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It is important to know what happened to the money spent in media and probe less-than-expected response, writes Santosh Zokarkar. However, projecting it on the agency/campaign isn’t warranted every time. Getting the act together (by the Marketer) is.

Advertising is good for a product. It is supposed to be. Evidence from all over the world proves conclusively that the magic of this craft turns products into successful brands. Well, if not overnight, then at least with a little consistency in communication and reasonably decent media-spend. No wonder, a lot of companies spend a hell lot of money in campaigning. The obvious motive is to build brands and also to get more and more consumers to buy their brand. Meticulously planned campaigns, as they are, create a picture perfect aura around the brand; what with the celebrities endorsing it too. Carefully chosen messages hit the right chord with the consumers. Nothing is wrong in it. Except, the client always seem to wonder (aloud) during periodic agency review meetings why isn’t there enough bang for all the money spent.

What happened to the money spent is always an apt question to be asked. However, projecting it on the agency every time isn’t warranted. Getting the (internal mechanism) act together is.

I am sharing two instances that occurred in the last fortnight which are a reflection on what can go wrong at the client’s end. One is an Air Purifier brand that I have struck off my list. The other is a small car. These two examples should also serve to be an eye-opener, at the advertiser’s end, as to what all needs to be fixed before embarking on unleashing a campaign.

Ahmedabad had been reeling under poor air quality since long. Post monsoon dense smog enveloped the Western part of the city. On top of that a widely read media reported that the city enjoyed only eight good air days in 2018 (Source: Times of India). This coupled with episodes of COPD, prompted me to scout for an indoor Air Purifier. I had done my homework w.r.t. technology available and had zeroed in on what I would buy. Lo and behold, the next day the FB showed me an advertisement exactly  what I was looking for. The company is highly visible with a yesteryear’s 'dreamgirl' endorsing one of its product ranges. The company offers everything from RO’s to Atta (dough) makers. The brand offered to check home indoor air quality and a free demo too. More than what I was hoping to have. Promptly I filled in all the details. Instantly, I received three SMS’s and as many emails. One welcoming/ thanking me, the other reinforcing the brand virtues, and last assigning someone to the task and his/her details. It prompted a spontaneous `WOW!’ from me.

And then it all started. No one turned up from the company’s side. The third day, I received an SMS enquiring about my experience. Then the next day, another SMS request to share feedback. Another one enquiring if the scheduled call was attended to. The days turned into weeks. I still get messages and emails to share my experience/ feedback. This may sound like I am pouring out my woes; indeed exaggeration is a tool of every writer. However, imagine the predicament of any sincere buyer.

The other incident pertains to a renowned French carmaker’s advertisement. It’s a decent vehicle. Consumer feedback is good. The offer looked good. Most importantly, the family is in need of a second car, a small one. So, I called up the advertised number. No response. And after three days I start getting calls enquiring which car have I finalised.

The examples above clearly illustrate that there existed a gap between what the HQ planned and the operations at the ground. Technology can put a lot of things on auto-pilot e.g. calls, SMS’s, emails, etc. It may prove to be counter-productive by actually irritating a genuine buyer. Advertising creates and raises expectations. As a marketer, how well your agency plans a campaign is as important as how you deliver the overall experience. For that is the actual realization of the campaign.

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