Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ads – Fads

For people like me for whom marketing is a profession, it is a way of life. But like it or not, this is true for all others as well. Come to think of it – we have to market ourselves to our employers – both current and prospective, life partners (before and after marriage), relatives, social circle and everyone else. Conscious or otherwise, it is an activity that we can’t do without.
Some people take it to extremes – too much show off, some underplay it. Same is true for brands - great brands connect with their consumers and are able to charge a premium while others flounder. There is some inherent value and some perceived – for good brands the perceived value is very high. While good products and services eventually get popular, the role of advertising should be restricted to the dissemination of information about the launch of a new product or service.
With the overload of information and the emergence of electronic media, more and more advertising campaigns have been “trying” to be different to break the clutter. Some of the recent ones have been downright stupid, as below -
Two time strong jeans –
So till now we were wearing weak jeans, even then the normal jeans refuse to wear and tear after years of abuse, I wonder what will the newer stronger jeans will do to us.
3D TV ad in normal TV -
If I can appreciate the features of a 3D TV in my normal 2D TV then I don’t need the 3D TV. Period.
Better sound ads in normal speakers -
Same as the above. If my normal speakers can make me differentiate how a “better” speaker will sound, I definitely don’t need a better speaker.
Air cushion shoes to bare foot running -
The shoe makers have taken us for a grand ride. All these years the focus was on “cushion” shoes – air cushion soles and what not. All this was apparently scientifically proven – that is why we paid more and more money for shoes. Apparently all that was hogwash. The latest trend is “barefoot running” – shoes so thin that you feel you are running barefoot. Also they cost more than your normal cushion shoes.
Deo/Aftershave/Perfumes -
This industry is built on creating “desirability” amongst males. Nothing else matters – if you are using the right brands of the above girls will flock to you. Except the fact that now all the above have the same advertising and hence in order to have a sure shot result it is better to apply all the ones at the same time so that at least one works. Unfortunately nothing of this sort works.
Fairness creams -
Our weakness for fair skin is legendary. Many fairness creams (for both males and females) have taken advantage of this weakness and launched products. Now there are powders available to make us look like westerners. These products are like the “garibi hataao” policies of the Congress – so many decades of implementation and no results. Same is true for the users of these products.
Good Luck medallions/rings/bracelets -
If there was ever a product category made to benefit from our insecurities – it is this. This is 2nd on the list of things that irritate me – on top are the chain mails/sms’s that if not forwarded immediately bring you bad luck for many years to come. Come to think of it – if adding or removing an alphabet to your name or wearing any of the above could change destinies then the makers of these would be rich beyond imagination and not peddling these services to make their ends meet.
While marketing helps, it can’t really support a weak product – truth eventually prevails as one can’t fool all the people all the time. See how chinks appear in the carefully cultivated image of our aspiring PM Pappu every time he opens his mouth. I hope we start to see better campaigns and some memorable ones like Hamara Bajaj, Neighbours Envy - Owners Pride and others.  
I end the week wishing the readers a happy Diwali and a prosperous festive season.
Keeping with the festive mood next week I will write on the relationship between “gyan” and “dhan”.

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