AdStand: Mother’s Day, mass hysteria

 

Move over Diwali, move over Christmas and move over Valentine’s Day. Mothers Day in 2017 has become the new marketing calendar showstopper.

Mothers Day may have started off as anti war movement in US, but now it has been fully embraced by India. There may be small parallels in India to Mothers Day with events like Durga Puja in East or Lakshmi Pooja in North, but there is no universal day that celebrates the bond between mother and children and her role as the nurturer. The day may have contributed a massive amount to the kitty of brands this year, restaurants, florists, and Internet data providers. If there is someone tracking the spends, I won’t be surprised if the money is not coming close to what we spend on Diwali (minus the jewelry).

India has seen a tear fest this year with brand after brand making heartfelt emotional films about mothers, about her toughness, about the lessons that she imparted, about how the new generation has abandoned mother for connected devices, about how she is the keeper of family flame, even fathers as mothers and the caretaker as being mother like. This year the sheer volume of Mothers day messages was staggering. Did the message come from the reality of the brand? Did it work for the brand? I guess in the drive for getting social conversation going, sometimes the message is more

The only message or forward I didn’t get was either about Bharat Mata or the Holy Mother Cow.

In this maze of sameness and emotional overkill, for me, the spot that stood out for the Mothers Day was from Preganews.

Pregnancy and workplace is not a theme that I have even seen. For a brand to create a sensitive narrative around expectant mothers and do it in a non-preachy way is commendable. The spot did hit a tender spot with many new mothers sharing their own experiences on how the work place did make it easier for them when they were pregnant. The brand did not let itself get carried away and become bigger than the narrative. It was the earlier brand to release the ad, and it did continue to stand out despite a barrage of mass hysteria.

It’s not that internally there was any dearth of Mother’s day messages from brands. Proctor and Gamble every year has been doing ads around Mothers day. The mom song that they created or even the Vicks ad they did this year are commercials that were celebrating the theme.

Internationally Gap and Kraft Mac and Cheese did something that stood out for me.

Both the brands used social influencers to create campaigns that spoke the language of today did not have an emotional overkill and were true to the brand.

Gap

Gap used models Candice Swanepoel and Coco Rocha, and actresses Liv Tyler, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Cass & Ali Bird, in a campaign, is titled #MamaSaid and has the ladies’ gorgeous children star with them. The brand celebrated the bond between mother and child by showcasing them in Gap ensembles. They also tied up with a voluntary organization to raise funds for them.

 

Kraft Mac and Cheese (https://youtu.be/jV-opIMAtD4) did a hilarious campaign with social influencer and author Melissa Mohr, author of “Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing”

 

 

They also created a website called swearlikeamother.com where the kids can go and download silly mothers day cards and make them feel good about their own antics. The campaign is hilarious at many levels, biggest being the acknowledgment that Kraft Mac and Cheese is not about good parenting or nurturing. By acknowledging that the language of today is a problem, they made the brand a part of contemporary lingo

 

Mother’s Day has now come and gone. Fathers Day is around the corner, now will Father’s get their share of noise?

Originally published here: http://bestmediainfo.com/2017/05/ad-stand-mother-s-day-mass-hysteria/

Adstand: #Brexit, #Hughxit, #Aajtaknew

Cannes is over, best of advertising that most consumers didn’t see or react to has been celebrated and awarded. Meanwhile the persuasion economy is in full flow. Brands are being sold, even nations fate are decided by clever marketing campaigns.

Britain exited Euro, and the world will remember the silly hashtag, Micromax moved from Hugh Jackman to Kapil Sharma, and AajTak reimagined the black and white 60s tale for new modern app launch.

 

Did Britain fall for a dodgy campaign?

The leave campaign won, the stronger in lost. Both campaigns ran pitched battles with websites, campaign volunteers, multi media ads and huge political backings that cut across party lines. #Brexit became the easy way to refer to the whole campaign, though neither side used the hashtag. Brexit came from a year older Greek referendum to stay in Euro zone called #Grexit. Was it wise for the Greek hashtag to be used again?

The central fulcrum of the “Leave” campaign was a huge red bus that travelled the country with one single message “We send EU %0Mn Pound a week,  lets fund our National Health Care instead” The campaign urged Britain to #TakeControl. Its now clear that Britain listened to this campaign and decided to #TakeControl. Trouble is that now the campaign managers agree that their rhetoric was built on false promises and exaggerations. Leave campaign’s claims on immigrants and impact on economy too are coming under question. The most visible face of Leave campaign have resigned.

Did Britain fall for a dodgy advertising campaign?  And is America too falling for dodgy advertising campaign? With Italy and Hungary also likely to go for referendum we might see flawed narratives coming into play

We are powerful story tellers, sometimes he story consumes the narrator and the result is #Brexit

 

#HughXit: Hugh Jackman exits, enter Kapil Sharma

IronMan hasn’t lost many battles, but in India he seems to have lost out badly. Absolutely no magnetism to make Micromax the coolest handset brand. Micromax built itself as a formidable brand with Akshay Kumar and for a short while his wife. Micromax’s first big success was Bling, a phone that found controversy and success. The brand roped in Hugh Jackman to get the image up, become more urbane, appeal to the English Medium types. The relaunch campaign had white skin ‘foreigners’ mocking the brand whose logo is a fruit and generally behaving like football hooligans. Now the brand has taken a turn towards being Desi again. It has roped in Kapil Sharma, the earthy stand up comic turned actor to create a “Namaste London” type of web film.  The long lesson of being true to your mother tongue to be successful is something that always gets the audience fired up. Remember Rin or even Fair and Lovely?

With the dialogues inspired by a film from Akshay, is the brand bringing him back again? The connection with the earlier heritage of brand is unmistakeable.

With Micromax going desi again, what happens to the new positioning it created? Will the irreverent madness and chaos, as defined as the ethos of brand, find an Indian expression?

Akshay worked for the brand, will Kapil do what Akshay did. Will the brand find glory again?

 

Aaj Tak goes back in time, recreates its own heritage

Almost a decade back Aaj Tak disrupted the TV news market with clever 60’s style black and white ads. The series of ads built Aaj Tak as the fastest to update TV news channel and quickly displaced Zee News off the perch. It’s a position Aaj Tak has not vacated since. In ten years though the news consumption has changed. The new completion is not another TV channel, but a social network, and now an app.

To fight the Battle of Apps, Aaj Tak has recreated the 60’s style of black and white narration. The Soha – Kunal starrer as despotic king and queen who rely on old world way of getting news and get displaced because they didn’t have an app tries to be funny. The brand plank moves from speed to enlightenment.

Aaj Tak has done well to dip back in brand heritage to connect back with audience. It has kept the narrative in brand’s tonality. Its focused on what it does.

 

Brand narratives have the power, we all know that, the challenge we face is crafting the narrative responsibly. 

http://www.bestmediainfo.com/2016/07/adstand-brexit-hughxit-aajtaknews/

Adstand: Some new awards

Abby’s is over, and best of the Indian and South Asian Advertising has been announced. Having won after tough scrutiny, they are the finest the industry has produced. Going with the mood, here are some that AdStand will like to give out.

The first is Laugh out of the Year award. No this is not for that video just released by someone called Tahar Shah, but fro someone even more audacious called MSG. The ad opens on a sort of comical dining rooms setting where one God Man is advising an even more comical looking gent to put ‘Kerosene Oil’ in his expensive car instead of expensive petrol. Surprisingly the man refutes God Man’s sermon and says cant spoil a car by pouring cheap fuel in it. The God Man goes on to tell him to stop eating food with pesticide and eat only MSG Pure Noodles. This, the man with a strange goatee looks whole-heartedly agrees with. You can make your day by laughing along with MSG here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1V9EVVB3YBU) It is amazing that there are consumers who despite being smart and erudite do listen to the voice of God. Now that the other God Man’s noodles have been alleged to have ash, this one can lay claim to be the most pious of all.

The second award is the Cave Man of the year award, and this goes to Red Chief Shoes. Mr. India meets Chulbul Pandey (https://youtu.be/mWYA1jxzwNE). There is nothing in the plot, a man is threatening a woman on knife point, she is wailing like the leading lady from 70’s movies do, suddenly the door is slammed off the hinges and in walks invisible Macho man in Red Chief shoes. The man with knife shivers in his pants drops his knife and scoots. Why is the shoe called “Man among shoes”, why does the ad say “Power of Real Leather” in another frame? Why did Mr. India wake up stuck in a time wrap? I thought the vest and underwear brands had explored every facet of the macho angle, but even they must be lest wondering. Please put your hands together for the cave man of the year award.

 

The Kidney Beans honest soup of the year award goes to the new 7Up commercial. The commercial starts with mocking beauty pageants and ends up mocking itself.  The women have a chance to win the contest based on final answer (https://youtu.be/tvpQZYXO9qU) and she wins by making mince meat of everybody in a pan full of kidney beans. If the green mood lighting on the set is indicative of the brand, then this one is a winner all the way. Incidentally it is worth checking of every potential beauty contest contestant is lining up to try the dish.

The unopportunistic ad of the year award goes to Yatra.com for its “don’t do narebazi, only do smajhdari”. I never knew that Yatra has changed the airline seating system and everyone will get to sit only on Window seat. The ad raises a burning social question: what happens when you discover that there are no window seats left in the flight? You don’t grin and bear it, you revolt with the aid of an app. If all this sounds confusing then do watch the ad (https://youtu.be/tvpQZYXO9qU). Is the joke on the brand or the person the brand is mocking? Yatra has gone into the war zone hoping to win the war that Snapdeal lost. Brand trolling the real life events is new.

On the subject of trolls, the troll conversation of the year has to go the founders of two unicorns of India. There is nothing to add to the just two tweets exchanged by Sachin Bansal and Kunal Bahl over Alibaba’s entry into India. After the two tweets, good sense prevailed and hopefully they picked the phone on each other.

The Grand Prix of the season has to go to Urban Ladder. Never ever has any brand ever released an ad as imaginative as this one. Urban Ladder released an ad on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/117605734?trk=vsrp_jobs_res_name&trkInfo=VSRPsearchId%3A705449381459431181730%2CVSRPtargetId%3A117605734%2CVSRPcmpt%3Aprimary) asking for people who can be mattress tester. It didn’t matter that the ad was released on 1st April, most people realized how easy their job is compared to the one Urban Ladder is offering and how they should trade their comfortable job for this really challenging profile. Urban Ladder. Well done Urban Ladder, really well done.

I am sure there are many more ads out there that deserve awards; we in advertising are very accommodative. Let’s create more categories.

 

 

 

EndFragment

— 

Naresh Gupta

@googlegupta / 9811160480

Sent with Airmail

AdStand: The Public Service Ads

This week, the 11 minute anti smoking commercial has been making all the news. There was another ad that caught my eye. It may not have been the Internet sensation, but Brooke Bond Tea’s new ad is certainly worth applauding. Surprisingly this film is not on their social pages, but uploaded only on Kulzy.

The film (https://www.kulzy.com/work/112975/brooke-bond-red-label/film/taste-of-togetherness/) opens on blank screen with noises that we hear everyday in Mumbai, honking, trains, and wedding. It then shows an old women sipping tea all alone on her rocking chair. The ad extolls people to go and end someone’s loneliness this weekend. The film is singular in building on the brand plank of Taste of Togetherness. Brooke Bond for some years has been building on the plank of bringing people together and this film takes that plank forward in a cheerful way.

Old age loneliness is a serious problem in a young country like India. I hope we see more of this from Brooke Bond and not wait till the next award season.

Alok Nath, Sunny Leone and Deepak Dobriyal have an indulgent anti smoking tale to tell. At almost 3.5 Million views in a week, clearly the star appeal of the actors has helped in the film becoming a super hit.  The comments across online forums suggest a warm welcome being given out to the film.

Is the film successful in pursuing smokers to kick the stick?

The film follows the usual narrative of smoking kills, this is known and most smokers know this. The claim of cigarette reducing life has now jumped to 11 minutes, how does this pious number come in being is left unexplained.  Is it 2 minute? Or 4?,Now it is 11. If a smoker gets into calculating the time left to live, they will laugh it out.

I think the film misses out on the wider narrative. While the netizens have been effusive in praise, there have been very few that have pledged to quit smoking, just a few who have thought of doing so. This is where the film could have had a deeper impact.

Why is the film not ending with a platform that helps people helps quit the habit? Why is the film not helping them taking the first step?

Why is the film not connecting those who quit with those who want to quit?

This is where the film could have risen to greater heights.

That leads me to the wider question: why do anti smoking campaigns generally fail? The answer lies in many behavioural studies done across geographies by many academicians. These studies are in public domain and are a wealth of insights. The basic thrust of most of these studies points to one factor. Anti Smoking campaigns stigmatize smokers, and while it may motivate a few to quit smoking, to a vast majority it makes them angry, resist the message and isolate themselves. This makes them light up the stick more then quitting the habit. Death is not the promise that motivates them to quit. Could the 11 minute long format narrative move beyond death and be in positive space? May be there is a next version coming.

The third TVC to catch fancy is Ariel’s Share the Load. Father has a moment of enlightenment when he sees his daughter balance home and office by being at two places at the same time. Father’s decision to correct his own mistake and share the load of housework with his wife is told with sincerity and humility. The brand could have become even more enduring if the final payoff was not just sharing laundry, and the product integration was a lot more muted. In its own archive, Ariel has a TVC where the husband does the laundry to win wife’s love. Kuch pane ke liye kuch dhona padta hai. This was before the social media became the force that it is today. This commercial was even more sensitive and loveable than Share the Load one.

Tea, detergent and anti smoking are three very disconnected categories to come across socially appealing narratives. Brands should continue to do this irrespective of timing of award shows. 

Original published here: http://www.bestmediainfo.com/2016/03/adstand-the-public-service-ads/

The R Day Weekend

This was the week when brands went into overdrive with Republic Day messages. The whole country seemed to be draped in tricolour and the entire country seemed to be on sale. Zomato even turned every word of Happy Republic Day into a food item!

Commerce usually triumphs patriotism.

This is where #belikebill meme had an interesting take on Republic Day. This is India. India minds its own business. India always feels young. Be like India. Well #belikebill did win the Republic Day social media war.

Mumbai Traffic Police around the same time broke on social media with some really funny tweets. In its effort to be seen as cool and young, it ran a series of tweets that could easily have been written by stand-up comics. Now that is the real issue: should cops come across as witty and funny? Is that the value that ordinary citizens expect from a law enforcement agency? Or should they come across as resolute, determined, watchful and tough? How long will cops be able to manage a funny tone of voice?

Delhi Traffic Police meanwhile took its game on social media many notches up. On the shared public transport app called Ridlr (DTP twitter handle is @RidlrDel), it is asking citizens to upload pictures or videos of traffic violators so that they can take action. Either way, the police are now using social media; once they move from adopter phase to interaction phase, one can expect a lot of things to change.

There is a huge amount of action happening in the video streaming end and social networks. Facebook till now allowed celebrities to live stream content to their followers; this has now been opened up to the public. Anyone can use an iPhone and live stream to select audience on FB. While this is currently available only in the US, it would be available on Android and iOS and across the globe in no time. Also, GoPro Hero now integrates with Periscope for iPhone and can now broadcast directly. Portable live video will open up completely new platforms for brands.

Imagine if brands let their commercial shoots be available live on FB. Till now brands tried to do this in a small manner on Snapchat. Video is the new frontier that will change the game.

ICICI is running a fabulous http://giftalivelihood.com platform that allows the underprivileged to earn a sustainable livelihood. They have a short film chronicling the story of Manoj Kumar who, from being a scrap seller, learns from the books he collects and then joins the mainstream workforce. It’s a heart-warming tale that has been narrated very well.

Today, more than ever, brands have no option but to make an impression every day, consistently. To do that, brands have to move away from small victories to long sustained campaigns. Today, the tools have also changed.

Be like ICICI and the Raddi Library.

Original Published Here: http://www.bestmediainfo.com/2016/02/adstand-the-r-day-week/

AdStand: Look Back at 2015, Episode 4

Sujay Ghosh, Sudhir Mishra, Anurag Kashyap and many more of their kind are filmmakers who know how to tell compelling stories on the large screen. They are also consummate storytellers for the small screen. Not for TV, but for a computer screen or a mobile screen. They are now spawning a new category of content. Sujay Ghosh’s ‘Ahilya’ is now topping 5.5 million views and there are short stories across languages getting critical accolade and multiple views.

2015 has been the year when technology became mainstream. Apps were not outliers, they are now mainstream. The second trend of last year was the absolute death of privacy in connected world. And the third was the rise of live entertainment events as a category.

The fourth trend can be called the deluge of ‘Long format content’.

Long format films have been popular this year with many brands experimenting with long formats. Long format is much larger than just what the brands have been experimenting with. There are long format films made by the most prominent filmmakers, they have the cast that has both new comers and established artists. Some long format films have become so popular that people seek them out, download them on their phones and watch them many times. There have been hundreds of mainstream short films that have been made across many languages. This deluge of short films has been turned into long format content by the brands.

Royal Stag was early in this game. They created the platform largeshortfilm.com that showcases the craft of short films. Some of the landmark short films made for this platform include ‘Ahilya’ and Sudhir Mishra’s ‘Khirchiyaan’.  Royal Stag has found a winner.

Largeshortfilms.com, later in 2015, partnered with Talent House to launch India Mobile Film Festival, where aspiring filmmakers were asked to make films using just their mobiles. The response and quality of films were a clear indicator that more brands can use this platform for push messages.

Brands have used long format films in multiple ways. Some brands have left the films to be standalone pieces with just the final branding, and some have used them to tell brand stories in branded manner.

Oyo Rooms lent their name to the Independence Day short film featuring Manoj Bajpayee and Raveena Tandon, garnering 1.6 million views and a very large social conversation. Though bulk of the social conversation was not on their hashtag #Azadi4me, Urban Ladder did the latter with a long format film about parents visiting their son’s family in a large city and feeling out of place. The son and daughter-in-law redo parent’s room using Urban Ladder furniture to make them feel at home. The film garnered close to a million views.

The stand-up comedians entered the fray and created a series of content for brands that were lapped up by consumers. Creepy Qawalli from Truly Madly became a viral hit, even bigger than the boy browsing TVC. The stuff the stand-ups produced for FlipKart too were very well received.

Long fomat ads are a new trend and brands have used them in multiple ways. 2016 will see this trend gain momentum, more so because this allows viewers to see the content across devices.

I am sure 2016 will pose more challenges than we can imagine.

Here’s wishing everyone a very happy New Year.

Original published here:  http://www.bestmediainfo.com/2016/01/adstand-looking-back-at-2015-episode-4-the-long-format/

AdStand: Looking back at 2015, Episode 3

The two dominant trends of 2015 have been mobile, apps data and how they are invading every sphere of our lives. While there are challenges that the new technology makes us face, largely this invasion is good for us, the consumers. The third trend is actually not inspired by technology, and while the trend may have started a year ago, it became a thing to speak about this year.

Trend 3: India now has a new category called Live Entertainment properties.

Chances are some of us now know Rakesh Kumar. I am not sure we know who the India captain was when India won Gold Medal in Asiad Kabaddi, but as the captain of Patna Pirates, he is well known; his videos on YouTube have massive following. India has seen the birth of some new stars, and they come from football, hockey, kabaddi and badminton. The big news is not that other sports are going the IPL way. Nor is the big debate about whether this is good or bad for sport. The big news is that advertising industry now has a completely new category – a category that has no old rules to fall upon, no examples to learn from. There are very few categories that excite a wide swathe of audience, that bring men, women and children on one plank and cheer for themselves with abundance of excitement.

The various leagues have created campaigns that moved the audience. From #baddies or the badminton league to pro tennis league that brought global icons to India, we have never had a time as good as this.

Sports leagues have helped the leagues to become large and become a mass consumption category. But sport is not the only arena where we have seen the emergence of live events as a category. Music is the other.

Sunburn is now well established and it runs many formats across the year. There are new brands that came to the concert this year in a much bigger way. NH7 Weekender and Enchanted Valley Festival are two large properties that became more than mainstream this year. Music as an industry is actually as large as sports and holds as many possibilities. From small, localised properties to many more large formats, the consumers will sing along with them.

The overwhelming response that we have given to live entertainment events is a clear indicator that this was a large gap in the market.

Rakesh Kumar is one of the first new age celeb that this trend has created. Wait for many more to happen that won’t have roots to either cricket or Bollywood.

Original published here http://www.bestmediainfo.com/2015/12/adstand-looking-back-at-2015-episode-3/