Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Advertising – Sane and sensible

Traditionally advertising is defined as the “business of drawing public attention on goods and services”. That is the very dictionary definition of advertising, the business that helps my chimneys fuming, the trade that has been feeding me & my family for the past 7 years.

I was taught about various models of advertising or rather making your advertising visible and heard. From the AIDA model to the recent Disruption theory. I have been beamed a few award winners through our b-school boardroom projectors, from the local advertising club award winners to the complex least comprehended Cannes winners. I graduated to get into the best of advertising agencies to see some of the accounts of mine getting recognized from the local levels to a Cannes and an Echo. Laurels apart I learnt about five key factors that are important to reach a message to the consumer, the way they like – the way they could assimilate.

The vehicle, timing, message, differentiation and relevance…

I have till date experienced, seen or produced advertisements that try and conquer all the five frontiers of becoming the best advertisement. The result, they are found lacking on at least one parameter and hence becoming incomplete. The products or service so advertised is still preferred by a set of consumers or jury who reward it with gold’s and grand prix. I was searching for one advertisement that fulfilled all the five parameters, that ended when I saw this small strip on a newspaper supplement here in Dubai.

I’m sure you would have your own opinion on this piece and also have your own favorites. I would agree opinions are highly subjective, views depend on eyes. To make things less complicated I’m trying to present my view on good advertising. To agree or disagree is your prerogative. That said, I would love your comments on my views. For that would help me grow and mature.

The vehicle:

This advertisement in question was published in the Entertainment Plus magazine dated 08.03.2006, a supplement with Gulfnews one of the leading newspapers in the United Arab Emirates in the bottom of the 36th page..


As I said this is a supplement in colour, it is a magazine that contrasted its parents nature – A newspaper. This supplement as its name suggests is all about entertainment, cinema, gossip and Television programming. Hence the possibility of a consumer preferring this to the parent, the newspaper is more. The baseline – this supplement is well read.


This was an advertisement for a restaurant in Dubai, to be precise a Chinese restaurant. Knowing Dubai as a city of international importance and understanding the kind of expatriate crowd in the city one could estimate the number of eateries and restaurants here. From star class to the lowest possible class. You have the spectrum available.

So it doesn’t bother where you advertise, when you advertise or why you advertise. The thing that matters the most, as usual is How you advertise – what is your differentiator.

The differentiator:

As we know Dubai is a city with diverse expatriate population. Hence you see all possible world cuisine permutations available at some place or the other. You could see the Indians living here preferring a set of restaurants. Same is the case with Chinese or a British, French or anybody else. The brave few would defy all odds to carefully select those who have the maximum “Word of mouth” and test it. But you seldom see someone transcend these borders.

Hence the differentiator should be able to break the regional barrier and give a global feel, yet be authentic to the roots.

So how about a “Indianised Chinese Cuisine”. Back in India everything is spiced up, flavored. In China it is more bland, raw and natural. So when the Chinese came to India during the pre-historic period they brought with them their recipes, these were blend with the Indian spices to give birth to a new genre of cuisine that was oriental and spicy.

As years passed by lots of the so called Chinese and fast food restaurants mushroomed in India, people started getting used to this flavor and many liked & patronized it. This spread all across the world where the Indians spread. But with limited commercial success. The reason when it was communicated it was either miscommunicated as authentic Chinese food or as the traditional Indian tandoor food. It doesn’t fit both and hence it was a flop.


Here is one “Imperial Dragon” who is brave enough to have the Indian as well as the Chinese tag here as part of his communication. So what make this communication so special for me?

The expat population in UAE is largely Indian and Pakistani, then come the Europeans. The Indians and the Pakistanis are familiar with the Indian made Chinese food, but they can’t stand the authentic Chinese variety. For they want spicy food. So tell them about a Chinese restaurant they would be apprehensive, they wouldn’t even test the food. So when you say the Indian Chinese food, you have a higher probability that they would flock.

Target two are the Europeans. These are guys who already are familiar with the “Chicken Tikka Masala”, the so called national dish of England. Many there still think it is an Indian dish, some know about its Bangladeshi origins. Everyone loves it, so the baseline – they have started liking those food that carry an Indian tag. While this thesis is not a global truth yet, you could largely claim so. Hence if you go to the European crowd and say, hey I have got a food that is Chinese but has a signature Indian taste there is a good probability that they would at least try this cuisine. As someone who has tried this, I would say the percentage dropouts would be far less compared to the hook-ons.

The net result due to the differentiation and relevance of this piece of communication – you have the Indian & Pakistani crowd coming for sure, the local UAE crowd as I know loves the Indian spicy food varieties and they are known for their experimental mentality as far as food is concerned. And you have a steady European patronage at least from those brave tester population. So that well covers the final two frontiers differentiation and relevance.

So what more does an advertisement aim for, you got a majority of your audience look at you and say WOW I should try it sometime. I too would try this food sometime, for I have been enchanted by this restaurants communication strategy. It scores 5/5 from me.

1 comment:

Gold G Bio Sea Cucumber said...

I am amazed at this blog
Warm greetings from Indonesian blogger
Thank you so much