Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reliance not so Reliable!

Well I remember watching this teaser that had a red sofa and the words 'see you at home' and after a while thought it was a Reliance Big TV AD... But today as I was attending this lecture on Business Ethics I was taken by surprise to discover that it was a guerilla marketing tactic used by Reliance. Coz folks this was a teaser by Airtel for its Airtel Digital TV which was stolen by Reliance.

For those wondering what I am talking about, here goes:
"Airtel came out with teasers to launch its new Airtel DTH service. The teaser had just a red sofa and it said 'See you at home'. Well it was obviously an attempt to get the audience thinking as to what the product was about, create a buzz about the teaser and then they'd planned to come out with an ad that would feature celebrities like Saif Ali Khan, AR Rehman, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir, Kareena Kapoor, Madhavan and Vidya Balan. But Reliance had other plans... It literally stole the teaser by taking advantage of the red sofa teaser to release its product 'Big TV'! It came out with an ad that used the same red sofa and the audio which said 'see you at home' and then Big TV completed the AD and touted features such as 200-plus channels, 32 cinema “halls” and digital quality audio and video."

There were a lot of comments on this act by Reliance.. A few called it cheap, a few said they're unethical & even then there were a few so called Reliance patriots who called it a masterstroke by Anil Ambani.

If you thinking that this is poor advertising ethics used by Reliance then it doesn't just end there coz according to Livemint the wall street journal-
If you (Airtel) are going to tease people, we (Big TV) are going to feed their appetite,” said Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer of Mudra Group, which created the Big TV campaign.
Big TV also notes that Airtel had no copyright claims since the teaser ads ran with no brand logo or name.
“It’s an open market and every player is expected to respond to competition. The campaign also gave us an opportunity to make specific claims on the product,” says Sanjay Behl, group head (brand and marketing) of the Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group."

Reliance have actually crashed Airtel's DTH launch party. If such unethical practices continue I seriously have my doubts on the future of Teaser Ads...!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Brand Obama: The only product that did well due to recession

Obama is President. Well, this is the first time I've followed a US elections closely and the brand Obama has done excellent marketing. He has changed the way elections are done, and has taken canvassing to another level.

For instance, I was watching a program last evening on cnn-ibn which was disecting the Obama victory and drawing Indian parallel's with Mayawati. During this program there was a video clip which showed Obama giving a speech in which he used the words "YES! WE CAN" frequently. What's interesting here was everytime he said "YES!", the crowd would follow-up with a chorus "YES! WE CAN". This speech was intented to pep up the crowd and instill belief that the US can recover from its current financial crisis. Man it seriously has instilled some confidence. Moroever the terms "YES! WE CAN" which in some sorts is a great slogan, has worked wonders for brand Obama. Now that is marketing personified.
Word-of-mouth, Slogans, Market Penetration, Buzz marketing, product bundling, etc etc name any concept in marketing and you'd see a great application in the Obama Story.

Consider the million regular bloggers around the world, you could be rest assured that 9 outta 10 of them would've offered views on Obama. This has resulted in a great word-of-mouth campaign. For those who remember the reception he got when he went to Berlin during his campaign, would agree with me that he literally got a celebrity's welcome! His brand awareness campaign has had amazing market penetration. Even the Coke's and McDonald's of the world took more time to be such a common household name, but Brand Obama has done it all in a matter of few months.

You know all hoopla that goes happens in India when there's an election. How many times has the Indian elections created such a hype that other countries keenly watch and analyse it? I would say none! Or take even the developed countries, the day i heard a few ppl talk about the UK elections was when Tony Blair stepped down and Gordon down took office!

The buzz about brand Obama has grown multiple folds and has done a great job. It has got people talking, writing, following it around the world. I feel marketers around the world should soon start using this as a benchmark to assess the success of their marketing campaign.

As Prof.Ray nicely put it 'Listen; The Obama story is not one that you look for in the annals of inspirational tales, instead its one that must feature in the Marketing textbook of tomorrow. It must stand testimony to the brilliance of a born marketer.'

So folks lets wait and see if Brand Obama lives up to its expectations or creates a widespread Cognitive Dissonance! ;)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Negative word-of-mouth is good???

Word-of-mouth as all of us know is something that no one has control over. Before you realize it, the news would have jumped networks of people and reached the other end of town. Everyone of us talk about a lotta products day in and day out.

Either intentionally or otherwise we talk about stuff from say shoes to music to restaurants to movies etc and offer our opinion to everyone we interact with.

This may be either to help someone else buy, provide knowledge about the product, for self pride, just an intention of sharing, to find common ground or may be even to reduce dissonance. For any company if this is a positive word-of-mouth, then they surely would'nt have any regrets!

What if its negative word-of-mouth?

Well, my answer to this question is based on the book 'Grapevine' by Dave Balter & John Butman. Products as such are never perfect and people accept this fact. A Negative word-of-mouth can be powerful. If the company responds positively to a negative word-of-mouth, it can turn detractors into loyalists. Moreover negative word-of-mouth can bring out the quiet advocates - who can be even more powerful than everyday fans.

For instance, take the Apple iPhone. If you carefully examine it, it does'nt have a few common features such as forwarding of msg's and taking long videos BUT try talking a person(who intends to buy an iPhone) out of the idea of buying a iPhone. Well I'm pretty sure he would give you 10 other reasons to buy the iPhone and may even draw ficticious statistics outta thin air to prove his stance. Moreover the Cult brand status of Apple here is one main reason why people behave so irrationally...!

So your word could be swifter than a bird! ;)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Buzzing the Yahoo way!

Well its been a while since the Yahoo's new product Yahoo Buzz has been around. But how many of us really use it! Has this site dedicated to buzz failed to create a successful buzz about itself? Well before we come to any conclusions regarding that, here are a few observations:
  • The Yahoo Buzz website has tried to do 2 things together: Force people to write and at the same time coerce people to upload or give links to the most interesting videos/music clips/articles that they come across.
Now I feel this was done in an attempt to try and catch up with its leading rival Google, by matching its websites youtube & blogger. In this attempt Yahoo have ended up being a middle-of-the-roader.
  • It has a feature called the iPhone, where the top 5 stories/posted buzz items are displayed in a format that resembles an iPod display and you can navigate similar to that of an iPod.
I feel if Yahoo wanted to make its site innovative and interesting, it should have made the iPod type of display on its homepage itself in the ploy to try and attract more visitors. Moreover not a lot of users would actually scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the iPhone option etc etc. Aint they expecting too much?
  • Similar to Google's Blogger, the Yahoo Buzz has a feature of voting for each post that you read. But they difference here is that in Blogger any annonymous person reading can vote and comment on the posts, whereas in Yahoo Buzz you gotta be a registered user on Yahoo Buzz to even vote!
One cant expect everyone to register on Yahoo Buzz just to vote on another article!! Moreover you cant even post your views on the buzz's that you read!!! Everyone loves giving opinions, Google has capitalised on this behavioural trait whereas Yahoo... seems to have missed a trick here!!!

  • Finally Yahoo has its name attached to the new product, this was surely done in an intent to using its present brand equity to attract surfers to its site.
Well seems a good ploy, but if this this site fails to meet the expectations or needs of the users then I guess it may have a spill over effect on the brand name Yahoo!!!

So guess we gotta wait and watch,
what yahoo does,
to create a buzz,
about the yahoo buzz! :)