Friday, 16 August 2013

The Lost Cause of Advertising (Part I)

In Pakistan, like the rest of the world advertising is a tool used for brand building, brand recall and mostly for selling products. But if we browse through advertising around the world, there is a certain type of message that is missing in Pakistan; Public service message.

Not to say that its never been done here, but what little of public service messages that we have been exposed to, there is a smaller percentage of what can be categorized as 'good'. Last one I remember is the age old, but a memorable ad; "Waseem Bahi, ap thak-tay nahe hain?" Waseem Akram - Anti Smoking ad.
Anyone remember the Paktel public service messages?, doesn't matter. And have you seen ads done by Aurat Foundation, I bet not.

Advertising for a good cause, is a lost cause in Pakistan. And I wonder why?.

 I'm talking about a real public service message. It is an untapped market in Pakistan, brands, institutions and NGOs can exploit this space. How an institution like Shaukat Khanum could do something like this
Anti-Smoking Ad   instead of a cut-out placed on signals or billboards on international anti-smoking day. To be honest the message doesn't even require to be sincere, it just has to look sincere, a reasonable effort will hit the audience.
What BBDO Pakistan did recently is a perfect example,  BBDO Pakistan, Work That Works For All  they didn't solve any problems with it. But by executing a simple and a creative idea, they advertised their brand philosophy. In simple terms, they advertised themselves, and people took noticed.

 Brands in Pakistan should use this untapped market and through public service messages, they will hit a much wider audience.

Monday, 23 May 2011

New Target Market ..?

After doing a case study on Mobilink (in Marketing Management) I had an overview of the telecoms industry. And I thought Telecoms industry has reached the saturation level in terms of Market segmentation. With that thought still fresh in my mind, I saw an Ufone ad, targeting Farmers.. My initial reaction was ..  Hmmm..  Interesting..

The problem of course for telecoms is that they have targeted every possible group there is.. 
  • Women (Ladies Package, Ladies First ) 
  • Youth (Djuice, Glow)  
  • Businessmen/Corporate  ( Persona, Indigo) 
  • Locals in a City or people living out of Country

They have done it all, so the telecoms have to come up with new and innovative ideas to target an audience in whom they see potential.

Ufone has done that, they are the First telecoms to target Farmers in Pakistan. Having said that it is nothing but a marketing stunt. Simply put, there is nothing KISAN about Kisan package aside from Rewards; which include tractor, motorbike etc. Every thing else is similar as other packages they offer. 

It is hard to say whether it will be a success or not and I am not sure whether to praise Ufone or criticize it..  
What's your opinion about targeting Farmers, Kisan package and are there more potential groups waiting to be tapped by Telecoms..? 

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Every thing evolves over a period of time.. Same is the case with products.. But some products evolve prematurely.. And this is what happened in the case of SOAPS..
SAFEGUARD : continued with SAFEGUARD "COMPLETE 5" for a while but with LIFEBUOY breathing down their neck they came up with the new SOAP; "TOTAL 1O" to get some leverage over their competitor.

NOW I am confused... EITHER humans are becoming more vulnerable to germs.. OR the GERMS are becoming more capable due to the advancement in technology (or something like that).


I understand what they are trying to execute here, giving consumer a new reason to buy SAFEGUARD .. But then there is the problem of availability. The reason that arrow is going back to SAFEGUARD complete 5 is that even though TOTAL 10 is being advertised, it has not yet fully reached the market, old stock is yet piled up.

So WHY would YOU buy an outdated product,which cannot protect you from 10 diseases..
 let me explain it to you VIA illustration


=  TOTAL 10

One thing about SAFEGUARD is that they put in SOME effort into thier marketing campaign.. But same could not be said of LIFEBUOY.. if SAFEGUARD  is giving 10%..LIFEBUOY  is giving 1%
As I dont feel like writing.. I will try to potray the picture of LIFEBUOY..



LIFEBUOY   seems to be travelling on the fast lane and is evolving too much.. making the consumer look DUMB.. they felt that they had to counter SAFEGUARD and came up with a new campaign..

JUDGING by the speed at which these anti bacterial soaps are evolving.. SOON there will 100 diseases that could be prevented by a simple handwash..

And as GERMS are getting Dangerous day by day.. we shall need "SAFEGUARD..TOTALLY COMPLETE 100" and "LIFEBUOY..ADVANCE and ACTIVE 1000" to protect us from them..
Or may be not.. Some day consumers will understand these tricks..
So the question is.. have Anti bacterial soaps missed their mark or are they SPOT on...??

If YOU  feel like watching the ads.. here are the links..

Monday, 11 April 2011

Drama continues......


Drama is not just a genre of movies or the soap operas on the TV screens, it can also escape the screen and enter into the realms of reality. There must be someone who you and your friends like refer to as a DRAMA BANDA / BANDI ..

These Drama Bandas and Bandis are part of our society. And they go one and enter different fields of work contibuting their skill of Dramay bazi to their respective sectors. But two fields with the maximum number of Dramay baaz has to be; Politics and Marketing. Politics; no need to explain that point, and marketers...?  well not much to explain here either.

I dont know who originally came up with the idea of Drama (considering it is a Greek word, so may be Greeks)  but I know who re-invented it in the recent past.. STAR PLUS..Indian dramas were at the all time peak with "Keun kay saas bhe kabhe Bahoo the" and "Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki"..

But with every action there is a reaction. As the time went on, popularity decreased and now to a point that they are hated by the majority.

I know you hate Indian soap dramas, which means you like it when someone pokes fun at it...DEFINITELY ( hmmm..or just a..may be)..

Guys at Olivia had the same thing in mind.. and they acted as though there was some thinking behind the concept, with a launch ceremony,where some guy was trying to explain the BRILLIANT concept; hoping to capture the minds of consumer with it and kill the audience with laughter. The plan was to "smart and anokhay andaz mien apni marketing karaen aur logon ka dil bhe bhelaen". That was the plan. But as we know, rarely things go as planned. They bought 7 mins of air-time  at different entertainment channels and started series of plays making a mockery out of Indian soap dramas (and also out of themselves)..

(video of the Launch ceremony)

The Concept was named Olivia Moments and different drama (skits) were aired every week.

Buying 7 mins of air time at different channels like HUM TV and KTN must have been costly than 1 min advert, but that 1 min ad cant make you laugh like these "humorous" skits  (Cough Cough) ..

So it didn't serve the very purpose of its creation, so what.Everyone makes a mistake.. but there is no harm in accepting your mistake and moving on.. 

But what can you say about the stubborn nature of humans. They went out to make 30 episodes of "Keun kay saas bhe kabhi achi the " and 9 of " Kahani har ghar ki" with a combine views of  less fourteen thousand (on youtube).. making it an average 350 views per video, not an impressing showing,considering that there is a team behind it all. But are things which leaves a question mark.. if you go see their facebook page, every episode has LIKEs upto 180 on an average.. may be the numbers of employees there.. no I'm not being skeptical, if you go and read the comments below, you will find a common factor of "insult" "disgust" and even "hated" towards the episodes. this trend continues, likes followed up by comments like "kia bakwaas ha".. actually the comments where the only thing which made me laugh in their entire campaign.

May be the audience didn't get the idea... so lets educate them..

Or may be they did and just don't like.

OK there were some (only a few) comments which appreciated their efforts.. Overall the facebook page of Olivia is very active and it is doing well..
Applying my "Benefit of Doubt" theory I will leave Olivia alone and move forward with the theme of things that were meant for Laughter, like the Walls ad..

 This ad was suppose to be funny.. and you wonder how I was able to figure it out.

the actors; Tipu (actor/comedian) and Barkat (comedian)..
the ads end with the tagline;
"WALLS  ka inaam.. bhula day sab kaam"

The ad missed it mark from a mile and yes this one will soon be forgotten.

Ufone has always been leading the way with funny ads even though they lost the plot somewhat because they were focusing too much on others (mobilink, telenor) but their new ad reminds me of the old Ufone.

Ads can succeed even without humour. I particularly enjoy the Ariels ads because they reach their target audience with a factor of believability. The ads usually show a housewife talking about husband at work or child at school. 

Tooo much on TVCs... moving on to Billboards..

An interesting thing I noticed today as I was driving back to home from a friend`s home, there where many competitive(direct and indirect) brands` billboard in pairs.

1. Index ..  comfort and style (with a total of 4 billlboards) [2 talwar]
2. Slice .. Fruitily [3 talwar]
And few other at Shahr-e-faisal. 

Another trend in billboards is; to put up more than 1 billboard of the same product on a single road, especially of lawn exhibitions. I thought the season of lawn exhibition was over but I guess some exhibitions will continue is April as well and they again have the billboards to show it.
Sometime I wonder the difference between these lawn exhibitions billboards and billboards put up by political parties. 4th April was the day when Bhutto was hanged, so the PPP


But it is not just a tribute to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto but a way for local leadership to move up the ranks and win the support of the workers. Therefore If you look closely, you will find that at the bottom it usually states the name of the person who put the billboard up. This time round it was a closely fought match between Mir Mazhar-ul-haq and Agha Siraj Durani... May be its perfectly normal and I am just over thinking stuff.. May be I am creating DRAMA out of nothing.. May be I am that DRAMA BANDA whom you have met with.. MAY BE.. I don't know..

But one thing which I know is that just like the Indian soap drama, the drama in the Political and Marketing World continues...........


-latest Olivia moment episode:

-Walls ad :

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Marketing GHOTALA

The worldcup is in its exciting stage, I am sure everyone is watching. What I enjoy as much as the match, are the advertisement that are running during the worldcup.
Few advertisements seem to run far more than the others.

Just like the HBL ads; first it was the pathetic ad of “GHOTALA”... Don’t remember..?? I don’t blame you...

HBL credit card; A guy who is young, making his career struggles with money so he buys a credit card, which helps him fulfill his needs (no..No...  Wait... lets just agree with them for the moment) but my problem starts with the ad, when the word GHOTALA comes into action.

Ad starts off with “ANDA-GHOTALA” (which I am assuming means, scrambled egg) then moving on, the Word comes up again with a line
“Is say pehlay zindagi ka GHOTALA banta... mienay banwa lia HBL Credit Card...”

So I did my research (searching on Google) on this word... It’s a Hindi word

So using a Hindi word for a Pakistani ad, GOOD JOB my friends...
How many of 23-33 year old (the target audience for the ad) know the word GHOTALA... I asked couple of guys and the only person who knew this word was over 40.

So you thought when HBL can’t top their GHOTALA ad... ENTERS THE BEAN...
Mr. BEAN (local version)
I don’t need to say much about the ads featuring him, just one thing.
Does HBL sees their customer as stupid as Mr. Bean (local version)...
The guy himself is a disgrace for THE Mr. Bean.

Okay... Let’s not be so hard on HBL guys, at least they made a good ad on the Pakistani team...

Moving on... there is much more going on in the marketing world than just HBL. Some people are waaaaay to busy earning some hard cash, let’s take the example of Ali Zafar... I don’t have any problem with him earning cash, it’s his right but the companies should be more sensible who are they associating with.

Ali Zafar goes on to make a worldcup song for JAZZ (which seems reasonable, as JAZZ sponsored him to release his new album.

But then he goes onto make another Worldcup song for PEPSI.
So the next time you hear the voice of Ali Zafar singing; which brand will come to your mind..??
Chalo janay do... I am sure he wont be back....

BUT he pops back again in the LIPTON ad... which is a useless ad doesn't say much about anything.

Chalo yaar,, if you say so... janay daytay hain ousay, but as long as he stays on TV screens...

Uuuuuuughhhhh... He is back again... this time on huge billboards, wearing STONEAGE.
Surely he is pushing the boundaries…!!!
Anyone else thinking of making Ali Zafar a brand ambassador, please thinks twice...

HOW can we forget Telecoms when discussing the poor marketers..?
No ... we can’t...
So DJUICE are on a mission to teach the youngster some ethics... Let’s appreciate them and not look at their previous ads  and brand activation campaigns where they showed much respect for the women themselves :p    
Lets keep an eye on them.

JAZZ JAZBA has come up with new offer, gupshup offer.. The ad is logically incorrect, now you may say, ads dont need to be logically correct, I agree, but only if they are entertaining enough..
Offer: call free after 2 mins (mobilink to mobilink).. During the ad the friends call each other twice and on both 
occasion the call is 30 sec long..  Yes may be I am being too hard on these guys..

YOU: hero, wat abt warid and zong ads.. ounko discuss karo na..

Well I think, mobilink has build up some reputation in the market and when you see BAD ads from companies like these, one is disappointed..
But let’s just leave it..
I am sure there will be a lot to talk about ..when I write my next blog..

Jazz Jazba song:       

Pepsi  song:             \
HBL Credit Card:    
HBL Mr bean:         
HBL cricket team: