New marketing demystified for Indian SMEs

Tu Sprite pee!

Just a short post on lazy, nay clueless advertisers. And, things are getting worse, not better.

Years back, when Sourav Ganguly was dropped from the Indian cricket team, and it did not look likely that he will ever make it back, he disappeared from all advertisements very soon as well. Much as Ganguly fans would contest this, a player’s visual appeal (ability to move sales stock!) is linked to his playing days.

Why am I reminded of this? Because, Sprite is going against all marketing wisdom, even commonsense; asking folks to open bottles of Sprite in the currently running ad in the hope that they get to meet Shahrukh and the Kolkata Knight Riders team.

There are several things that are wrong with this ad. Firstly, KKR might be a great brand (some study quotes their brand value as the highest among all the teams, inspite of finishing last in IPL), but surely, cricket audiences are not enthused about wanting to meet resounding losers in a competitions; one that is still going on?
And, do they expect KKR to have such strong fan following outside of Kolkata to warrant mass adulation of the kind that is needed for people to be motivated to open Sprite bottles in preference to some other?

Shahrukh does have a multicity appeal and so does Sourav. But both of them have done much in the last 30 days to dissipate their appeal. Shahrukh will gain it back with his next hit, whenever it is. But, KKR is still at least a year away from being a winning brand.
Meeting KKR? Huh! Show me the money!

Here’s what must have happened. Some brand manager spent six months coming up with a message and haggled with many teams, owners and players to finally rope in KKR/ Shahrukh as the star-cast.
Then he and his agency took eons to find dates on Shahrukh’s calendar, shot the ad at enormous expense andĀ  by the time they were done, KKR were on their way home.
Perhaps this was planned. Perhaps they honestly believed that KKR would reach the semis, perhaps go all the way. So, they booked media space and planned their blitzkriegĀ  to co-incide with the fag-end of the IPL. Alas.

Till such time, you can put this down to laziness; maybe even bad luck. Lots of us shared their optimism regarding KKR’s progress in the torunament. But, to continue to run the same ads, when they clearly are counterproductive – “what a bunch of losers” – is inexplicable. If the media slots can’t be cancelled, whu not run one of several canned advertisements they surely have?


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