Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Fun Gun!!!

Q: What's the speed limit of sex?

A: Sixty-eight -- at 69, you have to turn around.

How I hope all questions that clients asked in Advertising could be answered with such ease and fun....

Week end wishes people and excuse me for my absense from blogging , entire next week, as I am scheduled to travel like a nomad ..... Hope to return with some salvation and more........... !!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Daz-Out of the Box

This 2003 American ad is finding a place here in Adformula not because it is the best ad in my archive... For that matter, I haven’t yet seen the best ad, as my archive is getting bigger with every passing day.....

This ad awed me for sure for the fun in it. But more than that, it has overwhelmed me for taking the formula out and doing something new... Procter & Gamble and many other makers of detergents has used the "doorstep challenge" method (formula) in which a B or C rate celebrity encounters and persuade a "surprised housewife" that the powder really does work better than other washing powders.. a dirty bucket and some unbelievably dirty clothes which when dipped on the said bucket will prove the point…..Some places and in some situations the formula slightly varies where the celebrity is replaced by a jealous neighbor or even a mother- in- law or daughter -in -law who teaches and the other one gets taught…

As an advertising device, however, it has been living on borrowed time. While it may have proved to be a tried-and-tested way of demonstrating the powders qualities, a whole new generation of housewives (and husbands too) found the idea a bit too out dated and cheesy to be accepted just like that…

Out of the box stuff when the ad introduces to us to Mummy Maureen and son Sean. Maureen finds an off-white bra in Sean's bedroom.Sean's girlfriend is not using Daz, she concedes, but the bra is not her’s either……. Sean looks bashful and the barmaid looks shifty..... TheAd is made by Leo Burnett and was extended into different forms and ideas of which I have one more to show and it is here...

Hitherto, I use this ads to teach “out of the box” concept… but as the saying goes” to think out of the box, one first have to have the box”………

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Follow your star !!!

This German ad with its brilliant copy, visualisation and execution and the song was an all time favourite for me..The"Hello" song was written by Christina Aguilera" , Robert Hoffman and Heather Holley for promoting this new car model of Mercedes-Benz A-Class, back in summer 2004.... This ad for me was ever so dear for it stands so close to the principles of life I follow.... And for the creative simplicty with which the message is conveyed...

Here at IBS ,another batch of students are passing out...... As I finished my 7 th batch of teaching Advertising, this ad was my parting message to them...

Go and fly out and reach places... Follow your own star guys and gals...!!!

Thanks for the wonderful learning experience !!!

Credits of the Ad:

Aug 2004
Mercedes Benz A class
Brand name:

Springer&Jacoby Werbung( based in Germany but having operations across Europe)

Creative Director: Rob Hoffman/Heather Holley

Creative Director: Stefan Meske/Toygar Bazarkaya/Hans-Jürgen Lewandowski/Erik Heitmann

Copywriter: Markus Sehr/Michael Benzinger

Art Director: Tilmann Trost

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Fun Gun !!!

Teacher: There is a frog, Ship is sinking, potatoes cost Rs3/kg...Then, what is my age?

Student: 32 yrs.

Teacher: How do you know?

Student: Well, my sister is 16 yrs old and she is half mad

No teachers and no students .....just a fun full week end !!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tata sky Active English - quite active !!!

DTH brands haven’t featured much here- for two reasons- one) they are relatively new and two) I don’t understand most of them in the sense- most are the same- the unchanged features and benefits and adding more to the same clutter.. no great differentiation and frankly I don’t find the need gap (I am happy with the good old citi cable network connection that I have)…… and since they are new, they still are in a demand creation and category development mode, and since there is tough fight among the players ( Reliance Big TV, Airtel TV,Sun direct, Tata Sky, Dish TV and God knows who all) the share of voice and noise is yet to be decided… just today news papers say how the ASCI has upheld Tata sky petition questioning the ‘Dil Titli’ television campaign featuring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor which claimed that the campaign “misleading” for suggesting that the picture quality of Airtel Digital TV was superior as it used the MPEG4 and DVB-S2 technology.. Airtel will soon have to withdraw….a lot of dust and din for simple minds, for sure…

The new Tata Sky active English ad, but even in the din, pleased me a lot… no great reason should be explained I know, as to why it is discussed here because as an ad it serves its purpose- Have it made the feel in you? And then does it prompt you to do the action part…..

I am not in the TG ( as I speak ok English) but I know many who will like to speak, particularly house wives who have a regular timing and schedule that this guys seems to have wonderfully understood and made a product accordingly… (Tata Sky has tied up with British Council in devising the programme ,keeping in mind the busy schedule of an average housewife, Monday to Friday, keeping the content new and the whole week's content being reviewed on the weekends… and the training remaining on air 24 hours and people allowed to access it according to their convenience. Active English would also teach people the correct pronunciations of words apart from training for normal daily situations and plus no grammar and hence no complication… and that too free for a year and then I am told Rs 30 per month… )

As any other Marketing guy would put it, great products combined with great marketing sell for itself… Advertising is not just about being able to write catchy lines and tit for tat’s.. Its not about drawing great pictures either.. It is about being able to reach to the TG in their language and fashion, when they want and when they are free…It’s not about being able to rope in a Khan or the other just to add to the fuddle…

I guess this ad where the protagonist woman speaks and speaks about how she heard of Tata Sky active English and how she used it to make over herself, demonstrating the transformation in her speech which moves from Hindi to English and then to a clear , blemish less and active English…I loved the way the protagonist talk about pronunciation is simple, subtle and straight …. And this fact that it is not boring or looking made up as the normal testimonial ads ( with or without celebrities most of them are boring, especially the doctors types that Dettol, Lizol, and the others use so very sterile a fashion) is a feather in their gorgeous cap…After Aamir khan, Aamir Khan/Gul panag ads, it could have been really arduous for the marketer to come up with something better.. This guys but seems to have done a cake walk… it proves again, if your box is working well, you will get some real out of the box stuff!!!

See this ad and read this review along with the fact that DTH is a service which is not so easy to convince people to buy… it requires some money and some serious process, that the buyer has to invest to get a connection( all the buyer behaviour process steps that one learned from a Kotler) … To feel gratified about the decision that he has taken after he has taken it, he needs to get better pictures, better sound etc ( as promised in the ads) , more channels for less (as promised in the ads) value added services ( as promised in the ads) and quite more..

The fact (however) is that many DTH subscribers after the purchase lands up in huge dissonance stage and just wanted to rip off their connection just to return to their good old cable network with no hidden charges, and no long list of channels that are “scrambled” and/or you have to pay separately to see it and still get to see the ads shouting Jinga la la ,pooh poohing their decision….

As of now ,three cheers to Tata Sky Active English and its active advertising…

Footnote:- “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits”.

Monday, January 11, 2010

TVS-Srichakra Tyres - Roadsense & Commonsense !

This is probably not the ads I wanted to start 2010 with, but after the hangover of the new year and its effects on me, this was the first one which got my attention..they already have a series of ads in their ROAD SENSE campaign… First I was like “Hey what is it all about?” .. Then I got awestruck with the graphics part.. and then with the Superman/Spiderman/Batman kinda creature coming in I knew the kid in me waking up and jumping into the tip of my beanbag and shouting "hurray" !!!! And when I realised that it is and ad for a tyre which proclaims road sense, frankly I was amused more and I was disappointed a bit as well ….I thought some thing called common sense makes this ad a bit different……

It is not easy to sell tyres.. ……Tyres are awfully dissimilar from the majority of consumer stuff that we sell and buy, so the function or a tyre ad is also totally different. People don't buy tyres every day…( except the political parties who go for tyre burning rallies). Neither do they buy them on a whim , “its boring today ..chalo let us go and buy a tyre”– people only buy tyres when they need them. And many of them buy new tyres after long years of having never thought about them…( stuck in the road with a flat tyre and when the re treading guy refuses any more cosmetic works on the flat tyre)…. This simply means that an average tyre ad doesn’t have a stimulating and direct action function as in saying "Buy me now! I'll never be this gorgeous and inexpensive (at the same time) again!"

The function of tyre ads is much more to do with reminding… keep reminding the buyer so much so that when he buys next time he should have your name in mind…. In that wisdom, continuity, constancy and connectivity is of great significance.

Brands need to be stored in the database of brands a consumer has in their head… the ladder as they call it… for a moment, if we close our eyes and think about brands that top our mind, who all makes the parade? … Coca-Cola? Calvin Klein? Nokia? Harley? Well and may be more but probably not a brand of tyres. Tyres aren't sexy; they don't necessarily make you more stunning and awesome, wealthier or more celebrated and hence people don’t have to keep them in top of mind recall…. That's why the function of communication is so important: Tyres also should walk in to ( and remain) in the customer's inner circle of brands…

This being the key ,something very memorable, what ad guys traditionally called as the "key visual" becomes very imperative for the ad and the brand name to be remembered….All the tyre men- be it the Michelin man ( a classic) , the MRF man (Indian classic) and the like, are shaped on this basic premise… TVS Road sense is a brave attempt in this direction, except that they could have named their man – say the idea of ROAD SENSE is well imparted but the MAN part is missing some where …

Nevertheless it is different as a communication and its stands out.. kudos to TVS- Sri Chakra and Vertebrand, the brand management and consulting firm which is behind the creatives….. Only thing to be seen is how far they remain consistent with the idea …( dont forget the pink rabits of Duracell and Energiser which the companies dumped , the agency forgot it as an outdated icon but the people remembered it.)..How soon they get bored of their own idea, even before the market does..? How soon they will waste the opportunity to have cashed in on the great Indian vaccum of brand icons?

Director : Ravi Udyawar
Production House : Ravi Udyawar
Agency: Vertebrand
Client : Tvs Srichakra Ltd
Music : Clinton Cerejo

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Fun Gun !!!

Q. How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
A. Concrete floors are very hard to crack! (UPSC Topper)

Q. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it?
A. No time at all it is already built. (UPSC 23rd Rank Opted for IFS)

Q. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in the other hand, what would you have?
A. Very large hands. (Good one) (UPSC 11 Rank Opted for IPS)

Q. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?
A. you will never find an elephant with one hand. (UPSC Rank 14 Opted for IES)

Q. How can a man go eight days without sleep?
A. No Probs, He sleeps at night. (UPSC IAS Rank 98)

Q. If youthrow a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?
A. It will Wet or Sink as simple as that. (UPSC IAS Rank 2)

Q. What looks like half apple ?
A: The other half. (UPSC - IAS Topper )

Q. What can you never eat for breakfast?
A: Dinner.

Q. Bay of Bengal is in which state?
A: Liquid (UPSC 33 Rank)

Thank heavens that Advertising do not conduct such exams before letting people in!! how many rank holders otherwise would have made it a din?

Happy week end folks !!!

Friday, January 01, 2010

The best of Advertising - ' 09

2009 was not just another year for business- the business of advertising in particular…recession spell a shock wave and the cost cutting that ensued first affected (who else but advertising?) and affected bad …. the scene looked doomed as more brands cut advertising , more brands managers talked accountability, more demands for faster results and flab cuts made life miserable for ad guys.. Branches closed down and all of a sudden all the jargons evaporated into thin and quest for metals at Cannes and wherever they give them came to an end…. Suddenly the industry became realistic; it required a crash landing though!

Advertising and its spell on me happened way back in 1996 and to this day it continues… when we say a good bye to 2009 let me just look back and scan through all those ,whom and what made advertising happening for the last 365 days !!!

Advertising does not cause people to buy bad products. Nothing will put a bad product out of business faster than a good advertising campaign as said by ad guru’s who walked ahead of their times…. And particularly in testing times when people got choosy it really required good ads to sell good produce… the ad world requires a kudos for keeping up the spirit and going on, fallen and tired at times though !!!

Thanks to the great launches of Docomo doing the new, the closer to nature stuff from Saint juice and the parking fee ad ( even though it wasn’t up to the brand’s magic) from VW Beetle..

Pepsi and their youngistan variants (with confusion and color spread alike) amused me while by leaving SRK alone half way through in their long drive ,Hyundai amazed me, but so did Toyota when they did leave Amir, so did Katrina who unseated Aishwarya and Sushmita from Nakshatra and Pantene ads respectively….Deepika, Genelia , Asin and Dhoni ( the cricketer) were the faces that came for many brands , God knows which all ,in the last one year…( and who cares?)

Garnier and John did connect to me and a large number of men whom it was aimed at, Quacker Oats struck with the Good morning heart campaign and the novelty in it was quite awesome… Mont blank left a lot of smiles with Anil Kapoor and his daughter Sonam and the good ad that made some waves but let some eyebrows high with the Gandhi pen… Cadbury’s and its classic diary milk failed to impress me (a non existent arm chair critic that is) with its Pehli Tareek Hai ads that left bad taste in me long after the first time I saw it on the first day of its launch…Surf and its daag ache hai has reached a level where a drunkard would typically say, the fourth beer is never as good as the first one…

Videocon oscillated and came up with a new logo only to walk to oblivion again … Geojith BNP pissed me off with their transparency ad which was a sheer and pure copy cat… Bekar ads were not that churned out making the industry look stupid, dumb and senseless about the clients money,(thanks to recession)…. Creatives stopped talking to themselves and/or to the competitors creative (to a large extent that is !!!), formulae and cliché were kept in the shelves, the industry of course indulged in some self pat , and bestowed awards on itself with a comical grace that is very own to us and us only but lesser than it got so self used to,,,,...

Onida killed its devil once again and so did Hamara Bajaj scooters.. The Hole came back to the mint called Polo in a new form but...Pulsar DTSI called itself the fastest Indian but for me the Indian looked like a Mexican and quite a confused one at that… Yeah ! India was fast- to forget this ad… Bingo red chilli and its hyperbole entertained me and my class while jago re kept me thinking and even vote.. but did I start buying Tata tea? The TOI Lead India campaign struck like lighting on a lonely tree while virgin and its naughtiness gave me back my lost college days partly ( I work in a college as a Prof so I haven’t lost it totally )

Airtel and its magic realism with the boy and his toy phone made life look beautiful, the Fiat Linea creative got my admiration for guaranteed and Visa way to go assured me that it really is going to go places…. The ING blow horn ad blew my laughter lid off and the Centerfresh ( Zubaan par rakhe lagaam) ones made me talk and talk about it in my lectures while the Fevicol 50 years moochwali ad left me wondering- is there an end to creative thinking in advertising?

Idea took the walk and talk idea to newer levels and kept it good , while Zoo Zoo lead the pack with its sheer simplicity and awesome innovation that made people wait for the Zoo Zoo ads in commercial breaks than the programmes that interrupted …. Programmes in TV remained the same, the same christmas tree like heroines, the deceit and betrayal, the vidhai and balika vadhu’s , the vamps who look like painted scare crows… Ekta Kapoors made more money and so did cricketers and movie stars who endorsed anything from under garments to under eye gels….

This is just a list of most seen TV ads.. out door, digital ,internet and the likes are untouched… The boom in the new found social media( Twitter/FB and the likes) is amazing but I will wait for 2010 to take on it more...While this list is not entirely final and exhaustive, this is what I got in my top of the mind recall.. in Advertising ultimately that is what matters isn’t it?

Advertising amuses , totally !!!

Adformula wishes a very happy new year to all its readers !!!!

The Contra Entry- Part II

CONTINUED from part I ,published yesterday ........

Hey hey don’t go away !! The contra entry continues…

its Dee here (the deceiver) as the Vee calls me. First of all, It didn’t began on the conference day as Vee is trying to make the reader believe .. Let me say that it began much in advance and I had met the Vee much before .In fact from the first day when I saw him sitting in the Library with a large bubble blown out from his face which hadn’t seen a shaving blade for ages….

"You cannot sit and chew Gum here" .. some one at the reception was telling him and pat came his reply “ so can I stand and chew Gum here?” I saw a weirdo then and there and knew that he would make my job an inch more difficult.. not that I hadn’t seen nuts looking like guys before but this one was going to be special I knew…

He was the one who sat reading a newspaper when a seminar was on.. he sat in his usual back benches from where the even normally tall guys could see nothing, let alone this 4 feet 3 inch …He came at the last minute always (with his shoes half worn , a precariously dangling lap top bag and a neck tie hanging from almost his stomach) and would deliberately get only the last benches and feigned remorseful for the same….. when caught he wore shamelessness as a decoration, and audacity dripped from his shaven face( short term punishments work) and when I asked him 'don’t you get time to read newspapers at your hostel before coming to college?' He looked at my eyes and said 'No sir!!!' One thing he is silent of is that in the melee he dragged his neighbour as well, saying it was his news paper and he asked me to read it…That was the moment I knew he will one day join advertising !!!

He was so fond of reading news papers and he was granted the wish, except that he had to do it standing at the main door, loud and with drama as if he was some TV news reader…

I am tall and charming and I know that (the self obsessed narcissist that I am) but see how carefully he portrays me as if I am a modern day Krishna if you can read between his lines… Always surrounded by girls is a flattery for anyone but a Professor…. And including the "one girl he was hitting at was behind me" – he says…… Hitting at girls and making them hit you were really two different ball games but this future ad guy( with all his biological senses active) would never understand it .. I taught advertising and not how to make girls fall for you and hence I abstained…

I gave him dirty looks as I would do to any road side ruffian sitting with one leg up on his chair and a shoe half a kilometer away, and his perpetual obsession to his lap top and the stupid rock music that he saw and lived with…
I gave him dirty looks at his seeming state of trance where for him,the world is a rock stage and the people there were his vocalists or heavily amplified guitar players and he lead them pushing its boundaries to absurd eternity…

Brilliant answers he gave for sure in my paper but when a brilliant prof teaches, any jug head would do that.. no great advertising genius ….. I made stones laugh for sure as I have seen him laughing and falling off his chair mostly for proving a point that he too was intellectually equal to the others in his class to be able to grasp my humour… I was never a competition to any one.. I was above the petty battles of the mortals..cult brands are not competed with.. I wonder why this Ad Guru hasn’t got the simple point yet?

I rarely get such pleasure as I am getting now in exposing people, fakes of the tallest order.. .........campus placements and for this guy?
For some one for whom no company , not even the biggest of MNC’s could look better than even the smallest of ad agencies, for some one for whom thinking out of the box was more important than the box itself, for some one for whom customs couldn’t be allowed to stale his infinite variety of life, for some one for whom every day was a big idea, it simply should have happened.. He should have joined advertising .. and finally the phone call… when he called and said he got a job in an ad agency ( I don’t dare to name it here, and it doesn’t matter … agencies still do classical mistakes) I had a smirk for sure.. a loud one at that… But the reason was different… I love the industry for all its charm and in spite of all its if’s and but’s but now this was too much… I smirked for the simple reason that I was now sure that even God can now not save my beloved industry…I had wept as well.. at various levels- from the way he carried himself to the way he intruded into my beloved industry....

His bubble will grow and burst one day and the whole ad world will be stuck in it… the rock star in him will come out one day letting loose a din, celebrating bedlam, breaking nerves, leaving pain and smashing guitars and still calling it music….

Amen !
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