Saturday, April 23, 2011

Friday Afternoon Lecture Series

The Friday Afternoon Lecture Series is something I had started  quite a while ago when I was heading an agency branch in India. This involved guest lectures by leading lights in the industry who were colleagues. Nearly 15 years later, I am in Nairobi and am responsible for running an agency. There was an expressed need to learn, from the relatively young team members,. The Friday Afternoon Lecture Series(FALS) seemed to be just right for the occasion. Naturally, the lectures were tailor made for the agency requirements.

1st April 2011.
The All Fools Day is probably not the best day to start of an initiative to enrich our minds and broaden our mental horizons, but for those who have slaved the week through the grind of operations, it is time to say…
And as we wind down for the week- end, we thought we should let you go through some great campaigns and case studies, which did what they were paid for and more.
Have fun reading it, yes… do have fun.. because a lot of us including me, are in this business because it is the most fun we can have with our clothes on..:)
Friday Afternoon Lecture Series- 1
Today, the theme is sales promotions.
By definition, it is supposed to be a tactic to handle a specific problem like inducing trial, blocking a competitor for a short period and possibly to clear stocks during a peak shopping festival season like Christmas or Diwali, when consumption of the category is high. IT SHOULD NOT BE THE MAIN PLANK FOR BRAND BUILDING. In an ideal situation, a brand should never have to resort to sales promotion and it should have sufficient brand equity for the “consumer pull” to clear shelves and move stock.
I am attaching a link to a campaign which was done in Dubai for a shopping mall which was a huge hit and possibly built brand equity and moved in up the value chain than down.
In the Emirate of Dubai, during the early part of the millennium, retail outlets and most brands were allowed only two sales promotions a year and the mechanics had to be approved by the Government. The Government rightly reasoned that too many sales promotions would mean that consumers would wait for promotions to buy goods and buy in bulk on those occasions.  This would mean skewed sales and huge inventory costs during the rest of the year without schemes, which would not be healthy for the trade as a whole.
 In this scenario, nearly all such schemes used to be scheduled for the Dubai Shopping Festival and during the Eid season when shopping was at its peak. It had a short duration which was also approved by the Government. In fact it is interesting to note that some marketing companies in the West followed a policy of “everyday low pricing” for a period of time to avoid bargain and discount hunting by consumers and smoothen the “off-take curve”( sales across days/weeks). They realized the importance of connecting emotionally with their consumers, forming a bond of loyalty and building BRAND EQUITY.
Coming back to Dubai, the Oasis Centre was located in an up-market location and had as its anchor stores, the Home Center which offered middle to upper-middle class homes a range of home furnishings. As a brand, it had wiped out IKEA from the Dubai market. The next anchor was “The Baby Shoppe” which catered to the baby boomers who were  large part of the expatriate population. Then there was SHOE MART which also was a leader in the category.  While all this should have given the Oasis Center excellent footfall and great revenues, it suffered an image problem created by a sales promotion it had done previously.
It had offered a buffet lunch at its food court for 10dirhams when the card rate was 30dirhams. As a result there was a queue of cars from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and the crowds simply could not be managed. It achieved the target of footfalls but damaged its equity as a premium destination for middle to up-market families permanently. Tenant brands reported poor conversion of footfall to billings. There was need for some serious rethink and this is where I was brought in.
Analysis of footfall and target audience profiling indicated that women were the key audience and decision makers in all categories of tenant brands. Babies, home furnishing and fashion for the family and kids as also cosmetics( Lifestyle shops) and  footwear( ShoeMart). At this point the movie by Mel Gibson, “What Women Want” was moving fast through video libraries in Dubai.
The campaign whose link is given below was the response.  It ran in print and in radios.
It worked wonders for the brand image and pulled in large footfalls. The radio station that ran it ranked it as one of the top 10 promotions they ran in terms of reader response.
What also helped was that the month of February had the Valentines Day and the festivities of Eid coming together and made it a Fantastic February which became the name of the promotion.
If you people come across great sales promotion ideas which do not devalue the brand, but build the equity it has and is in line with its personality and enhances it, do share it with all of us.
FALS is not about me dishing out “gyan” “ or “knowledge” or lecturing people it has to be interactive .. else it becomes FALSE to its purpose!
Have a nice weekend people.
Friday Afternoon Lecture Series-2
As far as the Friday Lecture goes, I am sending this email out in spite of a hectic schedule, to maintain the tradition.:)
Attached below is a link to a brilliant campaign by Diego Pernias for Mexico Tourism. I think it is an instance of excellence in execution driving the whole campaign. It simply captures the stunning landscape and culture of Mexico. Period.

There was also an instance, where one had to pitch for a tourism account overnight and to make matters worse, there was nothing to promote in the destination except an ashram (spiritual centre), posing the interesting question, “what do you do when you have nothing to promote?”
This link would provide the answers.

And if you wondered how you would promote a desert destination, here is one from Abu Dhabi Tourism.

Last but not the least, an “out of the world” campaign idea from Queensland Tourism.

Friday Afternoon Lecture Series-3
I guess the flavor of this week is media given that xxxxx has joined us in the Media Wing.
To welcome him, the first post is on media innovations. My favourite in the cases given is  the TMobile campaign .It is a great way of combining activation and social media.
I am also going down the memory lane and remembering a similar week in 1998 when I was again looking after a team of 20+ people at a McCann agency in Mumbai , Colaba as an Assoc GM. We received a note from the Clio organizers informing us of a win and there a huge roar erupted. We had been winning nominations in plenty but the award was eluding us somehow and it seemed we broke the jinx.I am attaching  the ad for Verve Magazine that won us a Clio and the Guestline Hotels campaign that won us many nominations at the Clio, N.Y.Festivals , London, CAG and the Abby’s. It would be pertinent to note that the Client had rejected these ads when they were presented first and it required qualitative research and some committed selling to get them approvedJYes we made a lot of money in the bargain … the agency moved from Rs 23 mln to almost Rs230 mln in two years and added the entire Mahindra range to its client list apart from wins like Brown Foreman, Ministry of Defence,  and Ion Exchange.
The links:
CLIO winner.
Nominations Galore: Guestline Hotels
Adhesives..some sticky advertisingJ
Automotives… we earned salaries also with thisJ
Automotives and Events. Building loyalty -“The Great Escape”
Marketing to rural areas – Tractors.
Alcohol advertising is banned in India. Surrogate advertising for Forrester.
Finally .. real estate… I ended up buying the product myself J I stay at Mahindra Park even now .. after 14 years!!
 Great work brings in great rewards and this is feedback from the McCann network and the JV partner Mahindra’s. I hope we get similar letters this time too. 
There will be no Friday lecture the coming week since it is Good Friday.

Friday Afternoon Lecture Series -4

April 29th 2011
This is a tradition I would like to maintain. Hence this late post. The theme today is Insurance Advertising.  A category normally associated with staid boring advertising.  However , I am presenting here, two brands that have broken the “category code” to do stunning and consistent work, which has not only become popular and highly appreciated but also built well defined brands.
HDFC Life Insurance, India.
Central Beheer Insurance. International
Have a nice weekend
Vinod Natesan
6th May 2011.
Friday Afternoon Lecture Series. -5: Valedictory for McCann.
I guess this is the last lesson, people, I am off to another agency within the Scan Group, handling another International client with a global footprint.
I was pleasantly surprised by some of the feedback and requests  from people in the McCann office and some people I did not know really well from the Scanad offices upstairs, who were generous in their praise and wanted me to send  these “notes with links”, directly to them. To all of you who wish to read these every weekend, I would request you to send me an email and I will start an e-serve list, so that you get it as and when I put together a note. Alternatively, you could visit my blog and read the updates.
Those of you in McCann can check with Martin Mwangi and get the Lurzers Archives access. It is valid for a month and I got it as a favor from a friend at the magazine.:)
Mother’s Day
The chatter from the radio tells me that it is Mother’s Day.  It also reminded me that my key client Nestle, has in their strategy documents always put the “mother “ up front in most of their categories be it culinary, dairy or even beverages ( Milo).Thought it therefore germane to share this link. It was a hit when I first posted it.
In India where mother’s tend to work and are in no position to give up their jobs even after marriage and babies, many are forced to leave the baby behind with maid servants or strangers in crèches. There are however a few lucky parents  who have their mothers living with them or close by and therefore leave their offspring behind with their grandparents. I was the beneficiary of this arrangement and my grandmother became a very important influence in my life. Since they have never discovered  a Grandparent’s day, I am attaching this in her memory.
Can Father’s be left behind? Attached is a link for Father’s who cannot wait for Father’s Day and need reassurance when mothers get all the affectionJ
On the subject of Father’s Day, I am attaching a brilliant ad that I came across. Head on positioning and comparison advertising is known in advertising. Cola wars feature “ash scanning” as competitor slamming ads are known. Litigation is therefore natural. This ad however left everyone smiling and was bang on strategy. J
I guess all these “days” remind us of the importance of enduring relationships.. those between people and those between people and brands…. ENDS…

The Lecture Series is now continued as
Its-still-the Friday-Afternoon-Lecture Series

No comments: