Archives For Advertising

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But the cover of the book is what makes –

  • the reader pick your book from the book rack.
  • the recruiter choose your resume to read from the pile.
  • a girl look at you in a crowded club.
  • the impression you make when you walk into a room of strangers.

When you think design, do not limit it to the usage of colors and images or to what is printed on paper or on a website. Design encompasses the layout within a retail shop, the font style, size and structure on a research report or even the clothes you wear everyday.

If you notice all successful businesses, books, artists, people – they all have good design. I have yet to find something great but with poor, crappy design.

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Bad-Customer-Service-ToonA barber wants to get things done quickly without focusing on the quality of his work. You see he is getting his joint renovated and he cannot afford to close it down for a couple of weeks. That could affect his business. So what does he do? Keep one side of his shop open and make sure every customer is attended to but does not care about what kind of work is getting done. So customers walk out with a bad hair day after spending time in a place where they are supposed to give you good ones.

A tailor is the busiest during festivals or events, so to keep up with the demand, she rushes through the process which ends up with mis-fitting clothes and a lot of frustration. Her staff is under so much pressure they do a shoddy job at every step from taking measurements to the final sew.

A telemarketer does not bother if she has called the same customer three times already on the same day. She is just trying to finish her daily quota of calls.

A restaurant waiter does not bother to keep the hygiene because he has been working from seven in the morning and it is going to be nine at night. He is tired and wants to go home.

A newspaper company introduces a scheme to deliver papers for a whole year and collects money for it too. But they do not bother to live through their promise. Of course, they would just blame the people who are in the business of delivering the papers.

Obviously, all these people and so many others like them don’t bother to change. They don’t care about building relationships. They don’t bother if the customer is happy. They don’t mind if a couple of customers are not satisfied with their work.

They really don’t care about the customer.

We should stop caring for these people too. Stop acknowledging their presence. Stop shopping with them. Stop using their services. Switch brands. Switch loyalties. You are not bound to them. They depend on you. Spread the word on how they ignored you, how they overcharged you, how they didn’t respect you for who you are. Stop them before they become a bigger menace.


yahoo-india-newspaper-adToday’s newspaper had a surprise! A full-page ad by Yahoo!

There is a picture of a smiling girl on a bright yellow background and the copy says “The Internet is under new management. Yours. ”

The small text reads “A homepage that lets you add whatever you love, an inbox that knows what you like (and don’t) and the freedom to access it from your mobile. Say hello to the new Yahoo! Take charge today at”

It ends with “It’s Y!ou”

It’s interesting to see many online companies taking interest in India. According to Comscore, Yahoo! is the second-most visited site in India, after Google (May 2008). It makes sense for Yahoo! to catch some attention before competition. Afterall, most of the people in India are not online. The last number I saw was 32.1 million. That’s like less than 3% of the total Indian population.

But do you think Yahoo! will be successful in this new strategy? Do you think this will make a difference?

Vodafone Music Station - Mobile Music (Paid Service)

Did any of you see this? If you are in India, it is hard to miss it. Vodafone has got TV spots, newspaper ads, billboards, flyers for their new Vodafone Music Station. The idea is users can call in and listen to music on the Vodafone network. They boast of a collection of 40,000 songs (in all languages together).

The TV ad, I think, is a good idea but it really gets to you because it seems to be shown in every ad break on literally every channel and it is no fun to listen to the first line of the same song over and over again. Add to that, when you think of the absolute uselessness of the service, it just makes me wonder if Vodafone could not come up with something better.

Ok, here’s what they offer. If you have a Vodafone connection in India, you activate the service paying Rs. 50/-. Then you can listen to these 40k songs paying Rs. 0.30 per minute. Here’s my calculation:

Average duration of a song: 4 mins.
Cost of 1 min: 30 paise
Cost for full song: 4 x 0.30 = Rs. 1.20
I listen to around 30-40 songs every day, if not more. So even if I limit myself to 20 songs, I would have to pay Rs. 1.20 x 20 = Rs. 24 every day.
i.e. Rs. 24 x 30 = Rs. 720 /month (plus Rs. 50 monthly subscription = Rs. 770)
Rs. 770 x 12 = Rs. 9240 /year.

So average cost of one song is (Rs. (1.20 x 30) x 12) = Rs. 432, considering if I were to listen to it every day for the whole year. The cost of a music CD in India (with ownership) is around Rs. 300 – 500 for English albums. Regional music is far more affordable (Rs. 60 – 250). If you still use cassettes, costs come further down.

And in this age of iPods and portable music players in cell phones, what is Vodafone really trying to do here? I put this point to Vodafone support and they said that this service can be used by people who do not have access to iPods or mobile phones without music player. But can the people who can’t afford an iPod really afford the Vodafone Music Station service?

The way Vodafone is advertising this service, you think this will be next biggest thing after the iPhone. But I just don’t get it and I want to know if Vodafone got any serious users to this service other than those curious testers. But even for that, they have set up an entry barrier of Rs. 50 as monthly subscription.


Dove’s new series of campaigns – this time, a direct attack on the beauty industry itself. Quite a bold stand! has three campaigns –

Onslaught says – “Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does”
Dove Onslaught Campaign

Evolution – the real beauty workshop, that shows people getting made for ads and magazine covers.
Dove Evolution Campaign

Pro age – “too old to be in an anti-aging ad”
Dove Pro Age Campaign

These are powerful and authentic stories. Stories you want to believe is true. Stories you know, could be true. Authentic stories reach out to people. It is no wonder that Dove, a UniLever brand, is one of the best-selling world over.

When you make your next brochure, website or presentation, think from your audience’s perspective. What is he/she looking for? Don’t tell them all that you know (e.g. list of features). Give them more!

It is like borrowing empty jars from them and filling your content accordingly, depending on the size and shape of the jar. Only when the content is relevant to the user, will they ever show interest. And interest evokes action.

Kolbrener has come up with a periodic table, but of marketing and branding terms. Quite interesting.

Marketing Table

Marketing and advertising students will find this useful.

The Missing Contact

September 18, 2007 — Leave a comment

Citibank customers don’t need support?

Don’t Citibank customers or prospects need a number or email to contact for some information?

Sure, there is a tab called Customer Service. It took me 30 minutes to figure out that it had the  information I needed. Sometimes, just using the right keywords is important, if not essential!

Ashish Ad on Feedster

Ashish Ad on Feedster

Freedom Ad on Feedster

Whatever happened to meaningful messages?

Positive Marketing

June 27, 2007 — 1 Comment

Seth Godin talks about Verizon’s rant against the iPhone. is a memo to Verizon employees on how the iPhone is not such a great phone and what they should know to possibly dissuade customers from getting the iPhone. Seth makes an interesting statement – “your criticism of the phone is also criticism of my judgment”.

Positive marketing means you focus on the pros of your product or service. It also means that the customer understands what stands out in your offering.

Negative marketing may mean harping on the bad points of your competitor – or just plain poking fun! But does it really help? It may just put off the customer and help tilt the scales in favour of the competitor.

Scoble wants to get three iPhones. Wow! But that’s exactly the problem (not Scoble getting three phones!). You see Apple has created such good hype over their latest offering – everyone wants it. And you putting some mud on it is not going to take off the sheen. You need to make yours shine better.