The PROMAX&BDA India 2005 Conference opened up to an enthralling audience with a large number of people flocking to the venue, J W Marriott Hotel in suburban Mumbai. This year’s PROMAX&BDA India Conference is chaired by STAR India Chief Operating Officer, Sameer Nair; Jim Chabin is the PROMAX&BDA President and CEO; and the awards Chairman is Khalid Sayed, B4U Television Network (India) Pvt Ltd Vice President, programming and production, (India & Overseas).
The Platinum sponsor is STAR, Silver sponsor Zoom, awards ceremony sponsor Headlines Today. Other sponsors include Sony Entertainment Television (SET), Autodesk Media and Entertainment, Big Bang & Fuzz, VH1, Nick, Adobe, Pixion, Apple, Metamorphosis and exchange4media and Pitch are the official media partners amongst others.
As India moves into a complex era where there are alternative delivery platforms, direct-to-home and all other possible mobile devices, the need of the hour is to generate the viewer following and to keep them glued to the respective channel and/or brand no matter what.
Thus, the theme of this years Conference – ‘The Sticky Stuff – Applying New Glue between Viewers, Ratings and Revenues’ centres around the need to know how to create brands that are able to span multiple platforms and media, create a new kind of glue – a super glue that will keep viewers sticking to the respective channels and programmes regardless of the size of the screen, the quality of the paper, or what the delivery system is.
STAR India COO Sameer Nair made the opening speech and said that today was a good time to be in television with over 150-170 channels, 61 million cable homes and 25 new channels launching last year. “This is a wonderful opportunity for us as there is a dearth of talent in the industry and with audience fragmentation on the rise; we need to devise different ways to get the viewer glued on to our channels.”
He, thus, paved the way to other questions like - How does a company create the kinds of bonds that won't come unstuck? What are the key loyalty triggers? Does the organisation have the power and the courage to pull them? Are there new tools that are needed? How are the leading stations in the world using their knowledge and experience to create powerful motivation and branding work for their networks?
The sessions began with Michael Benson, Senior Vice-President - Marketing, ABC Entertainment, USA taking the centerstage and explaining the channels’ unique marketing promotions for its two shows, ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Lost’. Benson said that the two shows were launched when ABC per se wasn’t doing too well with its last hit being ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ more than four years ago.
The thought which then went into the marketing campaign of the show was much to do with the intrigue and the mystery, of what the show was all about and wanted to create a sense of reality. On–air promotions were well supported by the Internet, radio, cable, print, person to person, stickers on cars.
In order to create buzz, couple of weeks prior to the show launch bottled messages were placed on beaches, to get people talk about the show and sample the premiere. The show as it turned out to be was a roar and a hit so was the marketing.
“When we were to launch the show ‘Desperate Housewives’, we thought would the American audience accept or reject such a dark and mysterious fun sexy show. But the title did a hell of the marketing job for us as it was both provocative and intriguing. We did a similar exercise like Lost, but this time placed the ads on dry cleaning bags – this was a massive OOH campaign and this time round too the promotions delivered more than expected,” said Benson.
In addition he stated, “One needs to challenge oneself and if you are losing then just innovate. Focus and keep the messages simple and surround the audience as it can win big rewards. Don’t just say but prove it, marketing should be entertaining. And last but not the least find the true core essence of the show and market the same.”
The next speaker, Santosh Desai, President of McCann Erickson India, tried to present the view of entertainment from the viewer’s side. He spoke about the influence and the importance of the past cinema and television viewing experience’s impact on the entertainment scene which existed then.
He expressed, “In the early days there was a lot on mythology and very little history in our entertainment. But today there has been a plenty of change in our social system which is reflecting in the way we are experiencing entertainment and hence there are reality shows like Indian Idol, crime shows, remix videos and so on being shown on national television.”
Delving more on the new age entertainment he said that now the woman was someone who did not only suffer consequences but also created them, and thus there was televisionisation of India. There is thus a need to understand the viewer in context of their life, to speak for the dilemmas of change and read off from their everyday life.
The final speaker for the morning session was Graham McCallum, Partner, Kemistry, UK who spoke on Brandscan - the real sticky stuff. He started off by saying, “We all know that brands are not the products but they are emotions. They live in our brains and so cease to exist. There has been a lot of research done by various universities which shows as to how brands affect our brains and touch, see, smell, hear and tastes are the ways we get in contact with brands.”
He took the audience through the process of memory journey and its step and explained that brands were bought maybe because it was the right brand or because of peer influence. McCallum gave the examples of Coke and Pepsi and a host of other channels and brands like Apple and explained how all of these have some sort of emotional attachment with the person and thus are bought.
All in all the day’s opening session was a treat for those who participated and lead the following sessions.