Tag Archives: Marketing

Voice SMS – wrong audience?

The Airtel Voice SMS ad (below) is now being regularly aired on most Indian TV channels.

I found it surprising that Airtel seems to be targeting this service at the middle or the top layers of the socio-economic pyramid. Given the general perception that those in the ‘Base of the Pyramid‘ are more likely to need and use voice-based features on mobile phones, I’d have thought Airtel would go after the BoP audience (probably in addition to other segments). It’d be interesting to test this service with BoP users and see whether they’d take to it.

On another note…

Is this also an attempt at changing the typical Indian phone usage behaviour — the innate unwillingness to use voice mail on phones (I’ve heard various theories on this one, will save that for a different post)? It’s still early days, but I still don’t see any sign of a dramatic change in that behaviour!

Also, I realized there is a basic usability issue with the way one has to record the voice message. To send a voice message, one has to dial * and then the number.  Which means, I can’t use the “Contacts” on my phone to send a voice message!! And given how dependent we are now on our Contacts, this is so unusable!

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Nothing is everything

Here’s a fantastic marketing campaign created by my ol’ buddy, Avinash (serial award-winning copywriter at Saatchi & Saatchi, Amsterdam):

New age marketing

HDFC Standard Life Insurance has created a ‘Responsibility Quotient’ application on Facebook, I’m guessing one of (if not the first) time a major Indian business entity is taking to the social networking platform for marketing and brand building.

The ‘application’ is nothing but a contest-quiz, which if you happen to win, your parents get to fly to Paris for a vacation! Cool, eh? I think the whole thing’s a decent idea considering it reinforces the concept behind one of their recent products, a ‘Unit Linked Savings Plan’, that’s apparently “a plan ideal for young professionals”.

Moto’s India success

O&M‘s talking about how their advertising for Motorola’s flip-phone in India has resulted in the product featuring in the Top 10 “hot-selling phones” in the country for the first time (the other 9 are monopolized by Nokia).

The challenge for O&M and Motorola was that India is largely a ‘Nokia’ country. People thought you were stupid if you bought any other phone. O&M decided to flip that around and make it seem that if you were brave, you would look beyond Nokia, which, in the words of O&M executives, was a “mushy world”.

O&M targeted youngsters, who have the maximum urge to prove themselves and show themselves to be brave. They also form the group that likes to experiment. O&M pitched the Motorola versus Nokia war as ‘desire’ versus ‘morality’. In essence, O&M wanted to be the “corrupter of young minds” by being “bad company”.

MotoFlip looked deceptively high-priced with its styling, while it was actually quite affordable. So, the phone was pitched as a phone that you could flaunt. When people see a person with an object beyond his means, their tongues wag. This formed the basis of the communication, and the agency rolled out an ad which had a guy having tea with his parents. The latter question him suspiciously about his whereabouts and whether he has been doing anything illegal, all because the mother finds a MotoFlip in the boy’s room. The tagline goes, ‘MotoFlip. Dikhe itna mehnga, kuchch to log kahenge (Looks so expensive, tongues will wag).’

While this article talks about the success of the phone (especially it’s advertising & marketing), I wonder how much of this positioning was conceived right when the phone was conceptualised. While the ad is clever and gets the positioning across in a subtle-yet-humourous way, it would be way too presumptuous to think that the advertising alone did it for the product. I wish the article shared some background on the other key aspects (possibly, the conceptualisation & product design) of the success story as well.