Sunday, April 3, 2011

Strange Gimmicks To Be Different

In a highly competitive market, where various brands are jostling for space, differences among brands begin to blur; it becomes difficult to offer the consumer/customer a differentiated product benefit. Advertising becomes the only differentiator in such cases. Sometimes advertising is used to highlight a certain product feature or benefit which competing brands have not thought of. I recall a brilliant advertising campaign for Godrej refrigerators which ran in the late 1980s or perhaps in the early 1990s, the focus of the campaign was that Godrej refrigerators used PUF (polyurethane foam) as insulation, sales of Godrej refrigerators zoomed as a result of this campaign; the fact was that PUF was used by Godrej’s competitors as well, but only Godrej was the one to talk about it and that made the difference.

Yes, a brand has to be perceived as different by consumers/customers, but the brand cannot be different just for the sake of being different, there should be a strong consumer benefit associated with it; or else why would the consumer part with her/his money to try out the product?

Marketing and advertising people go to ridiculous lengths trying to make consumers believe that their brands/products are different; two recent ad campaigns come to my mind, please read on:

Aliva Crackers

Ever since Aliva was launched the advertising stressed upon the masala that went in, chatpata swaad and masti.

Recently I noticed some superimposed text in the recent TV commercial saying ‘Baked not fried’, hence good for health. Aliva is a biscuit brand, though the company prefers to use the term crackers; whether you choose to call them biscuits or crackers, these are always baked and everyone knows about this fact. I do not think anyone has ever heard of biscuits, crackers, cookies and naankhatai which are deep fried or stir fried or boiled. Making a claim that Aliva is baked not fried is absolutely ridiculous. Perhaps the product is not performing as per expectations, but saying it is baked will make no difference; the ad agency will have to think of a better idea.

You may also to read SMART CHIPS --- SMART MOVE

TVS Wego Scooters

What I understand is that TVS Wego is designed specifically for urban couples and is like an antidote to today's stressful urban life; ‘body balance’ is supposed to be the core feature.
What is meant by body balance is not explained. What is also not conveyed is what benefit the advertiser would want the prospective buyer to look for in TVS Wego. I wonder how they have defined the target buyer for this product. Is the prospective buyer expected to buy TVS Wego to perform acrobatic tricks? Most unlikely! But some people do emulate what they see on TV and that could be dangerous despite all safety features that may be present in the product. Does the body balance feature (whatever that is) make TVS Wego safe to ride? Well that does not come through in the ad at all. The ad revolves around the core feature of body balance, but how does this core feature translate to core benefit to the buyer was not thought of when working on the campaign. I get the feeling that the ad agency simply ran out of creative ideas, hence this bizarre and indecent ad.
The advertisers and their agency wanted a unique positioning platform to differentiate the TVS Wego ad from other two-wheeler ads and get noticed; I am sure they were successful in achieving this objective, because the ad is no doubt different; it is bizarre and indecent, but different nevertheless. I wonder if just being different is enough without saying how it would benefit the buyer. My guess is that the company wants TVS Wego to be top of mind when a prospective buyer is seriously plans to buy a scooter, perhaps as a result of this ad he would be drawn to the nearest TVS Wego showroom where the feature of body balance could be explained. After seeing this ad I wonder if the prospective buyer will take TVS Wego seriously, does TVS Wego really have a feature called ‘body balance’ which other brands of scooters don’t or is it just a gimmick?

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