The toothpaste war


Asked  50 people if they were impacted in any way by the war between Colgate and Pepsodent. And if it will change their decision in any way the next time they were buying a toothpaste.

No one gives a damn. :))

Most actually had to pause and remember which toothpaste they use.

So much for percentages and guarantee!

Anything is possible


Don Draper of Mad Men works on Madison Avenue
Don Draper of Mad Men works on Madison Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Two quotes from Don Draper of Mad Men to start this post and to make a point:

 

“People want to be told what to do so badly that they will listen to anyone”

 

“What you call love was invented by guys like me… to sell nylons”

 

The more I see of the advertising today, am increasingly getting convinced that agencies (and the client) and still living their lives in the Madison Avenue of the 60’s. You can sell anything as long as you play on the fear or insecurity of the people. Or play on their lack of self belief…

 

When growing up, there are brands that tell you how you can be more intelligent than the rest… taller than the rest… sharper than the rest.. (wonder what happens if theoretically everyone was to consume these brands! how will the comparison happen??)

 

As you grow older, there are writing instruments that tell you how you can write the perfect paper in double-quick time etc.

 

And then the fun starts… If you had not consumed the stuff that would make you intelligent and taller and sharper while growing up.. do not lose hope… There is a chewing gum I think which will make the big idea pop up in your head… there is a carbonated drink… gulp it down and you are ready to conquer all your fears… A cola which makes you do crazy stunts… And now the latest Josh Cola – Pepsi Atom! Seriously… if one were to consume all of this… why worry if at birth your IQ was bordering around stupid!

 

And not to forget.. all the deos (my pet peeve) who can get the girls fawning over you… or if only you can learn the art of picking up a fallen book (remember to wear Raymonds)… attracting the girls is a breeze…

 

And things don’t end there.. If for some reason you did not take care of your skin while you were young… there are miracles waiting for you beyond the 30… Forever young they will keep you…

 

Of course I have been part of this profession for more than 20 years but some of the stuff I see now.. makes me question what we do… A decade and half back… Pepsi used to be fun.. as my advertising guru used to say… the communication was a surrogate for actual consumption of the drink… there was a an irreverence about it because after all.. cola or any carbonated drink is completely irreverent.. don’t get philosophical…

 

Same thing with alcohol advertising – Johnny Walker keep walking or Teacher’s achievement awards or many such initiatives… seriously? And yeah.. that reminds me.. this weekend Bacardi Breezer had a fun-filled evening for the families in our complex… The problem with that… Kids were taking part in all the fun… and 12/13 year olds talking about how they wish they could have a breezer! Way to go Bacardi… catch them young

 

But enough… advertising will not change because consumers and their insecurities wont and as long as there are enough insecure people on this planet…

 

 

 

A day for all days


So heard on the radio the other day… “This raksha bandhan, gift your sister a flat.. discounts up to 1.5L” and in the newspapers there were special raksha bandhan menus at different restaurants and pubs. And since the “friendship day” followed soon enough, there were menus for partying with your best friend or friends… The thing is, there is nothing special about these menus, some of the dishes from their regular menu are packaged and priced And nope, there was no ad from a property dealer to gift a flat to a friend (damn! could have become best friend with somebody if he would have gifted me a flat). Not to forget the “friendship bands” (economies of scale this year since raksha bandhan was four days before friendship day so left over rakhis could be recycled as bands for friends)

Now the communication is full of Independence day offers. All about freedom and stuff.. a few from real estate and soon to follow will be hypermarkets and not to forget the restaurants. Then there will be Id and we will soon be moving into more such days to reach the day which starts the “day fever”… no it’s not new year (remember it’s the eve)… but Valentine’s day! where you don’t love your partner if you don’t buy her a diamond, a tv, a microwave, a car, a….. Just like all the stuff you are supposed to buy to show you care for mother, father or daughter on their respective days (apart from their birthdays).

There is always some day or the other to make people buy to either prove something or celebrate (republic day, independence day… each day of the diwali festival, durga puja, onam, pongal, durga puja…) seriously!!

The one day that the commercial establishments have not be able to crack really is 2nd October. But am sure… 100 years from now when that generation cannot connect with Mahatma Gandhi as a person and he has been turned into God, there will be a day to buy something. But hang on… Khadi Gramudyog does that! buy khadi!

I think in the future, the extra day of leap year should be devoted to celebrate a day for all these days and collectively appeal to the public to buy everything for everybody… Imagine… Offer valid for only one day! come one, come all and buy for all!

Idea stretched too far


So the new airtel campaign is out. Wonder what people think of the new communication. My two pennies worth… I think it is stretched (as the title of the post says). Har ek friend jaroori hota hai was so fresh… had an insight into the users (the youth)… was stemming from the users.

But the new TVC surely lacks an insight unless the insight is “internet hai toh friendship hai” and if it is so… Bleh! as the young generation says. This TVC is all about what airtel internet offers and not what the users want.. I mean sure they want all of that stuff but they are getting that already right? Else the handsets would not have had Facebook button and preloaded social apps.

I think everybody will probably like the song but will they connect with the communication and with the brand… umm I don’t know…

The age of mediocrity


Mediocrity has become all-pervasive. Is it the signs of time or is it just in my head but I look around and see it everywhere… especially in my profession… not that I have done anything outstanding in the last one and half-year that I have moved back to advertising but hey… I can’t be faulted for that!

Consumer… insights… compelling communication… these don’t matter anymore. It is all about “I have this product… it has just great features and I know that all I need to do is communicate them and people will just line up to buy into what I am selling”. This is not an actual quote but it is the mindset that is driving the communication.

“Designed for Humans” says the tagline of Samsung Galaxy S III… eh what?? Are they trying to say that other phones are for animals? including Galaxy Note and Galaxy S II!

Saw this commercial for Rin the other day… all these women.. with nothing better to do.. gathering up by the hundreds to hear Kaajol talk about yellow fighter (I think it was called that)… So what women is this brand talking to? Seems like this is the only concern women have in their lives… white shirt. It’s a different matter that in today’s office environment, I hardly ever see a white shirt! even my kids don’t have white shirt as part of school uniform!

And of course… the less said about all the deo commercials.. the better…

Vodafone crap during the IPL… Maruti Ertiga commercial full of age old cliches… or the TVS Apache commercial with a tagline – “Scarily fast”.

The consumer, I don’t think is even bothered with the communication anymore… they probably follow the buzz on the web… read reviews… be part of forums and make their choices because those times when the commercial break used to be more entertaining than the program itself are gone…

I could go on and on… but no point to it… self-absorbed is what brands have become and to boost the topline and bottomline, agencies are also churning out stuff that gets the billing…. After all… for the awards, they anyways create scam stuff…

Idiotic Contraceptive Promotion


It is extremely stupid and downright hilarious. The latest deal on naaptol.com

Durex FlavorGreen Apple

Product Code: 950427

Durex FlavorGreen Apple Contents: Durex Flavors 10s pack X 2 with Green Apple 10s pack X 2

Offer Details: Free Pregnancy test Card worth MRP Rs.50/-

Price: ` 400

I knew some day condoms would be available to buy online but this promo seriously takes the cake!

I mean seriously!! a pregnancy test card with condoms?? says a lot about instilling confidence in the mind of the consumer about how safe the product really is! Wonder how Durex agreed to this promotion…

 


So yet another in a series of communication by liquor brands trying hard to connect with the

audience by saying something thought-provoking and profond (supposedly). And seriously, do the liquor brands really believe that this surrogate crap will make the people feel that the brand is not about drinking yourself silly, but about a social consciousness or whatever.

Johnny Walker – Keep Walking

Seagram’s Royal Stag – Make it Large
and Now Smirnoff  – I Choose to be a Hero

the underlying message to all the communication is consume me and I will consume you.

You can make it Large if you have Royal Stag. And a sports person endorsed the brand?? And the Indian Cricket team Captain also endorses another liquor brand. And now this –  I choose to be a hero by having Smirnoff.


Surrogate is fine if it stays in the fun area or something ridiculous as mineral water or glasses and stuff. But I do not think they have any business propagating any kind of philosophy… specially to the young (as all communication seems to reflect, except perhaps Johnny Walker).