Yesterday I was scrolling through TV channels, and suddenly I found something unexpected showing on MTV, in the name Motorheads. It was about how VJ Bani (Roadies fame) had bought a new car and gone to a road trip to Goa with her friends. No, this wasn’t the interesting part – what was interesting was that the show followed up with content on how the road trip materialized. It took us ‘back in time’ showing that the dame had decided to buy a car. And after reading about the numerous accolades, awards and testimonials that Swift had earned (both nationally and internationally), reiterations about the Maruti brand name, and then going for a test drive, they ‘realized’ that the Maruti Suzuki Swift was the best car for them, an absolutely ideal fit !!
The entire 30-45 min show was pretty well orchestrated, showing us how a customer should go about picking a hatchback and how Swift is the best for them. It was a pretty innovative way to bring about a good customer connect for the car, building a bit of awareness and alongside harping about laurels and awards. (I am still grappling to understand whether I was able to pick the marketing stunt in it because of my interest in the area, or was it just as visible to any other viewer as well)
Coming to the crux of the post, what this campaign made me ponder was that marketers across the board are trying their hands with innovation and differentiation in the promotional styles. They are trying to expand horizons from the regular TVCs, radio jingles and print ad copies to something which might grab customer attention better and also lead to better retention of brand name/qualities.
Examples abound where marketers have tried to break shackles (clutter-breaking on advertising style instead of concept). Let us take up a few of them:
Who here hasn’t seen PETA’s print and TV commercials, among the most provocative of all ads ever seen, and would have surely attracted loads of attention from ‘moral policing’ across the world had the inherent cause not been a ‘noble’ one. They work with the most basic of marketing axioms : ‘advertisement should grab eyeballs‘ – and that is what they do with ads such as the following:
Eyeball grabbing for sure. It is guaranteed that the viewer will (eventually) want to read the involved message as well.
2. Vodafone’s zoo-zoos
Revolutionary in their own sense, the first set of zoo-zoo ads rocked the market hard. Although the message conveyance was a bit low (the VAS promotion took a bit of a backseat with the excitement over zoo-zoos), still, the overall brand recall that Vodafone achieved from this campaign was unparalleled, something that they are also leveraging in the current 3G-oriented super-zoo-zoo campaign.
The use of animated characters in a commercial wasn’t a popular proposition till Vodafone took the bull by the horns, took a gamble of sorts, and lo and behold – look at the success achieved by them.
3. In-film and In-serial placements
This is another form of association that the brand are looking into for better recall, be it the in-your-face Karizma in Roadies (MTV) or the blink-and-you-miss promos of Kit-Kat (Break ke Baad) and Flyte/Airtel (3 idiots). All aim to acquire a subconscious presence in the consumer mindspace that regular promotions are unable to do, with the customer becoming increasingly adept at filtering ads out of conscious attention.
In today’s age, when every consumer switches TV and Radio channels as soon as the advertising section starts, glances unseeingly over print ads and flyers, you need to do something different to make sure that the consumer at least sees the promotion, and knows what it is all about. Advertisement is more and more becoming the tool for merely ensuring a presence in consumer mindspace, a recall, which may even be neutral, but at least enough to ask for a brand in a shop, or to recognize one when you spot it. Building a positive frame of mind simply through ads is getting more and more difficult.
This is why the gray cells are getting fueled and the imagination of marketeers are on fire. Hopefully we will see more interesting stuff in the near future. In my opinion, this is exactly what makes the field all the more exciting. It is getting dicier to get consumer attention for a sufficient lifespan, and the tricks to get it are getting more and more ingenious !!