How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.
How the Voda pug got lost in God’s own country
Rajul Kulshreshtha, Managing Director -- Motivator, A GroupM company
Folks, the good news is that advertising works! My wife actually got so inspired by the ad campaign of Kerala State that this summer we all flew down to Kerala, lock, stock and barrel. The bad news, my friends, is that nothing really works. What the advertising claims and what the reality are two different things. The whole funda that I heard from going through zillions of Hofsteads and the countless classes on brand interaction with the consumer finally came to roost in my head.
First, the story of the pug. How many OTS have you all got of the lovely little pug running behind the school bus or helping the little girl put stamps on the envelopes? Lots by now, thanks to Lalitji. ‘Happy to help’ being the tag line. God, how many times will they offer to help? But that could only happen if they were available. Trivandrum was a stutter. Kumarakom was sad, Thekkady was about so-so, and in Munnar the dog vanished! Got lost in God’s own country! And guess what? Only Preity Zinta and ADAG were working. What an idea and Water Air, etc. Dog was only wish karo!
What happens to all the OTS and all the money that people spend in promising to help? Who are they fooling with such claims? Maybe they all need to listen to Bob Marley at some point in time. And if they don’t remember it, let me help: “you can fool some people some time...” But, seriously, do we ever worry about the amount of money that has gone down the drain -- simply because people have not got their backend in place? And the consumer interaction with the brand is so terrible that they kind of develop a serious abhorrence to the pug. And if their company was not handling the brand and if number transferability was a reality, they would have dumped the pug. For whom? Good question... Anil Bhai or Preity or... We have to hand it to him -- Anil Bhai literally follows you! However, Anil Bhai has bigger problems. All that he should do is to get into a ‘burqa’ and visit one of his Reliance Web Worlds. What I can guarantee is that his Hindi vocabulary will certainly improve! The point being made is that consumer interaction with brands is woefully short of what is promised in the advertising. And more importantly, no one is listening or even gives a damn.
Hey, so what happened in God’s own country? Well, let me tell you. Even the CPI(M) has got it right. Arun Sarin is not the only one to do it. Kerala as a state is beautiful -- truly God’s own. But the consumer experience for a destination that is touted as one of the ten must-visit places in the world is woefully inadequate. The state is just not geared up for being a tourist destination. The infrastructure is sad. The people are nice, but are looking at the shorter end of things; roads are good in phases, tariffs are weird, one can go on and on. People still visit Kerala and do so only because they continue to see the wonderful visuals on TV and the Net. But having been there once, do they go back and recommend it? I guess I won’t be doing so. I would rather go to Dubai or even the Swiss Alps given the amount of money one needs to spend to get to Kerala from the North. The consumer interaction with brand Kerala is just not satisfactory.
The moral of the story is – purely from a consumer point of view – that consumer interaction with the brand is beginning to derive more meaning for all those sitting in their plush offices and allowing their agencies to spend their money. What they don’t realise is that they are continuing to lose consumers on a regular basis, and the scary part is that while most know of this, little is being done about it. I could give you many more such examples and I am sure that you will have lots of your own. To me a brand is successful if the consumer interaction with the brand is an enjoyable one. If not, then I am afraid all the noise on an IPL or ICL or whatever else is wasted.
On a parting note, I do hope that Mr Sarin finds the pug before it gets run over!