Archive for Positioning

Brand new lock

Posted in Advertising, Brand, India with tags , on May 14, 2008 by manuscrypts

We’ve seen Vodafone going through a massive exercise, we recently saw Ceat going through a painful exercise, and softly, quietly, like the brand its always been, Godrej has unveiled its new look recently.

Godrej, for me, has been about locks. That’s the product in which I’ve seen the logo the maximum number of times. Although Cinthol happened to come a close second. (Cinthol has also gone in for an entire rebranding exrecise, about which i wrote earlier.) The Godrej TVC is decently executed, with the brand shown as shaking off a stern fuddy duddy image and moving onto a more ‘likeable’ and trendy avtar. The total spend on this exercise seems to be in the tune of Rs.30 crore. But are they making better locks now might be a badly timed question, i guess.

I’ve always wondered about the kind of money that brands spend on such exercises. The attempt is obviously to change the perception about itself in the consumer’s mindspace. But how much care do they take to ensure that the attitude change percolates down to the lowest level, and specifically the departments that interface with the customer? And as a customer, do i really expect the Vodafone employee to suddenly become chirpier and more pleasing in their interactions after their new customer care ads? The other point is that I rarely have that interaction because i can do all the things that needs to be done through the net. Similar is the case, with say, financial products.

When i see a Shoppers Stop, a Megamart, all changing their colors/looks/shapes and going for a complete overhaul, and spending massive amounts of money and energy on these efforts, I always wonder whether the end customer really cares about it at all. Is ‘rebranding’ an exercise that’s done when brands get tired of the % off, new schemes and other tacticals and have no more stories to keep themselves relevant in the mind of the consumer? More importantly, in a constantly changing landscape, where one wrong YouTube video can wreck your brand’s image , should you be putting such a lot of eggs in one basket? Shouldn’t the focus be on customer touchpoints, be it real or virtual?

until next time, kuch to log kahenge, logo ka kaam hai kehna 🙂

Born tough, but advertising ruined me

Posted in Advertising, Brand, India with tags , on May 12, 2008 by manuscrypts

Change. Thats exactly what I’d like those Ceat guys to do about their campaign. After their TVC started airing, it took me this post to understand exactly what they meant by the ad, because I was too busy trying to figure out what was happening to notice the logo change. Also happened to see more from the same family like this, this, and this. Just because change is a constant does it mean you have to force it to happen? Couldn’t see anything wrong with a positioning like ‘Born Tough’, unless of course they either hired a new marketing head or a new agency, who, by now would wish they had the original rhino’s thick skin judging by the reviews I’m reading online.

I wish someone could’ve explained by now what exactly has changed and why, because if i happen to see that guy on the road, I just might dip my hand into the wallet and offer him some….. change. I wonder why they didn’t tie up with TOI for their Chennai launch, after all the campaign said ‘Next Change’. The possibilities just go on – the guy sitting on a beach and the super going ‘Sea Change’, CEAT changing the model, and the old guy walking with a tee saying ‘Ex-change’, and so on.

For a product like tyres, wouldn’t it be better if they concentrated on the product, retail and distribution, and talked about its benefits rather than talk about change. After all, the category that the brand operates in should be kept in mind before deciding on communication strategies. This kind of stuff begs something similar to that old KF-Jet-Go Air jpeg that made its rounds. In this case, MRF coming out with something on the lines of ‘No Change. Still the best’.

Oh damn, now i can see the banner ads on rediff too!! Like the author of the post i mentioned earlier suggested, by this token, a tee should end all concerns regarding a brand’s identity change. And continuing with his take on ambient ideas, here’s one, while driving on a mountain road, you see a theatre playing ‘Darr’. A little way ahead, you see another theatre, guess what movie is playing there?

until next time, tough luck

Bubble 2.0

Posted in Advertising, Brand, India, Internet with tags , , on May 7, 2008 by manuscrypts

This could be called a misleading title, since it doesn’t have anything to do with the doomsday messages for web2.0, but working in a tabloid sometimes has its effects.

I’d written earlier on how a few of yesteryear brands were staging a comeback of sorts. Cinthol was one of them, and I’d written how the website just wasn’t happening. Well, according to this, they’ve just done a revamp.

I’m not going to get into the review of the site, this captures it well, though a bit harshly 🙂 , since i thought the execution by Interactive Avenues was decent, if not great. To begin with, lets take a look at the rationale – “Godrej wanted us to create a platform where the youth could find out about Cinthol’s brand values and which they would find entertaining enough to continue their interaction with the brand. In simple words, ‘take the real life freshness and energetic Cinthol experience online’.”

While I agree that the digital medium is definitely worth every praise it gets, and the youth does connect to it in a major way, does it mean that every brand, irrespective of its category, mode of distribution, value proposition to the user etc jump onto it, without a real clue on the tangible gains that can be derived?

Back to Cithol, this is only Phase 1, according to the article, tie ups with Yahoo, rediff, Zapak etc will generate site traffic. No social media for now. Phew! Assume (for now) that they have content in place, how much of an impact does a communication of brand ethos online and a few games have on really buying the soap/deo offline? I’m really not convinced about ‘Dude, that flash game was cool, let’s buy the soap’. Unless the idea is to start a dhobi ghaat, there is a limit to what community building can be expected to achieve.

Meanwhile, there’s another bubbly player, according to this article. Even though the article says that the site design is not exactly excellent, at least in the case of Surf Excel there is a possibility of finding a tangible connect between stain removing methods online and buying the product offline. But they seem to have gone to the other extreme by forcing users to give addresses, and thereby standing a good chance of er, staining the relationship.

I personally think that brands have to take a long look at their objectives before they ride the bandwagon.

until next time, daily soap


Posted in Brand, India with tags , , , , , on March 10, 2008 by manuscrypts

In this great land where virginity does command a premium, Richard Branson does a tango with Tata Teleservices to offer Virgin mobile to the ever growing Indian mobile subscriber population. The mechanics of the partnership has been explained quite well here. For the lazybums, Virgin is globally a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) i.e. it buys spectrum time from operators and then sells it under its own brand name. Thats not allowed in India, so Branson said Tata. Its good for Tata Indicom because even with  (or should i say specially because of) Kajol aunty, the youth haven’t quite taken to Chindicom.

Virgin has launched with a dhamaka offer of paying 10p/minute to the customer for the incoming call, which can be used to avail of other Virgin services. Many publications here had a frontpage takeover with a red ‘Zara Hatke’. An offer, they say, will make the competition see red. Me thinks maybe those Eveready guys should get into OEM services for Virgin batteries. Gimme red? 😉

Now that we have the facts out of the way, lets get back to the scope of the blog. The weekend also saw a liberal splashing of the new TVC. Though it reminded me of an old forward, it was done extremely well, and was definitely ‘zara hatke’. It had spunk, a positioning that steered well clear of the regular mobile service provider brand ads and an execution that will easily grab eyeballs. Can’t seem to find the TVC anywhere, so lemme know in case you guys suddenly discover it on you tube or someplace else. They’ve also (in association with Channel V) shot the short movie Andaaz Apna Very Hatke. If you are a Neha Dhupia fan, you can read about her special appearance in it here. Branson and Dhupia almost got themselves a Richard Gere-Shilpa Shetty there.

While the Indian mobile market is already in a highly developed state in terms of at least number of players, i think there’s still room left for clever positioning and lots of ground to cover on services being offered. Virgin Mobile interests me because of two of its other partnerships in India

¡ a minority stake in Fever 104 FM (with HT in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai). At this point only Big has entities in these two hot but diverse entertainment platforms. This is tiny in comparison, but i think, relevant.

¡ the venture with Studio 18 and UTV Software in publishing, TV, gaming and film. The potential of the last two items on a mobile platform is phenomenal.

If they are able to evolve some kind of synergy on multiple platforms, we’d have some really fun Virgin services.

until next time, lets talk about virgin territories 🙂


Posted in Advertising, Brand, India with tags , , on January 30, 2008 by manuscrypts

No, thats not an opposite, more a reminder of the days in school when we were made to write a spelling or a multiplication table multiple times in a bid to make us memorise it. Can’t remember if it worked, though the Bart Simpson version of imposition during the Simpsons titles works for me 🙂

But we aren’t a sitcom blog, so the blog title refers to the stance taken by a lot of brands as far as positioning goes. While i do not even contest the importance of positioning during the launch of a product, i definitely argue on hanging on to a positioning, especially if it is in the form of a tagline. This is an era in which brands are being forced to re-consider their existence strategy on the face of a changing media and user landscape, and to carry on a love affair with a tagline might be absolute harakiri.

My favourite examples of  brands which have reinvented itself consistenctly, and been succesful at it would be Pepsi and MTV. Pepsi was cool when they made iconic lines like ‘Yehi hain right choice baby’, ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ , ‘Nothing Official about it’, and they’re still cool when they make Shah Rukh an ‘uncle’, even though some people refer to it unfairly as an ad for SRK’s and John’s toilets. MTV was hot when Nonie (sigh) used to be around, and still is er, with Cyrus ;). The difference between the two youth brands is that while pepsi could not change the product, and has to resort to positioning and packaging and other innocations like say, gaming to keep being cool, MTV had the liberty to change content to suit a changing young generation, but both have done a commendable job without hanging on to lines for too long.

Look around, and you’ll see taglines which are redundant, and ones which cause more harm than good. This is a case in point. I wish the energy and time spent on evolving catchy taglines would also be spent on making better products and delivering better service. Rather than trying to impose a certain point of view on the audience’s mind by repeating catch phrases for years, wouldn’t it be much better to deliver a good product/service and communicate it effectively in the right context?

And yes, the reason Bart’s imposition works for me is because he changes it in every episode and still keeps it funny. He evolves.


Posted in Advertising, Brand, India with tags , , , , , on June 3, 2007 by manuscrypts
And they asked in desperation, If you had to choose between sin and God, weaver, what would you choose? And he laughed and he said, Sin, always sin. Sin is fun, sin is forbidden, sin is, what shall i say, so sinful. They should forbid God as they forbid sin, then maybe he would become far more attractive and we would all be drawn to him.
God’s Little Soldier, Kiran Nagarkar
The concept, if you think about it, is not an unknown one in marketing, its called positioning. On the contrary, it is one of the pillars, and in this era of commoditisation, it is all the more significant. So it’s not altogether surprising to see brands like Chlormint, Mentos, Happydent and Orbit veer away from the expected trajectory, in their advertising.
There is some spring mention of the product in the ads, and the emphasis is on making the ad as ‘different’ as possible. From the weird cow doctor to a town getting lit by shining teeth and from ‘dubara mat poochna’ to noisy footwear in a classical concert, the ads are entertaining, to say the least, and show an abundance in creativity.
But a small dipstick i did, (unsurprisingly) proved my hunch- the ad was remembered, and appreciated, but what was the brand again?
So what’s upsetting the apple cart – commoditisation or hypercreativity?
What a bunch of cretins you have for your devotees, oh Lord, he laughed out loud. The fools would sever you from your creation.
and i bid adieu while you chew on it.