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Mark Avenue

From the Editors ... Normally over here we write a lot of things. You could call it a mini article. But this time we have decided on a different theme. We have decided to go minimalist. We thought why restrict it to our coverpage or coverstory? Let the theme reflect in the editor’s note as well. We have introduced a new spread linked to our fb page. Hopefully you like it and we get a good response. We are looking to introduce newer sections to our magazine. We want to publish what you want to read so send in your ideas and suggestions for new pages to us @ Happy Reading!!!

Siddharth & Saloni

Write to us at

October 2012


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Mark Avenue

Suspense Marketing Its midnight and it doesn’t seem like I’ll get to hit the bed anytime soon. Reason being, Mum is hooked on to this TV show repeat she missed in the normal evening hours. Intrigued by what it is that drives her to watch the same show day after day; I mustered the courage to catch an episode of the same with her. The 30 min show had only 10 min worth of actual air time. However, what was interesting was the way the show ended. The protagonist gets hit by a bullet in the head while trying to save her soul-mate. The show ends just as the murderer is about to reveal his identity. “CURIOSITY” got the better of me and I actually wanted to see one more worthless episode to know what happens. For marketers, creating curiosity among the target audience has become imperative to keeping them hooked. A classic example is ‘Apple’. A few times a year Apple leaks a little bit of information about a product launch which gets the rumour mill going. The rumour mill creates mocks, ideas and conspiracy theories all around it. Their stock begins to soar as the world braces itself for the latest Apple innovation. What is it that creates this kind of a buzz? Why do we look forward to watching a sequel to a ‘Matrix’ more than the first part? The answer lies in creation of ‘Suspense’. Most companies aim at Consumer Satisfaction, i.e if the consumers get what they expect, the consumers are satisfied, else there are chances of Consumer Sacrifice. However, if the consumers get more than expected, this comes under the category of Surprise. However, when the consumer s are expecting a surprise from the new product, it follows the category of ‘Suspense’ & this is what creates ‘Brand Loyalty’. The beauty of this is that since the consumer doesn’t know what the end is going to be, ‘they know that they may be proved wrong’. This is because they were ex-

-Vaibhav Goel

pecting something, they weren’t promised in the first placed and hence they are emotionally prepared for it. Classic example is ‘I-phone V’. When Apple leaks bits and pieces of their new product information, they not only create suspense in the consumer’s psyche but also make sure of not making ‘unrealistic promises’. This way, the fan’s expectation can’t be met, overmet or under-met. What Apple promises and deliver is their ‘BRAND PROMISE’, and that is ‘Innovation’. Again, the scope of innovation is left to the imagination of the consumer. Some pointers to create the aura of ‘Suspense’:1. Hint early and often: - Let the consumers know about the product in bits and pieces and let them create a picture of their own about the end result 2. Include Story-telling:- Learn from our very own ‘EKTA’ aunty. She is able to drag a story line for years and yet maintains a cult following. Including narratives around the product keeps the consumer hooked 3. 4.

Deliver on the hype: - It is important to live up to your promises. Making unrealistic promises and not delivering would lead to consumer sacrifice Keep end goals in mind: - Today’s consumers aren’t fools. Creating suspense is an add-on to the product sale, but every customer wants value for their money. Hence, the end goal of delivering an experience/value to the consumer is essential. Suspense and payoff are a means to an end, not the end themselves

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Surrogate Marketing for Alcoholic Beverages in India Alcoholic beverage as a category is registering double digit growth in India. Since advertising of liquor is banned, marketers are constantly looking for innovative ways to attract customers. Major part of this innovation is to identify and exploit grey areas in the Indian legal system. The legal age for drinking and purchasing alcoholic beverages in India varies from state to state. Most states have fixed the minimum drinking age as 18. Some states such as Delhi and Maharashtra have the minimum drinking age fixed at 25, but its implementation is questionable to say the least. Let’s take the legal and ethical issue out of the equation. Companies primarily use surrogate advertising in the form of brand extensions to related categories like mineral water, soda, CD’s and achievement awards. Bagpiper advertizes with club soda, Imperial Blue with music CD’s, McDowells No.1 with soda and Indian cricket and Royal Challenge with Golf accessories, music CD’s and mineral water. With these ads, companies achieve mass media advertising.

With increased competition particularly among domestic and international players, companies are launching new products with contemporary appeal. Packaging innovations are done to attract consumers at point of sale. These are hygiene factors which every competitive company has to do to survive. The differentiation comes in the brand building process the companies choose. Sport sponsorship, promotion in the entertainment industry and internet are some of them. Kingfisher Premium is associated with 5 teams of IPL as the ‘Good


- Ashok K Kumar

times partner’ which resulted in huge brand awareness among its target consumers. All beverage companies, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, understand that cricket and Bollywood appeal to Indian youth. According to the study presented in World congress of cardiology in Dubai this year, students that had been most exposed to alcohol use in Bollywood movies were found to be 2.78 times more likely to have tried alcohol as compared with those who were least exposed. Apart from movies, achievement awards are also part of promotions. For example, Johnny Walker Awards for Excellence has been a great promotional campaign for the whisky giant over the years, where people from various sectors are awarded in recognition of their achievements in their career and life.

Internet as a platform is underutilized currently. Companies like Kingfisher and Fosters have Facebook & Twitter accounts to engage consumers in weekly contests and promotional activities. Typical traditional ways like websites are not utilized properly in India. This is contrary to US, where a huge chunk of the youth audience visits websites for content such as games, cartoons, music and a variety of high tech downloads. A simple diaggramatic illustration gives a snapshot of the various avenues used for marketing alcoholic beverages in India.

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Mark Avenue

KEEP IT SIMPLE SILLY Gentleman: “Can I borrow a pen?” Lady:” Yes, sure!” Lady dives into her handbag and spews out a hundred gazillion things hunting for the elusive pen. All the while she is gushing on about it is right here, I just need to get through this mess. I’ll have it in a jiffy. She hands some of the mysterious contents of her handbag to the gentleman while still searching for the pen. Eventually the gentlemen just hands it all back to her, says “No Thanks, its ok!” and walks off.

I don’t know how many of you read the first paragraph all the way through and read this, skipped it or got the gist of what I am trying to convey. Most probably it annoyed you and you were about to give this article a near miss. Well that is what happens when you CLUTTER!!! People don’t have the time and patience to know everything about your brand or to hunt the single most important message out. Most likely they will skip the ad or even worse go back with a message you did not intend to send. People say it is common knowledge but still today the lure of having all the gazillion “unique” aspects of your brand on display overrides common sense. The current boom in the online space of ads has been witnessed by all of us; the most annoying being Youtube and Facebook. Every time you open a page you have a plethora of ads bombarding you. People are even ready to pay to avoid ads. Even bloggers advertise by highlighting a word which you hope explains that particular term or leads to a related page. Aloha! You just got “Cluttered” and most probably reached a website you never ever wanted to visit. In this world of everything becoming a point of eyeball the “noise” is just too much. It is time to realize that whether you love Samsung or Microsoft there is something about the Apple Way! There is something about keeping it clean.


-Saloni Mehta -Siddharth Singhal,

Make it simple Before Apple got into the limelight the philosophy was being followed. A little known fact about palmtops by PAlm, which back in those days adopted simplicity. They had the simple rule that if any function requires more than 3 taps it has to be removed. There were specialists called tap counters whose sole job was to track how many taps any function took. On the other hand a famous word processor has a gazillion functions. If I were to want them all displayed in the ribbon I would be left with 1/10th of the screen to type. Organizations sometimes in the race to add features and create advanced versions forget the most used basic features. Going back to the word processor example, the option for a new blank document hides between options for a gazillion different things I can make with it. Intelligence requires that you understand the user and place your features accordingly.

“Keep it Simple Silly” Every single smartphone today is trying to do that, achieve simplicity. Website designers spend sleepless nights trying to bring in the most simple user interface without compromising on the functions. Why is the world obsessed with simplicity. It’s definitely not because we are dumb (well at least not all of us) but more because we want to save time and energy. Google homepage is the classic example of a brand which has kept it simple whilst incorporating artificial intelligence seamlessly. The simplicity tale has also translated into the latest fad in the print world, a world of minimalism to maximize branding.

Minimalism in Maximalist Market They say, “A picture speaks a thousand words”. Many organisations in today’s world seem to be realising the importance and impact of pictures. A simple picture can connect them to their beloved customers in a way much better than other forms of communication. And there comes the concept of minimalism in the marketing industry. Minimalism is the hot topic among the marketing managers these days. An enlightened soul described Minimalism as “an art of removing things until what you have left is beauty.” So how do these ads work and what works for them? The ads challenge the creativity of the audience. The ads intrigue the reader to decode the underlying message himself. And most people tend to enjoy it.

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-Saloni Mehta -Siddharth Singhal,


Gone are the days of the products with fancy stickers craving for their buyers attention. Gone are the days of roadside billboards with humungous amount of information trying to lure the potential customers. Organisations across industries, from media to automobile, from Internet to FMCG, are extensively using this new way to connect and reconnect to their target audience. The Economist is a maverick in the art of minimalism. The magazine tries to capture its readers attention by coming up with an intriguing minimalist on regular basis. Mostly, the theme of ads is to puzzle the readers and

compel them to decode the ad on their own. Lately, the Internet giant Google which has always been known and loved for its simple and minimal user interface has also


come up with a minimalist ad. Fast food giant McDonalds released minimalist ads to apprise its customers of the new services that were available in its restaurants. This ad shows the Wi-Fi symbol made of French fries, an artistic way of informing consumers that they can access Wi-Fi in all of McDonald’s locations. But there’s a word of caution before jumping the gun. The organisation must choose a style that speaks to its target demographic. The image should instigate, If they don’t “get it” they won’t scan it. Many times companies forget the kind of audience they cater to and work on the sensibility of the campaign designer. Such instances confuse the consumer and may alienate them. The example mentioned earlier about less writing and clean font types has also come under threat. There are many like Absolut who have pulled it off but there are more of those who tried to emulate and became part of the minimalist crowd. One must never forget the golden rule that doing anything that everyone does puts you back in the crowd. You have to stand out despite standing with the trend, even when it is as *simple as simplicity.

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Mark Avenue

The Future of Brand Communication Ever seen an advertisement placed at an unusual place or where you least expected it to be which left you amused. The experience may not be the only one you are going to have. A new wave of communication strategies has flooded the brand marketing and advertising arena, some of which have earlier been used by companies, though, at a smaller scale and some of which are completely new. Be it ambient marketing, guerrilla strategy, mobile marketing or social media, have they really stolen the sheen from traditional TV commercials and print ads? How far are these new mediums going to go in creating a to-beremembered forever type of brand image? Is technology bringing these dramatic shifts in the fundamentals of marketing and advertising? Is crowd sourcing going to change the business of different advertising agencies? Let’s have a look at the different possibilities here. Talking about television commercials, thanks to the urban lifestyle TV is an indispensable part of people’s lives. So the importance of TV commercials remains same as ever, rubbishing all talks of it losing out to other media. And if not newspapers, we do get to see print ads on bill-boards etc though in far more innovative ways. But nonetheless, brand communications has moved beyond them. Technology today is ubiquitous, omnipresent, whether visible or invisible. Agencies are now willing to go any mile to differentiate themselves as people have more means available to interact with and experience the brand over a fairly long period of time. For e.g., a new age user buying things online seeks information about them on the internet only. If you are absent there, you are probably not even making it to their consideration set. Social media space may be cheaper in terms of access but companies cannot control it as much as print and television. Hence, this scenario makes it especially important for them to carefully think through any bit of outgoing information as the reach is higher than ever before. Also, one of the most noticeable differences today, from

-Akanksha Pandey

probably 10-15 years back is that brand communications has become a two-way exercise now. Consumers have not only become smarter, but also are not hesitant to express their opinion. They have channels available to do so and a wide audience waiting to hear their reviews. They approve, disapprove and also demand what they want. Crowd sourcing thus is one another upcoming phenomenon. Wikipedia brought open source strategy to us. Now global brands like Oreo and Lays are engaging in two way communications, letting the crowd dictate what they want. The strong online presence of brands like P&G, Red Bull and Target is a continuous effort from their side to engage the crowd in two way communications, seeking their participation and approval and trying to reinforce their image systematically over a long period of time. Buzzwords associated to brands are another hot trend and so are dedicated music albums. The key today is to create something which does not get approved by the crowd but which people feel proud to share. Just the product no more creates brand advocates nowadays. Creativity is being re-defined and rules of building trust are themselves being rebuilt. Yet to see, what will be the next hot trend. Till then we wish to see more and more brands registering a strong online presence, more crowd sourcing and more of ‘jo tera hai wo mera hai’ communication.

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Do Consumers really tell you what they want in FGDs? A phone call late night. “Dude, where are you? Wherever you are, run, RUN NOW to the C-Block Common Room.” That’s all that was said. Poor me gather his wits and reach the spot. There’s a bunch of serious looking folk around. Mind you, serious-looking. Aneeshwar, the senior who called me up, asks me to settle down on a chair and sit tight. Their senior team explains the situation to us. And that’s how I land up in my 1st Focus Group Discussion. It’s an altogether different story that the discussion was about cigarette smoking and kicking the habit, and I’d never smoked in my life. And yet, there were people who rambled on and on about their inspirational stories and what not! I believe any present day B-school kid would connect with my story. It’s usually the seniors who introduce us to the concept (Could it be because we make brilliant guinea pigs?). Then we’re taught that businesses and organizations rely on focus groups to obtain feedback on their products and services. That’s where they generate true marketing insights. But the other night got me thinking, do they really work the way they’re supposed to? Do we need a rethink? Can we extract better information from our groups? Here’s why I think focus groups go wildly wrong. They’re just not the right place to tap true feelings of the

consumer! Humans are complex creatures, our minds work in mysterious ways, and when asked to frame a single sentence which consists of what we really feel about a product X or a political party Y, most of us take the easy way out and say the things we’re supposed to say. We Lie! In a bunch of 15 strangers, why would anyone wish to portray a negative image of them? Especially consider-


- Parth Kapoor

ing the fact that you’re supposed to express your true feelings to people whom you’ve met just few minutes back and who’ve explicitly ASKED you to TRUST them! Hence people tend to say things that create an ideal, positive persona, but in the real world out there, they might just be the opposite! Professor Gerald Zaltman, in his book, ‘How Consumers Think’, says that the correlation between true intent and displayed behaviour is usually low and negative. Probably a reason 80% of the products vetted through focus groups, such as Pepsi Edge end up being failures! So, what do we do now? Are there any solutions? Let’s look at what companies have been up to when it comes to looking for insights. 1. Immersion Groups: Conceptualised by Yahoo!, an immersion group consists of 4-5 people with whom Yahoo’s developers interact informally, without a moderator. The informal interaction eventually leads to sessions where the actual users sit with the developers to design a product they’d want to use. 2. Instant Message Style Online Panels: An innovative way designed by Pepsico to tap the unbiased insights of its audience. A group of 80-100 people are given a quick, simple, yes-no based online survey. This works because it shields people from the influence of the group. 3. Observing Daily Life: Kimberley-Clark Corporation tried this one out. The company was seeing a slip in sales of Huggies baby-wipes. Focus groups weren’t revealing anything. Instead of putting a camera ON the people, they gave the mothers glasses with a camera mounted on them. Seeing what they saw proved more insightful than any discussions ever would. KC Corp successfully redesigned and released new products in the market! Focus Groups have been around for a pretty long time. The idea here is that focus groups are useful when the ones conducting the discussions have already invested plenty of time and resources and are using the FGD to validate their concepts and initiatives. I’m not saying it’s time to move on from FGDs, but now that we’re moving on to innovative forms of marketing, it’s about time we get moving on innovation in research methodologies as well!

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Functional Benefits and Beyond Consumers are swayed by functional benefits. This has been the premise on which a lot of brands have been positioned. Functional benefits are rather appealing if we consider consumers to be rational. Further, when asked about why they buy this brand over others, consumers are more likely to state functional benefits, as anything else would not reflect well on them and the

parameters they factor in their decision process. This has led to undue importance being laid on functional benefits while formulating marketing strategies. Truth is that consumers are far from rational in most purchasing decisions. They barely have the time, motivation, competence or complete information to make decisions that solely rely on functional benefits. There are three reasons why strategies that are fueled by functional benefits would most likely not work- consumers may not believe that a brand has functional advantage because the competitors make claims to the contrary, competitors might outright match the benefits provided by the brand and adapting to changing market

Mark Avenue

-Syed Eraj Hasan

dynamics or developing brand extensions would be difficult. It therefore is imperative that brands look at other benefits vis-à-vis emotional, self-expression and social. An emotional benefit allows consumers to feel a certain way when they buy or use the product. For example, Cadbury’s dairy milk has been associated with celebrating mo-

ments of happiness. When Dominos says “Khushiyon ki home delivery”, it tries to position itself as a brand that brings you happiness. At the same time, Volvo makes you feel safe and a BMW makes you feel excited. Consumers best meet their self-concept when they buy a brand that has self-expression benefits. Look at Mountain Dew or Thums Up, brands that try to reach out to the youth seeking adventure. Apple’s Macbooks are for those who believe they have an air of sophistication. A social benefit affords the consumer the ability to relate to certain type of people. One brand that comes to mind is Enfield’s Bullet. It has been made for the rugged male who wants to be like that group of bikers who enjoy the sheer pleasure of riding such a powerful vehicle. It has that affin-

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God, these Attention-seeking Advertisers! I was doing my regular round-up of random rubbish the other day, and stumbled upon an interesting advertisement, placed on something even the best of us couldn’t have come up with – a straw. Advertisements are everywhere now! Gone are the days where they were restricted to newspapers, televisions and radios. Today they’re in the games you play, the books you read, coffee-mug you drink in, and even the ice-creams sticks! They’re just so all-over-the-place, forcing some of us to genuinely try and avoid them. Catch 22. That’s precisely why they’re now all over the place. Because if you look elsewhere, ‘elsewhere’ is where they’ll place themselves. A deep thought indeed. Every single advertisement has its own way of attracting its customer’s attention. In this race to get noticed, what really do marketers try to net us by, apart from the location of the ad? Here are a few:

-Bharath Gangadharan

went around with posters texted in Comic Sans, can you? PINCHING YOUR CURIOSITY You’ve got to love suspense. Secretly, we all enjoy that sheer delight on unravelling little mysteries ourselves, right from the time we started reading Enid Blyton. Personally, I’m a huge fan of teaser ads for the massive effect they have with minimal information. Getting the audience to think

COLOUR Nike’s pupil-popping green Olympic shoe was pure marketing genius. You wouldn’t have missed that shoe blindfolded. Nike invested enough R&D on finding that singular colour that perfectly contrasts with the reddish track. They managed to ambush-market their product to the best extent possible at London’12, while adhering to the zipped-mouth restrictions levied on non-sponsors. This is not limited to the product itself, obviously. Sev-

about an ad ensures that it lingers on in their minds for at least a while. Vaibhav Goel has a few words to say on this himself, as you will read in ‘Suspense Marketing’ in this magazine.

eral print-ads and TVCs go by a similar philosophy of pleasing-with-colour. Ray-Ban had a series of colourful print-ads so trippy that a true-blue Jamaican might even wallpaper his house with them.

SUDDENNESS We’re all programmed to instantly respond to anything sudden, whether it’s sound, motion or visual. You would’ve seen a number of ads that have a significant period of silence, followed by a sudden sound. And sometimes the exact opposite as in the hilarious case of MTV’s ‘One Tight Slap’. We can extend this policy even into print-ads. An ad with minimal information, maybe even a blank ad that only contains a simple subject indicative to the brand (like a logo) is sure to bring your eye straight to the subject. No explanation needed – that’s how we’re programmed. We look for what stands out in its environment. That’s why I never wore coloured clothes on my birthday in school, unlike everybody else. There you have it; those were a few elements that definitely capture one’s attention. The crux of the matter being, abnormality is what hits us. Anything out of the ordinary and we tend to notice it.

LETTERING The font of a text is imperative to the story told by an ad. Lightness represents subtlety, a bubbly font is playful, bold fonts are, well, bold, and so on. The font type helps catch the right audience and places them in the right mood, readying them for their advert. You can’t really take an anti-smoking campaign seriously if they

Remember that the next time you spot your secret crush ;-)

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Mark Avenue

Weird-O Ad Campaigns Contest They say, any publicity is good publicity!! In this section, we bring to you the most weirdo ad campaigns launched by different companies across world to gain attention of their customers. So what’s in store for you? Come up with the whackiest explanation of any four of the ads. Post them on our FB page. The winning entry shall be published in our next edition!!! Visit the link below to start posting!!!

October 2012

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Weird-O Ad Campaigns Contest

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Mark Avenue

MARK NEWS!! The FMCG giant recently announced a change in its business strategy. The President & CEO Robert McDonald stated that the maker of Tide detergents and Pantene shampoos will now back the 40 largest and most profitable categories across geographies, the 20 largest and most promising innovations, and the 10 most important developing markets.

Mother Dairy, one of the largest milk producing companies of India, has made a comeback to the Television screens after five years. The company has released a new ad-campaign targeted at mothers. Through the new positioning, 'Maa jaisa koi nahi', Mother Dairy pays tribute to all mothers and draws attention to the pivotal role mothers play in the lives of their children., the online shopping portal in India, has signed on MPG to handle its media duties. MPG will be the AOR (Agency of Record) and handle the media planning and buying. The Big Shoe Bazaar owned online portal has appointed TBWA to handle its creative duties. The company is looking to accelerate growth and reach as it establishes a bigger brand footprint

Coca-Cola India recently launched a new campaign, 'Coke and meals’. The campaign is based on the theme, ’Saath Khao, Khushiyan Badhao’. The campaign tries to convey the message of shared happiness over otherwise not-so-happening dining tables of Indian Households. The ad instigates the idea of togetherness among family members, obviously, along with Coke!!

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Marketing India’s Wildlife MAR-Quiz to the World Brand Riddles 1. Work on the clues and Identify the Brands being talked about: A) “You have worked enough” B) “Not the 1st American computer” (Hint: lateral thinking) C) “Used to manufacture pulp once, moved out of there, still now ourselves being beaten to pulp”

2. A) Identify the company to which this logo belongs. What was the controversy associated with this logo? B) The office of this company is located in this building in USA. What is the name of this building and what is special about this building?

3. A miser in all of us forces us to do this, bargaining from going store to store to get the best deal? Guess the term used in marketing parlance. 4. The legendary ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ has been forever etched in our minds thanks to this man. He is in some way linked to the famous ZooZoo Ad campaign of Vodafone. Who is the marketing genius being talked about?


1. a) Kit-Kat b) Casio c) Nokia 2. a) P&G, Controversy: The stars in the logo when connected in a certain pattern give 666—Devil’s number. b) ‘The Dolly Parton Towers’ due to its anatomical resemblance to country singer.

3. Cherry Picking :)

4. Piyush Pandey

Article Writing Competition Topic: You are free to choose contemporary topics on your own. Points to Ponder:  No Plagiarism  Request you to include relevant examples  Word limit: 600-700 words  Deadline for submission: 5th November 2012, 23:59:59 PM  Send in your entries to

The best two articles will win a Cash Prize of Rs. 500/- each

Mark Avenue October 2012 Edition  

Mark Avenue October 2012 Edition

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