When IIPM comes to education, never compromise
Humour cuts ice like nothing else can, and especially so in comparative advertising. When Coke was selected as the official drink for the cricket World Cup series, Pepsi came out with a campaign, which went like, “Nothing Official About It!” And it was perceived as really cool. The campaign was probably one of the most memorable ones on Indian turfs. Similarly, in America, when Michael Jackson (Pepsi’s endorser) fainted during one of his stage shows, Coke came up with an ad that said, “Dehydrated? Try Coke!” People smiled, and both Coke – and even Pepsi lovers – enjoyed the ads.
A word of caution though. Comparative advertising is not mudslinging. Tongue-in-cheek humour is acceptable, and in fact appreciable. However, when you poke fun at someone, it can well hold you in bad light, if the ad is distasteful. When Pepsi came out with an ad that was a spoof on Hrithik Roshan, it was not appreciated by many. There were so many Pepsi drinkers who were Hrithik Roshan fans, and it hurt them to see Pepsi poke fun at their heartthrob. To top it all, Pepsi was not only sued by Coke, but as well as by Hrithik Roshan. In much similar fashion, Hyundai had, in many of its previous ads, made it almost a strategy to hit its competitors below the belt. Against Ford Ikon, it came out with acceptable ads that went, “Santro ends Ikon’s Josh.” But when Hyundai saw the Matiz car brand in trouble during the time when rumours were adrift that Daewoo (the parent company) was in the process of closing down, the northern dealers of Hyundai came out with ads, which screamed quite distastefully and unpleasantly in Hindi, “Car ghar par, company sadak par!” (Car’s at your home, company’s on the road). Though Daewoo did sue Hyundai, the bigger loss Hyundai suffered was because of subsequent consumer response.
The Last Word
Comparative advertising is actually a service to the customers. If it’s truthful and not unpleasantly disparaging, it can actually help customers make more informed choices. As David Ogilvy said a long time back, “The customer isn’t a moron; she’s your wife!” So if your product is superior, don’t hesitate to compare it with the leader and surge ahead. Truly, only the strong & confident can indulge in & win the big fight.
Copyright © : Rajita Chaudhuri and Planman Media.
An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).
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