Lalita Ji’s world gets aggressively sensible!

Karanvir Gupta
Does that name sounds familiar? Does it ring bells in your cerebrum? Yeah this is the same name that defied the market principle of ‘sasta, sundar and tikau’. It coaxed its consumer to buy a little expensive product that leveraged at the cost of easiness of use, quality and confidence it gives. If you still can’t remember, the product was Surf and the ad said ‘surf ki khareedaari mein hi samajhdaari hai’. And Lalita Ji was the face of the product which became famous among all. So much so that what started off as a mere advertisement became the founding principle of today’s middle class. To shell out a little extra for the pluses that come with the product rather than buying out a cheaper product that is not so promising. It revolutionised the way both in terms of how a consumer should make a choice and how a producer should market its product. What that ad did was to reflect ‘Value for money’ in the case and exploited the new India that was growing at an unprecedented pace out of market paralysis and monopoly credo.
But Time flies! There is a saying ‘Change is the only thing constant in world’. And I say ‘Market’ is what defines this best. Over the last decade and so, there have been indomitable changes from customer getting educated and aware, more entrants in the market, expanded consumer base, increased paying capacity, consumer variants, technological advancement, etc. And the list goes on and on. The fact is products and their parent companies just cannot neglect the whole spurt of changes that have took place and they need to acclimatise as per the changing trends and market scenario if they wish to stay in the market. And for this, increased market penetration is must for which ‘the marketing’ needs to be excellence-at par. Just for instance, do you know that Gillette razor with two blades and shampoo sachet are the ideas born out of Indian market and sold all over the world!
The way Madison projected Cadbury then and now is a simple reflection of change of our perception of products and our consuming patterns. Cadbury which was just a chocolate a few years back has now become an indulgent with Cadbury launching its ‘silk’ variant. So have you felt silk lately? Well when cola companies feared that their drinks might go obsolete which actually didn’t happen due to their addictive taste formula, they jumped into health drinks like tropicana and real juices, nimboos and fresh lime. There are certain products for which ads make no sense at all now. “laal, hara, peela,…..badiya hai plastic bristle wala”, have you seen any ad targeting toothbrush as the product? NO! Because consumer doesn’t take it as a product that somebody needs to promote. It is a basic hygiene product and a must have. So companies started selling it as a by-product of toothpaste! When was the last you actually saw an ad showing denim? Levis and Pepe which we buy as if we ought to have one in wardrobe don’t even feel it important to advertise it! So such has been the evolution of The Ad World.
From what products need to be aired to how the products need to be projected, all has undergone a change. And the change is for better. The advertisement nowadays are not just about promoting a product or attracting customers, they target at customer loyalty and expanding customer base. If increase in the percentage of customers is a good sign, percentage of old customers sticking to the product is a sign of trust that has been built, more valued and appreciated an index. From the brands you spot; be it clothing, watches, shoes or lingerie, to the food you eat, drinks you like, cars you flaunt, devices you use; every damn thing gets advertised. After all that is the reason why on an avg 12-13 minutes in half-an-hour daily soap are dedicated to what we call commercials.
Though we have taken ads to be too much part of our lives and keep pressing remote controls when ad pops up but you just can’t escape them. Sometimes it is just wonderful to catch hold of beautiful ideas presented on screen. In fact I personally believe it is not the product they are selling but the ideas; ideas which touch the heart. The ad by Birla Sun Life Insurance which says “bache aajkal job nahi passion dhoondte hain” was a wonderful reflection of changing thought in youth today. The ad by TATA Salt that projects communal harmony and oneness is appreciated by us all. The Britannia Good Day biscuit ad which exclaims ‘delivering happiness like sun delivering light’ is a sweet attraction. The various ad campaigns by Idea Cellular from population control campaign ‘No Abaadi, No barbaadi’ on ‘India 3G pe Busy’ to ‘Walk the talk’ aiming fitness, and the latest one where the kid uses phones to solve the fight between parents have been work of extreme innovation and catch of the times. Similarly Airtel’s ‘Har ek friend zaroori hota hai’ and ‘Jo mera hai woh tera hai’ sharing the spirit of friendship in this “socially connected” world makes perfect sense. Have you seen the latest ICICI Prudential’s ‘Bande Achche hain’ commercial? It reflects the true story of a man being careful about his duties in a silent way howsoever careless you think he is. It’s like emotion rightly marketed!
The fascinating fact is while tangible products which can be bought, touched and felt see less touching ads rather than the ones which sell services. Financial Sector, Cellular services, Tourism are the sectors whose ads are more subtle and ‘enticing’ and in fact promising too. The Ad world that was restricted primarily to FMCG products saw widening of its scope upto the point where State tourisms have Brand Ambassadors now. The Ad World thus has grown; grown sensible enough. This reminds me of an ad by Apollo Tyres where women (dark, fair coloured) drive the Audi thus nullifying discrimination on any basis. The Ad world has taken us by awe by uplifting the society from the tangles of caste, colour, sex or any sort of discrimination. I hope you have spotted the pep plus and pleasure scooty ads. The whole story not only tells us about their confidence in their product but also their restlessness about customer loyalty. For the tech savvy genx the ad world has penetrated immensely into social media sites where they capture the attention of million of future prospective customers. Even if the product is not meant for certain section, what the brands are doing is marketing in ‘future tense’. And the ads that directly target youth are made in a sense that appeals to their parents so that kids have no hassle buying that product. Next time if you really pause to watch an ad, take it for guaranteed that you have been smitten by the appeal of the product.
But their aggression is something not hidden from any. Coca Cola and Pepsi are like born enemies. With Pepsi servicing for 8 out of 9 IPL teams this IPL, Coca Cola has decided to launch 8Rupee bottle this summer thus making sense for a longer period than IPL alone. If Cadbury says ‘aaj meetha hai khaana, aaj pehli tareekh hai’, Nestle says ‘meetha khaayein beena tareekh dekhe’. Recently Dettol by Reckit Benckiser came up with antiseptic utensil washing product which was a direct attack on HUL’s Vim brand. And HUL retaliated by publishing full length ads on National Dailies saying ‘A Harsh antiseptic or the power of 100 lemons, which one would you use to wash your child’s tiffin?’ And same goes between HUL and P&G products. But I would not hesitate saying it is the aggression we all like to see. No brand wants even a small pie of their cake to be given to someone else.
Their dedication, fighting spirit is wonderful to hold on to. They make sure their brands presence in every possible space that exists be it social media, networking sites, NGO functions, high class elite parties, college fest, road side tea stall or big banners, signboards hanging in the air. They do not want to miss a chance of keeping themselves LIVE in your brain. And one such brand is Jockey because when you enter the shop you say nothing else but ‘Bhaiya Jockey dena’. Let’s take example of Talla Jewellers and Silverlines in Jammu which have gone active on social media sites, organizing contests thus keeping their presence live and staying connected to their customers. Boss, you just can’t escape it! The war in The Ad World is terrific and it shall go on. That is the reason you have umpteen options to select from. Well summer’s on the way and these ads are gonna make it hotter. So enjoy this enigmatic world of Ads. Go Crazy, Go Shopping!
(The writer is a Software Engineer in Chennai)