Monday, May 29, 2006

Following up with Emotion – I'mowshun “Any strong feeling”

Sajan says that this commercial is being pulled off air. Hence I wrote a mail to Sajan trying to explain / reason why this is a good commercial and why it shouldn’t be pulled off air.

The reasons why this is being pulled off air (strictly my version)...

1) This not being a good creative (the clients perspective)
2) The product not being hot enough for people to buy (the agency and the Marcom managers perspective)
3) The Marcom manager never involved me in the making of this commercial (the product managers perspective)

On the product not being hot... The onus is finally on the marcom person to sit with his product guys and try and augment the benefits this product could bring forth...

To put it simply, everyone in Tamil Nadu knows that the penetration of TATA Indicom is negligibly small.

So, what they (the client and the account planners / managers) must have done is

1. Have this campaign as a long term recruitment plan (don't tear the duck off for 10,000 golden eggs overnight!! you would get none!!)
2. Supplement this campaign with grassroot level promotions aiming at new recruitments (possibly groups... aiming at corporates, colleges, self help groups, women’s clubs, clubs etc.)
3. Do a member get member aimed at the existing base with an extra incentive or two for the target audience. The returns – Imagine a 1% return on the existing base, you would clearly see how beneficial this promotion would have been.

While I stand firm on saying that this is a result of a good creative brief and a this is indeed a very good creative. I don't want to accept that it is a bad product.

To give you an example of a similair scenario in FMCG…

1) How many of us remember the Evita soap commercials of 1994-95?

2) And how many of us who remember those commercials know that the product was pulled of the market within 12 months of being launched?

3) And how many of those who knew about the product pull-off know that Godrej scrapped the product (to relaunch it recently, if I am not wrong)?

So was it a dull / dud inferior product? NO
Was the communication strategy wrong? I don't think so
Was the product pricing wrong? May be (it was at that point in time .50p more than the regular beauty soaps, the normal weight )

So what could have been wrong?

1. The timing (as the TATA Indicom case is – Low numbers in Tamil Nadu). This is simply because Evita spoke about Vitamin E and moisturizer's when Lux was talking about woman, pampering and aspirations (using film starlets) and Liril was talking about independence, breaking free and emotional benefits. There was no Dove in the market, the market wasn't educated enough.

2. The woman at that time or for that matter those men who used Lux and Liril to look good, were influenced purely by the celebrity who endorsed the product. He or She didn't mind what is good and what is bad for them. And therefore Evita's product promise of Vitamin E etc. was not accepted or rather not considered at all.

The result... The product wouldn't sell and they had to rollback. Had Evita been launched two years later (97 - 98) or had Godrej sustained to keep the product on shelves for those 2 years, this product would have been a viable Indian competition for Dove. Godrej has woken up now and relaunched this product in a cluttered market, only time would tell how this would fare now.

Taking some morals from this story...

Your product managers and Marcom execs should have balls enough to stand by their product and sustain it in the market for a couple of months before reaping its benefits. I must also say that the people in the agency are equally responsible for the growth or otherwise of the brands they handle. Specifically the planning and the account management team.

If the client didn't foresee these stuff when he briefed, the agency must have gone to him and told him about the advantages and disadvantages of the product and suggested a comprehensive 360 degree communication plan rather than a TVC and some press approach.

All these said I still maintain that this is a good product and a very good creative. Unfortunately we lacked a owner to get the product running and win the race

P.S: Thanx a ton Sajan for permitting me to post this online.

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