Thursday 23 November 2017

From Sales to Advocacy, the journey of ‘an Idea’ in Advertising

Ever wondered what is the single thing that transformed once upon a time corporate and serious business of advertising into creative, clever and crazy advertising industry during the late 1950s of Mad Men era? From hard sell and repetitive advertising to witty, artistic and sophisticated ad campaigns, it was the introduction of an ‘Idea’ into advertising that glamourized the likes of Doyles, Bernbachs and Ogilvys to re-engineer a creative breed of advertising professionals who pledged by the idea as their primary source of fame and fortune. It was the ‘idea’ that become eponymous with creative advertising culture. Both agencies and clients swore by the ‘idea’ to upscale their sales graph. The tradition still continues strong in its fifth decade albeit with a difference. Ideas that have been selling ketchups and automobiles are now increasingly selling knowledge and advocacy in their latest avatar. From big corporations like Vodafone who did a campaign to address domestic violence in Turkey, Unilever’s deodorant brand, Lynx who raised awareness about male suicides in London to ITC’s Savlon that promoted hand washing through chalk sticks in India, every brand is exploiting the power of ‘idea’ to sound sustainable and resonate with their consumers’ conscience.

When ‘idea’ took reins over advertising business during Mad Men era, it practiced narcissism, competition outsmarting and wit with vengeance. In last few years, the ‘idea’ however became more nonchalant and started designing subtle but strong communications targeting brands’ commitment towards innovation, sustainability, and enhanced engagement. The leading beer brand Heineken since 1970s has been proclaiming itself with wholesome vanity as world’s number one beer brand. The same brand in its 2016 campaign urges its target users to ‘dance more, drink slow’ advocating responsible drinking. A beer brand advocating less consumption of its product is unprecedented and a bold move. The same year, Heineken also launched a campaign Brewtroleum where it created bio-fuel from the beer waste to power cars in New Zealand which had won Grand Prix- Outdoor in Cannes. Another shocking campaign came from REI, a major retailer in the US who shut its store on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, telling people instead to get out and enjoy nature, at the cost of its business!

1974 Heineken          
1960 Heineken        

                                                           2016 Heineken Campaign

What is inspiring and channelizing the course of the ‘idea’ from profit to philanthropy centric that is making brands go more humble, honest, humanitarian and eco-conscious? 

 1.    Persuasion is passé, Empathy is in: There has been a paradigm shift in audience’s emotional, social and intellectual quotient which has increased exponentially with exposure to media, knowledge, processes, and entertainment. Today, if a brand tries to claim its supremacy with perfect creative finesse, it will still sound like hard-sell to this new breed of an over-fed target audience. Brands are now using the ‘idea’ to penetrate within the conscience of their target audience and do things that they always wish for with the help of their products/services. Ariel’s ‘Share the Load’ campaign urging men to share the load of household chores especially that of laundry with their wives is an example of brands intruding in the lives of its target audience albeit benevolently.

2. More Media at no to less cost: Advocacy and social good act as catalysts to attract media to review the ad campaigns that appear more as acts of benefaction rather than promotional content. Moreover, advocacy and social good being universal in their appeal have the more organic reach and appeal to larger audience breaking the barriers of nationality, race, religion, and ethnicity. This gives a competitive edge to the brand in the scenario where every brand is boasting about the social media fan lineage running into millions. The campaign to stop the sale of acid in retail counter by non-profit, Make Love Not Scars featuring acid attack survivor Reshma garnered huge PR across media like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC World, Mashable, Mirror, The Huffington Post at no cost and personalities like Amitabh Bachchan, Ashton Kutcher, Sherly Sandberg and Sachin Tendulkar too shared their support for the campaign, making it an award campaign.

3. Sustainable Policy: Some marketers are restructuring their businesses to accommodate sustainable business practices and are making investments in research and development of new technologies that can help them achieve their sustainable goals. Unilever, for instance, has committed to half its environmental footprints by 2030. P&G plans to replace 25% of petroleum-based products with sustainable ones by 2020. Branding sustainability also helps marketers to target consumers, investors, vendors and employees at one go in a single communication campaign.

4. Awards: Cannes advertising festival, the most sought-after festival amongst the advertising fraternity branded as ‘field-trip to future’ for agencies, start-ups and marketers has been generously awarding campaigns that are packaged with social good and those that promise to address environmental, psychological, health and lifestyle issues. The festival has also introduced new award category-, Glass Lions: the Lion for Change to challenge gender biases. In a bid to stay ahead and bag awards at prestigious awards festivals, brands are making use of ideas that force their way to the jury’s shortlist.

5. Ease of Execution with Technology: Technology and data have given power to the ‘idea’ whereby they not only help in the adequate execution of the idea but also help in measuring the effectiveness of the campaign in real time. This has encouraged agencies and brands to dream big, invent without fear and set as challenging goals as possible and experiment upon their hypothesis. Never before brands and agencies were so confident about putting into practice everything that they ever dreamed of without the fear of sounding impractical and unrealistic. Toyota has launched i-Road, an ultra-compact electric vehicle which helps to resolve parking issues in congested cities of Japan by utilizing small and unused spaces with networking parking and charging spot stations. This project would have been unthinkable a decade back in absence of tech-driven infrastructure that works in unison with the advertising agencies. 

As the evolution of ‘idea’ took from being a piece of communication to transforming into products, experiences and engagements, advertising businesses that were earlier lauded for their creativity now have to be multi-faceted with innovation, technology, research and empathy. We can expect Flipkart as a part of its festive sale campaign to introduce invisible packaging that replaces cardboard cartons loaded with plastic bubbles with certain sonic waves technology that secures the products without causing any damage. This can save the country from the generation of tonnes of plastic waste as well as from deforestation which otherwise forms an inevitable part of the delivery process. Or can we expect a fertilizer brand to develop high yielding solution that brings back the fertility of the barren soil that can solve the problem of food crisis and waste lands. While the earlier Mad Men saw advertising going glam and aristocratic, this age of idea revolution is making advertising mad with innovation and social consciousness. 

Friday 29 April 2016

We bring Arihant Academy close to its Goals

Arihant Academy is one of Mumbai's premier coaching institutes at the school (VIII, IX and X in both ICSE and SSC) and junior college (XI and XII, in Science and Commerce). The academy is known for its passionate attitude towards teaching. However, the mentors at the academy felt that despite having all the infrastructure, good teachers and an excellent record of results, it was unable to actualize and enhance its potential. The problem that the Muse team identified was three-fold:
  • locate ways of passing relevant information to the students’ parents as important stakeholders and decision-makers in their children’s academics and future
  • instill confidence in the parents regarding the caliber and efficiency of the teachers and the system at Arihant Academy
  • transform the communication and confidence into a higher rate of admissions
  •  making it more concept-driven replacing its existing information-driven simplistic outlook
  • making it comprehensive
  • working around the theme of futuristic thinking
  • and delivering the message that Arihant Academy brings the students close to the future
  • generating a playful, yet science- and future-oriented ambiance around the event 
  • making science and technology an accessible reality and concept for the participants
  • sustaining and enhancing the impact caused by the seminar.
  • The participants at the seminar found it very unusual and exciting to be in a simulated environment that reflects on their dreams and aspirations
  • They began to click snapshots of themselves and of each other and started uploading them  on various social media which, in turn, generated many ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ and helped Arihant Academy and its message spread to several other people and potential students
  • The buzz around the event was reflected in the impromptu admissions and enrollment with the academy.
As an extension of the same message, Muse developed an idea for an interactive spot for the students and parents to explore and possibly stay longer with the freshness of the message that the seminar offered – that of a meaningful and quality association and an opportunity to come close to the future. Muse conceptualized and developed a realistic installation of an astronaut and a rocket. Students could enter into the astronaut's uniform and get the feel of an astronaut and feel themselves going closer to the future. This interactive installation helped in:
Muse had to work on different ways of creating brand awareness and generate admissions for the coaching institute.

Muse studied the existing brand literature and mechanisms which were in place to attract and retain students. It was discovered that Arihant Academy conducts several seminars to reach out to the students and to communicate to them the quality that it stands for and its offerings. The academy also distributes its literature in the form of brochures among the students. These brochures serve as the communication mechanism between the academy and the parents. Muse devised different ways in which both the seminars and the literature could be capitalized upon and tapped into for a greater impact and better results. 

First, the team redesigned the academy’s brochure with the intention of:

Muse developed the theme of "We Bring you Close to Future" to represent the the futuristic teaching technology of Arihant Academy. The brochure was supposed to be designed for Science Section. Science is about the Future, about what is next and about new inventions. Hence, Muse designed the brochure by compiling the future with Arihant Academy's processes.

The same impact was then carried further into the family space of the students in the form of the brochures that followed the students towards their homes.

Muse thus developed, designed and executed the interactive installation and promise-oriented message in a way that helped build and travel positive brand image:

Muse helped Arihant Academy formulate, convey and spread its message within crucial time when admission season had just started. Thus, enabling the client to reap the benefits of a good creative strategy towards its advantage.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

We Launched a new Melamine-ware Brand Dinewell with Juhi Chawla

There are few things more exciting than working with something fresh like a new brand. There is no history to juggle with, neither past success nor mistakes. As a series of products in the range of crockery and dinnerware, Dinewell had to be visualized right from the scratch. It’s this envisioning of a new name that came as a central part of the brief to Muse. Dinewell is one of the leading manufacturers of Melamine Decorative Trays and Tableware in India. The stylish products have unique and exclusive designs. Dinewell products are made from 100% food grade melamine. With their four different categories like Horeca, Dinnerware, Coordinates and Trays, Dinewell fits elegant on various occasions and festivals.

As a new brand, Dinewell offers a new space for conceptualizing at all levels - thinking, designing, disseminating the values that can be expected of the brand to fulfill, and executing the entire campaign. The brief was to introduce the brand in perhaps what is one of the most common categories of everyday usage, to position it in terms of exclusivity and promise of quality.

Muse strategized the launch of Dinewell by roping in Juhi Chawla as the brand ambassador. She, among all the celebrities, was chosen so as to communicate the brand’s authenticity and quality. Juhi, as an adored personality, brings in an element of personal assurance, exclusive range, wider reach and a quotient of like ability. She is famous, and her charm travels easily across classes. As someone with a family, she is a perfect feminine presence.

The first step was to organize a comprehensive photo-shoot showcasing Dinewell product range in all its contexts – home, restaurant and catering. Muse visualized and actualized the entire photo shoot with the photographer, the art director, the fashion designer and the stylist. The intensive brainstorming and planning sessions led to a fine execution and an output of elegant range of photographs that strike the right chord with the consumer. The photographs have been transformed into brand literature in the form of creatives like brochures, catalogues, exhibition branding, print ads, hoardings and packaging. The creatives project required attributes: beauty, quality and exclusivity.

Muse has thus planned and executed an entire campaign with a simple idea of leveraging on celeb potential of the right kind. The brand would be instantly recognized and would have no difficulty in being registered in the minds of consumers. The strategy of using a brand ambassador has worked very well. It has moved quickly through the dealership channels. The brand’s set up at various exhibitions has received a huge number of footfalls. It has had no issues in being accepted as a promise of quality. And Chawla’s presence has been able to win those crucial factors of loyalty and trust. It hasn't received any kind of incredulity or hesitation towards its quality. Muse’s efforts have thus converted the brand Dinewell into a promise. 

Saturday 22 February 2014

Advertising Case Study of Political Campaign developed by Muse


Political Campaign Developed for Member of Parliament Dr. Sanjeev Naik to communicate about the progress done by Dr. Sanjeev Naik in his constituencies during his tenure, his future plans for his constituencies and his commitment towards the development plans.

Campaign Goals:To create awareness about the developments carried out by Dr. Sanjeev Naik in his constituencies in his last tenure with respect to infrastructure, health, education, sports and cultural initiatives.To motivate the masses to join the next phase growth and development initiatives planned by Dr. Sanjeev Naik for their areaTo help connect the masses with the vision of Dr. Sanjeev Naik towards developing their constituencies


      a. Research:Muse conducted research on the background and work profile of Dr. Sanjeev Naik. His work is spread across the constituencies of Navi Mumbai, Thane city & Mira Bhayandar. These constituencies are considered as Mumbai’s best developed and well planned areas. Under the leadership of Dr. Sanjeev Naik, these constituencies has achieved good governance, well planned infrastructure, cost effective lifestyle, health, education and recreation facilities.

      b. Strategy & Planning:Muse developed a strong communication strategy to establish Dr. Sanjeev Naik as ‘the face of development’ in each of his constituencies. The campaign was devised integrating his past developmental milestones along with his future vision for his constituencies. Muse developed the concept ‘Wada Bhi Irada Bhi’ which celebrates his past laurels, while projecting him as a consistent leader who wishes to continue his growth story in the second term. With sound knowledge of nuances of the outdoor media, Muse successfully created a very user friendly and high recall value campaign which instantly assimilates with masses’ lingo.Amidst the brouhaha of other political campaigns across the city and availability of only outdoor media for the campaign, Muse had the tough task to draw mass attention towards the campaign. Muse devised the campaign across three phases.

     c. Campaign:

The Campaign ‘Wada Bhi Irada Bhi’ highlights the strong intent and consistency of the candidate towards his promise and deliverables. The campaign is an integration of series of thoughts, each being a campaign in itself. This series comprises of one creative each for progress, unity, brotherhood, happiness, revolution, cultural diversity, infrastructure and sports. Each of the above attributes is essential in building a city of future where different communities can systematically and comfortably flourish and prosper. This series of thought are put up as a ‘Teaser’ in front of the masses which was revealed in the second phase. The Teaser Campaign is a first in the history of political campaigns in the country.

Teaser Campaign: 


What began as a ‘Teaser’ to open the campaign soon started catching up as the Talk of the Town. The Teaser proved instrumental in driving mass engagement towards the campaign as it triggered curiosity and left masses asking for its unveil. The campaign was all encompassing as it involved professionals, youth, auto drivers, hawkers, commuters, housewives. With the campaign “Wada Bhi Irada Bhi”, Dr. Sanjeev Naik became household name within the target audience.

Teaser Unveil:

Tuesday 31 December 2013

Raise Your Voice...Women


The Television Commercial Spots for Officer's Choice Blue seems contemporary remake of the hackneyed Hero rescues Heroine plot. The films supposedly urge only men (not women) to Raise their Voice against atrocities committed against women while women conveniently tolerate them without showing any offense forget putting up a fight.

Nothing can get more regressive than showing two emancipated women, one a corporate woman and other a suave modern woman becoming victims to violence and harassment just to make a male, a hero. These two women could have Raised Their Voice and easily taken control of the situation especially in the setting they have shown to be; a restaurant & an office, both have enough public to support them in case they want one. Out of the huge crowd setting, why only a single male is shown to resist the atrocities, why a female isn’t shown with the same poise?  

Can such an ad proclaim that it is made to reduce atrocities against women when it explicitly encourages the same?

If fairness creams could be attacked under the pretext of encouraging racial discrimination, such films should be condemned for promoting gender discrimination. As they portray women as weak creatures who are dependent on others (in this case, males) and attribute strength and power to the male dominion.

Without delving into the discussions on whether these films will be able to position the brand within its Target Audience, I would like to conclude with one message that as long as women are made to depend upon only external factors like system, police, officers, men to protect their sovereignty without Raising their own Voice, the atrocities against them are going to amplify without having a choice.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Painting becomes Brand Identity for Padma Binani Foundation

Padma Binani Foundation, the cultural and social wing of Braj Binani Group approached Muse for Creative Development & Branding of their annual event, Vatysalya Awards. The brief consisted of developing concept theme, event branding, creative event merchandising, collaterals, invitations and giveways for Vatsalya Awards which gives awards and acknowledges regional language writers of children literature.

Muse Approach:

Muse is always excited to work for projects with social and cultural relevance. The Padma Binani Foundation strives to create a widespread awareness of our rich cultural heritage and endeavors to bring Indian cultural heritage closer to the younger minds.

After one to one interaction sessions with the team members and advisory board of the Foundation and having researched their past work, Muse suggested to develop a concept that will give a comprehensive view of the Foundation’s mission and activities. The Padma Binani Foundation has established three bodies - Vatsalya, Akshar and Suranjali to achieve its objectives to make notable contributions in the fields of education, literature, the fine arts and music. Muse suggested that branding exclusively only one of the three wings of foundation, in this case Vatsalya will not be able to create the desired brand identity of the same. The three bodies though catering to different elements of the society and culture (literature and music) share a common core essence, which is the vision of the Foundation.  Hence, Muse proposed to develop an exclusive painting which will not only encompasses all the aspects of the Foundation but will give a unique identity to each of the Foundation’s bodies. The painting will visually journey through the core values and goals of the Foundation.  The proposal was welcomed by the Foundation with hope and excitement. 

Decoding the Elements of the Painting 

The concept of developing a Painting for The Padma Binani Foundation was envisioned and executed by Manoj Maurya, Director, Muse Advertising. Says Manoj, “It was a challenging task for me as it is difficult to segregate a part from the whole, without disintegrating the whole. It is just like human beings and the universe; though identifiable as separate persons, we are fully connected parts of the larger physical world."

In order for me to create a piece of art, I need to be completely convinced with the ideologies and the values. I started thoroughly researching the goals of each of the bodies of the Foundation. The first arm- Vatsalya has projects that are child-centric and are envisioned as conduits to knowledge for young and impressionable minds. On personal front, I been working towards propagation of importance of knowledge and the same has been one of the core defining values of my being. For me knowledge is the light, (Tamso ma Jyotirgamaya). The potential of this light to create positive impressions is very high when the mind is young and raw. Hence, I have used the raw earthen effect with footprints which gradually turn into light with a small twig. Any seed to reap requires fertile soil, water and light. In case of young minds, they require love, knowledge and encouragement which Vatsalya provides.

As another part of the whole, Akshar as the publishing arm of the Padma Binani Foundation continues to enrich the future of children with Indian literature in all the major languages of India. Well equipped with the knowledge, the twig develops into beautiful well spread branches.

Since Suranjali, the musical wing of the Padma Binani Foundation was conceived by Smt. Padma Binani, in fond remembrance of  late Shri G.D. Binani, I was driven to use reds for this section. It not only represents fondness but music as way to enlighten soul finds perfect resonance with this color scheme. By this time, the branches have well grown into a wonderful tree which is capable of giving love and warmth to the society.”

The painting summarizes the goals of the Foundation and visually depicts the positive outcome that the Foundation is headed towards.

Adaptations of the painting:

1. Brochure
The Foundation could easily assimilate itself with the painting and decided to adopt the painting as its Brand Identity. The Foundation was given the rights for adaptations into print and electronic media. Muse Advertising designed a 24 pages brochure for the event. The brochure talks about the Foundation and Vatsalya Awards. The scope of work for the brochure consisted of concept, design, content writing and illustrations.

Muse suggested development of an illustration and copy for each for the three bodies- Vatsalya, Akshar and Suranjali in order to instantly communicate their objectives directly to the masses.

2. Invitation Cards
The invitation was as Indian and exotic as the event and its target audience consisted of political class, community leaders, literary stalwarts and dignitaries. The Invitation was given the shape of a flower whose each petal carries an important announcement of the event. Along with the Invitation Card, we designed a personalized letter from Shri. Padma Binani inviting the guests to be a part of the event.

3. Event Backdrops
The Vatsalya Award 2008 was given to the eminent Marathi writer Prof. Shri. Anant Bhave at a glittering function organized at Taj President, Mumbai. The function was presided over by Shri Ashok Chavan, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and other eminent guests were Shri. Dilip Walse Patil and Shri. Nana Chudasama. At this event a music album for children titled ‘Nanhi Kiran’ and a book ‘Bharat Darshan’ were released in the scope of Suranjali and Akshar respectively.

4. Event Give Aways for the Dignitaries
The Give Aways in the form of the music album titled ‘Nanhi Kiran’, the book ‘Bharat Darshan’, event brochure and other event merchandising were presented to the guests in the form of an exclusive customized box made for the event.

5.Website & Social Media
The official website of the Foundation and its social media perfectly synched with the Foundation’s branding.