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Archive for August 2008

The only bad thing with differentiation is that it presupposes homogeneity. Just ponder –

Otherwise of what use is mass differentiation. Everyone being unique is just another way of being “homogeneous”.




I am looking for answers here – what you all think ?

Is marketing about making people discontented or happy? Discontented mass look for alternatives and thus are more potent to buy the product.

Happy mass are satisfied and are in no need for buying what you offer. They do spread your power by their mouths.

Which is more powerful?


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Though the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about the most intense battle in the technology space is Microsoft Vs Google, a far more intense war is brewing on the advertising front between Microsoft and Apple. Of course this battle is not something new, it has its roots ever since apple launched its Switch campaign. And these companies have since drifted away and not been the rivals they once were. But the personality of the people who lead these behemoths ensures that this rivalry keeps showing its ugly head.

Apple in recent times has been able to pick up extra market share, but what is more worrying from Microsoft’s point of view is how it has been able to pick up tremendous mind share. Under the drive of Steve jobs apple, in recent years, has launched many successful campaigns and the latest one was the get a Mac campaign.

pc vs mac

pc vs mac

“In 2006, Apple released a controversial Straw man series of twenty-four “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” advertisements as part of their Get a Mac campaign.

The ads, which are directed by Phil Morrison, star actor Justin Long (Accepted) and author and humorist John Hodgman (The Daily Show) as a Macintosh (Mac) and a PC, respectively. The format for each commercial is similar: Long introduces himself as a Mac and Hodgman introduces himself as a PC (assumed to be running the Microsoft Windows operating system), then the particular facet of computing is stated, after which the Mac is depicted as being able to do whatever the PC is able to do, but does it quicker, more safely, more creatively, or with more versatility.”

Considering the beaten down image that Microsoft had amongst consumers, it was high time they reacted. And the plan is to do it at a massive scale, with a launch of a $300 million campaign. How exactly this campaign will work out is debatable. But is Microsoft even warranted in launching such a reactive campaign? Wouldn’t these millions of dollars spent just go into reinforcing apple’s brand, which is exactly what Apple wants? The best way for Microsoft is to ignore the pokes from Apple and concentrate instead on changing its identity amongst consumers and not try to counter Apple’s advertisements.

And meanwhile Microsoft has launched what they call a “Mojave Experiment”, which shows changing opinions of people about vista. You can check them out at But I really doubt the usefulness of this campaign, unless they actually realize it on a television platform. Any which ways, the challenge to revamp Microsoft’s image will be the biggest that the agency has faced till date.


Okay, the confession must go first. I intended to do a lot of shopping for the upcoming storm gathering at our B-School (read as the tête-a-tête with the corporates). Fortuitously I found a big sale at the local Shoppers Stop. Now don’t ask me whether the Shoppers should have an apostrophe after the letter r. Coming to the point what is the relation between big sale times and loyalty cards ?

Usually the malls have this signature time when they announce upto X% off, and these are the times they experience a truck load of footfalls in their stores. When I went to Shoppers Stop I found indeed that was the case. There were lines of shirts and trousers on sale but alas the items, I guess, were those which were not moving off the shelves like hot pancakes. Anyway that is my own individual impression. At the billing counter there were serpentine queues with people lined up with their purchases as if they have been rewarded in a treasure hunt.

Big sale times are those when the average bill size per customer shoots up. My guesstimate would be by at least 10 – 15 %. Please note its a guesstimate.

So when such a customer comes to the counter with a larger-than-usual bill size, that is the time to push your loyalty cards. Wham-bam-done. There you go.

Imagine my bill is Rs. 5000. I would not mind paying Rs. 168 charge for a loyalty card during that time. My propensity to reject this offering is nil. Run the numbers – is it 3.36%. I would never mind this.

Pourquoi you ask – as they say 168 is a very small number compared to 5000 that I am spending. So my argument is push those loyalty cards in these big sale times. There is a caveat. Ask someone from the company to look at the loyalty card membership form and ask them to fill it. It takes a horrendous amount of time to look first and fill.

For a customer filling this form just ask their identity sources – the modern ones. Typically that would be name and e-mail. THAT’S IT.This way those standing behind the customer who is filling up this form would not fume.

Over subsequent e-mail elicit the other information that you want. And don’t just push the cards because you have to and don’t ask for mobile numbers (from younger people especially) just because they are prone to change.



PS – Yeah yeah you guessed it right – I got a card too 🙂 The name and e-mail ID has now become the usual practice for New Generation websites to sign up new users. Its comfortable and hassle free and you don’t need to fill in lots of details like “secret password question”, blaah blaah blooo bloo.

Co-creation is a new and innovative marketing mantra intended to keep consumers brand loyal. The engagement modes vary from penning the brand’s advertising (Kingfisher-Ad Director) to selecting which flavour stays in the market (Lay’s Fight for your Flavor) to putting consumers’ mug on the pack (Kurkure Chai Time Achievers).

Innovative ideas of nurturing creativity are on the rise with the consumer goods companies in India. ‘Make your own ads’ being one of the fads. Says JWT India chief creative officer Agnello Dias: “Co-creation is one of the new marketing mantras.”

Rapid growth of new marketer-customer interfaces like internet, interactive TV and live activation has strengthened this in recent times. “It gives brands and clients a chance to interact directly with their customers and makes them partners in creating a brand that they would like to bond with,” adds Mr Dias.

Ogilvy & Mather India country head (planning) Madhukar Sabnavis says: “The purpose behind these creative opportunities is to make the brand dearer to consumers. It engages the more creative minded consumers and creates excitement.”

FritoLay India had recently launched ‘Fight for your Flavor’, a campaign where the flavour with maximum votes continues in the market. Kurkure’s ‘Chai Time Achievers’ encouraged consumers to display their talents by creating various recipes with Kurkure. The winners were given the opportunity to feature on over a million Kurkure packs.

Sunsilk’s ‘Gang of Girls’ gave young girls a chance to direct, shoot and upload their own commercials on the site. also started a global movement of people creating videos of them tearing yellow pages, and used the content thus generated as mainstream television ad.

More and more FMCG companies should look at utilizing this new innovative means of creating strong brands.


Okay the situation of inflation is glum, in India, that is. But the FMCG companies are showing some 32 teeth on their wide faces. Everyone is experiencing double digit growth rates including that behemoth HUL. Anyways cutting to brass-tacks, here is the low down. Customers are down-trading on certain categories typically which are not amenable to “value calculations” and not down-trading on other “value conscious” categories. But at the same time consumer spending is not going south, YET.

But what is the relation to anesthetizing pain? Read this –

[Consumers are] not weighing the current gratification vs. future gratifications. They experience an immediate pang of pain [when they think of how much they have to pay for something]. That perspective has a lot of implications. For example, it helps to explain why credit cards encourage people to spend; they anesthetize the pain. – From neurosciencemarketing

What does this imply for machinations during these times when inevitable price increase across certain categories is being seen already? Well first one –

· Forget individual transactions, they cause more pain.

· Focus on single price for multiple items

Bole toh? Every time I, imagine me being a family man, go to buy my favourite biscuit I see and say “kitna costly ho gaya hai, kuch aur sasta khareedte hain”. So instead if I am offered something, larger, which covers my consumption for few weeks hiding the increased costs behind the larger pack I might buy it.

Offer bigger packs in times of inflation and probably the other way round during normal times, that is.

Bigger packs of not just the same items but similar items as well [bundling ?]


PS – I love the word “anaesthetize”. I think thats the reason why modern warfare works better medieval warfare, discounting for the impact of technology. More on that and marketing later.

A company recently launched a campaign, asking users ‘Kya aapko K.I.L.B hai? The first thing that came to mind seeing the ads was the “Digen Verma “ campaign. The question stands whether this new campaign would ceate any ripples and would it last long enough and have an impact.

The KILB campaign had Irrfan Khan asking ‘Kya aapko K.I.L.B hai? generally dressed as a doctor. The campaign was done using TVCs, printmedia, OOH(Billboards,Buses etc.)

The ads generated a lot of interest and curiosity amongst the Indian consumers who went about searching the answer o Googe(where else) or end up discussing trying to figure OUT what K.I.L.B means.

The presence of Irrfan Khan led many to think it was a new initiative by Vodafone promoting some new low scheme plan. Leave apart the intelligent guesses,the mystery was revealed a couple of days back.

It’s form Aegon Religare Life Insurance

K.I.L.B Stands for ‘Kam Insurance Lene Ki Bimari’

To kya aapko K.I.L.B Hai?