Positioning The 5th 'P' of Marketing ?


By
Siva Prakash C S
S2 MBA
Institute of Management in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram
E-mail:
cs_renju@yahoo.com
 


Have you noticed lately that popular characters on TV soaps are becoming more brand conscious on screen? This growing trend is not a result of the demand of the story but an innovative, clever and paid form of promoting a brand (like an ad) in a subtle manner.

Termed as 'brand placement in TV content' or 'in-serial advertising', it is now an important tool for marketers to push their brands.  Marketers spend more than Rs. 4,500 crore annually on advertising on TV alone to promote their brands. But during commercial breaks, viewers either take their eyes away from the idiot box or start channel surfing.  brand placement in TV programmes ensures that viewers don't miss out on the brand promotions. And it also lends credibility to the brand as popular TV characters are shown endorsing the brand. No wonder it has grown to a Rs. 400 crore industry in the year 2004, as per TAM India estimate.

Sony Entertainment leads the race for the maximum number of brand placements in programming. The channel has already placed more than two dozen brands in its driver show "Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin" so far. The film Hum Tum, Royal Challenge, Singapore Tourism, Maruti Zen, Samsung mobile, CRY and ASMI jewellery are some of the brands, which were effectively, weaved in the story. And with the central character, Jassi, transforming from an ugly duckling to a beautiful, smart damsel, a host of other brands including Kaya Skin Clinic, Pantene shampoo, VLCC, Bausch & Lomb and Lehar Kurkure have been placed in the story.

In-serial placements are a powerful tool when used intelligently as it works both for the marketer and the broadcaster. Also, it is yet another way for brands to interact with consumers. There can be no better way of getting across to an audience than having your brand message seamlessly integrated into a popular story line. Besides Jassi, Sony has used product placement in its other shows also. The channel's highly successful talent show "Indian Idol" showcased leading brands including Nokia, Pepsi, ICICI Bank and Heads & Shoulders among others. Not to be left behind, STAR Plus featured Cadbury chocolate frequently in its special programme on New Year's Eve last December. Samsung mobile in "Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand" and Pepsi in "Remix" (on Star One) are some other examples of brand placements in content STAR channels. Hoga Chand" and Pepsi in "Remix" (on Star One) are some other examples of brand placements in content STAR channels. For the launch campaign of Lux's new variant Lux Orchid, the company used brand promotion weaved into the story of Star Plus' 'Kaahin Toh Hoga'. The central female character was seen using and buying the brand and becoming 'Lux Orchid Queen' which connected perfectly with Lux's tag line 'Mujh Mein Star Jagaye' for 12 episodes. The exercise got the brand unprecedented mileage which would have been difficult through conventional advertising alone. The growing popularity of in-programme promos could be gauged from the fact that it made up 33% of the total advertising time on Tango, a health programme on STAR Plus, as per TAM. Zoom channel has also tied up with number of brands for content placements. One can see the anchor Shonali Nagrani drinking Georgia Gold coffee in "Popkorn" or Pepsi products in "Mirchi Top 20" hosted by Yana Gupta .

Despite all the hype, one must be prudent before investing in brand placements. One of the most famous misconceptions is that product placement works out cheaper, and one is actually holding the wrong end of the stick, if one buys product placements for the reason of cost savings alone. It is possible to get fooled if you just look at the input costs, but we need to examine the outputs rather than the inputs here. And it is far more important to do that here than say for mass media because mass media is something that is in use for a long time and there is a huge amount of accumulated learning's where as product placements as a significant portion is rather new and ill-understood." Companies should deeply understand customers and position brands in such a way that they would intersect with customers in their daily lives.

Companies should deeply understand customers and position brands in such a way that they would intersect with customers in their daily lives, marketing expert and CEO of Vivaldi Partners, Dr. Erich Joachimsthaler say. While positioning brands, companies should also develop strategies to capture more share of customers' life. Some of the world's most successful brands including Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Harley Davidson and Master Card have adopted different strategies to create their own identities but all these brands understood their customers in context. This has helped these multi-billion brands to gain higher market share for their products. Nike, in fact, becomes a billion dollar brand, without spending a single dollar on advertising. So the brand positioning very important than Advertising to penetrate into the market.
 


Siva Prakash C S
S2 MBA
Institute of Management in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram
E-mail:
cs_renju@yahoo.com
 

Source : E-mail April 6, 2005

 
 
 

 

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