Brands are sold, and even nations’ fates are decided by clever marketing campaigns. Britain exited Euro with a silly hashtag; Micromax moved from Hugh Jackman to Kapil Sharma; and AajTak reimagined the black and white 60s for an app launch
Delhi | July 5, 2016
Cannes is over. The best of advertising that most consumers didn't see or react to has been celebrated and awarded. Meanwhile, the persuasion economy is in full flow. Brands are being sold, and even nations’ fates are decided by clever marketing campaigns.
Britain exited Euro and the world will remember the silly hashtag; Micromax moved from Hugh Jackman to Kapil Sharma; and AajTak reimagined the black and white 60s tale for a new app launch.
Did Britain fall for a dodgy campaign?
The ‘Leave’ campaign won, the stronger in lost. Both campaigns ran pitched battles with websites, campaign volunteers, multimedia ads and huge political backings that cut across party lines. #Brexit became the easy way to refer to the whole campaign, though neither side used the hashtag. Brexit came from a year older Greek referendum to stay in Euro zone called #Grexit. Was it wise for the Greek hashtag to be used again?
The central fulcrum of the ‘Leave’ campaign was a huge red bus that travelled the country with a single message: “We send EU %0Mn Pound a week, let’s fund our National Health Care instead.” The campaign urged Britain to #TakeControl. It’s now clear that Britain listened to this campaign and decided to #TakeControl. Trouble is that now the campaign managers agree that their rhetoric was built on false promises and exaggerations. Leave campaign’s claims on immigrants and impact on economy too are coming under question. The most visible face of the Leave campaign has resigned.
Did Britain fall for a dodgy advertising campaign? And is America too falling for a dodgy advertising campaign? With Italy and Hungary also likely to go for referendum we might see flawed narratives coming into play.
We are powerful storytellers; sometimes the story consumes the narrator and the result is #Brexit.
#HughXit: Hugh Jackman exits, enter Kapil Sharma
IronMan hasn't lost many battles, but in India he seems to have lost out badly. Absolutely no magnetism to make Micromax the coolest handset brand. Micromax built itself as a formidable brand with Akshay Kumar and, for a short while, his wife. Micromax’s first big success was Bling, a phone that found controversy and success. The brand roped in Hugh Jackman to get the image up, become more urbane to appeal to the English medium types. The relaunch campaign had white skin ‘foreigners’ mocking the brand whose logo is a fruit and generally behaving like football hooligans. Now the brand has taken a turn towards being desi again. It has roped in Kapil Sharma, the earthy standup comic turned actor to create a “Namaste London” type of web film. The long lesson of being true to your mother tongue to be successful is something that always gets the audience fired up. Remember Rin or even Fair and Lovely?
With the dialogues inspired by a film from Akshay, is the brand bringing him back again? The connection with the earlier heritage of brand is unmistakeable.
With Micromax going desi again, what happens to the new positioning it created? Will the irreverent madness and chaos, as defined as the ethos of brand, find an Indian expression?
Akshay worked for the brand. Will Kapil do what Akshay did? Will the brand find glory again?
Aaj Tak goes back in time, recreates heritage
Almost a decade back Aaj Tak disrupted the TV news market with clever 60s style black and white ads. The series of ads built Aaj Tak as the fastest-to-update TV news channel and quickly displaced Zee News off the perch. It's a position Aaj Tak has not vacated since. In ten years, though, news consumption has changed.
Now it is about a social network, and an app. To fight the battle of apps, Aaj Tak has recreated the 60s style of black and white narration. The Soha-Kunal starrer depicts a despotic king and queen who rely on old world ways of getting news and get displaced because they didn't have an app, tries to be funny. The brand plank moves from speed to enlightenment.
Aaj Tak has done well to dip back in brand heritage to connect back with its audience. It has kept the narrative in the brand’s tonality. It’s focused on what it does.
Brand narratives have the power, we all know that. The challenge we face is crafting the narrative responsibly.