Call it coincidence: just as the BBH top brass is in India, I came across this article from AdAge about BBH diversifying into ‘brand invention’. Simply put, they have set up a company called Zag, whose mission is to ‘create’ its own brands and bring them to market with joint-venture partners. Cool, innit? The attempt is to identify consumer needs that aren’t fulfilled to potential. Example: there are people who like meat but don’t want to have it as part of every meal. To address these carnivores who don’t want to eat meat daily (12% of people describe themselves as vegetarians, 86% of adults eat meatless meals at least once or twice a week), PickMe range of readymade meals has been launched.
Another product from such ‘brand-lags’ is an alarm that emits a loud woman’s scream (selling for $30 a pop at Marks & Spencer). So it seems like a serious business venture (expected revenues from alarms in three years: $35mn). What’s uber cool is the fact any BBH employee can contribute an idea (winner’s prize money: £2008) and a cash bonus awaits if the idea gets to market.
It reminded me of ‘Products we would like to see’ from MAD magazine; however, the idea is brilliant and goes a long way in enhancing the agency reputation further. In the course of business interactions some agencies do provide product ideas – ranging from the airy-fairy to the practical. What I liked about Zag is the concerted effort to make it a process and a viable business.
On a lighter note, here are some thoughts on ‘brand lags’ in India and potential new products:
Collapsible travel mug: the target audience is all those who are forced to use western-style toilets – be it in India or while traveling abroad and totally hate it. Imagine not being comfortable with toilet paper, not having a toilet shower around. Voila! You can now pull out the collapsible travel mug and you are ready to go (literally). All I need is a brand name and I am set to make millions.
Any other brand ideas?