Media Pirates Part I

Media Pirates_partI

I am sure most of us indulged into all the world cup matches of India so far. Latest one being on a sunday, turned out to be quite a occassion for us at PR ( Purple Rabbit, Duh!). So we ganged up and broke into one of our friend’s place having some refreshment and all set for the match. Let us not get into the jitters of Indian Cricket Team, or the bravado of the Irish. Too much has been talked about it already, and I am sure its a good topic to talk about for some other blog.

So, in spite of the eventual win of India, we were thrilled with a discovery that shook us to the core. Right from the first drinks break to the last one, we witnessed a unique phenomenon. There are usually 2 drinks breaks for each innings in a one day match, which means media spots of roughly around 7-8 minutes. Quite a deal if you ask me. The amount of money that goes into those spots is huge, considering the TRPs that literally any match of India gets, nevermind the one in World Cup. So imagine our surprise when transmission of Star Cricket ( on which we were watching the particular match) was stopped and in its place came in a local cable channel!

PiratesI_in the world cup

This is highly unusual, and I must say a dangerous practice. TRP ratings which many in ad-circuit think to be of dubious nature anyways, would be of no use if there are sections in distribution that indulge in such fraudulent practices. At this point I must admit that the cable operator in local area where I stay, must have got a huge level of attention because of this little ruse he pulled. However I am sure he must have bulldozed a dozen media laws in the process. With growth of more and more DTH services, many think that old school cable operators are going to go off the scene soon. Well, here I would like to point out the little fact that the whole effort of this cable operator was to promote his own DTH service !! Very ironic isn’t it?

The bottom line is that an unknown cable operator from one of the suburbs in Mumbai, has walked away with sweet media spots, leaving advertisers and agencies helpless. Well all this hype around the Cup that Counts, did not account for this little theft for sure.



Nepotism, flavour of India

Just read an interesting article on how Shivsena is condoning an act they have been targetting since ages. The dynasty politics in congress. Needless to say this provided us with much needed fodder for our break times to ponder upon.

As admen, political campaigns provide an insight as big as the grand canyon into consumer mindset. So in Purple Rabbit we often discuss know-hows of politics, and as is case with good coffee time discussions, they lead from one thing to other.So in our recent OTC ( over the coffee) conversation we dug up the old issue of how sons of politicos always win away easy entry into the wonderful world of politics. But is it really true for politicians? A much deeper understanding of the social fabric of India reveals faults in the very thread of it. Its much common to see son /daughter of a Doctor become one,  son/daughter of Engineer become an Engineer, a son of Lawyer become one, and of course son/ daughter of an Actor becoming an actor himself.As a society, we have high level of acceptance of the  next generation carrying the legacy forward. As a matter of fact, there is great deal of fondness involved when an instance such as this happens in public domain. Ranbir Kapoor for an example, ( no offense to him intended) when he started off, my  mother who has been a big fan of the Raj Kapoor was all ga ga for him. And she had yet to see the film. She went on and on about how he looks “just” like his mother and how he acts like his dad. Of course, it started becoming too close to comfort when she asked me why cant I get abs like him,  as that way I will attract decent proposals for marriage. Needless to say, I do not talk about him in front of her. The point is, it would be unfair to dismiss nepotism in India as something completely corrupt. This is especially true when it comes to political or public domain.

The latest controversy about burning books by  the Thakre débutante created much furrow, but I am sure to old timers in Shiv sena, it must have been a monsoon of nostalgia. Many of them  must have reveled in the success of his first strike, not because it was for a great cause or anything, just because he carried forward the legacy. This attitude of adoring the antics of people who have yet to prove their mettle stems from perhaps the years of Kingsly rules that many states in India have had in past. Its in our DNA to worship dynasties, and the mindset which arguably is changing,  its a much slower process than processing the CWG scam. We have always loved our Kings and Queens. The drama, the romanticism involved in the Kingship allures many till date. Its thus very convenient to replace the Kings with politicians, Actors and other public figures.

Even the corporate sector, assumed to be untouched by Nepotism is completely mired by maintaining the families in control. Its almost like running a Mafia.. ( maybe a reason Godfather is immensely popular in India??). Once you set the Vito Corleone, there will obviously be a Sonny, and more importantly a Charlie Corleone some day. Who else can be trusted enough to take over it seems. To our generation which has indulged into this kind of politics, there can be just one salvation.- ensuring more and more automated processes, so there  is lesser chance of mall practice.

At times though, Nepotism will do more damage to party involved than it does the good. Check Abhishek Bacchan for example. A decent guy, married to the most beautiful woman in the world, child to the great actor Amitab Bacchan himself, he sure has a tough time coming up with goodies. So was the case with Rohan Gavaskar, who faced the chin music from critics because of the high expectations from him. I have all the empathy in world for Arjun Tendulkar now, and hope that he turns out a great cricketer if he gets into cricket, for his own sake.

As a country we have continued a legacy as old as our civilization. The family system which is reverred by our nation as the strongest in the world, must be some what responsible for this. No matter how modern we get, how urbanised the nation gets, somethings never change. Even if nepotism vanishes from India, which I sincerely do not see happening in near future, it will still leave traces of its flavour, always reminding us about our murky tradition. All we can do, is take a whiff of it, and move on.

Da- BANGG!! – why Dabangg worked…

Dabangg case study

Well, now everyone knows that it has worked indeed for Salman Khan and Arbaaz khan productions. A neat pile of money, dream of every producer, but a hard to please lover. What is it that makes certain movies a hit. Intellectually Dabangg scores lesser points than maybe 3 Idiots or My name is Khan. But then again, its debatable how much of these movies was intellectual part, and how much of it was targeted attempt to woo a certain segment of masses.

Its hard to believe that movies can be created from scratch, to woo a certain class. But its in fact true. MNIK, and 3 idiots were very well crafted marketing strategies, that had USP s like Aamir and Shahrukh, insights like insecurity of religion, and academics. A common problem for a great number of people in India. Hence all the accolades. In case of Dabangg, there are no pretenses, no quasi social message giving, nothing to woo your intellect. Still it worked. In recent past, many Salman movies have done poorly in market. Especially the ones in which he has not carried on his popular image. But one would wonder, that there are still movies in which he had the particular image, yet the movie has failed. So it must be a combination of story written with masses in mind, and huge popularity of Salman’s bad boy image.

People know that movie is going to be a mindless entertainment. But rarely do people want to take pains to think about the movies too seriously. A mistake many producers do. They forget what they are selling. Its just a movie, 3 hrs for a person which he will forget soon, or rather wants to forget soon, and move on with life. Movies with lasting impressions, more or less tickle your intellect and make you think forcibly, something most people hate cause we are already thinking about what our next job will be, if we can marry soon, how will we achieve the dream to buy that spacious apartment, etc etc. Dabangg was marketed as a movie should be. Its not a life changing event, any movie rarely is, so they kept the promotions very normal, nothing like what Aamir did for 3 idiots of Ghajini. The invitation was plain and frank. ” come, have some fun”, and well who doesn’t want to.

Of course they had taken great efforts to introduce every necessary item. A new face, a tried and tested figure, a regular bad boy to play the bad boy. And well, Chulbul Pande is also a little corrupt, so very believable character. The basic rule of advertising is to make people believe that its for real. An offer too hard to refuse immediately sounds suspicious to skeptical and argumentative Indian minds. More than anything, its sheer style of Salman Khan that has driven this movie. Every time a movie comes with a cult fashion statement, the movie is likely to become a talk of the town, and as a result does well at the box office. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is suddenly an increase in sales of Ray-Ban and young Dabanggs tucking them on the backside of their shirts roaming around. Setting a new trend is always great for the movies.

A product made for masses must more or less target masses for it to be sold. Simple really! But in spite of movies being resorts of hope and dreams for commoners, many film makers do nothing that identifies with the viewer. Dabbang won the competition not at all by marketing or anything, it was the visible Paunch of CHulbul Pande that did the trick. Afterall almost everyone has a Paunch in India. 🙂

Music=Magic Bullet to Brain

If you ask half the people in advertising, what is it about their jobs that they love most, the answer would be ” Music, where else can you listen to it on job?” . There is something about music which advertising as an industry loves. We love listening to music, grooving on it, but most importantly we love using it to send our ideas and thoughts across. A variety of brands have a memorable song/tune that just takes me down the memory lane.

A few days back traveling in a train, a tune broke my train of thoughts. It was the groovy tune of Maggy, being played from a mobile phone of a teenager, who delayed picking up the call so that everyone could know that he had a different ring tone. A typical behavior and one which I would never condone, however as a change, nobody really disliked the tune. I could see faces smiling at the tune, maybe remembering the childhood days, perhaps the first advertisements of Maggy,and so on. But there was a high amount of recollection and nostalgia around. Something any brand would give a fortune away to create.

This little incident started a chain reaction in my mind, as if a bullet that was triggered ages ago had gone active suddenly. I could remember so many such instances where Music has been used to a level of brilliance, to create ever lasting memories. These are not just ads anymore, they are representatives of a generation. Everyone remembers the famous tunes like Titan (Mozart’s Fifth Symphony), Raymond ( Schuman’s ‘scene from childhood’) , my personal favourite was Old Spice (carmina burana o fortuna) and this was when I was just 10. Needless to say when I required buying an after-shave, nothing that other brands had to say could deviate me from buying Old Spice.

The list goes on, many little diamonds and gems in the good old days. Hang on a minute though, there are some extremely wonderful and musical campaigns going on even now, so its not a forgotten art or a relic of the past. I was amazed by the beautiful Pantene ad. The tune was used brilliantly, an ad with a message other than “buy me” is always great. The YOU CAN SHINE campaign(Pachelbel’s Canon in D) has surely got to be there in our little list of ads to watch out for, that we maintain in Purple Rabbit.  Of course there are wonderful tunes from Airtel(A.R. Rahman), and who can forget Vodafone’s You & I( composed by Rupert Fernandes).

Do read the subtitles while watching this wonderful composition. A great come back at all those who say that good ads are not made these days. Point to be noted however is the wonderful magic that music weaves on mind and soul. Such works no longer remain just a tool to increase sales. It creates little milestones of nostalgia, transcending the barriers of time and space.Ah, we are getting a bit longish here arent we? Good things are always short so until next time..

Have fun watching the commercials.

Had You Known

After finishing my day work yesterday I was just going through some of the interesting logos of popular brands. Logo is usually a reflection of the brand in itself, and so observation and interpretation of logos gives me a
lot of fun.

A glance at the logo of Baskins and Robins reminded me of the reasearch that I had done in college days. It has always been captivating.

You could easily see that they have highlighted their initials by keeping it in the middle with a large typeface. BR stands for Burt Baskin and Irvine Robbins. They were the partners. But the real magic is in the number 31 if you could notice. They have portrayed it since they have 31 original flavours. And they propagate it as ‘one for each day of month’,

Their initials and the range they have is constructed into one symbol,thus making it highly attractive and creative as well. Even the typeface and colours selection which are used are friendly in nature.

Really, hidden things always give surprises, did you get 1?

Life for lives

During my childhood, I often visited my grandpa’s house in Pune with my mother atleast twice a month, every time we preferred going by bus because that was quite convenient. In the 3 hour journey from Mumbai to Pune bus usually halted atleast twice, and that was the most interesting part of the journey for me, the reason was, I could ask mom for Cheetos, which I loved to have as often as possible, I used to have it excessively, They used a character which was very attractive. His name was Chester, it was a cheetah. I always wondered if he would jump out from the packet.

Looking back at the fond days, I realise the reason for my childhood fantasy was a very clever use of the character. You might have had similar experience at your age too.
Well let’s play a game, what do the following symbols make you recall-
It was very easy, wasn’t it? Now lets try the same for a few celebrities.
Amitabh Bacchan
Shahrukh Khan
Sachin Tendulkar
I am sure you must have come up with at least a handful of brand names for each of them.
While launching brand with a celebrity does give you a brand recall if done well, it cannot be as loyal as a mascot is. A mascot will never leave your side, always with your brand throughout everything. Like Peter Pan, it never ages, forever young, and achieves the same for your brand. However we notice so many brands favoring celebrities over mascots, It may be because these celebs in most cases are themselves quite popular brands, and this popularity is actually used by other brands to uplift them by simulating the image of the ambassadors in their favor for the nonce. In short they may be greedy about instant results. A celebrity comes with a package, so you can convey a lot of things just by hiring the right person. But they are poor to pour life into the brand.
E.g. Juhi Chawla is the brand ambassador for Wipro baby soft pants. I am sure you don’t even recall a glimpse of it, as she just explains the need of pants. On the other hand we have Mamy Pocko pants where they have used a mascot called Poko-Jang. In the final phase of commercial it calls the brand name in sweet manner. So it influences mothers a lot, the reason is that character has life and it has brought the same to the pants,(thus making it one of the leaders in the market.)
These Mascots play such a significant role for a brand that it becomes the most illustrious identity of the brand; a glimpse of the mascot takes enough to remind us about the Brand. Very few companies have brought them back from the oblivion.
Today the Indian market is growing at a rocketspeed thus not trying hard enough to pour life into the brand. It literally gears down the usage of mascots which really has a magic to fuel up the brand for the long innings. We don’t have enough time or enough vision I guess. Still at times when brands like Hippo re-create the same magic, I enjoy a momentary visit to childhood.
(P.S.Unlike Shiny Ahuja, your mascot will rarely get in trouble or put your brand image in trouble. :P)

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