“Ideas Mela” – What an Idea Sirji !!! Part – 4

 “All the forces in the world are not as powerful as an Idea whose time has come” – thus said the famous French writer Victor Hugo on the power of Ideas. I think today the world – whether it is managing an enterprise or Governing a nation thrives on 2 I’s – Ideas and Implementation. In marketing and communication, “What’s the Big Idea???” is the question often asked but with few answers. Great Ideas are few and far between. Hence the need to celebrate the power of great Ideas and the people behind the same.

In these posts “Ideas Mela”-What an Idea, Sirji!!! series, I share interesting marketing Ideas which I come across which have used unusual and innovative media which made me say “Wow”. These posts are not about great marketing campaigns (there are so many) but “Big Ideas” hidden in “Small places”, novel ad placements, innovative media adoption,…  If you have not, do read my earlier posts Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 and here’s some great stand out Ideas from the recent past:

  • For a great Idea, concept is the Key. Yes, in the Tata Zest car Campaign, that literally was the case. Readers received The Times of India (TOI) paper dated 26th Aug, with a “Car Key” and an invitation to test drive the car. A smart innovation to a normal full page ad which would have been just an also ran.

TOI,Zest

  • It’s now well documented that BJP ran a Hi voltage 3600 campaign in the last Lok Sabha elections. “Abki Baar Modi Sarkar” resonated all over. But the stand out phenomenon was the way they used social media to reach out which I personally got to experience. On the day the BJP Manifesto was released, when I tweeted using #BJPManifesto, lo I got a direct message from Narendra Modi’s twitter handle, thanking me for the message with a link to the full BJP Manifesto. Anybody who tweeted with that hashtag got this response. Normally I don’t read manifestos of parties and so I believe do most of us. But on receiving this, I did do a quick read of the party’s promises.
  • Talking of promises, a marketer’s job is always to communicate the brand’s promise effectively to the customers. And what better way to do that than providing an experience. So when Emami launched their men’s deodorant – HE, they chose the International Men’s day to spread the brand promise, well literally. The TOI newspaper of 19th Nov. smelt nice of the HE Deodorant, making the product stand out or rather smell out. (Though this is not the 1st time a brand used the smelling newspaper route – HUL used It for their coffee as well before)

Emami HE

  • HUL has been a torchbearer in India for marketing innovations. So was not surprised when they chose to tag along with the Prime Minister’s social awareness campaign – Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to promote their products. “Toilerforbabli” was an interesting social media campaign supported by Domex (a sanitation related product) where they goaded people to blog about sanitation, cleanliness,.. and invited people to join their effort to make India’s villages “open defecation” free. Read more on this campaign here. The brand and cause association makes it a Big Idea.
  • At times, you find great Ideas parked in unforeseen places. In the parking lot of a mall for example. At the parking lot of Mumbai’s Inorbit mall, the automatic entry gate was seen wrapped with branding of a store (Me n Moms) that was in the mall. As cars stop in front of the gate for a few minutes to collect the parking ticket, this branding cannot be missed. A brilliant Idea which I am sure that doesn’t cost a parking lot.

Hypercity,parkinglot,102014,1 (1)

  • If you have been through the passport issue routine in India recently, you would have experienced the waiting ordeal. As I was killing time, watching whatever was dished out on the TV screens there, I was impressed to see a pop out spot for Godrej Safes running continuously which said something like– “Keep your passports safe in Godrej Safes!!!” Again the placement of the spot takes the cream for a fantastic Idea.
  • I have said this in my earlier “Idea” posts. I have always found interesting Ideas at PVR Cinemas in Mumbai. A few days before the film PK was released, the guys at the cafeteria were wearing this PK T Shirt as part of its promos!!! Thankfully they did wear something unlike the alien in the movie!!! The whole marketing campaign for the film was excellent and this bit was quite interesting. Do you remember seeing this???

PK promo,122014

  • And among interesting Ideas this one which I just saw couple of days ago takes the cake. There are many ways to caution people not to drink and drive. And a toll naka is one of the apt places to remind this I guess. And it is more apt is this reminder is served by Lord Yamraj (God of death) himself. So here it is a seemingly innocuous banner at the Mumbai Airoli Toll Naka which cautions people not to drink and drive with a visual of Lord Yamraj on the side view mirror which prominently says “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”!!! I don’t know who came up with this Idea but hats off and What a brilliant Idea, Sirji!!!

Airoli Toll

 In the meanwhile, Idea Cellular the brand behind the “What an Idea, Sirji???” continues to impress with its latest campaign – called “IIN” – Idea Internet Network!!! What an Idea!!! Till the Idea for the next blog post, cheers!!!

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“Ideas Mela” – What an Idea Sirji !!! Part – 2

In the last few years, in airports across the world you cannot just miss one thing. The ambience at the airports may be different, the service levels may vary, but one thing which was common was the HSBC branding at the “Aerobridges” whether it was Los Angeles, London, Delhi, Singapore, Honk Kong or Tokyo.  I’m not sure of the year when it started but if my memory serves me right, it could be 2010/11 when HSBC kicked off its global campaign positioning itself as “The World’s Glocal Bank” and the one of the main medium they chose to carry this message across was the “Aerobridge” at most of the international airports across the globe.  In line with the campaign theme of being a “Glocal” bank, while the medium and treatment were unified on a pan world basis, the creative itself was localized and changed from one country to another.

Aerobridge Exterior

Aerobridge Exterior

Aerobridge Interior

Aerobridge Interior

So much so HSBC earned the moniker – “Airport brand”!!! Though there is nothing novel about branding in airports and this would seem as just another OOH  ( Out Of Home) medium this “Glocal” execution of the campaign simultaneously as I understand in some 25 odd countries in may be around 100 airports certainly falls under the “What an Idea Sirji” category.   In my earlier blog post – “Ideas Mela – What an Idea Sirji” ( read here), I had touched upon a few campaigns which used media innovatively to carry their message across. In this post, I am talking of a few more such ideas which I came across and felt worth sharing.  These are not creative ideas perse’ but ideas where the media chosen were different and hence groundbreaking.

  • Continuing with Airports, in the post 9/11 era we live, going through the long security drill seems unavoidable. As part of this drill is the need to remove our laptops/Tablets,.. and put them in trays for screening. These trays have become a novel branding medium. I don’t know which brand hit upon this first. But now I see that many travel websites like makemytrip, expedia, goibibo,.. have likened to this idea and may be sponsoring these trays and branding them. Airports, travel and travel websites are all related and it seems to be a great idea for these brands though I see a trend of all travel companies jumping into the tray b(r)andwagon and hence may not be so distinctive anymore.
makemytrip trays

makemytrip trays

 makemytrip

  • There was a time in India when immigration counters at airports use to be chaotic to say the least.  Particularly when you are returning home after a long trip you rue the thought of spending an hour again in the maddening immigration line upon arrival.  Some people believe it is unruly even now. But I for sure feel that there is a marked improvement on this front in the last 5-6 years. Wait a minute, why I am talking of this here??? Well part of the solution to the problem apart of training of the immigration staff,…,… has been the introduction of a single line at the end of which people are directed to many counters.  As you stand in the line and wonder invariably of the Incredibility of India, you cannot just miss the branding on the rods which are used to form the line. (Sorry no picture due to security reasons!!)  Thomas Cook was a pioneer in this and used this medium quite well which I feel is inventive. Again, immigration lines, airport, travel, Convenience, Thomas Cook all conjure up an association in the minds and I thought it was a great idea for a Travel company.
  • Airports are not the only place where you stumble upon great ideas. You could in Multiplexes too and that too in obscure places like “loos” like I did.  “Dixcy Scott” a men’s innerwear brand found some strategic spots inside the Men’s washrooms for promoting their wares. I was surprised first, amused later and was impressed finally to find posters with captions like “Aim and Shoot”, “Size doesn’t matter” and “Do not give into pressure” placed just above the wall mounted men’s urinals.  These apparently staid copy lines bring another dimension when placed at the right place. So much for “placement”. Surprisingly I saw this campaign only for some time and I don’t see it these days.
  • When you talk of Ideas and Innovation it is seldom that Fevicol and its ilk get left out.  This time it showed up even in the “Online” space.  In April/May when the spot fixing/ match fixing drama in IPL was dominating the headlines in India, this idea from Dr.Fixit – a Fix all adhesive product from Pidilite was kickass. In that period whenever I was googling for any news on match fixing, IPL,.. invariably I tripped on banners for Dr.Fixit routinely on the side. I noticed this casually once and then when I repeated the search, I found the banner appearing in other IPL related sites as well which left me quite impressed on the smart SEO/SEM work.  See for yourself the visuals.

 Dr Fixit,Online Innovation,052013Dr Fixit,Media Innovation,052013,2

  • In recent times, one can say that the film Chennai Express was a case of a clear box office hit made possible by some great marketing. A film with not so great/unique story line and many other fault lines which could have ensured it to be a box office dud (looking at past films of this ilk) turned out to be one of all time big grossers. And certainly the big bang/big buck marketing blitz and PR played a great role in this.  One piece in this marketing spend which caught my attention was the use of “Train” like cut outs (see pic) with branding of the film inside multiplexes couple of weeks before the film release. The windows in trains which you usually see were replaced with LED displays (like TV) and were continuously feeding promos of the movie including song clips, trailers, Making of the movie,.. As people were waiting outside the movie hall this was a good opportunity to grab eyeballs and generate a positive buzz about the movie and it certainly did. The film took to a great opening and as the cliché goes rest is history. History will record Chennai Express as one of the top movies of SRK.

Chennai Exp Media Inno,Mumbai,082013

  • Staying with filmy stuff, watching Mahabharat on TV every week was part of my growing up memories. Sunday morning was the time to roll on the highways and take some sunbath as you will find no traffic when Mahabharat was on air. Some people attempted to re-create Mahabharat on TV this time on 3D. So the 16th Sep edition of the Times of India carried a full-page ad for the serial Mahabharat. Along with the paper a 3D glass was also given away. Again a different dimensional thought to get some TRP going and for sure a great idea.

Now I’m not sure if the TRPs soared or for that matter if the said channel is continuing with Mahabharat as of now.  Similarly I am not privy to the sales revenues after the above so called great ideas were unleashed. Hence the often heard of “What an idea Sirji, but no impact on sales Sirji” remarks in the corridors of corporate houses and facebook walls will continue and keep us busy.  Nevertheless Great Ideas need recognition and celebration. If you have come across some interesting use of medium, please do share here.

Postscript: There is one more media innovation which I missed to cover here. That is of the use of “Modi Masks” during the last Gujarat State Elections. Among other things it certainly contributed in building the “Modi Persona”. It will now be interesting to see if the “ModI Kites” which have been unleashed recently, help in soaring of the BJP/NaMo fortunes in 2014.

modi mask

“Ideas Mela” – What an Idea, Sirji !!!

Years ago, I was attending a business conference at a resort type place few miles off Mumbai. While our meeting was in a usual conference room and in a typical business setting, there was another business meeting going on albeit in an offbeat mood. I could see quite a few signs of “Ideas Mela” in and around the swimming pool.  Could also see quite a few seemingly “creative” types floating in water on “Ideas Mela” branded floats. On further enquiry, I was told that “Ideas Mela” was an Annual ritual held by a renowned ad agency with their team where they try to unwind and come up with some big ideas for their clients !!!

I’m not sure if the team of Hindustan Unilever and their campaign agency ‘Ogilvy Action’ had an “Ideas Mela” to come up with that brilliant idea to promote Lifebuoy during Kumbh Mela a relegious congregation which happens once in 3 years in different locations in different scales. This campaign which has now got into the coveted list of media innovations in India has ‘Incredible India’ written or stamped all over it.  The brand team has reportedly teamed up with over 100 hotels and dhabas in and around the ‘Kumbh’ site to serve ‘rotis’ that are stamped with “Lifebuoy se haath dhoye kya?” (Have you washed your hand with Lifebuoy?).  Given the fact that ‘roti’ is the staple diet with the North Indians, serving the same hot with a reminder message is expected to reach more than 3 million visitors.  And the massive PR follow up coverage on the unique and interesting campaign that followed is expected to reach few more millions all over the country. Using the ‘roti’ as the medium for communicating the importance of ‘hand washing’ particularly in a mass congregation of the ‘Kumbh’ type is certainly a master stroke and a brilliant media innovation. Roti oops topi  off to the creative team !!!

Lifeboy2

Similarly I was personally experienced to another interesting media innovation on a Sunday morning last year (2012).  As I picked up the Sunday Times of India and began to read, a strong aroma of coffee emanated and tempted me to get back to my old coffee days. It’s been a while since I switched loyalties from Coffee to Tea. As I kept wondering where the strong aroma was coming from, I saw the ad in the 1st page for (again) Hindustan Unilever’s flagship coffee product – ‘Bru Gold’.  The Sunday TOI edition of that day in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore broke the smell sense barrier and came with a strong coffee flavour to lure consumers to the coffee brand. Aroma of actual coffee, ad for the same, newspaper, Sunday,.. all add to the weekend morning mood. I think it was an excellent idea to use a media innovatively.  I realized that HUL had missed out ‘Chennai’ a city of coffee connoisseurs for this innovative campaign.  Well, can a Bru Gold beat that ubiquitous ‘filter Kaapi’???  In the land of filter Kaapi trying to push any other form of coffee would have petered out I guess.

coffee-aroma-innovation

Recently I was also impressed to see another media innovation to promote the World TV première of the film – EV on Zee TV on the 29th Dec 2012. Few days before that when I was in the Mumbai Airport, I could see English Vinglish signboards at the check in counters, boarding gates, near the luggage conveyors,..  I thought for a product with a short life, using such media was certainly low cost and at the same time inventive.  The director of the movie, Gauri Shinde who signed a whole sale contract for the “Best Debutant Director” trophy in all the film award shows this year stretched the film’s branding further when in the thanks giving speech at ‘Screen Awards’ she thanked ‘Screen Veen’ !!! A bit over board no???

English Vinglish Media innovation,Mumbai AP,122012

In Mumbai when I go to office, I see sometimes a car ahead of me with a bumper sticker which says:

“Keep Safe Distance – I work with Fevicol”

A smart media innovation not surprising for a brand which boasts of some great creative stuff in the country!  This idea has limited scope but certainly tongue in cheek!

There’s another media ingenuity which comes to my mind here.  I‘ve seen this (surprisingly) only at the Bengaluru airport.  These days as we all know and endure, the security routine at airports is quite elaborate and calls for passengers to follow certain instructions like putting the mobile phones for scanning, removing laptops from the bags,…,.. So there you have, at the security area of the Bengaluru airport few TV screens which show what are the do’s and don’ts for the passengers. And these are in the form of very well made videos with Zoo Zoo characters of ‘Vodafone’ fame!!!  I don’t recall seeing the Vodafone brand or the logo in the videos. Is it necessary? Vodafone was completing its quota of Corporate Social responsibility I guess. Still no respite from the Tax authorities, though!!!

vodafone-zoozoo

Another one from Vodafone. Though this will qualify for smart ambush marketing, the ingenious use of a medium brings this part of this post. On the final day of the F1 race in Noida ( Delhi ) last year,  it was a “Toll Free Day” at the DND flyway – which many race enthusiasts used to reach the Budh International Circuit. This was thanks to Vodafone which sponsored thisThe advertising message was – “Speed up for F1”.  The idea resonated well with the event which is all about Speed thrills!  That the F1 event had Vodafone’s main competitor “Airtel” as the title sponsor  made it a very innovative and cheeky move !!!

These are just few great Ideas which came to my mind as I wrote this post. There could be many more I’m sure.  My focus was only on ideas which used media differently and not necessarily on “Creative” ideas or Ideas which were just part of some “Cannespiracy”!!! (Ideas which get used only for reaping award at festivals)

I liked the idea of that “Ideas Mela”.  If ‘Kumbh Mela’ can be a congregation of not only bodies but minds and souls as they say, an “Ideas Mela” can be one for great ideas!!! For, today marketing communication or for that matter entire business is all about one “Big Idea”!!!