Sunday, October 30, 2005

Smokies...from Jim’s Burnt Offerings

Got my Summers at ITC. First perception of the company? Cigarettes, of course. Since the beginning of my reading on Marketing, I have always associated “Smoking” with ITC …until.. I visited Jim’s Burnt Offerings.

A unique collection of Cigarette covers, Advertisements, packets and covers, this website entails an “awe” for the passion that the author has, for cigarettes. Jim has been compiling the photographs since Jan 1998, and his collection traces back to as early as the 1880s. His collection spans across the globe, including Turkey, Egypt, China, Britain..etc with a reference to all the International Brands, and their corresponding Advertisements.
Click here for all the International Ads. He also has a unique collection of promotional cards issued in the 1880s in America.

It is one of the best, rather, THE BEST, collection I have even seen, for any one product. Just a glance through the website is an experience in itself. Kudos to the effort Jim. It is an indeed an inspiration for young aspirants like us!

Mr. Deveshwar (Head of ITC), you’ve got something to add? ;-)

Catch a glimpse of the terrific collection:

Brand Specific

Country Specific - Japan, Russia, Cuba

Please NoteAll Images have been republished with prior permission from the owner – James A. Shaw. For any reprinting, approval from him is mandatory.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Gavin Heron – India vs China Advertising

The Latest episode of “All about Ads” at NDTV Profit featured an interview with Gavin Heron, CEO and MD, TBWA, China.
Though he was interviewed on various aspects specific to the agency and the industry, but an interesting piece of the conversation included a comparison of the Indian Advertising Industry with the Chinese Advertising Industry.

He emphasized on the following points –

1) Outdoor Advertising – Billboards in India promote offers and discounts, and are more oriented towards tactical marketing, whereas in China, it is more of Brand Building that is done, to ensure that the brand remains at the top of the consumers mind!

2) Rural Advertising – India has moved aggressively towards the Rural Sector, whereas China is yet to venture into that. Advertising is presently focused in the business zones, which includes Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou

3) Distinctive Style – Indian Advertising industry has matured and has developed a particular style of Advertising. In a press release by TBWA, Gavin opined that Indian Ads are creative and humorous. On the other hand, China has yet to have its own voice.

4) Another significant difference in the two industries was that - punning is possible in Indian languages, but the Chinese language does not lend itself to this; the advertising is more persuasive.

China, with such a huge market, has still not been able to create world class ads. There is not much we hear about Chinese Ads. Gavin accepted this fact, and explained that the reason was that the Advertisers were in a hurry to make Ads, as a result of which, the quality was being compromised. Though the media is controlled, there are about 800 channels in the country, leaving the consumer exposed to almost 800 commercials a week.

Gavin gave a good perspective on the trends in Advertising and the future outlook of the Chinese Advertising Agency, mentioned in the Press Release

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Lewis Berger: “Paint your Imagination”

Looks familiar? Yup, it is Taj Mahal, our very own contribution to the "Wonders of the world"! And no, this is not yet another initiative of Mayawati on the Agra beauty, but a part of the latest campaign by Lewis Berger, renamed from Berger Paints.

This Ad reflects the extent to which one can imagine, and subsequently painting the imagination with colors. Thus, reinforcing the tagline.. "Paint your Imagination".
Definitely, a colorful Taj Mahal gives a picturesque view, compared to the "Marbel-lous" original version. And why not? After all, it is the age of Remixes in India ;-). Why should Taj Mahal be left out?

Berger Paints has re-branded itself as Lewis Berger, named after the founder of Berger Paints. According to a press Release, the re-branding has been done keeping the festive season in mind, with the premium segment as their primary target.

The umbrella brand ‘Lewis Berger’ retains the respectability and equity gained by Berger over the years and signifies image enhancement for all the key products of the company.
This ‘imagination campaign’ has also been running as commercials on Television. The storyboard for the Ad is available at It shows a painter recreate the Taj Mahal with her imagination. So what is new? How does this Ad reflect “premium quality” and “competitive advantage”? Probably, a cognitive association with Taj Mahal could symbolize quality, you never know!

A section of the Website talks about the color profiling and suggested combinations, as part of Home Beautification. A great insight, and a must see for informative purpose!
But, a more visible color combination and contrasts could have ensured higher customer attraction. Nonetheless, nice effort!

Just an observation - The website paints everything with a limited set of paints. Berger has used only a shade of Blue and Pink in their campaign through out. Are they de-selling the other colors, or is there a conscious decision to present limited shades to the customers?

For those who are looking for answers for the same,
Well, Don’t think too much about it; just …Paint your Imagination!

Aussie Flavors at Shoppers’ Stop - Diwali at Opera House?

An association with Tourism Australia has prompted Shoppers’ Stop to launch “Down Under Fest” – a promotional campaign to increase the purchases during the festive season.
With a few selected Artists from Australia scheduled to be “available” at select Shoppers’ Stop outlets and special items being sold, like “Perth Mint Coins” and “memorabilia from Sir Don Bradman Museum”, giving a pure Australian Flavor.

Just an afterthought: Is it promotion of Australia Tourism or is it a move to increase the footfalls at shoppers’ stop? Probably, it is both. But I doubt if there would be a marked increase in the footfalls because of “Australian” touch during this festive season. A logical inference is that the “Diwali” month in itself promotes higher ticket sizes and customers, and maybe the Aussies wanna take advantage of this time. The Aussie flavor could be simply a gimmick, since neither is there any prominent personality in the Australian troupe visiting the outlets across the country, nor is “Australia” a top of the mind tourist destination, primarily due to cost differentials.

A preferred mode of branding could be showcasing Australian products, particular to “Australian Tradition” – something that gives an insight into the culture of the country, and triggers an excitement towards delving further into it.
Traditional Apparels, home grown food products and local bands, according to me, would have been the best platforms to make “Australia” visible, rather than meeting with unknown semi-famous personalities.

Still, I feel, though subdued, the effort has been initiated in the right direction, with a move towards making Australia visible at a time, when people are ready to see something!
Co-branding with foreign tourism officials is in vogue at this time in India. After New Zealand and Singapore, Australia would not like to stay behind, would it!

So folks, this Diwali, be ready to burst crackers next to the Opera House… :-)

eBay “What is it?”

is a new invention. It is talk of the town. It is the thing that everyone everywhere is excited about. It is what makes you feel important. It is what you want to have. ….
It is that and it is this. You can never stop talking about it….

This new teaser viral campaign by eBay finally launched on the 20th of October with the answers

Created by BBDO, the campaign covers different parts of the globe showcasing the buzz created about “it”. Omnicom Group’s BBDO is the new agency hired by eBay, and has made its debut with this campaign (Source:Adweek)

It starts with the “Yahoo” or “Google” style invention, with two guys inventing “it” during their experiments. This invention, with some coloring, goes on to become the most talked about thing “buzzing” in the market.
It becomes the craze amongst all the generations (the videos make a conscious display of all the generations and the cults). Different segments interview the “creators” of the concept and ask them the billion dollar question. But the answer never is seen or heard.

At the end of the campaign the connector appears

For the intellectually inefficient (like me), the “it” in the tagline is replaced with different items that are for sale at eBay – laptops, watches, toys, etc.

It covers US, UK, Mexico and Japan in its campaign. Any particular reason? I went through their press release for the financials this quarter, but could not identify any particular economical “affinity” towards these areas. A quick thought convinces me. Part of the reason could be that eBay wants to display its “global” coverage across the globe, spanning all continents. That’s why it might not be a coincidence that a country each has been chosen from North America (?), South America (Mexico), Europe (UK) and Australasia (Japan).

Interestingly, eBay has chosen the coloring of “It” in such a manner that it encompasses the colors of eBay’s logo – Green, Red and Yellow!

You can also customize “it” and get the downloaded version for keeps! Here is mine made of hard wood !

Incidentally, a press release by eBay announced its Q3-05 Results – A whopping Net Revenues of Company Reports Record Q3 Net Revenues of $1.106 Billion and a diluted EPS of $0.18

So much so for the 21 “it”s in this post. So, What is it?

Via and Adrants

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Powered by Decent Marketing!

It is always gratifying to be appreciated, especially when it comes from a person who knows his line pretty well.
Katherine, of Decent Marketing has put a post on her blog on "Marketing in India - Read Between the Ps", and has some nice words to say for my budding blog!

Katherine is a former Director of Experiential Marketing at the Coca Cola Company and is on the Board of International Experiential Marketing Association. She is considered to be one of the best in her field, and believes in delivering the BEST in Marketing to her clients in organizations across the US.
The best part is ... She owns a consulting company called Engage, and is involved in developing strategies and concepts related to Experiential Marketing!
[Thats the most inspiring bit :-) ]

Thanks a lot Katherine. Its always a great learning to get inputs from Fellow Bloggers.
Keep watching this space!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Hutch "I run. Time Flies"

Delhi is buzzed with the Hutch Half Marathon, which is due in less than a week from now. But, much before that Hutch has started milking the cow.
Saw this billboard from Hutch on my way back home to NOIDA!

This is not a normal billboard, with an extra-large font size to enhance readability. There is a man, on a jogger, who keeps on running next to the hoarding. In the photograph above, it is not visible, since I took this photograph during the day. But, during peak hours, to ensure high visibility, and in turn, high recall, there is a big man jogging his way up, on the jogger!

Interesting concept! And the brain behind this creative is Oglivy! In an article in, Pratap Bose, President, Ogilvy Activation, commented on the origin and objective of the campaign, “Marathon is all about movement. We wanted to show an element of movement on a billboard. Hence, the idea originated.”
He continues to be enthusiastic - “One thing that really makes the campaign stand out is the fact that never before has a man been put on a billboard and shown moving. There have been men and models, but never someone running on it.”

This concept termed as “Out of Home Advertising” or OOH, has shown a large growth over the past one year. It is a Rs 5 bn Industry and contributes to almost 10% of the total advertising spends in the country. With other forms of Advertising cluttered up, and enjoying limited visibility, there is not much RoI Advertisers expect from TV, Radio or Print. Atleast, not as much as the Outdoor Advertising has to be offer.
Even in terms of cost, it is one of the cheapest media to advertise with close to Rs. 10-20 lakh per billboard (as mentioned in Domain-B), and gains enormous visibility, if executed correctly and carefully!

What has Hutch to gain? Yes, visibility for sure. But apart from that, a strong Brand Recall, a strong Brand Association, with the Marathon, and a strong CSR association with “Running for a cause” behind it, not to forget the strong affiliation with the premium segment, the core unstated target consumers of the “High Profile” Marathon! Why, else, would they call it the "World's most Prestigious and Richest Half Marathong"?

Incidentally, a day after the campaign was launched, there were salesmen calling the Airtel customers (like me!) to find out about their preferences, and convincing them of the new offer! Must say, these people are in a LOT of hurry and want to run through the things as fast as they can… guess they have been inspired by the Marathon, right? ;-)

Next time I see the Hutch Logo, I will first remember the guy jogging, and then, about the Connection! I hope people don’t enter the shop pretty soon, and start inquiring about the Joggers!

For now, the campaign does earn brownie points from the analysts, and kudos to the “out of box” thinking by O&M. Few more days to go for the mega branding event! :-)

Keep your tummies tight, and the jogging shoes ready…

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Earthquake Marketing?

Well, the name does sound to be wierd, but when I went to the website by that name, they do offer some neat product.

Considering the fact that a major part of North India, and Pakistan have met with a major tragedy, killing more than 3,000 people, and devastating the entire region, it does feel appalling sometimes, that no matter how much you rise in the Global Business, no matter how much strength the world perceives out of are still under the Nature's purview!

Thats besides the point, and more so, beyond the scope of this blog :-). An interesting piece I found was Earthquake Marketing, with a product called as "Earthquake Whistle"!

Tagged as EQ, I am not sure how successful it has been in its Market, but I liked the product.

Just a normal whistle, but branding it as a "Life Savior" is what Marketing is all about! The page on Uses mentions almost all the ways in which it can be crucial for human beings - Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Fire, etc. Lost people can whistle themselves to safety, trapped under the mud, some can whistle their way out...but that's something that any normal whistle can do. What is so special about "Earthquake Whistle" then?
It does not only produce sound, but also produces a small shrill blast, in anticipation of a disaster and can be used as a signalling mechanism for the search parties.

Such a product CAN be made in India itself, if not ordered from "EQ" Marketing. The idea, per se, is an intelligent one, and should be leveraged as part of building preventive measures to tackle such situations in a more prepared manner, in future!

Are you listening, UPA dudes? ;-)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Visa.. All It Takes (or It Takes All!)

It’s called the “Birds” commercial in the Business circle. The latest Ad from Visa, as part of it’s “All it takes” campaign, features Richard Gere in a Jodhpur, Rajasthan-based commercial.

According to a press release by Visa South East Asia, it is currently being aired across countries in the Asia Pacific, and is considered to be “a blend of Hollywood and Bollywood

Though most of you would have seen the ad, just for the records, it involves a small girl looking to purchase 5 birds to bring good fortune to his brother, who was going on a journey. But she is told that she can only afford one bird. Like most of us, her natural reaction is dejection. But unlike most of us, she is noticed by the “Runaway Bride” star.
A little while, he was told by his guide, “If you free the birds, you give good luck”. After the girl leaves, he takes out his Visa card and buys all the birds from the stalls.
The tagline appears “Special Gift?
As the little girl is about to bid her brother farewell and release her single bird into the air, hundreds of birds suddenly fly into the sky behind her.
"Visa. All it takes"

The Advertisement and the storyboard is available at Agencyfaqs

With a nice score of localized music, this Ad conveys the ‘softness’ of a Visa Card. As one of the Marketers points out in an article on Rediff
"Unlike other financial ads, the Gere commercial is not materialistic. There is a strong sense of selflessness." Well, not sure if that is the main purpose of the Ad, but yes, this is certainly a relevant afterthought.

Another official perspective - The regional director of Marketing, John Steere said, “Consumers strongly associate the Visa brand with qualities of creditability and reliability. The commercial serves to further reinforce this positive perception in the minds of consumers and translate this into tangible benefits for the payment card industry in the country”

What I feel is that, in the 90-second commercial, what is being tapped is the philanthropic nature of the Ad. “Special Gift?” alludes to the nature and the attitude of the Customer. Such a feeling definitely gives you an ego boost, which then translates into a secret need of ‘feeling important’ and getting that special recognition!

Next thing… Why Richard Gere?
The official version: "We sought out the perfect celebrity and theme that would reflect our brand promise and commitment of empowerment. Based on our consumer research conducted across the region, Richard Gere emerged as one of the most highly rated screen personalities. He is perceived as sophisticated, gentlemanly, charming and universally respected – qualities that we want the Visa brand to reflect. Richard Gere’s warm and gracious persona and the act of generous giving match Visa’s concept of empowerment perfectly"

My thoughts: A tourist is perceived to be affluent and generous. Richard Gere is acceptable, but more importantly, being a Hollywood persona, he would be perceived as a heavy customer, who can afford such gifts!
Imagine if Shah Rukh Khan or Sachin Tendulkar would have replaced it… They cant create the effect, right?
I guess, they would have decided on a foreign personality first, and Richard Gere next.

The setting in Jodhpur can be attributed to the ‘traditional’ mindset of the Indians, the way we stick to our traditions, and go out of the way to spend on them, even though we might run out of our pockets in majority of the cases. The tradition has to be followed, no matter what!

For such times, there is Visa!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Ever since I have started looking at Ads, I have realized that they are so addictive, that you simply cannot resist admiring the kind of Innovation and creativity these Ads illustrate.
I bumped into this Site Ad Awards, and noticed that the site contains nominations for the best Ads of September. Have a Look Though it contains 6 nominations, could not resist myself in linking to 4 of them specifically.

The Movie Network

Creative: It shows a women's cell with ladies bathing. After a short quick clip, the Jailer inquires if we saw something, some nakedness, some...Even if we did...there aint any way we can check that, can we? :-)
"Movie on Demand. The Movie Network"
Link: Click Here

The Nike Shox

Creative: With every person jogging, there is a different music playing, which somewhat suits the personality and the look of the jogger. Gradually, all of them meet, and a combination of the different pieces of music starts playing in sync..
"Make Music. The Nike Shox"
Link: Click Here


Creative: One Shoper drops a pair of jeans, then another. This incident, initially perceived as an accident, triggers a chain of destruction of the entire store, damaging the entire store and turning it into rubbles...
"Pardon our dust. The All New Gap is coming"
Link: Click Here

Lipton Iced Tea

Creative: Different areas are shown in the city. But no person is shown, only footwear are kept..Home, Shopping Malls, Roads, Stations..
Suddenly, a man gets down a train, sipping a can of Lipton Iced Tea. As he drinks it, he takes of his shoes, and starts walking barefeet..
"Natural Feels Better. Lipton Iced Tea"
Link: Click Here

They surely are an inspiration for budding Marketers like me :-)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Rexona Deodorant..

Whenever an Indian Ad figures in some international Site, I can't resist myself in finding out more about it.
This Ad is designed by Lowe,Mumbai, for Rexona Deodorant.
Took this entry from "I have an Idea" via Frederiksammuel’s blog

A compelling reason to perceive the message "People Move Away When you have Body Odour". Generally, if one would have seen this message, the natural reaction is indifference, since we feel it does not relate to use. But the movement of the people on the Glass door gives me a reason to believe ...they do move away ;-)!

Incidentally, the Ad has been Awarded Bronze in the Asia Pacific Ad Fest in the Outdoor Cateogry.
A new way of Advertising, and a different tool for a change! Nice work, Lowe!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Happy Birthday Gandhiji

If you are in India, chances are that you would see a lot of hoardings today, and a lot of fanatics shouting slogans for Gandhiji, pretending to be his followers for life, and following his principles. Don’t worry, they are just celebrating a birthday.. In the list of Holidays given, it is called “Gandhi Jayanti” - 136th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
Incidentally, very few of them realize that they have become the brand ambassadors of a long-term marketing campaign for “Brand Gandhi”!
Every year, an attempt is made around this time by many companies to piggyback on this mega-marketing campaign. Most marketers intend to leverage the Brand Image garnered by the Legend, most of which he earned after his lifetime, elevating him to “celebrity” status and trying to cash in on the Recall value associated with him, by co-branding their brands with Brand Gandhi.
But does a simple cut-and-paste job like this always work? Can Mahatma Gandhi brand anything? Even if he can, does it always achieve the intended RoI? Unfortunately, the answer is a dejected NO. Such an effort not only diminishes the Brand Image, but also sometimes, could have legal implications, having high level of sentiments attached to him and his stature he achieved during his lifetime. Many People identify with his values and are reverent towards him. So, anything that goes against it faces a rut of resistance and is loathed by the public.

Having said this, what exactly, can we associate with him? What to Brand and what not to Brand with the "Gandhi" tag?

Before I delve into it, here is a beautiful piece of Advertisement, endorsed by Mahatma Gandhi. Of course, the adjective "beautiful" obviates its Indian origin :-)
This one is from Italy, and advertises Telecom Italia.
This Ad featured in the EPICA Awards last year (yes, this was the link that triggerred the last post).
I got the link from Ad Saga, when I was searching for Brand Gandhi. Thanks Stephen!

It shows Mahatma Gandhi delivering his speech from his room in India to the rest of the world. Difference?
He is speaking in front of a Web-cam, which is being aired live through different channels across the globe - on mobile phones, Desktops, Laptops, Large Screens; evoking sentiments and spreading this thoughts around, invoking an introspection among the audience…

The tagline reads …
Imagine the World…If he could have communicated like this!
Telecom Italia Communication is Life!

With a nice piece of Italian music in the background, and soft spoken utterances of Mahatma Gandhi, this Ad definitely made its mark in the “Communications Market”.
Great Job Y & R Italia!

Happy Birthday Gandhiji!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Advertising - Innovatio Supremo!

When I saw the inputs from India during CLIO Awards a couple of months back, there was comment by the organizer - "India holds a large potential market for Advertising, and we expect a lot of entries from this region pretty soon".
The reporter in "All about Ads" covering the Awards mentioned that "India lacked the innovation and creativity in comparison to other countries" and this argument was substantiated by Prasoon Joshi, who had attended the Awards.

I did not buy the argument at that moment. But, today, when I was searching for my next entry, I came across some of the campaigns by European Countries. I must admit, the only reaction I can think of ... "Awe" some!
India needs a lot more creatives than there are right now. The whole Advertising process has become so cluttered, and the only way out is INNOVATION! The only way Indian neophytes are learning is within the limited scope of Indian advertising (and lately, Ambushing seems to be an easy way out for most Advertisers!). They need to move beyond the borders, get exposed to the European and American Markets, and THEN, customize it inwards.
If we have to elevate our Advertising Capabilities to International Standards, it is imperative to get exposed to those markets, and then APPLY those learnings here.

Just a glimpse of International Ads, to support my argument..
EPICA - Europe's Premier Creative Awards, have printed their Results for last year - 2004.
Have a look at the Winner for 2004 in print Campaign - Les Echos, a French Daily Economic Newspaper.
Agency: BDDP & Fils, Paris
Client : Les Echos Relaunch Campaign
Tagline "Understand the Economy, Understand the World"

Though it is a series of 4 Ads, Each one needs to be viewed closely to understand the "Metaphor" behind it. Click on the photos to get the full versions.

Metaphorically illustrating the trends is a beautiful way of presenting the analysis, and triggers the thought process and deductive analysis by the reader.
Excellent work and a well-deserved award! Great work !