McCarthy's 4P's – Product, Place, Price and Promotion, very aptly sum up the broad field of Marketing. The product is the tangible or intangible component, place denotes the operational efficiency, Price is tuned up with the organization’s revenue goals and the Promotion aims to maximize the reach to the target market. Advertising has always played a pivotal role in any promotional and marketing campaign designed by a company. The extent of Advertising in terms of visibility depends upon the target population and expected outcomes such as creating a certain Brand image for the product. Indian Advertising has undergone a sea change over a span of years in terms of both Concept and Creativity.
Taking a look at the concept aspect, the advertisements made during the current times reflect the changing face of the Indian Consumer. The traditional “middle Class” is replaced by the “High aspiring working class” and so the conceptualization is directly linked to the rise in their purchasing power and high disposable income. The Advertisements are no longer concerned only on focusing on value for money but the value that it lends to the consumer’s life. Almost everyone who has seen the 80s era, can associate himself with the popular Surf Ad featuring the Brand icon “Lalitaji”. She was the synonym for the middle class housewife and the advertisement advocated the smart spending of money on a useful indispensable product. Fast forward to the 2000s, the same brand Surf metamorphosed into a better variant and so did the message. It no longer focuses on the value for money, but rather on the efficacy of the product in washing stains with an advanced formula.
One thing remains same though – The eternal Mother figure in both the ads. While the “Lalitaji” was a busy housewife cum mother, todays Mother is cool and happy on seeing her kid playing in the pool of dirty water. After all “Daag acche hain” with the new Surf Excel tagline. This also brings forth one more aspect – As more and more women are becoming the decision makers in the family, the advertisements are now targeting the female audience, be it the health drinks category for the growing children or something like choosing healthy cooking oil for the Husband, the focus is now shifted from taste to Health. The more recent ones is the new Tanishq ad that features a woman with a young daughter getting re-married, resonates the changing mindset of the people.
Brand endorsements have also gained increasing popularity in the field of Advertising. Lux was one of the earliest brands to feature Bollywood actresses, but today every second brand is endorsed by some celebrity. Take the example of mobile networks in India –Idea: Abhishek, Vodafone: Irrfan Khan, Airtel: A R Rahman. Call it competition or to create a brand identity, celebrity endorsements are seen everywhere from Bikes, Deodorants, beauty products, or even the toothpaste.
Switch to the creativity aspect of the Indian ads. The bigger brands manage to create bigger ads with a more meaningful message such as the recent Coca Cola Advertisement. It is imperative what a carbonated drink does, but Coca Cola moved away from the traditional advertising and came up with the slogan “Open Happiness”. This one minute Coca Cola Song, penned by Prasoon Joshi brings freshness in the air along with a positive message for creating a better tomorrow. From the company’s standpoint it showcases the CSR (corporate Social Responsibility) initiative.
On the other hand, some of the very cheesy ads that have been made in the recent times – the Deodorant ads. The trend was started by Axe –known to create the axe affect, but it seemed to have been copied by many “Me too” brands. They all have the same theme – A guy sprays from the canned cylinder, and soon a bunch of girls flock around him. The content looks so repetitive.
The days are gone, when jingles used to be very catchy, like the “Washing powder Nirma” and “Utterly Butterly Delicious” . Over the years the Amul Girl has retained her identity with her humorous yet cynical one liner poster on one face of the Amul Butter pack. The advertising strategy is not so aggressive yet it manages to catch the attention of the buyers/ readers.
Many of the advertisements today carry the background score of Remixed old Bollywood songs with a forgettable taglines. This raises the big question – Are the ad companies missing out the originality or low on new ideas? The consumer is bombarded with so many ads through different modes like online, broadcast , print , Billboards etc which has created more of clutter instead of clarity. Under such a scenario, the audience chooses to discretionary viewing , unless an advertisement is appealing .
The bottomline is – Change is Good, so is the change in the advertisements to keep in tune with the trend, but it is equally important to see, if this change adds any value to the product. The ultimate goal for any marketing strategy is to create a Brand Image and Brand Equity for the product and thereby increasing sales, re-purchases and customer loyalty. Advertisements as a tool must aid in creating the value proposition by bringing clarity about the product through differentiation, positioning and reinforcement .