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New trend: Larger issues to communicate brand attributes

Brands are looking beyond the traditional attributes by taking up larger causes as a plank to talk to consumers.

, ET Bureau|
Feb 10, 2010, 07.36 AM IST
Most advertisements talk about the functional attributes of a brand. However one is witnessing an emergence of an interesting trend when it comes to talking to the consumers. It’s using larger causes or issues as a platform to communicate brand attributes. Remember Lead India and Teach India from The Times of India or Tata Tea Jaago Re? Or Idea cellular’s attempts to talk about the brand by broaching issues like casteism, corruption and even environment?

One of the recent initiatives here is The Times of India (TOI) and Pakistan’s Jang Group’s Aman Ki Asha (Quest for Peace) initiative, which aims at bringing the two nations together through cultural interactions , business seminars, music, literary festivals and citizen meets. Rahul Kansal, CMO, The Times of India says, “Brand TOI is constantly evolving. While we would like to own the centre space, the way of doing it is different. We have always wanted to connect with the urban educated elite, which feel dis-engaged from politics and feel that nobody is listening to them. We thought that as a newspaper, we could fill that vaccum.”

The Aman Ki Asha campaign uses traditional above-the-line media like TVCs, radio spots and print ads. Agnello Dias, chairman, Taproot, which has worked on the Aman Ki Asha message , says campaigns like this need to project a sense of belief and should stimulate a response, discussion and debate. “These campaigns can’t merely be briefed down to the agency. The brief itself is what needs to be constantly engaged upon,” he says, adding that in the case of TOI campaigns, creative partners have been always brought in at a much earlier stage in the process than with conventional campaigns.

Indeed in a crowded environment, brands using causes or issues as a plank look to break the clutter. When Tata Tea wanted to connect with the youth, its ‘Asli Taazgi’ line which had held fort for more than a decade started looking tired and dated. The Jaago Re initiative and ‘Aaj Se Khilana Bandh, Pilana Shuru’ campaign was created particularly for the youth. Sangeeta Talwar, executive director, marketing , Tata Tea, says that when she presented the initial concept to the Tata Tea

board (the commercial was not even shot then), the board comprising of Tata group veterans like R K Krishnakumar among others loved it. Soon after, the ‘Mr politician, what are your qualifications ?’commercial was made.

A brand name like Idea has the advantage of allowing marketers to look beyond conventional communication. Pradeep Shrivastava, CMO, Idea Cellular says the brand name allowed the company to celebrate thoughts and ideas which have the power to change the society and the way people live. “The context of telco involves entrenched players with comparable network , pricing, range of value added services. New entrants are attempting to offset their coverage through discounting , but we chose a differnt rout.” Differentiated messaging, brands realise, is the trend that’s likely to gain steam in times to come. Consumers are keen to know about attributes of a brand, but stickiness also comes by associating with larger issues. Given that it’s age of the evolved consumer, brands have to walk the line and project themselves as a responsible player in society.
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