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: The Campaign that People Own

Video

Olympics at Rio is over, India won two medals, both by women, two athletes finished fourth, one of them is a woman.
The nation erupted in joy w hen an unheralded virtually unknown Gymnast, Dipa Karmakar became the first woman Gymnast ever from India to represent India in the sport and marched into final. She missed Bronze by a whisker and we all know the emotional support the nation gave her
This was topped by Sakshi Malik who won a bronze in Wrestling. PV Sindhu then made it an Olympic to remember by winning Silver in Badminton. Sakshi became the first woman wrestler to win bronze and PV Sindhu became the first Woman Shuttler to win Silver. History was made at Rio. History was made by three women.

The spark of campaign
It is difficult to pinpoint where and when the campaign started. It definitely started on Whatsapp as countless forwards that people get. The ‘forwarding economy’ was at it very quickly and in no time there were forwards about how the unwanted girl child have saved the blushes for the nation.
This quickly became a firestorm across social media with memes, status messages and tweets, all about how it time for India to pay attention to its daughters.
The messages have not stopped even now with more and more people sharing the messages

The first publicly owned campaign of India
The brilliance of this campaign is that it is not even a campaign. No one owns it, no one is creating it, and no one is propagating it. The public outpouring of the sentiment seems to suggest a overwhelming change in the attitude of the country on girl child. The absolute voluntary nature of the campaign seems to be an indicator that there may be small, but there is an aperture of change that exists in the society about the attitude towards the gild child.

No brand could have done this
I haven’t seen a brand capture popular sentiment like this campaign has done. No brand could have delivered this message, not with this compounding power, not with this intensity. This is the power of forwarding economy. People joined hands, found interesting things to share, joined the conversation and sent a message for change.
Is there a chance of change?
If the power of sharing economy is on display with this campaign, so is the weakness. There is a good chance that people actually buy into the cause, but there is a good chance that they move on to a new issue and forget about this issue. This is what happens in true mass participative events.
Yet there is a good chance that this campaign will spark off some change in a few people’s mindset. For a issue that is deeply rooted in our psyche, the desire for change is not externally manifested. It has not been pushed as sermon from the authorities; it has not been pushed as a tearjerker from a socially responsible brand.

In future we will see far more such publicly created and fuelled campaigns. Campaigns that will have far greater power to change the contours if the society.
We as a country have not won many medals at Rio, but the two that we have, can change some deep-rooted societal issues in India.
That is a far bigger victory

Original published here: http://bestmediainfo.com/2016/08/adstand-the-campaign-that-no-agency-created/

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: Looking back at 2015. Episode 2

2015 is the year of apps and connected devices. The way technology has invaded every sphere of life is rapidly changing the way we live. From groceries to grooming, from music to machinery, from entertainment to elections, from fashion to farming, from car pool to carpenter, everything has a disruptive app.

Our celeb endorsers have added categories to their repertoire; they now sell groceries, music bits, discounted deals and many more things than you could ever imagine. The apps have changed the game for celebrity engagement; they now no longer only endorse a brand, they are now actively on apps where they happily tell their fans and followers what they wear, eat, drink and tell them to buy the same things. Gwyneth Paltrow has her own dedicated site, Goop.com, and closer home celebs are on lots of platforms pushing their wares.

If the app economy is the first trend of 2015, app is the second trend too of 2015. I call it the Ashley Madison Bomb or the death of privacy in connected world.

If there is a flip side to connected economy, this is it. “Remarketing”, or the process of dropping a tiny programme on your system called cookie that lets brands follow you online, to constantly offer the product till you buy is now an old paradigm. Remarketing became more powerful in 2015, it broke the shackle of devices, following you from one device to another with social platforms taking it on with gusto. But despite this, remarketing is nowhere near what the new technology can inspire.

Early in 2015 two hackers – Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek – remotely took control of a new Jeep Cherokee, took control of its climate control system, its entertainment system, activated the wipers, and even disabled the engine and made it come to a standstill, while the driver in the car could do nothing. Watch what happened here: http://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/. This is as scary as it gets. Mercifully it was an experiment by ethical hackers, or else a ‘Transporter’ kind of movie can play out every day on our roads. May be the cops can enforce the odd-even formula of Delhi remotely from a connected control centre!

We all know that hackers released 36 million accounts that were members of Ashley Madison. Now Ashley Madison’s services are not the services that someone will put on their social networking profile, this is something that they would like to keep hidden. The hackers were not the keepers of morality or conscience; they were seeking fame out of moments of weakness or notoriety of others.

What the leak tells us is that internet is neither private nor anonymous. Even if the site or service wants to guard the privacy, it is not easy in today’s hyper-connected world. This will have implications on consumer engagement strategies in 2016.

Imagine the possibilities.

Travel sites will know about your travel plans and will bombard the users with rival offers in real time making choices difficult.

The shopping websites will know about your shopping basket and in real time will alter their offerings to lure you away from rivals, either by offering value-adds or by offering better prices.

Fashion sites driven from data they have, will know about your fashion style and will first offer the stuff that fits your style, making the process of choice a lot more data driven and a lot less look driven.

Marketing is all about creating a following for the brand, the new Ashley Madison Bomb effect may enhance the commoditisation of a variety of categories for it will become easy to tailor offers, and offer discounts.

This is discounting the fact that all of us may be sitting ducks for cyber terrorists who can wreck our lives by string of codes.

Next week, a look at a third trend, something that may not have been a result of the internet dominating our lives.

original published here http://www.bestmediainfo.com/2015/12/adstand-looking-back-at-2015-episode-2/

Gandhi jayanti posts

Brands were on an overdrive this Gandhi Jayanti. Social media was buzzing with brands paying homage to the Father of the Nation. 2015 marks the 100th year since Gandhi returned from South Africa to India. This is a fairly significant milestone in the history of our nation. Most brands created usual Gandhi tribute using three of his most famous quotes. Here are the top posts from a variety of brands that caught my eye.

Gandhi-INC

It’s Gandhi Jayanti, and he helped formed a political party in India. Indian National Congress’ post on Gandhiji was a usual one about how he became the Mahatma. At 17,000 likes, the post had a significant traction. However, it were the comments that took away from the posts completely; the entire feed was about hate and vitriol that the netizens had heaped on Gandhiji. There was no attempt to monitor, debate or delete the comments from the party.

BJP-Gandhi

BJP, too, had a post on Gandhiji, which was also a usual quote from him that got 8,000 likes. Even here the comments section was pure acid, cutting through any level of sensitivity. Here, too, the moderator made no attempt to debate or moderate the conversation. For the man who practiced restrain and preached shaking the world gently, the two political party feeds were anything but gentle. May be the parties should do something about civility in the cyber world.

Idea-Gandhi

The post that possibly had the greatest traction was from Idea Mobile at phenomenal 87,000 likes. The comments section of the post was anything but a tribute to the Mahatma, it was full of complaints and the brand’s revert on the complaints. Some moderation here, too, may have gone a long way in ensuring that the brand stays true to the message of peace.

It was AIB that had a post on Gandhiji that cleverly used four emojees and the message was subtle and clear. The comments feed and the Twitter feed were relatively clean from the fans and followers.

Gandhi-Senn

Some brands tried to connect the brand with the philosophy of the man, and did it well. Sennheiser had a post on making music and not war. FitBit, the fitness tracker brand, paid tribute to the man with a message on walking, nicely done by a brand that is all about being fit and active. Telenor paid tribute to the man by dipping into his ability to inspire and lead.

Gandhi-Telenor

Liverpool FC club had a simple post on the man, which was a nice gesture from a British brand.

Gandhi-Liverpool

The two strange posts came from MI, the mobile phone brand, and Junglee Rummy. MI launched a Mahatma theme for its mobile phone users. They did turn Gandhiji into a pure commercial icon. Stranger still was online gambling site Jungle Rummy paying tribute to Gandhiji. Will the man have been amused by an online gambling site invoking his name?

Rummy-Gandhi-mi

The 100 years of homecoming was not a theme for any of the post on social media. Initiatives like Make in India could have turned this into a significant event.

We at Bang in the Middle had our humble post on the man. From our perspective at the agency, we had the best tribute to the man.

Gandh-BITMo\

Original published here: http://www.bestmediainfo.com/2015/10/adstand-the-gandhi-jayanti/

 

 

 

AdStand: 24×7 media, social media and handling crisis

Three crises either broke or brewed over last week. They are clear indicators that the template for crisis management has broken. The earlier template of carefully calibrating the facts to provide a considered opinion to fight crisis is now either partially successful or may be completely unsuccessful. Of the three, two may be minor ones, but do give an insight on how to fight. The third is massive and is an example of all that can go wrong.

Last Friday, Delhi Airport detected suspected radioactive leakage. Two workers who handled the cargo complained of irritation and were treated in a hospital. GMR, the airport operator, was quick to respond by placing the facts in public domain. They used their social media handles to ensure that media and public knew the official position when they were commenting. By evening, the regulator announced that there was no radiation at the airport. The airport operator was proactive, always available to respond. Eventually that mattered more in containing the crisis.

Lesson 1: Proactivity helps

Last week, an online portal pointed out that the Make in India logo and a campaign from Cantonal Bank of Switzerland are suspiciously similar. Both have a lion and both have geared interlocked wheels. The news was picked up by both social media and mainstream media. The campaign for Make in India is the most extensive brand building campaign that India has been running; the charge of plagiarism did hurt the sentiments. The Government and the officials were quick to react and even blamed rival agencies for spreading the rumour. The controversy has ebbed, not because the world bought the official line, but because another Swiss brand had a spectacular meltdown and public affairs disaster.

Lesson 2: Facing the crisis and being non-rhetorical is a good tactic

Maggi’s love affair with India is 28 years long. It is India’s most loved brand; Maggi even celebrates this love in its advertising campaigns. There isn’t another brand that has the audience following as Maggi. How did a brand as loved and consumed fall prey to inept handling and bad management of crisis? At this stage of crisis, it is pointless to go into the merits of the case. Maybe it has more than permissible limit of lead, maybe not. Maybe it has excess MSG, maybe it doesn’t. The point to debate is this: Was Maggi distinctly old world like in its approach to impending crisis? In the old world approach, the brand would have waited for all the issues to ferment, hold one press conference, address issues and launch a campaign to reclaim the lost ground. This has been the approach of brands when big crisis hit them hard that last time around.

Nestle may not have anticipated that the small spark will become an uncontrollable firestorm. The test results have become a matter of technical debate; Nestle’s own responses have drowned in the deluge of comments. What matters is that consumers are taking sides (that tells you how strong the brand actually is) and Nestle has now become possibly the first food company to order a recall of the brand in the Indian market. In what should have been seen as a move that instills confidence, it is seen as admission of guilt.

With always-on media and consumer driven social chatter, brands have no choice but to be always on. In times of bad news, brands have to ensure that they don’t go into a shell and put their head in the sand. Active communication, putting facts in public domain and engaging a loyal bunch of customers are tactics that brands cannot ignore. For weeks now, consumers have been fighting a pitched battle for Maggi. By not stepping in, Maggi has lost far more than it would have bargained.

Lesson 3: Large brands are not insulated because of either size or heritage

Smart brand owners know that the old model of firefighting has run dry. New ways are sprouting, they need new hydrants.

Original was published here http://www.bestmediainfo.com/2015/06/adstand-24×7-media-social-media-and-handling-crisis/