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Brand makeover: To nostalgia and beyond...

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Brand makeover: To nostalgia and beyond...

In the first part of the ‘Brand Makeover’ report, exchange4media had brand consultants giving their take on which brands they would like to see in a fresh, new avatar and how. In this report, we got a few creative honchos from advertising agencies to name the brands they would like to resuscitate and revamp.

It was really a nostalgic trip for most, some going back to brands from their childhood days. Read on to find out more.

Prathap Suthan, NCD, Cheil Worldwide, SW Asia:
Amul Underwear: I have always thought registered names were legally sacrosanct, yet I wonder how NDDB didn’t find it worthwhile to fight this rather macho issue. I am quite sure that the trademark laws do not permit established brand names to be used across other categories. Otherwise, we’d have had Nike Laxative, Porsche Vanaspati, Coca-Cola Shampoo, and Harpic Mouth Fresheners. Or from an Indian prism, Rasna Fertilizers, Vimal Chicken, Ambuja Sanitary Napkins, and Kitply Brown Bread.

Every time I see Amul in its non-edible avatars, I get a queasy feeling. Something squirmy happens. I tend to think lateral when I help myself to Amul ice cream, butter, curd, milk, all tinged with some ticklish underwear imagery. Come to think of it, the Taste of India would have tasted better if Amul underwear had called itself Alpha or Bobo or Zebra or anything else.

Videocon: Forget the fact that part of its name alludes to cheating people. How could have anyone overlooked the sleazy slant that comes attached with the word con. And if one were to suffix it a bit, you’d probably see a video con job coming up.

Then again, would you buy a sports car from a company called TruckzIndia? Or a cell phone from a company called Fridge&Freezers? Something tells me that their names will automatically lead you to a certain conclusion about the nature of their products. And by default, unless you don’t understand the language or the meaning of the word, you wouldn’t want to take a chance with dodgy expertise. So, why would you buy an air conditioner from a company that’s rooted in video technology?

Well, all things considered, the fact is that they are a successful consumer durables and electronics company. And sure enough, semantics in this case is another useless filter floating in my head. I don’t think their consumers ever had a problem with their name. Though given a chance, I’d still rename it to something less skewed, something more neutral and that sounds new age or even, electronic. Why not call it Vexon?

BSNL: As India’s basic telecom provider, it goes against every sense to see money being wasted on celebrities peddling their four-letter name. All their incompetent advertising does is dull the senses even more, and drive their brand further into the ground. Of course, I am discounting the impact their current advertising is having on Chitrapur, a small village many kilometres off Patna.

It beats me no end as to why BSNL hasn’t been able to emerge out of the 70s advertising style? And just why they haven’t bought a campaign that befits their leadership? As a service provider, they have got their act right. Their phones work, their services are super, their operators are helpful, and their network is unquestionable. But, BSNL continues to be an example of a wonderful product smothered by rank bad advertising, and an obsolete name.

All they need to live up to their sparkling capability is a modern and efficient name backed by equally competent advertising. I don’t think anyone who lives outside the purview of MTNL would object to BSNL coming through as more dynamic. The four letters BSNL ought to be tucked away in a quiet corner much like how HUL or P&G appears. And they should reintroduce themselves under a new brand name. Maybe, BTel, IndiaFones or Vox India.

Thomas Xavier, Chairman and NCD, Orchard Advertising:
Advertising: The brand I’d love to give a make over to is ‘Advertising’, the profession. Why? Because it is a brand in shambles! Its benefits are not understood well enough. It is commoditised and people are not willing to pay for its true worth. In terms of sheer value added, this profession must rank above consultancy. Advertising supplies ideas, whereas consultancies mostly deliver just analyses. The reason for this sorry state of affairs is that the advertising profession has failed to capture in its nomenclature the upgraded services that it has offered since its origins in space selling about 200 years ago.

So, here is my solution. I would re-brand this profession as ideatising and price it above consultancy services. All presentation documents will be no bigger than the back of a calling card.

IIT: Another brand that I would love to see transformed is the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). The graduates of this institution have gone on to become the most influential people in the world. Though the world does recognise its value, the essence of this brand has not yet been captured in single sentence. To me, IIT - the brand, stands for ‘the finest Indian intellect that changes the world’. I recommend that this thought be imprinted on the world through a series brand acts.

Binny’s: The third brand I would love to see revived is Binny’s, the fabric brand. It is a brand that belongs to my childhood. In one phrase, the brand stands for ‘New Clothes’. I remember whether it was new school uniforms, birthdays or Christmas, it had to be Binny’s. I remember how Dad would make a trip to ‘town’ to pick up the cloth and then have us all stroll down to the tailor to have us measured. We would then wait for the day when the clothes would be delivered. Needless to mention, it was sheer ecstasy. Even today, the smell of new cloth brings back memories.

I don’t really know a sure fire way to revive Binny’s. Perhaps they should launch a new range to the over 50 cohort, which is tired of look-alike readymades. With nostalgia as an appeal, this group might find thrill in reliving their childhood joy of new clothes stitched by the local tailor!

Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat, Senior Vice President & ECD, Contract Advertising India
Zee TV: At one time, the brand was a trendsetter. It pioneered satellite television in India. Today, they are playing catch up with new entrants like Colors.

Air India: Once the name was synonymous with class and the pride of a new emerging India. Today, it’s in the news for the wrong reasons.

Bata: It was a generic for footwear. It was one of the most widely recognised brand names. Today, the name doesn’t conjure up any special memories. It needs a makeover.

Also read:

Brand magicians’ makeover dreams


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