Marketing idea No. 111 – Its all in the eyeball baby – hot insights into advertisement research

A global study that took into account how our eyeballs react to advertisements have come out with some great findings:

  • Ads in the top and left portions of a page will receive the most eye fixation.
  • Ads placed next to the best content are seen more often.
  • Bigger images get more attention.
  • Clean, clear faces in images attract more eye fixation.
  • Fancy formatting and fonts are ignored.
  • Formatting can draw attention.
  • Headings draw the eye.
  • Initial eye movement focuses on the upper left corner of the page.
  • Large blocks of text are avoided.
  • Lists hold reader attention longer.
  • Navigation tools work better when placed at the top of the page.
  • One-column formats perform better in eye-fixation than multi-column formats.
  • People generally scan lower portions of the page.
  • Readers ignore banners.
  • Shorter paragraphs perform better than long ones.
  • Show numbers as numerals.
  • Text ads were viewed mostly intently of all types tested.
  • Text attracts attention before graphics.
  • Type size influences viewing behavior.
  • Users initially look at the top left and upper portion of the page before moving down and to the right.
  • Users only look at a sub headline if it interests them.
  • Users spend a lot of time looking at buttons and menus.
  • White space is good.

Marketing Idea No. 110 – Alternative universities for alternative professions

Confirming our nickname as “hujugeye” nation, we cling to the conventional wisdom like there is not much truth beyond it.  Before my time, the engineers and doctors of BUET and other institutions had a field day. They were the top professions, netting in the top girls of our society, with the top salaries. Then there were the influx of people leaving the country for Computer Engineering, as if without computer engineering there is no tomorrow.

And then there was BBA.

The Bachelor in Business Administration came, saw and conquered in a space of 3-4 years. And that gave birth to the new urban legend(s) of the day – without BBA there is no job, without MBA there is no career progression etc. etc.

And to add fuel to the fire, we have just about 100s of institutions springing here and there offering BBA / MBA programs. Which springs the interesting question in mind…is there room for other kind of professions?


  1. The media is on the rise. But there is no institution offering professional degree in private sector on media journalism.
  2. The YouTube generation is rising, powered by a camcorder. But how many professional degrees and institutions are out there to offer education to this generation? Only a couple come in mind. But that is definitely not enough

Its not only this. There is always demand for alternative careers for people who are tired or never look forward to a corporate career. Agreed, they may be the niche group, but they exist. And if we can have institutions that cater to the needs of the djs, the rjs, the sports enthusiast, the singers and give professional degrees with solid affiliation with great international universities, dare we say its gonna work?

You bet it will.

Marketing Idea No. 109 – Branding “uri-nation”

This idea is contributed by Sadique Salim 


Its official. The city of mosques has become the city of billboards. At times you cant see through towards the skyline without being tempted by one of the square shaped advertising hoardings. It’s a question of too many….too alike! Deny it….at your convenient time….but aren’t all billboards look exactly the same?


Its called OOH (out of home) sector therefore any media that can be effectively used to attract people when they are out of home should be the business of the outdoor agencies. Keeping that in mind lets propose a new business idea for outdoor agencies…..Public Toilets.


Well lack of public toilets and the smelly nuisance created due to such lack is as old as any structure in Bangladesh. But what should have been a public sector situation can be a private sector business initiative. Think about it. Outdoor agencies can spring public toilets all over Bangladesh. The trick is….in all those public toilets, just above the “urine distribution centers”, there will be advertising.

This is a trend known as “Captive Marketing”. Its basically a very simple concept of pitching your brand message to a captive audience, one who has nothing better to do at that time other than urinate and see your brand message.

The OOH agencies thus can have boards placed conveniently just above the toilets and rent those spaces to different brands. Thus creating a win-win situation for brand (Placing its message in an unbeatable place), OOH agencies (earning money while conducting CSR) and public in general (Finding clean place for urinating).

Marketing Idea No. 108 – Sometimes a tissue is more than just a tissue

Kleenex, the market leader in soft tissue category, took the whole market a step forward  when they claimed way back, “Don’t put a cold in your pocket”. It was simple and fantastic. With handkerchief, you blow your nose, keep it in your pocket, then blow some on it again. But with a piece of tissue, you are free to blow your nose and dispose it. Hygienic, simple, cost effective. A fantastic to position tissue against the handkerchief.  

But a lot has happened after that, with no significant value addition. Yes we have perfumed tissue and wet tissue to talk about. But these did not have the mass potential that earlier innovations had, because of the high price tag that comes with it. 

So the question remains, how can a tissue brand differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack? 

The answer might be as simple as adding a small quote, interesting facts, or adding a character on the surface of the tissue. 

This plays just like a fortune cookie. The beauty of fortune cookie is you have a cookie, along with a small, interesting line hat get exposed once you break the cookie. Small yet an interesting light-hearted moment. 

Now think about the tissue. When the tissues are inside the box, there is no way to know what quotes or line are written on that tissue. So every morning (Women during make up for guys for other reasons), you pull out a tissue from the box and there it is…written at the bottom a small quote, line or joke to tell you how your day will go. A small, insignificant yet interesting way to start your day. 

In low involvement categories like tissue, you have to create a real good story around the brand to survive in the “impulse buying” category. So this pocket tissues (Lets say fa or Bashundhara) can position themselves as “not just a tissue, but one that shares your laughter, sorrows and musings”. Now that will be one big emotional statement coming from a tissue brand. More sniffs. More tissues!!!

Marketing Idea No. 107 – The power of solo, single minded distribution

In a mind blowing book called “The Long Tail”, Chris Anderson talked about how the power of “hits & blockbusters” are eroding and how the power of the “small”, “combined” can outwit, outperform and outlast the big. 

This was demonstrated in a small distributional battle only a few days ago. And the big almighty in music, also known as Billboard magazine, had to bow down to the pressure of “The Long Tail”. 

What happened is that after taking into account the sales of all their traditional channels, Billboard magazine declared that the new Britney Spears album was their new Number 1 album of the week. But immediately afterwards, in an unprecedented move, Billboard changed their top album list and made the new album of Eagles as the new Number 1 album. So what happened to enforce this change? 

What happened is that Billboard takes into account the sales in all the traditional channels, but not the sales that take place through Wal-mart. But over the years Wal-Mart has emerged as the big player in music distribution, and more importantly Eagles chose Wal-mart to be their solo distributional channel. So once Billboard was forced into taking into account the sales made through Wal-mart, they found out that Eagles album was sold 711,000 copies in 6 days only in Wal-mart compared to the 300,000 that Britney sold!

So reluctantly but inevitable they had to change their “hit calculation” model as well as the reigning Number 1 album in billboard.  That in short shows how we can never deny the power of the small….even when its as insignificant as one single distribution channel. What it takes is one distributional effectiveness to outperform the entire market.

Marketing Idea No. 106 – Turn your brands into comic book heroes

This idea is contributed by Mohammad Jobaed Adnan

We have fond memories of comics industry – but that’s all there is …….memories. After all, local comics as it is a dying breed. But there is enough romance in it  to give it a last push. 

In western countries, comics is a multi-billion dollar business. Spanning two giant comics publisher ( DC and Marvel), legendary superheroes (Superman et al.), fabulous merchandising and some of the biggest blockbusters in the history of cinema (Spiderman 1,2,3) – this is one industry that showed how to be alive and kicking even in the age of Internet. They even had a face-lift in the form of a new name (comics are now known as “Graphic Novel”), new style of writers (Frank Miller of Sin City and 300) and a new category (Adult comics for grown ups). We can and should take heart from this.  While today’s discussion is about comics, its not about how to revive it. Its about how brands can play a part in comics. 

Surprised? Then let me ask you, why not? If brands can figure in movies, talk shows, music videos, computer games, why shouldn’t brand place themselves in comics? It’s a natural growth and extension of the 360 degree brand experience. If the target audience spends most of its time reading comics than browsing through tv channel (Which teen actually do), it makes all the sense in the world to have brands feature in comics. 

Let us go one step further. Why cant brands have their very own branded characters featuring in their very own comics books? In the future can we look at a Tony the tiger line of comics? How about Fido series from Seven up? 

Let me ask you again…..why not? Its all about pushing the envelope and making your brand more humane, attractive and relevant.

Marketing Idea No. 105 – Branding Vs. Marketing

Sounds contradictory! After all both marketing and branding co existed in almost all text books for decades. So what has happened all of a sudden?  

To start it off – their soul lies in different places. While marketing is all about the Ps ( Products, places, price, promotion), brand are not available in the market place. Brandings is a war of perception and it exits between our ears. Marketing wars are fought with prices. Brand wars are fought with positioning.  

To second it, marketing separates, but brand unifies. Marketing is about segmenting a big group of people, and targeting them with proper market mix. But branding preaches the unifying element that combines. Branding says that in more than one ways – a 15 year old kid and a 50 year old campaigner behaves the same. And it’s the job of the brand to associate with that similarity.  

If marketing had its own way, Coca Cola would have to create a marketing mix for each segment – teens, tweens, kids, oldies. But because Coca Cola is at the end of the day a brand, not a product, it preached the message that “Coke is the real thing”. And that is one message that brings us to one platform, one positioning from Alaska to Australia.  Our job at the end of the day is create brands with positioning, not product marketing. That is a whole new ball game …..

Marketing Idea No. 104 – When only seeing is really believing

Since we have come down so hard on marketing research, a lot of people has asked so what should we do if we cant rely on research?

The answer might be as simple as “watching”.

While observational research is not a new kid in the block, its importance has increased in recent years. Why, one might ask.

Well, for one reason if you ask a chubby girl whats her favorite food, what are the chances of her saying its low fat yoghurt, when it really is pizza? When you ask the most popular guy in college whats his favorite music band, what are the chances of him saying its Linkin Park, when it really is Madonna?

Pretty high i would say, because people are basically insecure, unsure of what they really want and really really image conscious.

So a better way to get a real close insight about him might be simple observing him, his likings, his musings, his heartaches. That can tell us a whole lot more than a traditional questionnaire.

P&G is a successful exploiter of observational research. They take permission from families and simply observe them to pick trends. They observe how they interact, they go through their garbages, they learn what they watch and dont watch. By doing so, they find out what are the problems that customers deal with. It is through such a process that they found out that its very difficult to open a chips packet which often creates a mess and breaks the chips inside in the process. To solve that problem, they created the canister size packet for Pringles with the chips neatly stacked one above the other.

Thus by simply observing, great innovation and trends can be picked up.

Marketing Idea No. 103 – Make your brand star in a real reality show!

This idea is contributed by Rizwana Tasneem

Isn’t it always the case where, in a supermarket, most people head straight for the brands they are accustomed to using, without even considering the others? It’s like a default behaviour. Much of this brand loyalty is due to laziness and a why-bother attitude.  And this is one of the greatest ally you can use for your brands, because this attitude still leaves a window of opportunity for you to change people’s minds at the moment of purchase.  For one reason or another, we sometimes just change our minds and pick up a brand out of the blue.  Now, you can take advantage of this behaviour to your brand’s benefits.

Use “fake” brand ambassadors to promote your product in a supermarket aisle. Like when someone is purchasing a certain brand of toothpaste, you can have the ‘customer’ recommend your brand to someone else, speaking highly of the brand and the benefits he has gained from using the brand. This is known as “situation placement”, where you squeeze in some brand recommendation down the line.

First thing for you to determine is where & how to place the brand & its message.  Try to think of your brand as the hero and then tell the story of how it became the hero. You need to extract the benefits of the brand into the story. Ensure to identify the unique skills of your brand and then to place your brand in a story so that it turns out to be hero, the helper or the focus point.

Done correctly, your brands will certainly come out as the stars of the show!

Marketing Idea No. 102 – A different model for web based advertisements

Surprise surprise…facebook has added advertisements in their pages! It was a long time coming and it finally arrived immediately after Microsoft buying a stake in Facebook. Enough of popularity curves…lets cash in!

But be it Facebook or any other Internet start up, advertisements in online application will never work the traditional way. The reason? People dont go to sites or subscriber to applications to see ads. The ads are a distraction, not a value addition. Hotmail made the same mistake. They added loads of advertisements in the ever popular Hotmail accounts….but no one seems interested to click those ads. The reason? People dont use applications to see or receive ads.

Do i need to repeat that again?

But what if we could use the principles of “Permission Marketing” here? What if we could register the subscriber while they apply for an Hotmail or Facebook account, and ask them if they are interested in receiving offer for new products, deals and gifts? Ok, maybe one in a million people will be willing. But that one will be a “willing” receipient., one whom you can easily reach, target and convert to sale in minimum cost. And that would give you more ROI (Return on Investment) than any other way.

Web 1.0 was a burst. Will Web 2.0 learn from the mistakes? Because quite clearly, traditional is not the way forward for Internet.