Sunday, August 27, 2006

Guerilla Marketing – Latest Campaigns using Ambient Media

It is not uncommon for budding prospective Marketers to use jargon before they use marketing. Since I am a potential candidate for the above consideration set, I found it pertinent to get some clarity on the terminologies and their application.

Found some really nice Guerillas at the ad blogs I frequently visit – Coloribus and Twenty Four. Before I talk/put those campaigns, let me attempt to talk a bit about the concept per se.

Guerilla Marketing is a marketing initiative that involves minimum cost for maximum impact. Coined by Jay Conrad Levinson, guerilla marketing is more about matching wits than matching budgets. Wikipedia explains the concept in more detail. It talks about certain principles and communication media, which I have preferred to discount, to avoid restricting my perspective on the same.

Where do Viral Marketing and Ambient Marketing come into picture then, and how are they different from Guerilla Marketing?
Viral Marketing involves a message or a communication that spreads like virus. Something that passes on from one to another quickly, entailing a rapidly extending chain of communicators. A Gmail ID or a MMS by DPS students or a Hotmail account creation are examples of Viral Marketing.

On the other hand, Ambient Marketing is nothing but a part of Guerilla Marketing. It is not a separate entity. However, Ambient Media is something different. It is all media that do not belong to the classic generic group (i.e., TV, print, radio, posters and cinema).
Thus, unconventional media is ambient media and marketing using ambient media would be an element of Guerilla Marketing.

If unconventional media is Ambient, what is Below the line?
Below the line (in the current context) is a form of advertising, which involves direct contact with the customer. It USES less conventional methods to promote products and services. It is not a media but a technique of advertising that does not use the conventional media.

To summarize, Guerilla Marketing is a marketing technique to use minimum cost for maximum impact – it includes other techniques like viral marketing and ambient marketing; ambient media is a form of media which excludes conventional form of media; and below the line is a technique of advertising that uses lesser conventional forms of media

To put things in perspective, in some cases, it might be possible that in a Guerilla Marketing campaign; below the line technique of advertising might be used that involves usage of ambient media! ;-)

Here are a few Guerilla campaigns that are worth analyzing and evaluating. 6 Campaigns in all - click each of them to get a better view of the campaign –

Brought to you by DHLBaggageAll campaigns apply Ambient media for their communication. A logic is to be applied in each of them, which I would prefer to leave as food for thought ;). Objective of the used media- high-traffic areas & decent waiting time to ensure exposure (Bus stops/Airports/Check-in counters)

Strong Teeth - DentMalteser Worldwide Relief voluntary recruitment in FrankfurtThai Massage You’re safe with Durex

Sources and Details:
DHL; Stretcher by Maltester; Thai Massage; Durex; Baggage;Dent

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What’s in a Family Name? (China)

Entries have been pending for a long time now. Found some interesting things happening around the world lately, but could not post them earlier. Would be blogging them soon.

For now, its something interesting about one of most exciting markets – China.
A recent survey conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences published some notable facts about the Chinese Family Names in China.

According to the report* (as covered in China Daily),

There are 4,100 family names for some 1.3 billion people in China, of which 94 percent use one of the 300 big family names, such as Li, Zhang, or Wang

Out of these, “Li” is most popular family name, with 7.4% of Chinese people bearing that name [Source - Survey released by China's National Natural Science Foundation in January]

The most used name in China is Wang Tao, with about 100,000 people bearing the name!

What’s in it for Marketers?
Though this might not be too relevant till the point-of-sale, but looking ahead, a CRM model would need to take this factor into consideration. More so, Loyalty cards and Networks would need to have an extra variable for verification.
Photo identification might not be the best way of security checks also.
Even the Service model, including personalized services, would be different. This could specifically need special treatment in case of Insurance, Bank Accounts & Financial transactions, Private deposits and Legalities in Ownership.

Interestingly, the surname is the only Chinese element in the names of most of the Chinese today. Most of them prefer to have a Western first name, so that their first names are not spoilt.
According to Business in Asia

In China, the family name precedes the given name, which is occasionally followed by the second name or the western equivalent of a first name.

Nonetheless, I believe some innovation is required in the Chinese mindset to think of newer names ;-)
Imagine even if a tenth of them reach a Starbucks, place their order and wait for their names to be called out. Would be quite an exercise!

Must say, Risk of counterfeiting in China is no longer restricted to products only ;-).

* The survey has investigated about 1,110 counties and cities covering nearly 296 million people with 4,100 surnames.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Design Barcode - a new Media Channel in Japan

Barcodes have turned into another channel for communicating to the consumers. The company, Design Barcode, based out of Tokyo, Japan, transformed the inanimate barcodes into designs that reflected the product category and redefined the way barcodes are printed on packages.

Starting with a book containing various designs, the firm sold the idea to various organizations to begin with. Gradually, with contracts coming in, it built credibility, along with visibility in the market. Publicity came through major media as well as direct mailers initiated by the company.

The effort resulted in the desired results. According to the description at the Cannes Lions website,
"There are 15 companies utilizing Design Barcodes in their packaging currently, and approximately 60 kinds of Design Barcodes are circulating in the marketplace. There have been zero instances of false readings resulting from these barcodes and the company has succeeded in generating 1 million dollar worth of free publicity for itself through various media sources as well as direct marketing."

Evidently, the creativity demonstrated and executed was awarded appropriately. Design Barcode took the sole Titanium Lion Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival this year.

According to the Ad Age coverage, the Titanium winner was the unanimous favorite among the nine-person jury. The criteria for the winner being the "Biggest, newest idea" and to award something that had never been seen before were best met by the Design Barcodes itself, out of a total of 202 Titanium entries.

The chairman of the jury, David Lubars said the winner "has taken something that we see every day that is a depressing symbol and turned it into a new media channel." Undoubtedly, barcodes were never considered as an engaging media with the rectangular symbols only used by the Retailers at POP.

But when you are told that the barcode would reflect the image of the product it is put on, you can appreciate the level of creativity involved. Design Barcode customizes the barcodes in such a manner, so as to symbolize the product is represents!

As mentioned in the entry “Repackaging Barcodes” at Springwise, "Some designs were commissioned by clients, while others are part of the agency's initial range of 200 designs created to display the format's potential." All barcodes are put through a range of tests before being released for production.

There are 3 variants for the pricing part of the offerings:
Library – Shared Use ($1500 per design + $200 annual license Fees);
Library – Exclusive Use ($4000 per design + $400 annual license Fees); and
Custom Design.
Companies can no longer develop their own bar codes creatively, since the idea has been trademarked and all rights have been reserved by Design Barcode.

There is some interesting feedback about the concept from various parts of the globe (mentioned primarily as comments at Springwise and Adweek)

Apparently, this is not the first time that the agency has been awarded for its creativity. In 2005 it was awarded the Good Design Award in the Communication Design Category also.

However, according to some readers, this concept is not new and it has been initiated earlier also. The idea has already been done by the Germans with Pfadfinderei of Berlin working on it for several years.
Other agencies/creatives working on Barcode Designing are Barcode Art and DesignBarcode, and another piece of Barcode Creativity

Then, I also got to know of an excellent collection of barcode art from one such comment, where natural elements are translated into barcodes…..just stretches the power of imagination, if I may call it.

[Reference: 1 and 2]

In the United States, Design Barcodes has partnered with PACARC, LLC under the name "Brand Code Revolution"

Am sure this concept is something that would eventually be accepted globally by branding companies. Considering the clutter in the market already, advertisers crave for idea inflows and are constantly yearning for new and creative media channels around the globe. Design Barcode entered at the right time…and was duly awarded for it!
Kudos to the design team for the ideation as well as the execution.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Brand Lalu: A Tastemaker for Rural Marketing in Bihar (India)

Rural Marketing is not all about low price points and PR building. Marketers in Bihar have found a new way of selling goods in the market – Tag them with the “Lalu Brand”.
Though Brand Lalu has been famous for more than a few reasons, very few marketers have been able to cash in on it on a sustainable basis. Products ranging from Toys to TV Serials, from toffees to dating sites, from movies to a website are being introduced in the market from time to time under the aegis of the “Lalu” Icon.

Consistent product introductions in the market tagged with the Bihari Persona has ensured that people remember him. His distinct style of communication and behavior has given him a unique place in the Indian community. So much so that the word “Bihar” and “Lalu” have become synonymous in the South Asian news circles. Following are a few pertinent branding stories floated in the market -

Lalu had gained considerable popularity on account of his involvement in the fodder scams in Bihar. Even though it was for all the wrong reasons, the name stuck nonetheless.
Leveraging this recall value of the local community in Bihar, Prakash Agro recently launched fodder under the Lalu Brand in Bihar.
Times of India reported that the company launched three qualities of animal feed under the brandname 'Lalu Pashu Aahar' and has already managed more than 200 tonnes of daily sales in the market. This has encouraged the company to move beyond Bihar introducing lalu-based brands in other states as well.

How strong is the Lalu Brand in Bihar? A story on June 20 in one of the Bihar dailies discussed the feedback of the farmers, who insisted that cattle chewing on Lalu fodder give milk that's much sweeter than before. Thus, thanks to Lalu fodder, their quality of milk has improved! Now that’s impressive for a first timer…but whether it’s the fodder or whether it is the ‘lalu’ component in the brand remains to be seen. For now, the company has got a magic formula to use for its brands!

Hair Cut
Besides these products, local barbers and saloons are earning handsome money by offering what they call the "Lalu style hair cut". One of the barbers commented that the style is a craze among the youths and even policemen.

Sometime back, a Mumbai-based software company launched a website called for young people wishing to culture relationship through the internet.

According to an NDTV report, the dating website has been inspired by the bond Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi share, even after 33 years of married life and nine children! Thus, according to the website owners - "They are the image of an Indain couple. When Lalu needs help Rabri is there for him and vice-versa".
Sound Logic but I am just keeping my fingers crossed as far as the “image of an Indian couple” goes. It’s a scary thought imagining every Indian family with 9 children!!

The website did click with a lot of Indians. Already, the website would have close to around 10000 memberships. More so, the name holds a lot of optimism for the youth of the Bihar state.

“Nearly a 1000 people from Bihar alone have registered themselves with the website, hoping that perhaps like Lalu, they too someday will find their Rabri” according to one of the news reports.

There are more brands running in the market piggybacking on the Railway Minister’s Brand - As mentioned in Times of India, there is Lalu 'lemon choos', Lalu Toy, Lalu chocolates and cheap cosmetics labeled 'Lalu chale sasural', which are currently hitting rural markets in Bihar and selling like hot cakes.

However, not anything and everything can be “successfully” tagged Lalu. There have been brand failures as well. Bollywood failed to accept the movie based on him “Padmashri Lalu Prasad Yadav”, the Television industry failed to accept the TV serial titled Ram Khelawan & Family and the Lalu doll is also not available in the market any more.

Incidentally, only the feature film had been named and made with Lalu's consent in which he too made a brief appearance. All other products named after him were without his consent.

But there was not much resistance from the minister’s end, who has taken events in good spirit. This encouraged a section of manufacturers so much that rural Bihar is today flooded with low-priced cosmetics and other low-priced products under the Lalu brand.

Agreed that Lalu instantly connects with the rural populace and entails high recall. But the point here is what clicks with the consumers in one category might not click in another. I cannot launch motorcycles under the Lalu brand, neither can I launch Watches. There has to be a connect somewhere, which the consumer can psychologically map and associate with the ex-chief minister.

For now, such a trend definitely entails some excitement towards exploring more on the effect of a persona on the product offerings. Can we do this for soaps and detergents? What about White goods and apparel? Also, how much of an impact such a trend would make and spill over in markets outside Bihar? Are there similar iconic brands in other Rural markets as well?

Need to explore more – will get back with some information next time!
[Tip from Hindustan Times]

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ketchup Sachet (New Zealand) – Campaign against Landmines

Another piece from Cannes Lions 2006 – this time in the Press Category

An insert in the "Fundraising & Appeals" category hits hard on your face through the message it communicates – the impact of Landmines on common man. What is creative about the campaign is the manner in which the message is communicated – using Ketchup as the medium to resemble blood and the sachets used to squeeze it out of the pack.

Titled “Ketchup Sachet”, the creative is in form of a sachet, which when torn, resembles blood coming out of a child’s legs. It signifies the casualties and damage caused by Landmines, thereby raising awareness about the inhuman act. Ketchup Sachets were inserted into magazines "to demonstrate the horrific everyday nature of landmine affected country".

Created by Publicis Mojo, Auckland (New Zealand), the advertisement is part of its “campaign against Landmines” campaign (CALM). Certainly, a unique method of communication, which has resulted in the ad getting a well-deserved Gold Lion in press (Insert Medium) at Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival 2006.

The message reads “In 89 countries walking on a mine is still the routine.”

Incidentally, this is not readable from the insert. Looked up a lot of websites, where the Ad has been blogged about. Unfortunately, none of them mentioned the tagline for the insert. As usual, Martina (Adverblog) had the answer once again. Thanks Martina!

I also found an interesting discussion on the campaign at Advergirl, where the rationale behind the communication methodology is being talked about. Worth having a look!

Ariston Aqualtis (Italy) - Cannes Gold 2006 for Film Category

It might be more than a month since the Cannes Lions 2006 Awards have been announced, but could not stop myself from mentioning some of the best pieces out of the winners of this year.

This Television commercial from Italy features Ariston's Aqualtis Washing Machine in a totally unexpected creative manner. The creative, titled "Underwater World" (or “Il mondo sommerso” as its called in Italian) imagines the washing machine as an aquatic world and translates the elements inside the washing machine (clothes to be precise) into the sea world creatures. For instance, socks turn into fishes, shirts into marshes, handkerchiefs into jellyfish and a scarf into eel. Incidentally, I could only gather this much. There are more creatures described at Duncans, where the entire commercial has been explicated, with all the ad elements mentioned.

Blue fish with white spots swimming through the coral are in fact socks navigating their way through white shirt sleeves. Scarves wave their seaweed fronds as handkerchiefs double as jellyfish. A bra threatens to snap shut like a clam on a playful sock. A vest floats past like a turtle. A red silk scarf makes its way past white shoe laces.

The entire commercial, or the sea world experience is nothing but an Ariston Aqualtis washing machine in action....."Big Inside" is the super.
After watching the commercial, anyone would infer that the Agency behind the creative, Leo Burnett Italia, Milan, rightfully deserves the Gold Lion it won at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

[Reference: Adverblog and Cannes Lions]

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Smart Eggs (Britain)– I’ll tell you when I get boiled up!

I had spoken about Eggvertising a couple of months back, and am back with the eggs again.
Eggs aren’t my favorite blogging topic, but when they are given much more attention than “eggs” are supposed to be given, you really cannot avoid it, can you?

It seems quite funny when you read about an entire nation admitting that it cannot boil an egg – to what degree, how much and for how long…! And yes, it is not a metaphor we are talking about….we ARE in the literal world!

The British Egg Information Service, after repeatedly answering queries (supposedly on how much an egg should be boiled) has come up with a solution…a self-timed egg stamped with a special thermochromatic logo that becomes visible when the egg is ready.

When a whistle can be used to indicate when the rice has been cooked in a pressure cooker, a tag can definitely be used to indicate when the eggs have been boiled as well. According to Times Online, the self-timing egg is imbued with the powers of heat-sensitive invisible ink that turns black the minute that it is ready.

The eggs would come in 3 varieties – Soft, medium and hard-boiled. Customers would need to buy the type they want beforehand. As mentioned in Techeblog, you have to buy the kind you want or else the ink is useless. It isn’t a three-in-one egg.

I am not sure how to react to such an initiative, but I really liked a comment made by David Ponce at Ohgizmo
“You know that mankind has reached either a new height of sophistication, or a new low of stupidity when it feels the need to manufacture food that tells it when it’s cooked.”

Innovation and technology sometimes have a funny way of reaching you. Though this seems to be a new and interesting concept, but how much it would be accepted by the markets remains to be seen. More so, if this ticks with the consumers, “eggs” are not the only products where this can be applied. You could tag the vegetables, pizzas, pulses and even meat for various indicators. Jason from Gizmodo proposes extending this logic to Steak as well. “They should really put this into other foods, like steak. Maybe they could display "WELL DONE" or "MEDIUM RARE" in big black letters when the meat reaches the right temperature.” Nice idea!

The eggs would be introduced in the supermarkets to start with, though likely only in Britain.

Sunset Strip/Times Square Billboard Awards..

Sunset Strip Times Square Billboard Awards Another set of “Best Billboards” have been announced – this time as part of the 7th Annual Sunset Strip/Times Square Billboard Awards , with the creative professionals in outdoor advertising being recognized for their outstanding work.

Held at West Hollywood on the 28th July, the awards were given by the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber had established the Sunset Strip/Times Square Billboard Awards to honor creative excellence and artistic achievement in outdoor advertising design.
Weeds Agency: Showtime, The Red Group The basis of the awards included creativity and strength of original concept; overall art direction and implementation; and consideration of format.
[According to the press release]

Weeds got the Billboard of the year award and the GAP Glove Tree billboard got the Tall Wall of the Year. Have a look at other creatives which have been awarded as the best ones in their respective categories. Hover the mouse over a pic to know more about it.

Chicken Little(Disney);Agency:DisneyDeuce Bigalow (Sony Pictures); Agency: Sony Pictures/Art MachinePlay House (Domino Magazine); Agency: HEATGift (Tiffany & Company); Agency:Tiffany & CompanyNew Orleans (Southern Comfort); Agency:Arnold WorldwideMovies (Target) Agency:Haworth Marketing/Peterson Milla Hooks
Glove Tree (Gap); Agency: Laird & PartnersFat Actress; Agency: Showtime, The Red GroupiPod (Dancing Woman); Agency:TBWA/Chiat Day

The compiled list of the winners, the advertisers, the agency behind the creatives, the Art Director, the Creative Director and the Billboard company, is available at this link
[via Ad Critic]

Friday, August 04, 2006

Amul Butter – Repackaging Initiative with Service Motive

Almost a year back, I had discussed about the Amul Moppet and its brand history in India.
Incidentally, little has changed since then. The marketing efforts of the cooperative are still commendable, considering the level of consistency and innovation it has demonstrated over the past 40 years.

Its latest initiative includes repackaging its core product to capture an altogether new channel, and command its position in a promising network, which is yet to be fully explored – serving the airlines and the railways

According to a press release, Amul Butter would soon be available in an internationally designed tub pack. This would make Amul the first company to launch Butter in an International pack in the country “thereby strengthening its leadership status in the category.”

Though this type of packaging has already been introduced in the bread spread category by the Market Leader (86% market share!) in other offerings like “Lite spread”, Butter is still packaged in cardboard packs.

In an effort to move up the value chain, convenience attribute was factored into the repackaging initiative. It is oriented towards “single serving” “low priced” and “convenient application and disposal” parameters. Therefore, a logical channel would be the food service industry – aviation, railways, long-distance transport services, entertainment hubs and caterers.
Such an initiative, based on the manner of serving the customers, reinforces the market trend of increasing importance of services for any product category in the consumer markets.

Unfortunately, no trial packs are available to understand this further. The launch is scheduled for this month nationally. Maybe once it is introduced in the market, I would be in a better position to opine on it.

Talk of Amul and not talk of it topicals? Not possible as long as moppet is there…
Continuing the trend of movie dramas, the latest topicals are spoofed on the 2 recent megamovies – Krish and Omkara. With all comments reserved on the movies per se, the topicals are as interesting as they have been!