Written by: Praveen Jaipuriar
About the author: CEO at Continental Coffee Pvt. Limited│ex- Head Marketing – Dabur India Ltd
(The opinions are personal views of the author)
A few days ago, I got a message reminding me to recharge my DTH account. While I was recharging, I realized something startling. My package had some 400+ channels. What an amazing amount of clutter!
We live in the age of clutter. Reaching a consumer was relatively easy in the 80s when you had one TV channel, few newspapers and a couple of radio channels.
Today there are more than 600 TV channels, 400 Newspapers & Magazines, 300 Radio channels, Omnipresent OOH, 10000 Cinema Halls beaming more than 40000 ads per week. All these ads are full of clichés, benefit clichés (e.g.- all shampoo ads have the same benefits being promised to consumers), technology clichés, range clichés, promotion clichés, making them a blind spot in consumer’s mind. Misappropriation of brands is the biggest challenge that a brand manager faces today.
So, the challenge is how can advertising create an impact in consumer’s mind and be persuasive enough leading to purchase of the brand.
The answer lies in the word Insight. Let’s understand what we mean by insight and then we will see how good insights lead to great advertising.
“A penetrating, discerning understanding that leads you to action” It is a deep understanding of consumer issues and pain point and the most important thing is that it is not at the surface. You need to dig deep to understand. If I were to describe in lay man’s language it is the ‘Dard’ of the consumer.
Let me illustrate with an example. During the 70’s there was widespread corruption, joblessness, red-tapism, inflation and people were fed up with the whole establishment. They wanted a hero to fight for their rights. That’s when writers like Salim Javed gave birth to a character who would fight the establishment thus giving birth to one of the icons of Indian cinema the angry young man. It instantly clicked with people and became such a huge success.
Coming on to the brands and their advertising, the same principle applies. If brand advertising is rooted in deep consumer insights then it touches the heart of consumers and makes him buy your brands.
Let’s now explore some advertising which I feel was based on true consumer insight and therefore led to great advertising.
This has been one of the many great product ideas from the stable of Unilever. A soap that has ¼ moisturizer, based on consumer insight that most of the soap made the skin very dry. For decades Dove has been driving this insight in its campaign, mostly remembered of its testimonial sort of advertising where the consumer would narrate their experiences when they first used dove vis a vis a regular soap. After years of product based functional advertising, Dove wanted to connect a little more deeply with the consumer. It started looking for some life insights and came up with a series of brilliant campaigns based on the thought that ‘everyone is beautiful’. It connected with consumers very well and went on to bag numerous awards and accolades including the coveted advertising awards at Cannes. Now what was the Insight? Very simple, research revealed that 98% of women felt they are not beautiful. The campaign talked to these 98% women and said that everyone is beautiful.
Watch it here – https://youtu.be/litXW91UauE
The product idea and campaign idea was based on simple insight that Indians are extremely value conscious and are ready to forego a bit of inconvenience for it. So, let’s understand the product idea behind Fogg. I have admired the people behind this brand for this wonderful value chain analysis and the innovation that they did in the deodorant category. A deodorant has largely 3 components, liquid (fragrance + alcohol), can and gas. The gas is there in pressurized form to make it convenient for the liquid to come out. Now what Fogg did was to replace the gas with more liquid and put an atomizer. For the consumer it made things a little uncomfortable that he had to constantly press the atomizer for the liquid to come out but on the other hand it gave a lot of value to him. I am sure all of you remember the bina gas wala deodorant. It is a case study where an Indian brand with an insightful innovation beat the multinationals and become the No.1 deodorant brand of India.
Watch it here – https://youtu.be/NP3H1z8bxY4
Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
I will never forget the CDM ad where the freewheeling girl runs onto the field breaking into an impromptu dance when her boyfriend hits a six. The campaign thought was “Kya swad hai zindagi mein”.
However, things turned around for CDM when they stumbled upon this great insight: Indians celebrate all good things with something sweet. The occasion could be as big as a wedding or as mundane as a kid reciting poetry in front of neighbors, we all celebrate with ….“Kuch meetha ho jaaye”. It was this insight that CDM captured and created a huge success out of it. For the last two decades CDM has been coming out with excellent campaigns centered around this simple yet powerful insight. Not only consumers loved the ad but also went ahead and bought CDM whenever they felt like celebrating with something sweet.
Watch it here – https://youtu.be/aIVIRjC4py0
But one thing is for sure, it isn’t easy to stumble upon insights. It takes a lot of consumer understanding to get to one. More often than not brand teams take an easier option. Let a celebrity endorse your brand and be done with it. After all, insights are a rare commodity. I will put my thoughts on celebrity advertising sometime later. Keep Reading….