Another public awareness campaign that seems to have completely lost the plot
A couple of columns back, I had indicated how USP-deprived brands are jumping on to the social service bandwagon. Now, every bleeding heart marketer wants to save the world. IDEA has a long list of social evils up its sleeve. The Times Group wants to sort out Indo-Pak relations through song, shairi and dance. Parle Hippo munchies wants to solve the world hunger crisis. And even before I could start distributing Hippos to the malnourished, in comes Aircel with its ‘Save the Tiger’ campaign.
Aircel, in cahoots with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) India, has launched a campaign to highlight the dwindling numbers of tigers in our forests. Apart from the mass media, they have created noise on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, a website has been launched too: saveourtigers.com.
The TV campaign consists of four commercials. One features a lost and lonely little tiger cub. Its mom has gone missing, you see (read: driven out of the forest because of the mad urban encroachment). The rest of the commercials are loaded with celebrities (the ad world can’t do without them!): Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Baichung Bhutia and southern star, Suriya. Each of whom makes an emotional appeal to save the tiger from extinction.
All very fine and dandy, but there’s a huge, huge problem with the concept (the same as IDEA’s ‘Save the trees’). What exactly are we, the aam aadmis, supposed to do to save the animal? For that, Aircel conveniently gives out no answers. Because there can’t be any. We already KNOW the tiger is under threat, the junta is pretty aware of that. What needs to be done is to put some serious pressure on the state governments and the forest departments to make sure poaching and encroachments into forest areas is stopped. And if Aircel had the right intentions, that’s what it would have done. Instead of releasing silly campaigns in the mass media, with no action plan spelt out for the viewers. In other words, another fake public service (or should it be animal service?) campaign created to build the marketers’ own brand, and not much else. What a bloody joke! Tomorrow, another chap will release a ‘public service campaign’ to create awareness on potholes on our city roads! The whole thing is turning into a big tamasha.
By the way, I really do think Shri Bal Thackeray must forget Shah Rukh Khan and hijack this campaign immediately. His party is facing near-extinction, and there’s an action plan possible too: vote for Shiv Sena in the next elections and save Tiger Thackeray from extinction. Now, this makes sense!
The commercials promoting the Indian Premier League seem to have got it bang on
The Indian Premier League's latest avatar is desperate for people to get their frightened butts into the stadia. Quite strange that, given all the real moolah lies in television viewership. And the IPL jamboree is only about money, no matter what Mr Lalit Modi says. Guess the organisers are very worried about a lacklustre show in the stadia (which is actually half the fun for a T20 match) and have briefed their agency to create television ads solely with the intention of capturing the in-stadia fun.
Off-line, Sharad Pawar (who, frankly, should be more worried about the commodities price rise rather than IPL ticket sales, but that’s Indian politics for you) has already done his bit by begging Balasaheb Thackeray to ‘allow’ the Aussie cricketers to play in the Mumbai matches (read: no trouble in the Mumbai stadia). The rest of the work, the television commercials will have to do.
The campaign involves three TVCs. Each commercial attempts to bring out the orgy of fun spectators have during the IPL matches. In one commercial, a young female fan demands a sixer be hit, and creates a scene in the stadium, much to the consternation of the security. And she happily catches the ball when the (unseen) batsman duly responds. In the second film, skimpily clad firang cheerleaders move step for step with a bhangra dancing fan. The third film highlights the high that funnily dressed fans feel when their shenanigans get beamed on the large stadium screens. And therefore television sets. Their ten seconds of fame.
I think this is a pretty sound strategy. There are too many security restrictions at a cricket ground these days, too many dos and don’ts, too many threats of violence. Which is why a whole lot of us quickly flee to the comfort and safety of our television sets at home. And without packed and happening stadia, the T20 format of the game loses its zing. Also, the TV ads do manage to capture the fans’ energy and gusto quite well. (I especially like the bhangra-oing blonde babes). And they have stuck to the brief: there isn’t a single shot of the cricketers in action; the entire focus is on the cheering fans. Hopefully the crowds will be back, and hopefully we’ll see a safe tournament.
Now if only the BCCI would create a campaign to educate Indian fans on social behaviour. No ogling and leching at the cheerleaders. No chucking empty water bottles when the home team loses. No burning of seats. No booing of rival team players, etc, etc. And of course, a special ad for Shah Rukh Khan: No smoking, please!
Both Mukesh Ambani and Subroto Roy are reportedly (separately) bidding for a 51% stake in Liverpool, one of the most successful clubs in the history of English football.
Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd and Subroto Roy, chairman of Sahara Group are reportedly bidding for a 51% stake in Liverpool—one of the most successful clubs in the history of English football, reports PTI.
Liverpool is presently owned by American duo George Gillett and Tom Hicks, who acquired the club in February 2007. However, reported disagreements between Gillett and Hicks, and the lack of fans' support, have led to rumours that that international buyers such as Dubai International Capital would bid for the club.
The Liverpool club emerged as a takeover target for Mr Ambani, the seventh-richest man in the world, as pressure mounted on Hicks and Gillett to cut a deal to sell the club, The Times reported on Tuesday.
When contacted in New Delhi, a Reliance spokesperson denied the reports. "We are not bidding for Liverpool," he said. There was no immediate word on the issue from the Sahara Group owned by Mr Roy.
Both Mr Ambani and Mr Roy have reportedly each tendered similar bids to pay off Liverpool's £237 million debt in return for a 51% stake in the club.
However, Liverpool chief executive Christian Purslow denied any knowledge of bids by Mr Ambani and Mr Roy, but The Times reported that approaches began as early as November and that some preliminary talks had taken place.
Each deal requires that the present owners make a commitment to take no dividends or expenses out of the club for three years, to allow the entity to secure its financials.
The Americans were reportedly unpopular with the club's supporters and the hostility had increased as it had become clear that there was no money available to strengthen the team.
In April 2008, business magazine Forbes ranked Liverpool as the fourth-most valuable football team in the world, after Manchester United, Real Madrid and Arsenal.