At the onset of his presentation, Neeraj Nayar,president, Contagious Communications, said that the new style of advertising was about a dialogue and not a monologue. He said that skill of a good marketer lies in being aware of the future potential of technology, citing the example of Facebook which has a 175 million strong base today.
“People don’t really need advertising,” he said. According to him, services drive the best brands not traditional advertising. For example, Blyk (a mobile service brand) “is more like a friend than a marketer.” Youngsters get promotional messages and, in return, they have to give their information. Most of the youngsters don’t realise that they have been receiving advertising. “Advertising should be useful, relevant and entertaining,” he said.
Nayar explained the concept of two-track branding which is the art of combining niche and mass. “Mass marketing works well, but the future is niche, especially during the downturn. It is the time to invest in experimentation,” he said.
According to Nayar, brands should be entertainers. Most advertisers want to be entertainers as this trend places consumers at the heart of a brand. Cadbury’s Glass & a Half Full Productions is an example of the trend where brands are becoming productions. “Cadbury’s Gorilla commercial is about not telling people that the product is about joy, but showing them that the product is about joy. The Glass & a Half Full website has great content to keep one engaged for 15-20 minutes. It has become a genuine media property in the UK,” he said.
Another example of user generated content is plot ideas turning into scripts. The ‘In the motherhood’ campaign of Unilever is for mothers, by mothers and about mothers and has been transformed into an ABC pilot. More than 3,000 women have written the content for the website.
Branded utility, yet another concept, is about services, not messages; the principle of providing useful services instead of intrusive advertising. For example, Samsung had placed phone charging kiosks at various airports. Nike Goal, an iphone application, informs fans on football updates and provides information about the shoes of the players. So, it subtly gives information about Nike products. Another iPhone application is iFood assistant which showcases a number of recipes and category wise instructional videos. The consumers pay a fee for the application because it is useful.
There are various brands which have combined traditional with niche advertising. For example, Burger King Whopper had traditional advertising combined with Whopper scented fragrance and a Facebook application where people had to sacrifice friends to get a free Whopper.
One more example is the Ikea catalogue (3 D cover) where people could get customised catalogues featuring them as models. “It not just improved Ikea’s image but also increased traffic for the brand.”
Overall, there is no need to abandon traditional advertising but there is a need to bring in convergence. Brands have to be honest and relevant and need to reach out to people who count.