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Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Pfizer: Corporate Branding
“Life is our life’s work”
Pharma companies are traditionally sales driven with little scope for marketing activities. This is especially true for prescription drugs where the final consumers of drugs have no choice regarding which drug they have to use. It is all based on recommendations of doctors. But with patents expiring, generics posing stiff competition and sales efforts saturating, pharma companies are looking at branding in a new light. Another reason is that if a drug is branded well, its sales would be protected at patent expiry. Hence the interest in branding and marketing activities from pharma companies.
New concepts like DTC or Direct to Consumer advertising are being used by pharma companies. DTC means directly reaching out to the end users of medicines, i.e. the patients, and making them aware of disease conditions, treatments ect. The problem with DTC is that advertising to patients about prescription drugs is banned in most countries. So, how do pharma companies go about reaching out to patients, when the advertising of the very drugs they want to sell, is prohibited?
The answer to this is given by Pfizer. Pfizer through its DTC advertisements never talks about a particular drug. Instead, as is seen by the ad above, it builds up the Pfizer brand by projecting it as a:
a) Innovation oriented company working to drive innovation for the greater good of humanity.
b) Stating its mission as to be the most valuable company for its stakeholders including the patients and communities where they work.
Also, Pfizer tries to associate itself with particular disease conditions. The storyboard of one of its TV commercials, shown below, associates Pfizer with depression prevention, in a humorous way and in the local language. In doing so it underscores Pfizer line that “Life is our Life’s work”. The point to be noted is that, there is no mention of a particular medicine brand. The association of depression prevention is with the corporate brand of Pfizer.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bank of India

Bank of India: "Rishton ki jamapunji-Relationships beyond banking."
Headline: How long does it take to know someone?Is a day enough?A fortnight, perhaps? A decade?There really are no rules in a relationship.Sometimes it can take a lifetime.Sometimes all it takes is a glance.Subhead: We understand relationships. Which is why, we're ensuring that our relationship with you will always stay special.

Looking at the spectrum of advertisements by banks, the ICICI Bank ad shows Shah Rukh Khan, going around the world, with the tagline saying “ICICI: The global choice of the global Indian”. HSBC stresses on the fact that they understand local cultures well by saying “Different points of view are welcome here. HSBC. The world’s local bank”. ABN AMRO focuses on their ability to understand customer needs by saying “Every day personal bankers from ABN AMRO change the way people think about what to expect from a bank”. IDBI bank ad talks about fulfilling people’s dreams by saying “Hum denge aapki aashaon ko oonchi udaan. IDBI Bank. Aao sochein bada!”. The fulfilling dreams approach is also shown by banks such as Deutsche Bank (We will help you fulfill your dreams. Deutsche Bank. A passion to perform) and Standard Chartered (Everyday, across the globe, Standard Chartered helps people realize their dreams. Believe in something, and we'll believe in you). Punjab National Bank plays on the trust factor by showing a girl putting her money in their bank, instead of her piggy bank. Their tagline says “Punjab National Bank. The name you can bank upon!”. SBI in its Surprisingly SBI campaign reveals facts about SBI, which usually people do not associate with it, like it having the maximum no of ATM’s in the country or it giving personal loans without any security.

Amidst this clutter, what should be Bank of India’s strategy? The Bank of India is a nationalized bank counted among the top commercial banks in the country. The bank boasts of a 100 year old history and long associations with millions of stakeholders. The strategy which they decide is based on this fact. Their new campaign is titled "Relationship beyond Banking". It has been implemented through a series of print and TV commercials. One of the TV commercials depicts a person who is a bank employee looking for a person named Shastri ji. Shastri ji has a pension account with the bank, and today is the date on which his pension comes. For some reason Shastri ji had not reported to the bank on that day to collect his pension. In the commercial, the person looking for Shastri ji thinks “itne saalon mein pehli baar hua ki woh ek tareek ko nahin aaye. Pichhli baar... ...tabiyat bhi kuch theek nahin thi...”. The employee is worried about Shastri ji’s health because he thinks maybe that is the reason for his absence. The tension turns to relief when Shastri ji is finally found, on the terrace of his house flying kites with kids. The ad then finally shows both of them sharing a laugh and agreeing to have a cup of tea. In the background, the voice over says, “hum jaante hain ki bank mein sirf paise jama nahin hote. Bank of India. Rishton ki jamapoonji.”

This campaign moves away from describing products features(SBI) or playing on the fulfilling dreams line(IDBI, Stan Chart, Deutsche).It seeks to provide an emotional connect with the audience by focusing on the fact that for many in India, a bank is more than a place from where you take a loan or deposit your savings. It’s like a long-term relationship. In fact their print ads say, “We understand relationships. Which is why, we're ensuring that our relationship with you will always stay special. Relationships beyond banking”. This ad more than anything re-enforces in the mind of its customers the image of a bank which is caring and compassionate towards its customers. Is gives them a reason to continue their relationship which the Bank of India, over switching to one of the newer banks. Well, for a bank or for that matter any company, the relationships it has with its consumers is its biggest strength. In other words, the “Rishton ki jamapunji” is its biggest asset.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Emotional Connect: Thailand Post

When was the last time you sent a handwritten letter to someone? With the advent of emails, sms and cheap long distance calling, many of us have stopped sending letters to each other. That’s good for us because technology has enabled us to send our messages and mails across instantly and get the response back at the same time, a thing just not possible with snail mail. But there is one small problem with this nice arrangement, its puts the postal companies out of business.

What do handwritten letters have by which they can compete with emails and sms? Well, the very fact that they are handwritten is their biggest USP. Don't we get happy when we receive a handwritten letter? The warmth, love and affection which a handwritten letter implies are things which the impersonal emails and sms can never have. You tend to delete old messages and emails, but a letter, specially from a very loved one, is something you like to keep forever, hidden maybe in the pages of a book or some other secret hiding place.

It is this emotional chord which Thailand Post tries to touch with their print ad. It shows a letter in which the guy confesses his love to the girl. The letter becomes something more than just a piece of paper with a message on it. It becomes something special, something to be cherished.

That’s the whole point of the ad. It makes people aware of what a special thing a letter is. It makes them want to go out and write a letter to their loved ones.

"Dearest Margaret, resembling my love, the red roses. Right at your front door is where my heart lies. There, I have been yearning for your love. Please don't make me wait till I wither like those red roses. With much love, William.Good memories you won't get from e-mail."

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Perfect Advertising

The Ad
Headline: "My greatest award! My coffee cup, it says 'world's greatest mom.
Annual reports and report cards. Conference calls and PTA meetings.
CEO and part-time cricket coach.Paperwork and homework.
Ten-hour work days and overtime on Sundays on the pitch. Struggles and recognition.
Success and sacrifices. Accolades, trophies and a coffee cup."

An instantly attractive woman, in black business formals in the foreground with a pleasantly light background, is what first successfully gets ones attention to the ad. Then, you see the details, she is on one hand holding a cricket bat, and at the same time there is a travel bag and a sleek car in the background. Finally, you read what is written below the main heading. The picture of successful business women, who is adept at managing both her work and her children, falls into place. It is this image which appeals to women across categories who form the primary readership of Femina. It is the women who is modern in her outlook, professional in her work and is also very much aware of her responsibilities at home. The modern women of today who balances her personal and professional life, identifies in the image being projected, and the women who wants to get to that stage looks upon that image as an ideal, and gets inspired from it. The personal connection, thus formed between the product and the consumer, leads to the cementing of the brand in the minds of the consumer. Secondly, regarding the men who read Femina, just a pretty face is good enough for them to have a look at the magazine. What say, guys?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Going Smoke

Compare these with the boring "Smoking is injurious to health" lines printed on Indian cigarette packets. I mean, who reads those? Even if someone did, would he be deterred from smoking from a silly "Smoking is injurious to health" poser on cigarettes? I think not. Moreover, these lines reinforce the macho image associated with smoking. Like you are being a real man if you smoke. Sissies think about small things like health. Macho dudes do not. Maybe they will if the Government of India followed the example of some European countries by printing “smoking causes impotency” or for the women, “smoking causes breast cancer”. Being specific never harmed anyone. Waiting for the time when the supposedly “macho” dudes would be “man enough” to realize the perils of smoking. Till then, have a look a this ad. Shock value, like being specific, very often drives home the point.

Care for a smoke?

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Marketing Checkmate

The picture above just goes to show that you dont need an expensive budget or an expensive brand ambassador to be one up on your competition. All you need is some creative and original thinking. Also, keeping and eyes and ears open for the the perfect moment surely helps. Just, by putting up this one bill board, Pepsi goes one up on Coke, just like they did in the 1996 Cricket World Cup, when they stole the thunder from the "Official Sponsers" Coca Cola with their "There's Nothing official about it" campaign. Coming back to the picture above, Coke is in a strange predicament. Should they remove their hoarding?They are dammed if they do, and they are dammed if they dont. A perfect Marketing Checkmate.