should a bank of the stature and size of SBI resort to such awareness type of ads,,,? Or is it smelling of a reminder appeal that comes when brands fall into a decline stage in their life cycle?
My third question is about the kind of money that is being spend to reach across the length and breadth of India with this ad and that too continuously and that too when we are hearing cost cutting and optimization of spends….I guess of all the spenders, a bank should know the value of money than anyone else..
SBI and Interpub should rethink of "what it wants to say" before the ads become every Indian's worry !!
Tell us a story, but something new... please !
Tail piece :- 'One of life's disappointments is discovering that the man who writes the bank's ads is not the one who makes the loans.'
Friday, October 16, 2009
Frankly for me this category was quite out of my radar as it was underdeveloped and /or elitist if I may say so. (I am not forgetting Kellogg’s who for years have been now fighting the Idli’s ,Sambar’s and Parathas creating, investing and making the category look like one category worth its name…I have also in mind the Mohun’s ,Murginn’s and the good old Bagrry’s who is a kind of a first mover but it required the marketing muscle and might of Kellogg’s to make the category)
Quaker was a late entrant into the oats segment( in spite of its international hi repute) into the not so clear market place as there are no official figures on the size of the market. But, industry players say it’s the fastest growing segment of the breakfast cereals category with growth in “high double digits.” Oats constitute 30 per cent of the breakfast cereals in volumes and 18 per cent in value terms of the category while the top four brands constitute 90 per cent of the oats market….branded convenience breakfast cereals market ( Markets segmenting and resegmenting happens over night ) is growing at a healthy 23% but even today almost 80% of the branded breakfast cereal market is been dominated by cornflakes…
One of course by suddenly owning the health positioning by being its most responsible player, (if not the only responsible player)
And two by being a late mover its role in developing and nourishing the category was less, but it has redefined it, it has also made sure that it takes steps so that it virtually IS the category in the process…..
Though the traditional Indian breakfast is still predominant, the market is changing – especially in the metros and many other cities where there is high literacy and a young working population –at least that is what this guys (the new breakfast types) seems to believe… their muscle and deep pockets but haven’t made much of changes and their varying positioning across the years ( From health, nutrition, anytime nutrition and what not,,,) haven’t cut much ice into the heavy eaters that Indians are ( remember the Indian saying "have break fast like a King, lunch like a Lord and supper like a beggar") and above all the huge price tags that Kellogg’s and the like came with was an inhibition for the average Indian.. Good that Kellogg’s is now an anytime snack, particularly and evening snack for tired kids (games marketers play!)….And now extremely good that Quaker has moved this way ….It is for sure -New and fresh!!!!
With India said as the world’s coronary ailment and diabetic capital, oats was a category anticipated to trace speedy growth rates as more consumers get increasingly health-conscious. Quaker oats saw it and threw the batten before others. The more I spend time in the website, the more I read ads like the one above and the more I see it on TV I can but only appreciate the wizards behind this striking move. Smart case of a Marketing long sight and even smarter case of Marketing Communication that is serious and yet clutter breaking, simple and yet competitive, path breaking and redefining a whole new category!!!
NB : The above article is compiled with information and statistics from various sources ……The author would appreciate errors and mistakes if pointed out and would be happy to stand corrected .
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
CelebTrack first phase in April 2009, happened with inputs from 6,000 people, rated celebrities on attributes like media presence,physique, popularity, power of persuasion and exposure had put Amitabh Bachan as the most powerful celebrity in India scoring high in most of the attributes that was studied…
Now Celeb Track second phase has come out with the results and MS Dhoni has taken over others as the most liked celebrity in India ,thanks partly due to the survey which happened soon after IPL and partly due to the lackluster show by his other team mates and the over exposure of celebs like SRK ….Dhoni has pushed Shah Rukh Khan to the second place and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to the third. Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar have moved down many places compared to the last round of survey….
Well ….for the uninitiated, the research measured more than 400 celebrities across the country to generate a celebrity power score (CPS) by ranking them on the above said parameters .
The main facets of the latest study goes like this …
“Among the male actors, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan feature in that order in the power list. Among the female actors, it is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra, Hema Malini and Kareena Kapoor. Among cricketers, the list includes MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid.
According to the wave 2 (phase 2)of the study, Salman Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Sania Mirza top their respective genres as the most recognised stars. In terms of likeability, Amitabh Bachchan replaces Salman Khan. The latter scores low on persuasion, exposure and image parameters. In terms of popularity, cricketers score among the classes while actors score higher among the masses.
The top five most persuasive stars are Amitabh Bachchan among male actors, Yuvraj Singh among cricketers, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan among female actors and Sania Mirza among other sports personalities. Higher classes and men get more influenced by the top ten stars, while the masses get more influenced by women, the study suggests.
While Sachin Tendulkar falls below Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh in terms of power of persuasion, he still holds on for products needing maturity and stature, such as financial products.
The respondents did not wish to read more about Rakhi Sawant, Mallika Sherawat and Sreesanth, while they wished to read more about celebrities such as Aishwarya Rai, Akshay Kumar and Sachin Tendulkar”
I wouldn’t agree with the rakhi thing here ( lol) but for sure sree santh I know more and enough.. Please stop glorifying the lil lad media folks!!!!..
Now brands can make informed and learned decisions, as per the percept team who is behind this work, and no longer the big brands who bet huge money on stars have to rely on gut feeling and anecdotal learning. Also, celebrities can yardstick themselves in comparison with their viewers and for that reason price their participation with brands.
Males and the ones of the higher SEC’s seems to be liking the cricketers more than the cinema stars but then cricket in India seems to be revolving around Dhoni, Tendulkar and Yuvaraj . And for me one shocker is the study fact which says that most people have heard most of the cricketers names but wouldn’t connect their faces with names.. if that is the case, what would happen to an Abhinav Bindra?
I mean people would have for sure heard the name but if they don’t know that he is HE when they se him on screen, will the brands that he endorse benefit?
It's all a game.. I mean the whole game of a celebrity choice…. Marketers, their agencies (like Percept) often ignore the key factors in the choice of the celebrity whom they select with fanfare and with all the logic of "his persona matching with our brands" et al….
Is the audience traits vis-à-vis persuasibility of the endorser taken care off?
Is there a study on the Monopoly of Communication source and its influence, Messages that is conveyed and its compatibility with the the belief /opinions/values of the receiver and the extent to which the Source is believed to have, expertise status/objectivity in the area of endorsement done?
Remember Rahul Dravid was a failure when he came for Bank of Baroda, so was Sania Mirza when she came for HP.. Dhoni and Mysore sandal is a classic case…
And in any case the risk of the celebrity becoming a scoundrel overnight threatens brands,,, not that it happens often but when it happens as percept would know it would be Horrible Mess…. Hansie Cronje was the key celebrity endorsers for Siyaram's J.Hampstead brand of clothing when he got caught in the max fixing scandal…..The campaign featuring Cronje had been running on the print, electronic and outdoor media and Siyaram and its advertising agency, Percept, watched in consternation and utter sadness as their celebrity endorser turned into an internationally detested sportsman during the night. Now that is quite an extreme case and let God forbid.. But the point is .. is it a safe bet to hang a brands future (entirely)to another brand whose brand value is quite volatile?
Having said that let me also add (quickly) that some study and some statistics is good... as the good old saying goes ,'something is better than nothing'!!!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
When he gets home he asks his mom, "Mom, what does f**kin mean?"
Mom says, "Well honey, f**king means roasting".
So the kid goes about his business until dinner time. The doorbell rings, and since mom and dad are too busy with the chicken, he answers the door.
"Grandma!! Grandpa!!" says the kid.
Grandma asks, "Oh how are you deary, where's mommy and daddy?"
The little boy responds, "Mom and dad are in the kitchen f**kin the turkey!!!"
Now have fun people..Until we meet again !!!
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Dissatisfaction with a client or turnover in the chief-marketers/brand manager's post at the clients side may cause a review but in some cases it happens as a routine also.. yet other cases as I have seen the Marketing team would be glad at its agency but the others will have a problem that will lead to a review !... In the first scenario, the decision to participate in the review is one heck of a pain for the incumbent agency because the chances according to some studies, to hold back the account is just 10%...
As some one said..
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Instant fame and image transition?
Easy recognition and differentiation, particularly in cluttered categories?
Aura diffusion from the icon to the brand that gets associated?
And what if the answer to the question is "all of the above "?
Can they go ahead… ?....theoretically it seems YES is the answer but in practice though a yes may not suffice, always,,,….
Mont blanc limited-edition commemorative fountain pen in honor of Mohandas Gandhi, is the brand in question (and for the uninitiated,) German luxury pen maker Mont blanc launched the $24,763(12 Lakhs in Indian rupees) pen just in time for the 140th anniversary of the birth of the Mahatma, the man who shunned foreign-made products, and stood for simple living and austerity … Just 241 commemorative fountain pens will be sold — a nod to the number of miles Gandhi walked in his famous 1930 "salt march," a mass protest against salt taxes levied by the British that dealt an early blow to their control over the subcontinent.
The pens are handmade, adorned with Gandhi's signature and a saffron-colored opal. Made in18 K gold, rhodium-plated nibs display an intricate hand-engraved depiction of the 60-year old Gandhi (quite a work one must admit…) They come with an 26-foot golden thread that can be wound around the pen to invoke the spindle Gandhi used to weave plain cotton cloth each day.(What an Idea sirji!!) The pens also come with a commemorative booklet of inspiring Gandhi quotes. And of course to ward off allegation of sumptuousness and opulence, the company launched a cheaper line of 3,000 roller ball and fountain pens which retails for 167,000( $3,205 ) to147,000 ($3,642).
Even that is stratospherically so out of contact for the vast majority of Indians, many of whom don’t know how to write, leave alone a Mont blanc… Over 450 million Indians struggle by on less than $1.25 a day…. Remember India is 134 th in Human development index in a recent world wide ranking…Gandhi successors and their Trusts have been taken care of in terms of big donations and hence they don’t find any fault in the product idea… but needless to say, debates, discussions, controversy and litigation is already on air…
Ok ! Now the ethics in the product idea, design and the positioning apart, does this match really makes any sense…?
Purely from Marketing and Marketing Communication angle isn’t it an imperfect alliance?
For me it looks like a bad marriage as it don’t gel… Gandhi and opulence is as stupid a combination as Elizabeth Taylor and parsimony … !!! Why it is that, two distinct brands with two different and diametrically opposite brand values have to be super imposed? Gandhi is a powerful icon, a brand that has its value that stems from the basic DNA of the brand –austerity and self rule…. Mont blanc Gandhi edition is just a misnomer, king of all the mismatches,,,,,….
No I am no Gandhian who opposes the use of Gandhi in Advertising,, why should I when Tushar Gandhi thinks it is ok? Why should I when I have seen and felt good with such ads like the one that you can see here...
I am just against the mismatch but who cares..?
Now I am waiting , for Johnie Walker( keep walking!!!) to come up with Gandhi special edition of their stuff.. after all he walked all the way to Dandi for the salt march…
Tail piece :-
At a local coffee bar, a young woman was expounding on her idea of the perfect mate to some of her friends."The man I marry must be a shining light amongst company. He must be musical. Tell jokes. Sing. And stay home at night!"
An old granny overheard and spoke up, "Honey, if that's all you want, get a TV!"
Saturday, October 03, 2009
One says to the other, "I'm sorry - I was looking for my wife."
"What a coincidence, so am I, and I'm getting a little desperate."
"Well, maybe I can help you. What does your wife look like?"
"She's tall, with long hair, long legs, firm boobs and a tight ass.What's your wife look like?"
"Never mind, let's look for yours!"
Reminds me of agencies who run behind what others have ,no matter how old and ugly is the one in hand, it is better than two in the bush !!!
Have a funfilled week end folks !!!
Friday, October 02, 2009
Dhoni, Sehwag, Uthappa, Robin Sharma and another cricketer together doing what they are the best in doing....no no.... not playing cricket but acting in an ad film… Dhoni after being voted as the richest celebrity from endorsements has become a better actor, no matter what and how his talent in the cricket field goes… The setting is rural Kerala and the young (?) Icons (?) of Indian cricket plays cricket with a group of local kiddos on top of a kettuvallam ( a boat which is big and has large flat surface)…. The plot is simple.. the kiddos get to see the holidaying Indian cricketers and challenge them to play a game of cricket on the boat ,much to the arrogance of they masters of cricket , but much to their disappointment later as the kids win by getting all the Pepsi in a cheap but smart trick !!!!
Ahem !!! From the Pepsi 'Youngistan campaign that featured Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor( and also and ageing SRK as Deepika’s Brother ) in an attempt to create a nation called Youngistan on the lines of the classic Marlboro country. Marlboro made it for sure while the Youngistan is still a doubt… Remember that Sachin Tendulkar was dropped by Pepsi as its brand ambassador after fifteen years. On the reason that “Sachin does not fit into our brand value and our Youngistaan campaign anymore.”….The younger the better, and there came in the Kapoor boy with his sexy looks, shape age and what not… the Saavariya dance made him a national icon (?) and yet the youngistan campaign wouldn’t take off from that butt show…
It was but (not butt) fun, not the Ranbir, SRK, deepika show but the spoofs, thanks to the Pepsi/JWT idea bankruptcy India had a laugh courtesy Sprite… see it here…
Well getting back to this new piece…which is called as My Pepsi My way which I assume is a passing out of the youngistan campaign....is more expensive ( all the stars, their trip to Kerala, stay in 5 star resorts, shooting in a lake, the boats, the security the blabla, the crowd.. ) unimaginable and one should say seeing all the efforts and the brouhaha this one is not better than the first one… J ust W asting T ime is a passion for certain agencies and with clients who are never cash stripped, why not… eat drink and enjoy.... tomorrow you may die.. !
The team who made it :-
Team JWT - Soumitra Karnik Executive Creative Director;Amit Wadhwa, Client Services Director
Production House- Corcoise Films
Director - Prasoon Pandey
Producer - Cyrus Pagdiwallah
Just to copy an old slogan of Pepsi with a slight variation….
This ad is nothing .. Nothing overwhelming about it …. Just another ship that will pass, in the night silent and unnoticed….