The Year Munni Got ‘Badnaam’ and Shiela Got ‘Jawaan’
By Harish Bijoor
A Marketing wrap-up of year 2010 then. This has indeed been the year of Twitter. A year in which large hordes of young people believed in brevity. Brevity as defined by a 140-character Tweet. In keeping, let me get to the point right away.
What was this Marketing year 2010 all about? My take…..
The 5-Screens in our lives: The Indian remained a screen-potato. Five of them dominated our lives this year.
Television remained the big one for all of us, rural or urban. 148 million television sets decorated our homes with an average viewing time of 4.5 hours per day in rural and 23 minutes a day in Urban.
The second screen in urban lives was the desktop at office and in some cases in homes as well. The third screen was the laptop computer, fast losing its appeal among the wannabes who want a tablet in their hands.
The fourth screen that edged its way into Indian hands this year was the tablet. In came Samsung Galaxy, the I-Pad (brought in from the markets where it has been launched) and more.
The Fifth screen, though small in size, remained the biggest and most ubiquitous of them all: the Mobile phone. More and more applications went mobile and the death of the laptop became a hot topic to discuss.
When I look at branded players in the space across all 5-screens, I see just one. Samsung. Good thinking and good planning guys!
Brand-lines trusted less and less: The year saw stories of tumult rolling in from the US and UK and Europe alike. Stories of recession-hit markets. Stories of bank re-possessions of credit cards. Stories of re-possession of homes and more. The very same banks that had touted all those friendly lines that took the “us” line in their advertising of yore were now talking tough “you” lines 1:1. Credibility of advertising sunk in Western markets. As this did happen, the rub-off is seen here as well. Advertising lines are being trusted less and less. Marketers seem to have taken note. In come the more real lines now in our advertising as well. Vox-pop lines that bring more reality than fantasy to the process at large.
The I-Gen. is here: The Impatient-Gen. As attrition levels rise once again in industry, and as India emerges a most-ruthlessly young market ahead, loyalty lines are receding into the memory of past advertising. The new story in town is the range story. The story of variety on hand. I offer you the most number of options. You might as well stay with me. Flit like a butterfly from this variant to the other. But stay with me. Companies are vying with one another to build promiscuity-palate offers within their own mother brand to keep custom back. The automotive category is the best example here. Remember, we now have 621 variants of cars in the Indian market.
I-Gen products include On-the-go products in beverages and food, quick take-away meals from even traditional outlets which believed in sit-down dinners, and Gymnasiums that offer quick-work-outs that last a slim 20-minutes a day.
The Social Networking Funnel is here: Social networking grew leaps and bounds. The internet got accessed by 62 million people in India this year. 70per cent of them got on with devices that were not broadband led. Nevertheless, the killer application in use was the social networking site. Face book, Twitter and Orkut and thirty-one more.
A very important marketing funnel got created. Most top-end consumers of products and services alike got talking to one another socially first. This virtual interaction is creating a marketing funnel of significance. Ignore it only at your peril. Remember, a very important thing is happening here. Consumers are chatting with one another not only about their dating needs, but they are exchanging valuable information about products and services and brands. Consumers are chatting with one another about brands before getting to the market, particularly for more expensive and more long-lasting products.
The shift is clear: from Brand-networking to User-networking.
The world already has 1.3 Billion users of the Worldwide Web. 200 million websites cater to their needs. And the new trend is really the micro-site. Add a multiple on the 200 million and that is the brand opportunity here. Brands will go the micro-site way in the future. And the future is really already here.
The Reality show buzz is here: The consumer is a voyeur. And brands love that. If not for this one facet of the consumer, brands would never get the inquisitiveness they get. Marketers took this a step further. Marketing money fed the reality show this year. More and more brand moneys flowed in. Makers of Television reality shows plagued marketing companies with ideas. Many found takers.
In came Rakhi Sawant with her “Rakhi Ka Insaaf”. Men cried. One committed suicide as well, as alleged. Rakhi stripped them all. Of deeds of omission and commission. ”Kangaroo justice” was delivered. The nation enjoyed it. A voyeuristic nation that loved peeking into others bedrooms.
Talk of bedrooms, in came “Big Boss” that got you to peek into every room there was to peek into, in a home. Save the actual toilet and bathroom. Names such as Seema Parihar, Ashmit Patel and Veena Mallick got to be household names. If you put up a tantrum at home, you were told not to behave like a Dolly. If you ate too much, you were reminded of the Great Khali. Rural India lapped up the antics of Urban India, believing everything that happened in a Big Boss home to be exactly what happened in our booming urban homes.
Brands used the eye-balls opportunity well. Vodafone and Spice and more.
I am told more are coming. While “Sach Ka Saamna” got a lot of flak, bolder ones are planning a Husband-swap program on national television as well, I am told. Ouch!
A concern for the future: Small but seminal trends were spotted this year. The marketer woke up to global concerns. Green became big. As did Inclusive. Saving the future became a theme. Marketers plonked their moneys, as Aircel did on "Save the Tiger”. It made the number1411 memorable. PepsiCo spoke the conservation story, as did ITC. PepsiCo went one step further as well, declaring its work and intent on its packaging. The theme was clearly being tested. The theme ahead for the savvy marketer then: Conservation. Re-use. Replenishment. Conservation of all the re-sources you as brand-marketer strip the earth of.
The “Save” campaigns will cover the tiger, paper, water, energy and more.
“Munni getting Badnaam and Shiela getting Jawaan”: Block-buster movies. The biggest ones happened this year. While Sholay did it in the yester-years of Rs.3 and Rs. 5 ticket prices, ‘3 Idiots’ did it at multi-plex rates of today to become a big grosser. One outdid the other. In came ‘Dabangg’ and did it all over again. Out-did it as well and one kept wondering what was so great with it.
Movies marketed themselves with savvy. Movie marketers taught the traditional FMCG guy many a valuable marketing lesson. Emami first hit out at Dabangg and then got its Zandu Balm to piggyback the trend. If James Bond had an Aston Martin, Dabangg had a Zandu Balm.
The item number remained as the biggest hit of them all. The ‘Paisa vasool’ numbers made two big generic Quasi brands happen, much to the chagrin of women with these names: Munni was one and Shiela the other. Small-town India is abuzz I am told, with women of every age with these names being targeted with songs to boot!
Question asked at a pub in Delhi recently of the DJ who was refusing to get these numbers going: “DJ-ji, when is Munni getting Badnaam and Shiela getting Jawaan?”
Incredible India lived up to its name: In many ways it did. The India Tourism campaign has a brilliant line. Incredible India hit the news time and again this year with scams of every kind. The CWG corruption fiasco. Corruption fiascos everywhere, from Maharashtra to Karnataka to every nook and cranny of Indian politics. Corporate lobbying controversies to boot. Party lines and corporate lines were not important. Corruption remained the lowest common denominator soft-under-belly of Indian politics.
India remained incredible to an exocentric audience outside, waiting with a whipping stick in any case, to whip the poster-boy country of the world today.
Three Dark Horses:
Three dark horses took gallant little strides this year in Indian marketing. These three are really the big opportunities out there in the great Indian market as it is due to emerge in the future. As India boomed to become a Rs.1300 Billion Market in 2010 , the under-leveraged parts of the distribution economy is being tapped into by these three dark horses. The story is under-played as of now, but wait for the big strides these will take in the decade ahead.
Ok, let’s cut the chase:
1. Cash&Carry Wholesale retail: Bharti Wal-mart has made rapid strides in Punjab this year. Expect this to cascade into a ramp-up. I do believe this is the best solution to open up the largely under-served markets of Tier 3 and rural India at large. There is a big untapped demand from the hospitality sector, intermediary traders, villagers and farmers alike. The next new success is from there. Metro waits as well. As will more. In the queue.
2. Tele-shopping and Home-Shopping: This again is the next big opportunity ahead as more than 148 million household’s wait in anticipation. Direct selling offers the ability of under-served markets being able to tap into products and services that more-served markets in metros take for granted. The intermediary is cut out as well. Prices are competitive as well. Wait and watch as Guthy Renker, and literally every media house spots this opportunity and goes behind it.
3. Private labels: As organized retail booms, every super-market chain will want its piece of the action. More and more private label opportunities will emerge across the low-end, mid-market and premium tags. The apparel players are doing well on this count already. Expect more categories to open up. The private label will be private no more.
That’s it for 2010 then. A Tweet-year gone by.
Harish Bijoor is a business strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.