The ad is media trickery — the idea should actually create attention in an endearing way, such that the route embellishes the brand’s core personality
The Volkswagen dudes and their ad agency partners will celebrate tonight. At having launched their Vento with a kick-arse media innovation: the little audio contraption placed inside The Times of India that 'speaks' to the readers. Not only will this gimmick get the car to be talked about hectically, as people discuss this media 'innovation' offline and online, but will result in some glittering Indian ad awards (quite likely… Indian ad award juries are highly suspect in any case).
Here's the thing: On every single count, this media trickery is highly repugnant. Getting instant attention cannot be the sole purpose of advertising. Even terrorists with their RDX and prostitutes with their garish make-up get instant attention. The idea must ALWAYS be to get attention in an endearing way, and in a way that the route embellishes the brand's core personality.
In that context, it's highly disappointing to see makers of the high-tech German engineered cars, the much respected Volkswagen guys, indulge in such a cheap ploy. We associate class with Volkswagen, that's what we buy into. But what they have done with this irritating, intrusive toy, is to come across as makers of Rajnigandha pan masala. Or Zandu Balm. What that does to their carefully crafted brand personality, is for the German engineers to think about. What I do now know is this: Volkswagen Vento is a totally down-market car. It's off my shopping cart.
On another front, the so-called innovation is not even crafted with some degree of intelligence. It's a boring, non-stop chatter from a sleepy voice, that pretty much translates what the ad is already saying. Now if my newspaper has to play the role of a radio in my life (eeeeks!), the least it must do is to entertain me. And since the Volkswagen suits want their car to be the Zandu Balm of the category, the least they ought to have done is to compose a special 'Munni Badnaam' Vento jingle. Would have been fun, yaar!
Another problem: What about the issue of cost spill-over? For a luxury sedan, isn't The Times of India, a mass paper, a waste of the ad rupee? Wouldn't this gimmick have been more suitable for, say, The Economic Times? Or one of those many auto mags? To some extent, one may have accepted it if a Santro or a Swift had taken this massy TOI route. So this lowly trick doesn't even make media spend sense.
Finally, and on a separate note, here's another larger worry: Netas like Mayawati, Raj Thackeray and Dr Manmohan Singh will surely latch on to this nuisance. Imagine waking up to them speaking into your ears as you reach out for your morning cuppa. Already the future of newspapers is in peril. This sort of an outrageous invention will only help accelerate that process.
Net-net: A media innovation idea that went horribly wrong. I need some Zandu Balm on the head to cool off.
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New Delhi: Food inflation rose for the fourth straight week to 15.46% for the week ended 11th September, as heavy rains and floods disrupted supplies of essential items.
While prices of cereals, select vegetables and milk rose sharply during the week, economists said they were hopeful that price situation would ease as rains recede and by end- December food inflation could come down to single digit.
"There is a demand supply gap happening on account of improper disbursement and offtake. Floods in several parts of the country are disrupting supply, which is pushing up prices," Religare Capital Markets chief economist Jay Shankar said.
Week on week, food inflation climbed 0.36 percentage points from 15.10% on 4th September. Although there were some signs of moderation in July which stayed on through the first half of August, inflation started to increase in the later half.
Many parts of the country including Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and the desert state of Rajasthan have been witnessing torrential rains and floods that have disrupted supplies of staples.
"I believe that by December-end food inflation would come down to single digit as the effect of good monsoon becomes available to consumers post harvest," Mr Shankar said.
On annually basis, cereal prices rose 6.75% driven mainly by higher prices of pulses, rice and wheat.
While prices of pulses rose 4.01%, wheat and rice became costlier by 9.21% and 5.52%, respectively.
Among other food items, milk prices soared 23.41% during the week compared to the same period last year, while that of fruits by 10.33%.
Vegetables also became dearer by 6.84% on an annual basis, while potato and onions became cheaper by 48.56% and 1.97%, respectively.
Economists also attributed the rise in inflation to the new series of price index, as the old one was based on 1993-94 prices.
"The new base year of 2004-05 gives a better representation of the underlying food inflation in the economy," Mr Shankar said.
To tame the rising inflation, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last week increased short term lending (repo) rate by 0.25 percentage points to 6%, and borrowing (reverse repo) rate by 0.50 percentage points to 5%.
The move aims to curb consumer spending and reduce inflationary pressures in the economy.
In its mid-quarterly review, RBI had said that inflation remains "dominant concern" as prices of food articles, which as per the new series rose by over 14% in August, are still contributing to the overall price pressure.