All that glitters may be gold this diwali – Indians to go online for shopping?

Update: Catch my latest post on pluggdin:

  • All that glitters may be gold this diwali: It’s that time of the year again which most Indian marketers wait with bated breath, there is festivity all around and thanks to better market condition, Indian consumers are looking forward to splurge this festive season both in offline as well as online shopping. Read More…

Wish all readers a ‘bagful’ (after shopping ) & prosperous diwali! 🙂

What’s Your Raashee on Facebook

While doing some random surfing on Facebook, stumbled upon this app for horoscope and compatibility check, in fact it came as a friend’s update. On visiting I realized it to be an app from the makers of the movie “What’s your Raashee”. Indeed another interesting example of movie marketing from Bollywood. After websites, communities, forums, twitter and other social media marketing, it was good to see an app based on the theme of the movie i.e., zodiac signs. The application requires the user to answer questions about their personal preferences and then based on the common characteristics with other signs, they will be shown a list of users whom they are compatible with while offering them an opportunity to add those people as friends on Facebook.

Considering my interest in movie marketing, I did install that app immediately but well I must say that I was bit disappointed with the overall impact. Horoscope, compatibility tests or fortune cookies are definitely some of the most commonly used apps on facebook, every third update on my friend’s feed is actually related to horoscope or zodiac signs. So potentially this app could have created a great viral effect if there were enough interactivity and feed triggers available in it. The feed functionality is available only while installing the app, for rest of the actions actually there is no way to publish your updates. The way it tests the compatibility between you and your partner is quite confusing. Now if the app is allowing you to check the compatibility and if your partner is available on facebook, the fun would have been if there was a way to inform the partner about the compatibility result, same is missing from this app. Also it would have established a better connect with the movie if somewhere the zodiac result of any person could have been associated with the relevant character of the movie:

  • For e.g., in my case the result reads something like this: “Kark, About Your Raashee – Consider starting a small business on the side…”; instead of showing it like any other zodiac trait announcement if it would have read something like this: Karka, About Your Raashee – So, you’re like Hansa (Cancerain character in the movie) who is also a Kark and…” then I think along with fun this app would have led to subtle promotion of the movie as well.

Overall a great idea and I loved the initiative but execution could have been thought about more. Let’s see how the movie fairs at BO tomorrow, I for sure gonna watch it soon as I love Ashutosh Gowarikar’s movies.

Offisial Atyachaar from Make My Trip

Makemytrip does it again and this time I love it. In fact just saying “love it” once can’t justify my delighted reaction towards the campaign, I mean I seriously loved it esp. the official atyaachar anthem. It’s a riot and simply terrific! It’s one such viral campaign which you definitely feel like promoting on your own. I seriously went ROFL listening to the lyrics of the anthem and the tone in which it has been sung is brilliant.

Makemytrip has launched this online campaign to promote its weekend packages. It’s a movement against work stress, impossible deadlines and long work hours which Make My Trip has presented in a very interesting way. The home page reads: Impossible Deadlines? Graveyard shifts? An atyachaari Boss? Work has taken you for granted for way too long. It’s time to act. It’s time to break away! Join the protest. It has sections as – Offisial Atyachaari, Offisial Atyawear, Offisial Anthem, Offisial Downloads, Offisial Outburst and all of them are just fantastic. You need to navigate through the site on your own to experience the fun. The movement has already instituted its presence on Facebook, now I’m eagerly waiting for its appearance on twitter too. What I liked about this campaign:

  • It’s FUN and brings a big smile on your face.
  • It establishes an immediate connect with the TG.
  • It promotes the product in a very intelligent way; in fact there is very less of branding in this overall campaign but still it creates that impact both from brand as well sales perspective.
  • It’s interactive properties like atyachaari jokes, sicknames for bosses contest, ringtones, wallpapers and my personal favorite – smashing a real office as protest to atyachaar :). I think these are really wild and innovative stuffs.
  • It’s a viral in true sense, you really feel like sending this link to your peers and colleagues.

From concept to execution, I think both EURO RSGC & digiVaasi have done a great job. I’m only wondering why haven’t they started promoting this campaign at least amongst its members? I don’t remember receiving any email or message unlike that Gajodhar campaign which frankly speaking I hadn’t liked much. By chance I went to Make My Trip website today to check some ticket price and glanced upon their banner ad. Hope they start promoting it soon to spread the buzz and till the time they are not, I think I as a fan of this campaign would like to do it through my blog & tweets :), now that’s what I call a true viral, ain’t it?

Should Air-India change its mascot now?

Was surfing the website of Air-India today to book a ticket & suddenly I saw our very own Maharaja in different avtaars there, like Maharaja with a laptop on home page & Maharaja with Indian flag near log in box. Though the size of Maharaja was definitely reduced but nonetheless noticeable enough! In fact I think as a kid my understanding of the word “brand” or “mascot” was only limited to either AI’s Maharaja or AP’s Gattu and its that solid imprint on my childhood memory that even slightest trace of Maharaja ji or cute Gattu catches my attention till date.


Air India had adopted this Maharaja mascot in 1946 symbolizing an Indian Maharaja kind of person welcoming passengers from all across the world on board, if I’m not wrong this Maharaja is one of the longest lived & most recalled mascots till date. But then today this mascot made me really thinking esp. because of all the reasons for which Air India has been in news of late. Now with Rs. 5000 crore loss last fiscal year due to operating costs, day on day ongoing loss of approx Rs. 15 crore & plans to cut down on quite many travel sectors, does Air India stand anything to do with royalty in these days? Well, I know the mascot was not chosen for exact representation of royalty only but then to a common man the image as well as the word Maharaja has always meant to communicate the same. With Air India being in news for only huge losses and other sorry state of affairs I personally think this Maharaja is a mismatch with the overall perception of the company. A Bankrupt Maharaja instead of Maharaja is what it makes me feel about it now 🙂. Rationally speaking, I think it’s time for AI to re-look at its mascot, it has outgrown its own perception today and I can see some sort of disconnect here. Though I’m sure there must be nostalgic / emotional reasons for the company to still continue with the same.

Would like to know your views on this. Does this Maharaja suit AI’s current image? Do you think AI should bid farewell to this Maharaja now?

The Great Driving Challenge: A perfect marriage between traditional & new-age marketing

Some brands definitely know how to use social media for an effective promotion campaign. While lots of Indian brands are still wary of social media or are trying to figure out how to use it beyond forums and customer complaint management, here comes a very engaging online cum offline reality campaign from Mitsubishi Motors which has set an example for social media marketing in India. They have launched a marketing initiative “The Great Driving Challenge” as a promotion strategy for launch of its sports car brand “Cedia Sports” and what makes it really unique is the way it has integrated its online initiative with the offline one.

The Great Driving Challenge is a web-centric campaign where couples are asked to apply for the challenge on Out of all the applicants, top 100 will be selected for the next round based on public voting & the quality of their profile on the website. These 100 will be further narrowed down to 25, then 9 & finally 3 by a jury set by the promoters. The final 3 will go for an all expense paid drive in the Mitsubishi Cedia Sports car allotted by the company. The challenge is to drive 3000 kilometers in 10 days and tell the world about your travel experience through your blogs, twitter & other online social media forums. Well, name “Driving Challenge” sounds like some sort of driving race or sports rally, ain’t it? But this is definitely neither of it. In fact here the winners will be decided based on number of posts (videos/ blogs/ pictures) uploaded by the finalists during the drive phase & quality of their posts uploaded. The final winner will get to win a cash prize of Rs. 10 lacs! Interesting, very interesting! You can read more details of the contest rules here.

I think I liked almost everything about this campaign. But some aspects which are surely worth highlighting are:

  • Content / Word of mouth: In an era where content matters so much & online word of mouth can make or break a brand, I think this is definitely a unique way which Cedia has adopted to create content & positive pages online. What a better way to generate online buzz than blogs & tweets these days. To add to that the whole contest is based on the quality of content.
  • Effective targeting: This was a launch of a “sports” car & I think Mitsubishi did a great thing by taking a social media route as that’s where today’s young urban Indian is available. It’s really great to observe a shift towards digital medium for as important campaign as launch of a new product.
  • Cost effective: As per the official reports, this website was a huge success in its first few days itself. The website was launched on 22nd June’09 and received 2.06 lacs unique visitors as on 8th July’09. Well, definitely huge number of hits in a very cost effective way. A launch campaign to create an equivalent buzz if done through only a traditional media route would definitely have costed the company more.
  • Online & offline synergy: This initiative definitely proved that digital campaigns are not mere extensions of traditional ones. In fact in case of The Great Driving Challenge, the initial buzz was on online medium with actual execution being on ground – a perfect marriage between new age & traditional marketing so to say.

Overall an exemplary initiative for sure, let’s wait to hear for some statistics from Cedia to know the actual impact of this campaign.

Why marketers should use Twitter?

Update on 30th May’09: ssp

I had personally joined twitter more than a year & half back but was not an active user of the account then. Initially, I just used to read updates from the people whom I was following & then slowly got into posting my updates too. In fact I became totally active (rather addictive ;)) almost after six months of opening my account & the more involved I got into this the more I realized the power of it. Very soon I opened an account on behalf of the company where I work & started tweeting about the updates of my company. Well, what started just as an update mechanics is now converted into a full-fledged customer interaction medium. I’m totally amazed at the viral effect & the potential of this medium from promotion & customer engagement point of view. I occasionally keep on reading about twitter & it’s phenomenal growth etc., but based on my personal experience with twitter I think I have come to a conclusion that this medium is definitely a must for every new age marketer who wants to be in touch with his net savvy (or shall I say tweet-savvy) customers. Here is why:

  • Creating & Tracking Brand Buzz: I have found twitter to be one of the best mediums for being updated with what people are writing about your brand. I’ve used  other popular alert services including the ones for twitter too but I find the “search” option on twitter to be really a smart way of being updated about at the moment” buzz of your brand. It surely gives a real time insight into your customer satisfaction, dissatisfaction, needs & gaps of your service.
  • Word Of Mouth (Or Tweet of mouth :-)) : While a negative tweet definitely harms your image but a positive tweet followed by different retweets surely leads to excellent word of mouth marketing. There is this one guy who was having problems with our service, I read his negative tweet which he had written just 2 minutes ago, I immediately escalated it to our internal service delivery head & in next 5 minutes the guy got a call from our service head. The guy got so impressed that he immediately tweeted about the power of twitter customer service. In next 15 minutes when his problem was solved he ensured to mention the prompt action taken by our company in so many tweets of his and was all gaga about the service attitude & brand promise of our company. Thanks to all his retweets which gave us a positive boost to our brand that day. After that my SD head ensures to search for keywords related to our service every 2 hours 🙂
  • Competition Tracking: If your competitor is also active on twitter, then toh wah bhai wah! Isko kehte hai chandi ho jana! Easiest & fastest way to be abreast with what competitors are doing as well as how many customers are dissatisfied by your competitors is to search your competitor related keyword in twitter. I’m telling you it’s a very effective medium for competitive taka-jhaki 😛
  • Customer Feedback / Suggestions: It’s definitely a very quick medium to seek feedback before any new launch or for announcing any new update / feature / product etc. And thanx to tweet-savvy customers they give you some very genuine feedback immediately.
  • Potential Targetting: Highly effective medium to reach out to potential customers too, check out who is looking out for your kind of service & reach the potential TG in a smart way.

Serious word of caution: When I say it’s an effective medium for marketers to promote & engage, this does not mean it should be used as a free tool for SPAMMING. Beauty of twitter is that twitter users till date DETEST spamming a lot. So, don’t go ahead posting only URLs or your service related promotions. You’ll only lose the interest of your followers & it just takes a few micro seconds to “unfollow” your brand. If it is fast method to engage, it is equally fast to un-engage. So, think again before you start abusing this medium. Key is to interact, talk, engage personally & tweet something which your followers can look forward too :). If you’ve captured the attention, you can definitely promote your brand in a more involved way.