I use the term Switch Hits to describe the advertisement campaigns wherein the ad is directed towards people who are not the TG themselves, but may influence the buyer who forms the TG. Hence, they have moved a bit from the conventional trend of talking to the TG directly in an ad. These ads instead talk to influencers.
The marketers first categorized the people ‘out there’ into Customers (Shoppers or Buyers who purchase the product at a shop), Consumers (People who use the product) and Influencers (People who affect the choices as well as decisions of the Consumer or the Customer). They understand that many-a-times, customers are in a hurry at the shop, and don’t take time to make choices. The FMOT concepts fail here because the customer comes with a pre-decided brand name. And unless you have some promotions running, or the other product is out-of-stock, you won’t get him to switch easily.
Since the customer is out of the equation for these cases, and the consumer is already swamped with ads of all products, certain marketers have decided that they want to talk to the influencers now. They want to see if this limited version of ‘word-of-mouth’, from influencer to consumer can help affect choices.
Let us see some ads which talk to the influencer, even though in some cases the influencer is not making the ‘recommendations’ consciously:
1. Gillette W.A.L.S: Gillette’s Women Against Lazy Stubble campaign for their Shaving range – promoting the clean shaven look. Now, women are diagonally away from the matrix of Target Consumer for the product. But the marketers are putting out the message that the women should now ensure that their men are clean shaven. A common man does not bother much about his looks and facial hair (even with the growing metrosexual trends). But, coming from the women in his life, the message will matter. A very strong influencer has been picked up here.
2. Havells – Wires that don’t catch fire: A prime example of sending across the message indirectly. Here, the role of influencer is taken up by the mother-son duo in the ad who don’t reflect the TG, but their actions send across the one very clear message to a prospective buyer – wires that don’t catch fire. The people in the ad are not the segment of people who are expected to buy Havells, but they have donned the garb of influencers excellently.
3. Old Spice: A couple of weeks ago I wrote about this campaign here. This ad too, is for a men’s product, and targets the women to convince the men to use it. The ad puts the responsibility on the women to make sure that their men use this product.
In addition, there are a few categories which have always talked only to the influencer and never the consumer. Diapers is one of them, where the usual combination is that the kid is the consumer, mother is the influencer and the father is the customer. The ads in these categories frequently talk to the mothers, and the tone of the ad usually is that the mothers should get the child the best possible care available – be it through diapers, baby food, health drinks etc.
So, the influencers are being pampered these days as the marketers realize that they play a crucial role in making choices, especially in today’s scenario where multi-national companies have launched numerous top-quality products for the consumer to choose from.