Coca Cola Urges Pakistanis, Indians To Love Thy Neighbors

On March 2013, Coca Cola’s current ad campaign debuted in Lahore, Pakistan and New Delhi, India with a state of the art live feed streaming of two strangers joining hands.

Coke’s ‘Small World Machines’ aimed to bring Pakistani and Indian neighbors face to face, not with frowns but with smiles.

People on opposite sides of divergent borders were able to communicate with each other about love, peace and happiness, made possible by the touchscreen technology in these Coca Cola vending machines. The vending machines were placed in malls of Lahore and Delhi where tracing a heart, peace sign or smiley face between two people or even more would give them a free Coca Cola.

The concept of this ad campaign was to bring together people that are just a border away but are worlds apart due to political conflict and geographical tensions. Considering the need for a friendlier relationship between two conflicted nations, Coca Cola’s Small World’s Machines have been innovative in breaking barriers. Curiosity would bring people forward to try this machine that can introduce you to a person beyond your perimeters. Some would come forward just to get a free Coke, but one has to look at a face behind the free soft drink. It gives a sense of getting handed a drink by a friend or host, which is a universal tradition when one visits a friend or relative’s home… or even a neighbor’s.

It is a strong initiative taken by Coca Cola to promote interaction between two conflict riddled countries. Expanding it towards other cities and shopping malls should be the next step. It brings the idea that with a sip of coke, you can meet somebody without even having to say a word. A gesture is enough.

Nestle Crunch Doesn’t Link Its Product To Its Commercial

dvertising is an act of getting the public’s attention towards a product or business through paid announcement in broadcast, print or electronic media. There are a lot of annoying ad campaigns out there that we all like to complain about. Most marketing agencies don’t even seem to have that level of sense when they make their ads, leaving us scratching our heads wondering how their commercials even relate to the products.

Nestlé Pakistan is currently the leading food & beverages company in Pakistan. The company focuses on nutrition, health and wellness, and reaching the most remote locations throughout Pakistan to serve consumers. The company’s priority is to bring the best and most relevant products to people, wherever they are fulling the needs of all age groups.

No doubt Nestle has been the best in promoting its products in the most effective ways, but that does not happen all the time. With Nestle’s new ‘Crunch’ snack, we see a failure of promotion. Although Crunch has a delicious taste of its own, it failed to advertise it in the best possible manner. Associating it with a love story from the Middle East and throwing in an Indian song makes no sense at all, to me at least.

Food doesn’t work like any other product; the promotion of food items stimulates actual hormones  and one starts craving the product instantly. Advertising it in a complete absurd way can make consumers think twice about trying the product.

While Nestle was trying to add that funky musical charm to its commercial promoting an evening snack, I’d venture to say it wasn’t a great idea since the product audience is the young children who should have been attracted by conveying something informative rather than a love story or an Indian song.

About the author: Laila Rehman is an associate with SIlkSKIN in the corporate sales team. She can be reached on lailar@silkskinonline.com for business meetings.

Top 10 Pro-Election 2013 Brands

If we can identify two things that brand managers are strictly told to avoid as conversational topics on any media, its religion and politics.

In Pakistan however, religion is exploited where its comfortable and in a few cases politics is used to gain followings depending on the geographic locality of its tie-ins. It’s very impressive when a non-local brand seeks to educate the people and encourage voting, especially given that a whopping 55% of the nation failed to show up in 2008 and prevent what is easily the worst form of democracy ever recorded (more affectionately referred to as demohoaxcrazy in some channels).

In terms of getting the message across, whether is positively or negatively encouraging, the top ten ‘shout-outs’ by brands are:

10 – Nando’s Pakistan

Virality? 2 Shares

9 – Kurkure Pakistan

Virality? 17 Shares

8 – Branding Bees

Virality? 20 Shares

7 – The Cakery

Virality? 25 Shares

6 – 14th Street Pizza

Virality? 34 Shares

5 – Djuice Pakistan

Virality? 36 Shares

4 – Uth Oye

Virality? 50 Shares

3 – LALS

Virality? 64 Shares

2 – Ginsoy Extreme Chinese

Virality? 244 Shares

1 – Espresso Coffee

Virality? 4,218 Shares

It’s interesting to note that the brands without a monetization agenda from the elections make up most of the list.

My personal favorite is the message from LALS, what about you?

About the author: Zohaib is former CEO of Nadia Textiles and currently a franchisee for Pearl Continental Catering in Lahore and investor-founder of several B-corporations, notably Uth Oye.

Lego Under Fire For Sexist Stickers

A controversial sticker in a Lego licensed sticker set has caused the brand to come under fire recently.

Journalist Josh Stearns posted an image of the sticker on his Tumblr, saying he was ‘stunned’. The sticker in question features a Lego construction worker with the caption “Hey babe!”

Adweek describes the Lego figure as leering and waving.

Stearns wrote, “My son is just getting into Legos, so I thought he’d love these stickers. Then I took a closer look and saw that one of the construction workers (the only one wearing ‘cool’ sunglasses) was labeled “Hey Babe!””

He went on to say, “The Hollaback website notes that street harassment is the most prevalent form of sexual violence for both men and women in the United States. Internationally, they point out, “studies show that between 70-99% of women experience street harassment at some point during their lives.””

The initial response from Lego came from Charlotte Simonsen, Senior Director at LEGO’s corporate communications office in Denmark, who explained that the stickers were a licensed product produced by Creative Imagination, which went out of business in December of 2012. She said Stearns’ feedback had been forwarded to the Lego licensing team and wrote, “To communicate the LEGO experience to children we typically use humor and we are sorry that you were unhappy with the way a minifigure was portrayed here.”

Stearns wrote back to Simonsen asking a series of follow-up questions about LEGO’s licensing guidelines and how a product like this could make it through their review process.

Later, Lego got back to Stearns with a note from Andrea Ryder, the head of the LEGO Group’s Outbound Licensing Department. Ryder wrote, “I am truly sorry that you had a negative experience with one of our products […] the product is no longer available and we would not approve such a product again.”

Abu Dhabi Group Clarifies Statement About World’s Tallest Building

Last week, every newspaper in the country announced some version of this news:

Former chairman and present consultant of Bahria Town, Malik Riaz Hussain has signed an agreement with His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, Chairman Abu Dhabi Group, Union National Bank and United Bank Limited under which $45 billion will be invested in Pakistan.

 

The alleged memorandum of understanding was signed in order to develop mega real estate projects in Pakistan including construction of world’s tallest building on KPT Island (popularly known as Kutta Island) just off the coast of Karachi. The project included a sports city, educational and medical city, international city, media city, and the construction of miniatures of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Bahria Town had also announced that about 2.5 million Pakistanis would be getting jobs as a result of these projects. It would be the biggest foreign investment ever made in Pakistan.

The press quoted statements made by Malik Riaz, and his son, Ali Riaz, confirmed the signing of this agreement.

HOLLOW CLAIMS
This morning, all these claims were proven false when the Abu Dhabi Group ran this clarification in all major newspapers of the country:

Bottom line: Major PR fail for Bahria Town, who took it upon themselves to promote a misleading story.  This is bound to hurt the group’s reputation and they need to invest in some serious image building to prevent matters from getting worse.

End result? The agreement, which was non-binding to begin with, has been cancelled altogether.

If we can identify two things that brand managers are strictly told to avoid as conversational topics on any media, its religion and politics. In Pakistan however, religion is exploited where its comfortable and in a few cases politics is used to gain followings depending on the geographic locality of its tie-ins. It’s very impressive when a non-local brand seeks to educate the people and encourage voting, especially given that a whopping 55% of the nation failed to show up in 2008 and prevent what is easily the worst form of democracy ever recorded (more affectionately referred to as demohoaxcrazy in some channels). In terms of getting the message across, whether is positively or negatively encouraging, the top ten ‘shout-outs’ by brands are: 10 – Nando’s Pakistan Virality? 2 Shares 9 – Kurkure Pakistan Virality? 17 Shares 8 – Branding Bees Virality? 20 Shares 7 – The Cakery Virality? 25 Shares 6 – 14th Street Pizza Virality? 34 Shares 5 – Djuice Pakistan Virality? 36 Shares 4 – Uth Oye Virality? 50 Shares 3 – LALS Virality? 64 Shares 2 – Ginsoy Extreme Chinese Virality? 244 Shares 1 – Espresso Coffee Virality? 4,218 Shares It’s interesting to note that the brands without a monetization agenda from the elections make up most of the list. My personal favorite is the message from LALS, what about you? About the author: Zohaib is former CEO of Nadia Textiles and currently a franchisee for Pearl Continental Catering in Lahore and investor-founder of several B-corporations, notably Uth Oye.

Have any of you been watching this campaign unfold? It’s a series of billboards across the city, prompting the audience to text the number 8398 for more information about what to get the men in their lives.

With no visible brand name, product or agency, this is the definition of a teaser campaign.

The monochrome hoardings feature a minimalist aesthetic that focuses entirely on the text. The standard format of the copy goes something like this: ‘For the [male figure] on his [cause for celebration]. Text [male figure] to 8398′

Here are the two that I managed to photograph, with apologies for the poor quality:

For the father teaser ad

For the husband teaser billboard

So of course I followed the instructions on the above billboard:

Husband teaser campaign 8398

And this is what ensued:

Platinvm teaser text message

OUR OPINION
It’s not a ‘tease’ if you don’t care what it’s about.

Sure, the mysterious billboards piqued my curiosity but, in my opinion, the text message follow up was a huge fail. Other than telling me that this is all about something called ‘PLATINVM’, I got nothing.

After sending in two text messages and being told that this was about men’s gifts (something I already knew from the billboards), I lost interest. Also, I am most certainly not interested in sharing if I’ve ever done something special on my husband’s win in exchange for “a gift idea”. They’re asking for too much effort on my part!

I was expecting more from this campaign, but to be fair, it’s not over yet. Let’s see how this one unravels…

Update: Turns out it was a campaign for Gul Ahmed’s premium range of men’s fabrics. Read more here.

Web Designer Hijacks Fitness SF Website After Not Getting Paid

The website for San Francisco’s popular gym, Fitness SF, was highjacked last Friday by a web designer seeking revenge.

Website designer Frank Jonen, who was hired by the company last year, hijacked the Fitness SF website and replaced usual content with a dramatic public rant after the company allegedly failed to pay him properly for his work.

Below is the full text of Jonen’s message:

Frank Jonen Fitness SF

Jonen claims Fitness SF failed to pay him for six months worth of design services. His efforts allegedly included the creation of logo renderings that accumulated more than 1,300 views per piece.

Fitness SF responded to the accusations on their Tumblr, claiming that Jonen had been paid in advance, but never completed the work promised. They also accused him of blackmailing the company.

The site no longer displays Jonen’s message but instead redirects users to an temporary alternate web address.

If Fitness SF hasn’t paid its dues then Jonen’s reaction is probably what they deserve. However, there are conflicting reports from both sides so it’s difficult to assess the situation.

In any case, as far as branding and PR is concerned, other companies should learn from this. No brand should put itself in such a position where an outsider has complete control of its website.

Junaid Jamshed’s J. And Almirah Lawn Prints

The group behind Almirah and Junaid Jamshed’s J. lawn has going all out this year, with billboards all across the city. The two coinciding campaigns promote a joint exhibition featuring both brands, and are a collaboration between Circuit, who handled the creatives, and Jump Activations.

Both J. and Almirah have completely different styles, so first let’s take a look at J. (or ‘Jdot’), whose creatives do not feature clothing. They’ve gone with a nautical theme this year, showcasing their lawn prints on sailboats.

While Junaid Jamshed is an established name in the market, this is Almirah’s lawn debut and they’ve kept their creatives consistent with the rest of their branding. Almirah’s Facebook page claims the collection is inspired by Pakistani arts and crafts, Persian art, the Indian Raj and Western hues.

OUR OPINION
I love the clean lines and fuss-free look of the J. billboards. They stand out in the sea (pun intended) of busy print-filled hoardings, and I appreciate how they’ve done their own thing by using sails, not models, to display their prints. It’s different, it’s memorable, and it doesn’t look messy. However, I feel the billboards only work in locations where they can be seen up close (like Gizri Flyover) because then you can actually see the purpose of the boats. Otherwise, it works better as a print or digital ad.

The Almirah creatives follow a completely different aesthetic style and the rustic look works for them. Their backlit billboards look stunning at night and successfully give consumers and idea of what kind of lawn designs to expect.

It’s interesting to note that both brands have refrained from the use of actual models. In the case of J. it works as by not using stitched clothes they have eliminated the need for human figures altogether, but I’m not a fan of the mannequins in Almirah’s ads. The colours are great and the outfits look interesting enough but the lack of real life models give it a dead look. Had there been an actual model, I feel the billboards would have come to life and looked far more vibrant.

14th Feb Special: Valentine’s Day Vs Anti Valentine’s Day

Saint Valentine must have done some pretty spectacular stuff in his lifetime to be remembered like this.

Legend has it, he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who weren’t allowed to marry and before his execution he wrote a farewell letter to his jailer’s daughter signed, ‘from your Valentine’.

Though the historical details are fuzzy, thousands of years later the world still celebrates Saint Valentine’s romantic streak with flowers, balloons, chocolates, and of course, advertising.

In Pakistan, Valentine’s Day gets a lot of flak for being a Christian holiday, thus making it a threat against local culture and Islamic teachings. Now whether or not you agree with this, it’s created a distinct divide in the advertising campaigns geared towards this day.

First, let’s take a look at some of the brands who have hopped on to the Valentine’s Day marketing bandwagon:Surprisingly enough, out of all the telecom providers (who are usually the biggest ad spenders) only Mobilink and Warid have promoted Valentine’s Day in their communication.

And then there’s Nestle Fruita Vitals whose Facebook page has transformed into an anti-Valentine’s Day campaign called Velatimes Day.At the other end of the spectrum, religious organization Tanzeem-e-Islami, founded by Dr Israr Ahmed and currently led by Hafiz Aakif Saeed, has launched it’s own anti-Valentine’s Day campaign urging people to ‘stop now’ in the name of Islam. This is their ad in Karachi, on the Bahadurabad roundabout:

Meanwhile in Lahore, the Islami Jamiat Talaba Pakistan has announced observing Valentine’s Day as Haya Day across the country. In a press statement, IJT Pakistan’s Nazim-e-Aala Muhammad Zubair Safdar said Jamiat activists would observe Haya Day by boycotting Western traditions and instead observing special ceremonies in educational institutions across the country. He went on to say that Pakistan was an Islamic country but unfortunately indecency was being promoted through such celebrations.

But that’s not all. Pakistani media watchdog PEMRA has gone so far as to issue a notice to television and radio stations requesting them to avoid offending religious sentiments and corrupting the nation’s youth through their Valentine’s Day broadcasts. While PEMRA has not called for outright ban, the letter states that celebrating the day is not in line with “our religious and cultural ethos.”

OUR OPINION

Valentine’s Day is becoming increasingly popular amoungst Pakistanis, and I personally do not have a problem with those who choose to celebrate or those who promote it. I don’t think Valentine’s Day is inherently immodest, or that it spreads any more or less immodesty than is already present in society on any given day.

As far as Valentine’s Day marketing goes, none of the campaigns are terribly exciting but kudos to the brands for being current and relevant, especially Nestle Fruita Vitals who used the occasion to heighten social media engagement.

It’s often said that the most surefire way to ensure promotion is prohibition, but in this case promotion was being done by brands regardless. The Tanzeem’s ‘Say No to Valentine’s Day’ campaign did generate hype around the day, but it also promoted their own agenda,  and it got people talking. These two photos in reponse to the campaign saying ‘Pyar honay day‘ and ‘Fasla na rakhain‘ on the Secular Humanist Pakistan’s Facebook page are currently being circulated on social media.

If we take word of mouth and social media buzz as a benchmark for marketing success, then I’d say this year’s anti-Valentine’s Day efforts have been more talked about, and consequently, more successful.

I Refuse To Wear Asim Jofa

Winter is coming to an end and this can only mean one thing for the skyline of Karachi: lawn billboards. They’re everywhere and they’re full of images of lawn prints, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

And then there’s Asim Jofa.

The 2013 campaign is not very different from the one launched last summer, which contained bizarre slogans aimed at what can only be described as unapologetically spoilt, pretentious and extremely wealthy women.

This year’s billboards feature slogans like “A woman is a diamond’s best friend” and “My love does cost a thing”, accompanied by the words “I wear Asim Jofa”.

The hoardings are scattered across Karachi, with the latest one being put up on what seems to be every agency’s favourie spot, the Clifton underpass.

CAMPAIGN
The brand’s agency is Red Communication Arts. It is an affiliate of the Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s three largest advertising holding companies, and is headed by the prolific Sabene Saigol.

The billboards are as follows:

My love does cost a thing

A woman is a diamond’s best friend

I take my time

I am nature’s miracle – Asim Jofa

I wear Asim Jofa

RESPONSE
As always, the Twitterverse is rife with criticism, though some tweets point out the campaign’s effectiveness. A quick search of the term ‘Asim Jofa’ yielded the following results:

Asim Jofa tweets

The comments on Asim Jofa’s Facebook page, however, tell a different story. Most of the brand’s 654,000 fans just want to know when the lawn will be available to purchase.

OUR OPINION
If last year’s prices are anything to go by, one Asim Jofa lawn suit will retail for around Rs 6,000, making it more expensive than most competing brands. It’s definitely a luxury product, but the abysmal copywriting does not live up to the vibe they’re trying to go for.

More than luxury, the campaign reeks of bad publicity. It feels like a terrible version of L’Oreal’s famous “Because I’m worth it” concept. It’s irritating and offensive, and quite frankly has nothing to do with the product. But, it’s everywhere and people are talking about it. Is this campaign creating a lot of media buzz? Yes. Is it worth demeaning your brand and offending your customers for the sake of publicity? I don’t think so.

I, for one, will not be wearing Asim Jofa.