The insight: is spot on. Of course men do silly things to impress the opposite sex. Of course men have plenty sex on their minds - and it's proven that men spend ample time ogling at women. Alcohol gives further wings to such fantasies so the insight is very real and very relevant to the category.
The execution: they have stayed true to the brand idea for years. It's the best form of branding. You can't miss this series as any other than men will be men by imperial blue. The humour is understated and subtle. Thoroughly enjoyable, tongue in cheek.
The controversy: It's biological that men are attracted to women and women to men. Women too want to ogle at good looking men. Sadly our social conditioning doesn't allow most of us to admit it.
The women are dignified everyday women. The men are everyday men - many times slobbish and piggish and foolish - if anything I'd say the controversy should be around creating negative men stereotypes. But then we'll lose the ability to laugh at ourselves. Let's just chill and enjoy the mating game! :)))
AK is an actor who comes across as one with the very strong personality. He's chosen to do films which stood out for the stands they took, for the very 'difficult to speak about' subjects in society. The most appealing thing about Ayushmann Khurrana is that while he is chosen to do very offbeat films he still has very mainstream appeal.
His brand endorsements have also been in line with the off beat actor he comes across as. He is the most ideal fit for all challenger brands. Brands that are looking for halo values like intelligence, substance vs frivolous mass appeal, gumption to stand up for difficult causes, choose vs be chosen, and strong mindedness - are best suited for a tie up with him.
He must be careful to stay true to who he is and not fall into the trap of the typical bolly 'dance around the trees' mould. His appeal is in being the 'deliberate' and intelligent actor. Not the mainstream hero. He should carefully nurture this positioning and associate with causes and brands that fortify his own imagery in the consumers mind.
If I were the business head, I'd first spend a lot of money on just ensuring that the name change be registered. I'd do that with small edits - 5 and 10 seconders. And use other media similarly. High frequency, high recency modeling. However, quickly justifying the name with a tacky reason to believe undermines the intelligence of consumers. It does sound like the same old in a new bottle - worse still justified with the same old science. So are you telling me you can provide just about any benefit with the same old science? What is the difference between Fairness and Glow? If we were to respect consumers' intelligence, would we not like to explain why glow or radiance is aspirational?”
She said, “I understand it's a tough job for a brand that has for centuries advocated skin lightness must now transition to glow. But consumers want to know what is glow? Why did you change? Has fairness become dated? No one in India relates to 'black lives matter'. The brand could have taken a tall bold stance to say -- after promoting fairness for years, we'd like to continue empowering you, not with skin lightness but with natural radiance. Natural glow. Our cream now has (suggest a change in the formulation) that works to make skin healthier from inside so the best of you can shine. But this communication should have followed after a while. Not immediately. The super-quick airing of this commercial suggests that the brand merely changed name and VO on the film and made a fool out of me. But consumers are smarter than that I believe. They'll see through the charade.
According to Vani Gupta Dandia, founder, CherryPeachPlum Growth Partners, Had it said only order Pepsi, it would be seen as a selfish or commercial-minded. But by saying order any soft drink, it's creating an emotional tug that works in its favour.
Dandia went a couple of years back to a campaign Pepsi started to raise consumption via 'meal accompaniment' and referenced the '#KyunSookheSookheHi (Samosa) campaign (it set the impression that Pepsi and food go hand in hand.)
She remarked that 'Meal accompaniment' was a powerful space to occupy and it opened a huge market for the brand – the chance to replace a nimbu paani or lassi that's consumed with khana.
Now Pepsi is extending the same strategy but in a manner that's relevant today. In supporting the cause of restaurants, Pepsi evokes empathy. People will love the brand a little more, for what it is doing, said the founder.
It's also interesting to note that the present scenario has dented Pepsi's B2B revenue earned from sales to restaurants and hotels. As per the spokesperson, The closure of hotels and restaurants has impacted the social get together occasions where beverage brands play a key role, but he then stuck a hopeful note that consumer demand in delivery/in-home occasions is showing good growth momentum... and that it's hopeful things will slowly and steadily return to normal for the entire industry.
“Advertising that evokes strong emotions is sure to be more memorable. After all, one needs memorability like never before in today’s cluttered context. Burger King lands the point very strongly by evoking extreme disgust as an emotional reaction. A food brand using ‘disgust’ to make a point, that too, doing something disgusting to its own product, is probably a first. That’s very brave.”
“Food sells on appetite appeal. It must revel in and celebrate everything that causes drool. With this extreme strong graphic imagery of a moldy burger, I doubt I’d ever be able to enjoy a burger again, let alone Burger King. All in all, would I do it if I were the CMO? Not even over my dead, moldy body!”
We asked Vani Gupta Dandia, founder, CherryPeachPlum Growth Partners and a former marketing director of PepsiCo India, what she thinks of this latest renaming exercise. Urban Company, she thinks, sounds ‘generic’, but there’s an advantage to changing a company’s name in a relatively early stage. Dandia says, “Nobody really knew the story behind the name UrbanClap. With the new name change, the brand could create a more meaningful story that is easier to understand and fit in a global cultural context.”
Vani Gupta Dandia, Growth Maverick at CherryPeachPlum Growth Partners, commented, “The consumer has to be aware as to what he or she is purchasing.” She further said, “Brands, too, should have the integrity to claim what the product can actually deliver. In India, the law around this is very suspect. For example, everybody gets an FSSAI stamp. What the product actually can deliver shows the integrity of the brand and the efforts along with clinical testing or the procedure they have had. In India, there are many smaller or local brands that get away with claims that have very little or no backing. When a consumer is buying a product which isn’t made by the top players in the market, he or she should know that they are running a risk.”
Keeping in mind the journey of mobile in the last 10-12 years, from feature phones to smartphones, and the phenomenon of Jio, Shubho Sengupta asked Vani Gupta Dandia about the consumer journey of mobile users during this time.
Dandia noted that while mobile has been an integral part of our lives, as advertisers, we still need to figure out the maximum potential of this platform. There are several ways to advertise – right from SMS, in-app ads to push notifications and click to call ads. It is still very difficult to understand which kind of ad will fit with what kind of objective and business goals. How these aspects tie up to brand objective is something that marketers are still finding difficult to understand.
She further said, “It is very important to understand who the consumer is and how the consumer is consuming content at different locations at different times. It is important to understand consumer profiles and why they are on a particular platform. For instance, the reason why people are on Instagram is completely different from the reasons why people use LinkedIn.”
While mobile technology is creating various tools and metrics to measure the reach or engagement of a campaign, Dandia feels it is also creating a negative noise and mistrust as to brands still don’t know how much of their money is being wasted.
Vani Gupta Dandia, founder, CherryPeachPlum Growth Partners is a former marketing director of Pepsico India, who has worked on several co-branding projects. She says, “For success in co-creation the brand and business objectives must be clear,” first and foremost. “Any partnership must serve a specific purpose and consequences, in the long run, be carefully evaluated. It is easy to jump into a partnership, but more difficult to shake off the equity damage if the partnership goes wrong,” she says.
Women shop more and talk more!
Tell me something new.
It’s not just shoes and handbags. Women shop more of everything. That’s because they buy for their husbands, kids, colleagues, in-laws, friends, and everyone else in their lives. Women in every society have the primary care-giving responsibility. So, they think of everyone. Entire industries would have collapsed if women were not as thoughtful as they are. For marketers, this means that women are multiple markets in one!
To top that, women talk more. Every time you deliver a great service to a woman, she has a multiplier effect on your business, because she represents a broad range of other potential customers and she will likely tell other people, a lot of people, about your service!
70% of millennial consumers are influenced by recommendations of their peers in buying decisions
Both Facebook and Instagram have more female than male users—58% women for Instagram and 53% women for Facebook, as per different studies. This is significant given that the largest population on Facebook is from India, with over 270 million users. (Omnicom study, Sept 18)
Women drive 70-80% of all household purchases through a combination of their buying power and influence. Influence means that even when a woman isn’t paying for something herself, she is often the influence or veto vote behind someone else’s purchase. (Forbes, Jan 2015)
We started gathering insights for understanding the brand perception. We found that the original proposition of selling a car at its best price was not tenable for the long term as the idea of price is subjective. Our interactions revealed that consumers were happy not only because of the price but other things as well like ease of use, branch experiences etc. and these needed to be highlighted. Another part was that the brand was a leader in the used car market. We weaved both of these into a full campaign, Gupta says.
We worked on what could be the alternate proposition. This was followed by workshops within the company. We crafted a proposition and tested it with consumers. We then prepared a creative brief and approached freelancers for an ad campaign, Gupta adds.
Why freelancers and not traditional ad agencies? I am a supporter of individual talent. Even in an agency, it's never the agency, per se, that delivers. It is an individual that one relies on. An agency is nothing more than a collection of quality talent. That talent may or may not always be in an agency. An agency, as an organisation, does bring in process and control, but creativity is fundamentally individual talent, Gupta replies.
Vani Gupta, former PepsiCo marketer, attributes the overwhelming tendency towards purpose-led communication to intense competition, lack of functional differentiators and the need to ride the wave around some or the other burning issue. When a brand says 'buy me for the stand I take in society', it basically offers consumers a shortcut to participating in a larger cause without candle light marches or any other kind of investment of their time and effort, goes her argument.
There are more consumers now than before who wish to participate in positive social change. Consumers are attracted to brands that can tie in their product performance to larger issues. They feel assured when brands maintain their purpose over a period of time. But I am pained by brands that wish to exploit my emotions by treating deep fundamental issues through a topical and tactical lens. Knowing the difference in these two states is critical for a purpose-led marketing strategy to succeed, she says.
Horlicks is a brand that has a huge legacy in the country. However, its sales have been stagnating. Given that 80 per cent of Horlicks worldwide sells in India, it is really a 'local' star. Even in India, 75 per cent of its sales comes from the East and South of India. A hyperlocal star!
At 400 million USD (estimated sales), its valuation could be at least in the three to four billion USD range? Who could want it so much? I think two kinds of companies could be serious buyers: Companies that could logically extend to adjacent categories like nutrition and health foods - Pharma companies could fit here. And companies looking to expand into new segments - like CavinKare, ITC, HUL, that currently do not play this category... but given that they are strong consumer companies with deep pockets and innovation capability, they could build a big business around a new product platform.
Horlicks is a very big star in India that requires new direction and possibly re-invigoration both in terms of brand love and innovation. But in terms of growth, the sky's the limit.
Q. So is it fair to assume advertising is your weapon of choice when fighting large rival brands... and that it's more of a distribution game when tackling regional players?
A. Not necessarily. Even while fighting large national brands, it's not just about advertising. If I don't put any money on air but make sure I'm available in every shop in the country, I have enough residual equity to double my sales tomorrow. I don't have an issue with consumers not recognising my brand.
Don't forget that getting to the outlet is also a challenge. After all, the retailer should want to stock my product. For this, one has to crack the right trade rates. Every retailer has to pick between strong brands that give them lower margins and weak brands that offer more profitability per packet sold.
Yes, advertising plays a role here: If I can reach a shop but don't see enough off-take velocity because consumer preference is weak, I'll end up picking up expired stock from that shop. And if I can't reach a shop where there is consumer preference for my brand, it's an opportunity lost. So distribution and advertising go hand in hand. There has to be consumer pull for your brand... your distribution machinery then feeds that pull.
On the media front, what role does TV play for Kurkure, vis-à-vis other platforms?
TV is still the primary medium and will probably continue to remain so.
There are large geographies in India that are media dark. We are spending a substantial amount of money on boosting reach in these areas with the mobile. Our mobile spends have increased significantly in markets like Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and Eastern UP.
Not just mobile... we're also spending on other interesting platforms. For example, we're investing in 'media' like theatre and music in the North East to carry the Kurkure message to audiences there.
Outdoor, in my view, has been under-leveraged. The e-commerce segment uses it well. We're investing a lot in wall paintings in rural areas; they stay on for a long time. If I didn't need to advertise on TV, I'd spend all my media money on mobile and outdoor.
Q. Tell me about three creative briefs you wrote and are most proud of...
A. So let me start from my Reckitt days. This was in 2004-05, around the launch of Veet, a depilatory cream. Back then, everything about that category was very defensive. It was in the 'embarrassment zone', and was treated like a sanitary napkin; the product would be packed in a black plastic bag and handed over discreetly. Our intent was to turn it into a 'flaunt' category and move the product from the bottom shelf of the bathroom to the dressing table. The brief to the advertising agency (JWT) was exactly that. And that's why the advertising was high on sex appeal. We got Katrina Kaif on board.
We also wanted to premiumise the category. We were launching Veet at one and a half times the price of the then category leader...
Q. ... Anne French?
A. Yes, it had about 85-90 per cent market share at the time. In a year, we beat them down to half their earlier market share. That was a huge win for us, because the global team had a different view on strategy, more specifically the market segment we were going after.
Q. Why so?
A. Because globally, Veet was positioned as anti-razor. This was the first time we went anti-cream.
The anti-razor market, we found, was very limited, as the usage of razors was relegated to the bikini line and underarms. Hair removal on the arms and legs was where the money was. So our ad, with focus on the arms and legs, and all the skin show, was considered risqué at the time. But I feel proud that we were able to stand up to the global team and take on creams. This became a success model, a blueprint of sorts, for all our emerging markets - for packaging, pricing, merchandising, in-store display, sales girl education, leaflets, etc.
A desi twist has spiced up PepsiCo's snacks portfolio with the India-innovated Kurkure emerging as a Rs 1,000-crore brand. And leading the brand is Vani Gupta Dandia. Emotionally connected brands win at the end, says Gupta, who led the brand's expansion into puffed snacks. What also worked for us is the large bag-size impression, more volume in the bag and exciting flavours.
Gupta joined PepsiCo in January 2011 as the head of new business development for the food category from consumer goods company Unilever. At PepsiCo, she has led the development and launch of flavoured oats. Under her charge, Kurkure's portfolio has grown from traditional namkeens to quirky fusion formats with products like Monster Paws and Naughty Tomato. Kurkure also revamped its creative strategy in late 2012. The quintessential Indian housewife, for the first time, poked fun at her family in the Kurkure positioning where she celebrated imperfection, says Gupta, who works closely with the brand's creative agency, JWT.
Gupta, who calls herself a proud single mother and a confident traveller, has created categories that resonate with women. For instance, as a Senior Global Project Leader, she launched hair-care products for coloured hair under the Sunsilk brand that was identified as the most high priority project across the globe on Sunsilk. Passionate about theatre, painting and sculpting, Gupta is admired in her professional network. She has an exceptional sense of professionalism, and always encourages the agency partners to express themselves better, says Babita Baruah, Executive Business Director, JWT.