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The concept of Super Apps and the success stories in China (WeChat, Alipay) and South East Asia (GoJek primarily) have been well documented, especially in tech & business columns. The discussion took centre stage again, even in mainstream media recently after it was revealed that the diversified Tata Group has plans to build a Super App of their own.  “There’s an app for that” to app fatigue The App Store was launched in 2008. The…

The ad industry trade portals were abuzz recently on the topic of ageism in advertising following the comments made by the CEO of WPP. The crux of an argument from Bob Hoffman (‘The Ad Contrarian’) is that in other ‘creative’ domains the best work is produced by senior people while the ad industry thinks they can’t produce a web banner. In management consulting, legal practice or medicine the premium is on experience. Since the rise…

Of late, there’s been a discussion in Indian media on the importance of a brand’s country-of-origin in purchase decisions. It has been triggered by the decision by the Indian government to ban a bunch of apps of Chinese origin – TikTok being the most popular of them. Also recent geopolitical developments, tensions between the governments and the media visibility have created a mood of resentment among a lot of Indians about China and as an…

A majority of ads go un-noticed. That’s a worse state to be in than being noticed and disliked. An ad being noticed but evoking indifference in the viewer is also a sub-optimal state to be in. In this context, many marketers (and agencies) believe that celebrity endorsement is the solution for the ad to be noticed, creating brand name awareness and affinity. If only it was that simple. Celebrity endorsements – from marketers POV Creating…

A brand’s unique property may include its logo, a jingle or sound mnemonic (called sonic branding) a font, colour, tag line or a brand mascot. Surprisingly, not many brands work with a long-term view to create a distinct brand property. The way a ‘product window’ (industry speak for the cut-way segment in an ad which shows ingredients or how they work) is shot or the use of a celebrity cannot be a sustainable, unique property.…

Recently, on the back of the Black Lives Matter campaign, Unilever India came under the microscope regarding its skin lightening cream Fair & Lovely. Online petitions urged the company to take corrective action to stop promoting fairness as an ideal state of beauty. The company decided to drop the word ‘Fair’ in the brand to change it to ‘Glow & Lovely’. They have also said they will stop using words like ‘fair, fairness’, ‘white, whitening’…

The dictionary defines creativity as ‘the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness’. It also defines ‘art’ as ‘works produced by human creative skill and imagination’. We usually considers literature, paintings and extraordinary writing or architecture as ‘works of art’. In the world of advertising, creative talent – writers, art directors and designers were considered to be a separate ‘department’. They were responsible for generating ideas and creative assets such as, print ads, TV scripts, hoarding designs, logos and…

Over the last few days, many enterprises and brands have put out branded communication in support of what has come to the known as the ‘Black lives matter’ campaign – with the recent riots in the US being the context. Essentially, such ads or corporate messages call for an end to racism. ‘Being silent is not an option’ and variants thereof are the most common expressions or reason-why brands are taking a stand or at…

Recently, there was much furore on social media over an Instagram post from Kent RO Systems for their atta & bread maker. The ad asked: “Are you allowing your maid to knead atta dough by hand? Her hands may be infected”. As is wont in such cases, it was a free for all in terms of criticism. The brand sent out an official apology and pulled the ad. In my view, the intent behind the…

Many businesses are likely to face an existential threat thanks to extended periods of lockdown across the world. Small and medium enterprises or local businesses such as retail would have had little or no income during this period. Even after the lockdown is eased or lifted consumer attitude and behaviour towards many categories is not likely to be the same as it was just a few months ago. Even big businesses with large brand portfolios…