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As a marketer you’ll often come across some amazing marketing tactic employed by a local brand that clearly the marketing bigwigs are missing out on.
When I was studying at MICA, one of the projects that came to us was on Sony Pix (or Set Pix?).
We were told that Sony Pix simply could never match an HBO because it did not have blockbuster titles. It did, however, have some award winning movies.
So they said ‘we tell stories’. ‘Wow’, I thought. That’s smart. Interesting.
We tell stories.
There was something so powerful in this line for an otherwise lackluster channel. The movies had no great stars but surely… it had some stories?
I just simply adored the idea of watching a channel that tells stories and doesn’t just show me Brad Pitt’s armpits. (this worked well for the aspirational angle too where you want intelligent and heart-felt cinema?)
The we-don’t-have-the-stars-but-we-have-what-matters approach sounded simply yum!
Missed the bus?
However I can’t help but feel that where a channel could thrive around the ‘we tell stories’ approach, it still hasn’t done enough to capitalize on it.
For example, if you told good stories but nobody had heard of their names, wouldn’t you want to catch people and engage them with previews of the stories instead of sad TV listings, where I’d rather pick an HBO’s MissionImpossible over you?
Also I can’t for the life of me understand how the tacky promos for Chicks on Flicks would gel with your stand on telling stories? How in the world would calling women ‘chicks’ and movies ‘flicks’ work for you? Are you Star Movies? Cmon, you’re more powerful than that. You tell stories, remember?
Why in your, otherwise lovely, ‘The Pix Story’ section, would you have Diamond Comics-like sketches in the corner to illustrate the point?
Thankfully during my recent visit to Crossword with Sonali and Meenal, I saw this Set Pix branding.
PS: Sony Pix or Set Pix? Which is it?
Agencies have long been telling clients that the brand no longer belongs to a company but instead belongs to the people who use it, view its ads and spread the word.
With the internet, the consumer’s voice has only gotten stronger by the byte. And though companies are obviously not ready to surrender their billion dollar brands to the people, in some cases they are left with no choice.
After tonnes of people voiced their displeasure over the TVC, Verizon decided that it was best to just yank it off air. An example of a company bowing down to the consumer. Of course this has happened tonnes of times before. But it’s quite cool that with the help of the internet consumers can help shape the brand and what it should stand for. In most situations it would work best for both parties.
Yes, there may be that chance that a brand will be vandalized, but brands can still attempt to relinquish control, one baby step at a time.
In Part – I of this post I’d talked about how silly ads and marketing strategies piss people off, enough for them to switch their brands for good.
People may love a brand but they also have an equal tendency to hate it with all their heart and soul.
Here is another example of a woman who got mighty annoyed at the whisper ‘ have a happy period’ global campaign. (shared with me by Prof Falguni Vasavada)
Dear Mr. Thatcher,
I have been a loyal user of your ‘Always’ maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I’d probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there’s a little F-16 in my pants. Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from the curse’? I’m guessing you haven’t. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I’ll be transformed into what my husband likes to call ‘an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.’ Isn’t the human body amazing?
As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you’ve no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers monthly visits from ‘Aunt Flo’. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it’s a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend’s testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey’s Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants… Which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: ‘Have a Happy Period.’ Are you **ing kidding me?
What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness – actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you’re some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything ‘happy’ about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don’t march down to the local Walgreen’s armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory. For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn’t it make more sense to say something that’s actually pertinent, like ‘Put down the Hammer’ or ‘Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong’, or are you just picking on us?
Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit. And that’s a promise I will keep. Always.
Austin , TX
Do share any more example of people switching brands because of its advtsg. Thanks!
You can read Part – I here.
I was watching this Jaffe Juice video on how companies are clueless about how to deal with their consumers since thanks to the internet they now have a voice (OMG!).
I decided to put that to test in
So I picked three companies. No, I did not want this to be a personal agenda against a company that I despised anyway. So I picked three that I positively loved.
I’m a chips junkie and I figured it’d be great to just mail them and check up on why they aren’t selling any Uncle Chipps (which is the best!) in half the country.
I love my chocolates too. And having seen their advertising about the Cadbury Lite, I figured I’d ask a bit more about the product.
Since I don’t work in pest control, my love for Mortein might seem strange. But trust me, when you’re living alone in the mumbai monsoon (with no mom to rescue you from cockroaches and rats) you need your Mortein! I wrote to them with a query about their rat poison.
And here is what I got
Lays The mail bounced back.
Cadbury Server error.
Mortein No reply.
While more and more marketers rush to climb on to the digital wagon, they forget that sometimes just simple old emails do the trick. When I wrote this, I assumed they would at least send a reply, even if it was stupid.
Picsquare once answered my email within 20 minutes of my query. Oh and it wasn’t an automated reply.
Update. When Kapil didn’t receive a DVD with his magazine copy from Infomedia, the company actually sent him a copy with their next issue. Wonder when the sleeping marketing giants will wake up and smell the coffee.
Update 2. Kapil also shared this interesting post by Jenny and Dave who talk of the amazing customer service in India. It’s a unique take and a must read.
PS: is anyone else has had such an experience, mail me. I’ll add it to the list.
While many people are busy buying your cola because they loved your ad (yes for some it is as simple as that), there are plenty who aren’t buying it because they hated your ad.
When something with the ad goes a bit wrong, at most we expect people to switch the channel. However nowadays people receive so much of advertising that they’re self styled experts and will judge you for the vermin that you are.
Consumers are no long indifferent to shoddy advertising. In fact many are being quite harsh to poor advertising.
A recent verizon ad that shows a nasty pittbull has been at the receiving end.
[excerpt from Ad Age] Veterinarian Susan Ralston sent Ad Age her letter of complaint to Verizon, which says, in part: “I don’t know what your company was thinking. I don’t know how much money was wasted on this despicable ad. Perhaps you should donate the million or so spent on that ‘creative’ to pit-bull rescue in an attempt to undo the damage. I switched my BlackBerry to T-Mobile. Maybe if enough folks do the same, it’ll get your attention.”
Now it’s possible that there are only some 7-8 people who think the ad in question was inappropriate, but if those 7-8 people are blogging and commenting about it, then they’re the ones helping me form an opinion about your brand. (that’s where the internet really kicks ass)
Oh and by the way, I don’t drink 7Up. They did a very insulting radio spot on RadioCity once with a man eve-teasing a woman (in the cheapest way imaginable), only to be told that it’s the new 7Up curvy bottle. Like it isn’t bad enough having to hear suggestive stuff on the streets, now you gotta go and put that on my radio. Oh man!
A recent article in TOI claims that there may soon be a move to ban ads that stereotype a woman and her role in society.
” Women in “stereotypical” roles like playing the ideal homemaker or advertisements that reinforce ideas of skin fairness to achieve success could be a thing of the past, if the National Commission for Women (NCW) has its way. “
Sure, great move and all. But this is just going to be so damned subjective. Now will it be illegal to show a woman recommending a washing machine? Or a woman discussing problems of a home maker? If most of India lives like that, I wonder if showcasing the ‘new woman’ too much would amount to gross misrepresentation.
I believe there was a study (done long ago) in the US that showed that people of colour were under represented on television while they constitute a good 30% in real life America.
Is there also a danger in over-representing the jet setting woman and alienating the society’s concern with the woman who is still struggling with her middle class home maker values?
The opinion on each TVC will be subjective. And there’s no saying where this will stop. While I disagree with the Fair & Lovely ads, I still don’t think NCW has got it right. We can’t project a world too far from reality… or we might end up screwing reality itself.
A recent discussion on the new Titan ad (Be More.) got some of us pretty sick with the ‘More’ word.
Yeh Dil Maange More
Thoda aur wish karo.
While as people we may wish for the best and want all that and more, I’m not sure if saturating media with that one message will help. When everyone’s yelling for more… TBWA’s disruption would suggest we go for the less. Now’s the time.
The yelling, the traffic, the spending, the beta hydroxyl shit, the silver ions in my washing machine!
Perhaps our lives ask for a whole lot to be subtracted.