Marketing Idea No. 20 – Humor Me

Once upon a time, some brilliant marketer came out with the concept that with catchy songs and out of this world dance routines, the Bengali imagination can be captured. That began the never ending era of “Song and Dance” TV advertisements – one whose glorious journey still exists even when we run deep at the heart of 2007. Tracking the history of advertisements in this country, it is common knowledge that we simply love our jingles – starting from Joni print saree ads to Goalini condensed milk. But with too much indulgence in one dish, comes that sour taste in the mouth. And some assumptions – aren’t all ads looking too similar? Are’nt we really getting predictable and boring? In the name of advertising, are we really selling or creating awareness among people or are we just in entertainment business?

Which leads to the biggest question of all – is there life after the “song and dance, jingle based”  advertisements in Bangladesh?

The answer of all those questions, by all means, is yes.

But how can we replace jingle-based ads, since its so popular? The simple strategy will be to find something totally different and make it likeable. In the midst of 10 jingle based ads, even one direct, boring public announcement sounds appealing and stands out. In India, in the midst of 10 ads endorsed by movie stars and cinema icons, one ad that does the exact opposite stands out. The trick therefore again – is to find something different and appealing.

Which brings another very important question – what do we like as much as songs and catchy tunes?

There is a number of possibilities. But nothing stands out more than humor – the best medicine that doctors recommend and advertisers follow the world over. If we believe in the power of globalization and taking stock of whats happening around the world, in Bangladesh humor is the new jingle.

It will be shocking to compare what percentage of ads globally are based on some form of humor and what percentage of ours have a humorous touch in it. The gap will be so big that in itself is funny enough to create an advertisement. The reasons that are frequently cited and the misconceptions are varied.

1. Bangladeshi people do not appreciate the delicate humor. They have to be tickled to laugh and enjoy

2. It is difficult to find good comedians with strong writing skills or visual styles

3. People find humor to be offensive and not suitable for mass

4. The illetarate people in the villages might not “Get the humor”

Its fair to say none of the above mentioned reasons hold ground. 

Humor itself has the power of recall, like none. It will be an easy experiment to validate this statement – simply think of some ads you recall from last month form satellite  TVs or the last advertisements you forwarded to your colleagues. Like i said, nothing quite generates the recall and involvement like humorous advertisements.

Yes, we do have some memorable humorous advertisements – but ours is based on physical humor, the slapstick comedy as it is known. We are ardent believers that to make Bengali laugh we need to fire the big guns, not the feather touch. The delicate, corny side of humor is still mostly an unchartered market. With the ever rising Generation X, this is the kind of humor that can do wonders for our advertising industry.

Marketing Idea No. 19 – Doing the right thing Vs. Doing the job

Doing the job – A customer comes to you ( you being a customer service representative) and says he has a problem with your product. You hear his problem and tell him back that since the warranty policy does not cover the fault of the product, you can do nothing about it. Then you say “Sorry” with smile ( No matter what, SMILE…thats what Customer Service trainers would say). Of course.

Doing the right thing – A customer comes to you and says he has a problem with your product. You acknowledge first that its definitely your fault, not the customers. And you do everything within and outside your power to fix the problem.

The second scenario is what customer service is all about. The first one however, is what we experience day in day out.

This is a perfect example of how “Not my job” and “Just doing my job” mentality is hurting the company. No matter where you are and what you do, always do the right thing. Never just do your job

Marketing Idea No. 18 – Long Live Branding ( Why we kid oursleves that we can survive without branding)

Is there anyone in the room who has never heard this question, “If people buy on price, since they are sooooo price sensitive, why do we need branding?”.

The answer will of course be negative. And that is what layman’s think. In fact more often than not just about anyone who has never stepped in the shoes of a Brand Manager thinks in the same way…..if A is priced at X, and B is priced at X – 2, and people buy B more often, then why the big hue and cry about branding?

The answer of such a simple question is of course simpler. Its because Brand A is not creating enough value for its customer so that he chooses A with its higher price instead of  B, which costs lower. So the solution is not “We dont need any branding” in price conscious markets, but rather “We need more effective branding” in price conscious markets.

 Now this creates some very interesting statements.

1. The lower we go in the socio-economic status, the power and scope of branding must increase incrementally. Meaning – even financial struggling rural audience can be lured by branding.

2. The more price conscious a market is, the brand marketer must put in doubly the effort to create a brand pull. Meaning – Bangladesh is a price conscious value driven market, so the power of branding is more required here than anywhere else.

3. The more commodity oriented the market is, the more there is scope for Branding to create differentiation. Meaning – Even tubewell water in rural Bangladesh can be branded.

There was a moment in history, when there was a huge roar that Branding was dead. This moment in history is known as “Marlboro Friday”. As per Wikipaedia,

“Marlboro Friday happened on April 2, 1993 when Philip Morris announced a 20% price cut to their Marlboro cigarettes to fight back against the bargain brand competitors who were increasingly eating into their market share. As a result, Philip Morris’s stock took a major dive, along with the share value of other household brands including Heinz, Coca Cola and RJR Nabisco Fortune magazine deemed it “the day the Marlboro Man fell off his horse”

Investors interpreted the price slash as an admission of defeat from the Marlboro brand, that Philip Morris could no longer justify its higher price tag and now had to compete with generic brands. Since the Marlboro Man was an image that stood since 1954, it was considered one of the biggest marketing icons. Investors reasoned that to see the Marlboro icon give into a price war, the marketing itself must be ineffective. As a result of plummeting stock value in major American brands, 1993 marked a slight decrease in U.S. ad expenditures. Companies began investing in promotions rather than advertising. In 1983 in the U.S, the average expenditure on marketing was 70% advertising and 20% on promotions, by 1993 it had made a complete turn around, to 70% on promotions and 20% on advertising.

It was the only decrease to occur since 1970. At the time, this event was regarded as signifying “the death of a brand” and the advent of a “value-minded” consumer generation who pay more attention to the real value of products and not the brand names. This view soon proved to be incorrect, with the rest of the decade’s economy being dominated by brands and driven by high-budget marketing campaigns.”

And that more or less laid to rest any doubt over the future of branding.

Marketing Idea No. 17 – Creating a health food restaurant

 This idea is contributed by Nadia tabassum 

Before Nike, exercise and health-consciousness was sweaty, tedious and defintely not the in-thing. Then cam the “Just do it” campaign back in the mid 80s. And suddenly health-consciousness and exercising turned “sexy”.

Fast forward 20 years – and the world is going nuts over healthy living. And the touch can be felt here – on this side of India Ocean as well. Take a look at the youth of today – the slim, thin and image conscious bunch who would do anything to look good. And in a country where lack of entertainment is as prevalent as the ever increasing mosquitoes – eating out is a MUST DO when youth are hanging out. What if we can combine these together – eating out and healthy living?

A look at the restaurants all across Dhaka will showcase a growing number of diverse culinary experieneces – but none of them sells healthy food exclusively. In the era of counting cholesterols, bulging stoamch lines and ever increasing heart disease – who wouldnt want to try out something healthy, if its made hip, trendy and a “group thing”?

The Big Idea

Create a health food restaurant, invest heavily on the experiential part so that young people come in groups and health conscious elders can come and justify som,e of his earlier not-so-healthy food indulgences. Pizza Hut and Steak in the week – with a weekend trip to the health food restaurant to detox….seems like the perfect complement.

Marketing Idea No. 16 – Make Branded Optical Lenses

Buying a pair of Sunglass is easy – I would rather buy a Police or a Ray Ban and show my groove. Most importantly, people will know that i am showing buy groove….with the Ray-Ban logo splashed all across my Sunglass.

But when it comes to Optical lenses,  how come no such big name stands out? How come Optical Lenses dont come with strong logo visibility or a brand identification?

The Big Idea

If you are an optical lens maker, for too long you have been hiding in the closet. Get your logo, remove the dust from top it and boldly flaunt it on your optical lens. Your beloved customers will want to let the world know that he is wearing your optical lens.

And yes, you should. If Toyota can flaunt their logo on top of the product, if Chiquita can flaunt the logo on top of its banana – you definitely can.

Marketing Idea No. 15 – A low-cost Mini Gym for women

On the supply side – there are lots of gym with lots of high cost equipments, most of them remaining unused.

On the demand side – millions of women in Bangladesh who are 30+, advised by doctor to walk and exercise.

 But somehow the supply side and demand side never met. The reason being, women will not go to any GYM where men go and they usually will not do anything much other than walking and running.

The Big Idea

1. A women only Mini-Gym consisting of only treadmill. 

2. Millions of overweight women, who would love to walk but cant do so due to unavailability of open spaces and the social taboos, will use this facility

3. Because for women, exercise must be positioned as a “Group thing” where they can meet with other women and walk in a comfortable environment.

4. Because of the low cost of the Mini-Gym ( Only treadmills and no other fancy equipments),  it can be made into a chain and spread all over the nation.

5. Using only treadmill, frees up a lot of open space. Thats why the real estate cost is also minimum – and GYMs can break even in a very short time

Marketing Idea No. 14 – In response to the big debate that 3 -4 categories will not combine, rather it will divide

3 devices – MP3 device, mobile phone and digital camera will not combine to create one device. None will all of a sudden stop using a digital camera and use the mobile phone for all his imaging purposes. None will discard all his I-Pods and pick up IPhones to dance to tunes. Plain and simply – 3 items will not converge to create one. And that is the reason why I Phone will not be the future of mobile phone or internet device.

 A few more reasons why I Phone will not be as big as predicted

 1. The Name. Why I Phone? Doesnt the name itself invoke the idea that its a slightly better I Pod with a phone attached? Does the name itself position the product as a different breakthrough idea? Dont think so. Its a very generic name. And thats mistake number 1.

2. When the mobile world is going toward design and slim, a bigger “feature” studded mobile phone will not spin the world upside down. If so, MotoRazr would not have been the biggest selling mobile phone of all time. Why did people buy it? Is it because of their superior image quality? Is it because of 4 n 1 features? None. Its because of the look. So if the trends are predicting something, design will trimph over function.

If seeing is believing, lets find out how many people are carrying 3 or 4 devices today, rather than one. 

So as a response to Seth Godin’s challenge i would like to say, no. I dont think I Phone will be the big things that everyone says it is.