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Of the few very popular terms that you may hear in a marketing class in a B-School or even in the conversations of two marketing professionals, especially in the Advertising World, you would often come across “Clutter-Breaking”. Telling you from my personal experience, this term though signifies “breaking through the clutter (regular) or standing out of the mass”, is so over-used or if I may use the word abused that you need a “clutter-breaking” term to stand out of the usual over-used terms like “clutter-breaking”.

Anyways, I spent some time (or you may say wasted both lines and time) on “clutter breaking” because that is what I observed on streets and buildings around me. It was outside Andheri Station in Mumbai when on a bus stop I saw an advertisement of Religare which had a small kid clicking on a camera. Nothing extraordinary right? What caught my attention was the flash of the camera shown, which was a light which must have been placed in such a manner so as to appear to be the actual flash light of the camera from the front.

Another one was today on my way to Gurgaon, when I saw a Nokia N97 ad that showed the phone in use on a very big screen. What was different from the usual in this case was first a ticker that was supposedly there to scroll news and was indeed scrolling live news! The second one was a field that showed temperature and was actually showing teh temperature at that time. Though these two distinctly stood out in terms of not gelling too-well with the original image, still its a way to catch attention.

Now comes the question of effectiveness. Though, I really had to ponder hard to recall what brand was that kid and camera ad and moreover, what was that ad about, but in case of Nokia N97, I do know now that these are the two features amongst many others in this phone. It maybe the case that Nokia is fresh in mind and it will only take a week or so for me to again look back to even if Nokia was effective but the point I am trying to make here is that there are three very important aspects to OOH print advertising. First, to the slightest of extent possible, yes it pays if it is “Clutter Breaking”. Second, it should be effective! For instance, if you recall one of the recent Parle Musst Stix ad which shows the spokesperson from Parle making consumers aware of how they don’t like to invest money in advertising and instead believe in giving more quantity in their SKUs with a model popping up in the screen with Musst Stix and the spokesperson asking the staff to get rid of her. This ad, though to me seemed to be good, but speaking to a few people I understood that it might not have been that effective as many people mistook it to be a BINGO ad! Now even in our case, if I remember the flash light of the camera but not the brand, nor the context, though clutter breaking and attention grabbing, was it effective? Thirdly, the placement of the ad is very important, which I think both of these brands had (appropriate if not the best spots).

Various brands have used all sorts of techniques to grab attention, sometimes by playing with size, sometimes with colours used, or a surprise factor, distinctiveness , sometimes mere placement of the ad and then a mix of them. Given below are few examples. Enjoy 🙂


If you are wondering what the title of this post means, I am here to make it simple for you. It stands for “Oh My God, I’m Gonna Puke”. Now coming to what it exactly is, it is a phrase used in Microsoft’s new online ad for Internet Explorer 8. Going on to their website, you may no longer find this ad, reason being many users found it to be “offensive”.

Confused? Should be. Actually, the ad tries to highlight one of the features of IE8 which is private browsing meaning there are no traces of your browising session left anywhere in the browsing history or elsewhere. The feature is somewhat similar to what is offered by Google Chrome in the form of “Incognito Window”.

But then whats so offensive about the ad is the meaningless and ugly, rather senseless way of showcasing it. The ad shows a husband and wife sitting on a table with the wife stirring probably a glass of milk and the husband working on his laptop. The husband then stands up and walks away for something when the wife takes permission to use his laptop.

All is well?

What happens next leads to something you may not want to know if you had your meal minutes before. The woman turns the laptop towards her and sees something that sort of disgusts her to such an extent that she pukes!

As if this was not enough, her husband returns and slips because of the slippery floor (slippery because of what the woman did!). In comes a man in the foreground asking “Do you suffer from O.M.G.I.G.P or Oh My God I’m Gonna Puke” and the background still has this woman repeatedly and periodically puking, this time, on her husband lying on the floor. The next 10 seconds of this commercial shows the man in the foreground describing the feature of private browsing in IE while the woman in the background continues to puke on her husband lying down on the floor.

The ad then features the tag line, Internet Explorer 8, Browser For The

A Microsoft spokeswoman claimed that while much of the feedback received for this ad was positive, some customers found it offensive so they’ve removed it.

Well, if you still want to see it, to which I think that you should re-think, here is that “offensive” ad for you. Watch it and tell me if it was “offensive”, if not then how did you feel about it?

– Pikes

“Marketing is not an art anymore… Its a science”
I can say that after ROMI.


Some say its doomsday, and for some it’s more and more opportunity. The print media has seen a lot of flux with the advent of the internet and questions have been raised on whether it is in its declining cycle. Not all consumers behave the same, thank god! So while the US is grappling with a declining trend, there seems to be more optimism in Asia, especially in countries like India and China.

India sells approximately 78.7 million copies of newspaper every day, second only to China. However, the business model of the newspapers rely less on the revenue earned from the subscriptions (app. 40% revenue) and more on the revenue earned from advertisements (app. 60% ). Of course, one might argue that the advertisement revenue itself is subject to the circulation, reach and reader segment attracted. And hence it does not come as amazement when the Wall Street Journal decided to provide free newspapers to important corporate houses and business schools. If they get addicted, money would surely follow. Let’s look at some of the initiatives taken by Indian newspapers, and am sure, by most of newspapers abroad too!

Now let’s take a look at the bundling principles through newspapers. Of late, newspapers have been bundled with magazines and local newspaper. For example, The Times of India in Mumbai is bundled with the Mumbai Mirror and a bundled price of Rs. 4.50/- is charged for the same. Have we noticed? Yes. But have our preferences changed for the addition couple of rupee we have to shell? Actually, no. And hence bundling becomes a mode of survival for this industry. Maybe the future could see newspapers bundled with your train ticket in the morning, or a monthly subscription free with your month’s groceries!

The content of the newspapers is gradually becoming more target group driven. Debatable, yes, but here’s my take on it. Different sections of the newspaper have been targeted at different segments which was earlier not so much the case. And hence there is a clear distinction between editorial contents of the same day in different newspapers.

In order to make the newspaper attractive amidst the clutter, the publishing houses have come up with innovative ways of advertising. And thus, the first page of my morning newspaper always has a startling content, colour, font or interestingly shape! It surely does work, especially when it’s difficult to hold on to the newspaper! Add to that the advertorial page (Mint recently published “From time to time, you will see a page or a feature in Mint that is clearly labelled as Media Marketing Initiative. Such sponsored content is entirely generated by an advertiser or the marketing department of Mint on behalf of an advertiser, and does not involve any Mint editorial staff...”

The print industry is in a mode of collaboration (media and print), extension (Dainik Bhaskar keeps adding more cities to its network regularly), and the advent of local newspapers and of vernacular newspapers. All these, together, make me think optimistically regarding the print media in India.

The online print media and its evolution is another huge aspect, but maybe some other time. Also, the mobile phones may usher new revolutions in this space. I leave you with the question. Is there something the west could learn from the print media in India? Or is it just that “we are like that only!”

– Nemo

The market has always been flooded with ads showing the competitor product in bad light when compared to the company’s products. Mostly, this has been displayed in the form of similar coloured product packages or name initials shown in the ad against which the advertising company shows its superiority (functional or emotional). While the viewers could identify, the competitors could never win the legal battle.

But that wasn’t enough. The latest Horlicks – Complan tussle sees both products compared in the Horlicks ad. Well, Complan decided to come up with an ad claiming that Complan consumers grew taller at a rate twice than the growth of the non consumers.

Horlicks has now arrived with an ad which entails a discussion between two kids and their mothers. Both the products are compared based on the nutrients, the claims and finally the price. The “Taller Stronger Sharper” campaign of Horlicks is used to counter the claims of Complan ( and pretty convincingly if you’d ask me!). The ad communicates the price advantage of the product and the functional benifits. Overall, it shows the supremacy of the brand over the competitors.

Two pointers out here..

1. Such ads can only be allowed if the claims are clinically substantiated. For example, the Horlicks claim of “Taller Sharper Stronger” is a clinically proven claim. So its an example of how research helps in branding.

2. Such ads are justifiable when there are two major players in the market. In this case, Bournvita is a competition which has not been targetted directly. Is that a great idea?

– Nemo

Heard of Interstitials? No not the space between atoms in a crystal sturcture. We are talking new age marketing … well advertising space at least.

An Interstitial is any space which can be filled with a billboard, a poster heck even a lcd screen to promote your product or brand. It is the space in the elevators of skyscrapers, the walls of a pan beedi wala, the cubicles in a public toilet and any such randomly fantastic locations you can think of.

Read more here


Print media has it tough. Once the brand is created it is difficult to re launch.

Case in point: Indian Express. The main paper as well as its business sister, Financial Express have consistently over the last decade made space in the rankings table by moving down a slot everytime a new competitor enters. Now IE is posed with the options of either relaunching both (or one) of these dailies or launch a new product completely. The question is can relaunching help convince people of the ‘new and improved’ IE or FE? Very tough ask it will be. After all it is newspapers we are talking about. The 200 million people in India who subscribe to newspapers are cannot be  easily persuaded to change from their current daily to something else especially if they are satisfied with their current dailies and worse still if they were once (but not anymore) readers of IE.

The second option albeit more tedious and expensive will lead to a higher possibility of success assuming the basics like product, target market etc are done right.

People in media might claim that price is not a parameter for competition in the print industry.               

Case in point: HT vs TOI fighting for market share in the Delhi market. TOI came in wanting a piece of HT’s pie in the north. It dropped its price to Rs.1.50 but the mighty HT took no notice. Bang one day they wake up and see a big bite in their big pie. So they go ahead and drop prices to Re.1!         

Final Outcome: HT remained the leader by a slim lead over TOI.                                                                   

My point: Price wars do happen in this indutry even though 85% of the cost is covered by advertising.
Well media is a tough nut to crack. Its readers can be fiercely loyal or fiercely dis, brand awareness is high but intention to buy is low and money spent on ATL+BTL is very hard to track.
On this note I end this media note. Hopefully more to come as days move on or the 2 months at least 🙂
Comments are welcome!