Brand game

Saturday, 20 February 2010 - 11:43pm IST | Agency: DNA
The war in the media between media houses remains a part of public memory and is now very much a part of media history.

When brands fight in public, it is fun to watch. People who spend their careers studying such things might know which of the combatants won the battle, but to the rest of us, it makes little
difference.

Time and again over the last decade, the entire country has watched, shrugged or smiled as two international soft drink giants waged a battle through advertisements in the press and on television and through larger-than-life hoardings, and spent crores trying to get a nation of confirmed tea drinkers to invest their moolah in drinking coloured, caffeine spiked soda water.
The battle must have managed some percentage of conversions to cola, or perhaps the money ran out, because after a while the sound and fury did die a natural death. 

Brand wars are fought all the time. Television channels  and production companies battle sporadically through posters and hoardings and cover entire buses with their stories of thwarted lives and blasted emotions. Media houses have also been part of this phenomenon.

The war in the media between media houses remains a part of public memory and is now very much a part of media history.

The skirmishes in the wireless communication field have been staged on and off, and seem to hot up every time a new entrant comes into view. The old timers then seem to need to turn on the heat to ensure they remain in the run.

Mobile phone service provider battles take on many forms, from the cost cutting rounds to the brand recognition rounds.

Of course, it is the user who is the ultimate beneficiary in this, and he makes the most of the dropping call rates, as the clogged and jammed air waves, and the frequency of dropped calls testify.
Also, one wonders on the quiet, whether we will pay more heavily over the years for cheap mobile phone rates, in the form of ear or brain damage. But that is in the unforeseeable future and a worry that can be folded away in mothballs for the present.

What is current is the very positive fallout of the war between two service provider giants.

Both have adopted a mission, both are making a hue and cry that is both awesome in its reach and startling in content. The amount of money being spent on both ensures that the message is far-reaching and cannot but make some impact.

Public service advertising is not new in India, but has often been little more than a couple of hoardings put up in strategic locations, more to use as proof of visibility and release in an attempt to win a trophy at some advertising congress nationally or in the
international arena.

The Save Tigers campaign and the Don’t Use Paper, Save Trees campaigns are indeed worth applause.

One might be clever than the other, as it drives traffic
to the company while encouraging conservation, though it is obvious that both companies are also hoping to find clients aligning with their brand as they align with the brand’s cause.

But in the process of garnering users, both companies are doing more good for their respective causes, than an army of deprived for funds NGOs could ever do.  It’s a great step in the right direction.And one others can follow.

The causes are myriad, the public, especially the semi- literate, needs awakening and education.

Will others with deep pockets and huge promotional budgets please take a cue and find their lines!


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