Sunday, June 25, 2006

World Cup Fever in Shanghai: Eating Soccer, Literally!

Shanghai is mad about World Cup, and I can sense it here. New and innovative marketing concepts are introduced in the market almost every day, to lure customers by connecting to the World Cup pulse. Concepts like World Cup Nannies, World Cup Screenings, modified HR policies for World Cup,etc. are altogether New Markets created in Shanghai.
Of course, the locals have money to spend and the passion to force them to spend. It is simply about the pulse. You hit it right and the scale wouldn't be an issue at all.

Recently, an article in China Daily mentioned a restaurant in Shanghai that is making dim sum in the form of a soccer field. It has 10 football-shaped dimsums and is displayed on the platter made out of Rice and tea powders. The photographs would give you a clearer idea...

Quoting the article
"Shanghai Lu Bo Lang, a famous national restaurant that supplys Shanghai style dishes, presents Shanghai soccer fans with a new dim sum that resembles a mini soccer field dotted with ten footballs, named "World Cup soccer carnival"! "

As they say, people here eat, drink and sleep Soccer in Shanghai ...Some of them, literally!
[Source: China Daily]

Friday, June 09, 2006

Presidents as Brand Ambassadors?

National Monuments acting as Brand Ambassadors? Well, if Advertising is not headed there, at least the advertisers are..
It is a lucrative deal to get one President to endorse your brand. But when you have four American Presidents do it for you, that’s a proposal very few would like to leave at the table. Imagine if they are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln…

Probably, this is what lured Proshade, a 3-year-old consumer eyewear accessories company, to offer to pay up to $4 million to adorn each of the 4 President faces on the Mount Rushmore National Monument with huge Proshade visors.
According to a recent article in Adage,the authorities have denied any commercial aspect being attached to Mount Rushmore considered to be the 'Icon of America'!

However, the President of Proshade, Richard Lawrence has a different perspective to offer. He asserts that the initiative has both philanthropic as well as commercial implications. Alluding to preservation of precious national assets, he views his proposal as a public-private partnership which entail mutually beneficial results.
The news updates on the company’s website mention “The partnership would provide funds and increase awareness for sun protection and minimizing glare.
To add to this, the Proshade President mentioned in another interview "We tend to look at the Proshade as something that enhances someone's appeal, so we don't really think of it as a defacement"

Evidently, the initiative would have ensured high visibility for Proshade, which is where the roots of the underlying objectives lie. But philanthropic initiatives do not necessarily need to be clubbed with a commercial aspect to ensure visibility..

Almost a year back, a German manufacturer had cleaned the monument free of charge, the first time it was cleaned on a large scale, an initiative taken to prevent the monument from “bio-corrosion”! The initiative entailed washing the granite faces of Mount Rushmore to remove decades of dirt, grime and lichens that could damage the complexion of the four presidents. [reference]

Undoubtedly, Mount Rushmore is very popular with advertisers. Adage mentions that there have been “around a dozen ultimately unsuccessful offers each year for the famous landmark, including one two years ago from a magician who wanted to make the monument disappear”! That would have been interesting..

I am sure Indian advertisers would be wondering if a section of this thought process can be translated in the Indian context as well. How do we start? Branding for Footwear for our Freedom fighters or Summer Apparel for the Indian leaders for maintenance of the monuments?

Food for thought!
For now, it is "Rush more” time for Advertisers at Mount Rushmore…

Source for Proshade photograph

Advergaming - Global and Indian Perspective (Cover Story)

Advertising Express, the International Advertising Publication of ICFAI Press, has featured my article as this month's Cover Story.
You can have a look at the June's Issue to get more details on the article and the publication.

The article talks about Advergaming and in-game advertising, a trend which is fast evolving in India currently. The global perspective has been discussed a lot of times and the industry has reached a certain maturity in the western markets. However, due to the nature of the industry, experts have not been successful in emulating the concept in India.
Is there a market for in-game advertising in India? If yes, who should invest in it and how should they go about it? What is the scope of the future growth and penetration into the Indian psyche for this concept?

To a certain extent, the article discusses these pertinent issues. Unfortunately, due to copyrights, I have little content to present. However, a Summary of the article has been presented below -

Advertising has evolved over the past two-three years and is no longer confined to the traditional modes. With the changing behavioral pattern of the consumer of theInformation Age, the way the marketers talk to the consumers is also changing. One such mode is advertising in video games through various channels. This paper presents a specific mode of advertising in video games... in-game advertising and advergaming. An overview of the industry has been presented and also various aspects of the same have been outlined. An initial discussion on the changing business environment and the need to shift from traditional advertising is also followed by a snapshot of the vast potential that this emerging segment holds. Consumer behavior in the gaming community is a complex phenomenon, and has specific attributes, which marketers the world over would like to leverage to build their marketing communication. This article attempts to identify specific characteristics of the typical consumer, and the factors influencing his decisions.

Feedback is welcome and highly appreciated. A post mortem of the article would follow soon, based on the feedback and current industry trends. Readers are requested to post their responses/thoughts...
Hope you like it!