Friday, July 24, 2009

So, what else is new?

I have been seeing this on Indian television channels. Every single brand of mens' deodorant makes advertisements that follow the hackneyed Axe-effect concept. Okay, not every single brand. Park Avenue comes to mind, with its "don't be invisible" concept. Hats off to the brand and agency behind. They managed to find a different yet relevant stand for themselves.

Then there is wildstone that at least attempts to create an entirely different setting - spicing it up with some desi flavour.


What me-too advertisements do is simple. They provide free advertising to the brand that originally adopted that stand. The different brands don't register in people's minds unless they see entirely different stories in their respective advertisements.

There is a brand of deo that is currently running an ad featuring a man, seated in a movie theatre watching Bipasha on screen. He unbuttons his shirt and wham! Bips steps right out of the screen and walks up to this man, attracted by the deo he was wearing of course.

I have seen this ad a reasonable number of times and always thought it was an Axe-effect ad. Only yesterday did I happen to notice that it was a different brand. (and I can't recall which one it was now). It made me think they were doing AXE a big favour by doing exactly what they do.

I am disappointed that Airtel does the same with its newest ad. Their ad features a little girl ...a little girl..ring a bell?

Surely, you couldn't have missed the telecom brand that has been "happy to help" a sweet little girl trying to do silly things like take a shower in a cubicle by the sea or bake a cake (at her age!) etc.

I have huge respect for Airtel's iconic "express yourself" and "if only we talk to each other" ads. Even their daily ads with the little boy on his toy phone and the Madhavan-Vidya ads are charming and stand their own ground.

So dear Airtel, why this now?
(their current "keep your friends close" ad featuring the little girl, causing me to complain is not yet on youtube. So, you will need to catch it on TV)

Picture courtesy: getty images

6 comments:

Farhan said...

I couldn't agree more with your opinion Pooja. Congrats on a very well writtem blog.

Pooja Nair said...

Thanks Farhan.

phish said...

good stuff this poo.

i so understand what you mean. I had been given the job of reviewing commercials. and i had to see all of them on youtube before i put pen on paper.

and with every second of streaming video i squirmed. everything is a rehash of everything else. there is no visible brand value. every execution tries to outdo the other and still manages to look the same! we are still an incestuous industry talking to each other. in a language that is borrowed, hackneyed and full of cliches.

like a professor/practitioner of advertising warned me a long time ago, "all the good things have, unfortunately, been done."

And better.

meraj said...

absolutely with you Pooja...and yes, very well written.

Pooja Nair said...

Ok turns out its not "one little girl" its "five little children".

But, i still feel the same about Airtel slipping away from its strong differentiation...

Intrepid Dreamer said...

So true, it is only recently that I realized that the the 'little girl and friends' ad was for Airtel and not Hutch. As for the deo ads, the less said the better