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Bhaskar Choudhuri

Director, Marketing | 30 Dec 2013

Transparency of prices is still a challenge in the industry. Measurement is another barrier. If both of them are tackled by service providers, more brands will feel encouraged to take up this medium of marketing. Innovations have also not kept up with brand aspirations. There are great ideas out there, but do-ability on scale often becomes a challenge.

Bhaskar Choudhuri is Director, Marketing, Lenovo India for its three business segments – commercial, consumer and SMB. He has more than 13 years of diverse experience in sales and marketing, primarily in the FMCG space. Choudhuri’sprimary mandate is to ‘protect’ or retain Lenovo’s equity in the relationship segment and ‘attack’ or increase Lenovo’s brand preference in the consumer and SOHO segments. He also devises strategies for Lenovo’s digital leap to build affinity with Gen Next consumers.

Lenovo has been using a lot of innovative outdoor campaigns for its new product launches. In conversation with exchange4media’s Abhinn Shreshtha, Choudhuri speaks about the important ingredients for a successful OOH campaign.

Q. What strategy have you adopted for the marketing campaign for the Yoga Tablet?

The objective of our marketing campaign is to bring themodes or design innovations to life. We have gone about doing this through a 360-degree campaign that includes digital, PR, television and out of home (OOH) initiatives. Digital and PR have played a critical role for us to build buzz ahead of the launch.

Our television commercial features Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, who is also a tech enthusiast and a tech investor. Interestingly, Ashton is not associated with Lenovo as a brand ambassador, but as a product engineer who is actually collaborating with our internal design teams. The TV film shows Ashton as a Lenovo product engineer, who is taking a colleague through his experiences with the Lenovo Yoga Tablet.

Q. Where does outdoor fall in this campaign? What are the markets that the brand plans to focus on with the launch of this campaign?

We are focused on consumers in the top metros. As part of this campaign, we have used outdoor innovatively and not as merely static hoarding sites. We have picked up strategic sites in malls to advertise the three different modes of the tablet. For example, we have used boom barriers that issue parking tickets to communicate the hold mode, and elevator doors to advertise the stand mode.

In addition to this, we have taken premium positions at airports that feature the tablet in life-size form. These run engaging video content for passengers continuously, thereby establishing the long battery life feature of the product in a targeted environment.

Q. You have been focusing a lot on innovative outdoor displays in the last one year. What are the reasons for including such innovations in your media plan?

Today, not only is the media environment cluttered, but also a lot of messaging sounds ‘me-too’. Innovations such as the one we have taken up at the malls, engage the audience into discovering the product rather than merely pushing it down on them. This helps audience interact with the product and thus, understand it better. In addition, it helps us target our customers better and minimise spillage that often happens with a conventional, mass approach.

Q. What are the essentials that a brand should have for on-ground activities?

Although the insight and the creative idea are important for all campaigns, the quality of execution is paramount to the success of on-ground initiatives. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet campaign has been executed by a joint effort between Ogilvy (our creative agency) and DDB Mudra (our on-ground execution partner).

Q. What percentage of your marketing spends is allocated to OOH?

There is no fixed number for the allocated marketing spends to OOH. It entirely depends on the campaign, the objective and the relevance of outdoor to our communication message and audience.

Q. The OOH industry is largely labelled as unstructured. What challenges does this throw up for you?

Yes, it is true that the OOH industry is unstructured, which only leaves room for more developments. Despite this, OOH is an essential medium for us to connect with our audience. It helps in building brand recall value and an effective medium for communicating new news. If innovatively used, OOH medium can have great impact for brand visibility.

Q. Beyond innovation, do you think smart planning should be the ground rule while designing an outdoor campaign?

This is true for any campaign and media. However, the challenge goes up in case of outdoor, because one is working with multiple stakeholders and the level of organisation is relatively lower. Also, post-evaluation, execution is relatively more challenging as measurements are not as straight-forward as for other media, such as TV and digital.

Q. The outdoor industry doesn’t have a common currency. As a marketer, how much does this worry you?

Transparency of prices is still a challenge in the industry. Measurement is another barrier. If both of them are tackled by service providers, more brands will feel encouraged to take up this medium of marketing. Innovations have also not kept up with brand aspirations. There are great ideas out there, but do-ability on scale often becomes a challenge.

Q. What are the key elements that you would want to see incorporated in an outdoor campaign?

The key elements that should be incorporated are creative messaging that is bold, clear and easy to read/grasp, innovation and, last but not the least, the ability to execute reliably and on scale.

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