‘We bring good things to life‘ was the advertising slogan of GE for over 2 decades, up until early 200os. The line beautifully captured the diverse areas of business GE was involved in. David Lucas composed the advertising jingle and there were several endearing, heart-warming commercials that brought alive the deeper meaning of the tagline to consumers. Back then, combination of likable advertising and PR was good enough to convey the company’s vision. But it’s 2011 now and things are a bit different. Brands routinely ‘walk the talk’ and don’t just stop at making a claim in advertising. The reason: consumers are a lot more wary of advertising claims. They also have access to information on the internet which allow them to form a considered opinion about a brand and not just depend on what the advertising says. So in a way, companies can be ‘caught out’ if they were to merely pay lip service to a claim. The recent efforts of Nissan Leaf and Pampers come to mind.
In this context, the Mahindra Group initiative, Rise is commendable. The idea has received a lot of press coverage, especially on the cornerstone of the campaign – Spark the Rise movement. International trade publications like Adweek have also written about the advertising – Strawberry Frog was the creator of the idea and the anthem film. The real hero of the campaign is the idea itself and hence the anthem film, was perhaps a tad underwhelming.
The participation of the general public, the ripple effect and the potential to create a solution that can impact millions are all great outcomes from a company mission statement. The ‘rallying cry’ of Rise and the call to action of ‘Spark the Rise’ couldn’t have come at a better time – there are heroes emerging from every walk of life and being egged on by the general public. Such campaigns, labeled ‘cultural movements’ can happen only if there is personal commitment from the senior management at the client side. Aside from the big, bold idea and firm commitment to make things happen, senior management involvement is apparent though small actions – for example, the President of the Automotive Divison has written a blog post on India’s transportation needs and the Vice Chairman has gone on record saying that he is personally involved in this campaign. What better spark than that for a company brand? Here’s wishing the campaign even more success. All ‘rise’ to that, I am sure.