Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No mafia

I don’t play Mafia wars. Not anymore. I couldn’t play Farmville. Or Fishville, or Vampires, or any of those Zynga games that are now hobbies of so many people on Facebook. I have nothing against them actually. It’s just that after a while all of them are pretty repetitive and predictable. And the bigger reason – I am not one of those FFs (Facebook freaks) who always have to stay online just so that they can catch every single status update (A remote acquaintance just changed from blue to red underwear – and of course, the whole world needs to know about it).

For these super-frequent flyers, these games are necessary. A must-have time-pass while you eagerly wait for something to happen (your friend needs at least a few seconds to change the underwear, right?). It’s now the lifeline of so many. They wouldn’t know if their mother fell unconscious in the next room, but the status of underwear across a thousand miles – now that’s a super critical piece of information.

And to fill up the gap, you can become the Mafia in multiple cities and do the same things over and over and over and over again… Or feed the fish somewhere, or have cows and sheep all over the desktop and gloat on it. Or suck the blood off vampires. And by the time I am done writing this, there would have been a million underwear status updates. Please refresh…

Redelivering. High performance.

It was a wise thing to do certainly. After all, when your brand ambassador is busy delivering all other kinds of “performances” with steadily changing “clients”, you’ve got to move on. And what astonishing performances they were. 18 at the last count. Couldn’t stay away from the magic number of golf, I guess. And they say it’s now 19. Achieving higher goals no doubt.

To have elephants and deer and trees conveying the same message is much safer. For one, you break away from the whole concept of brand ambassador entirely. After all, you don’t know what antics might these special people be up to. They are after all, still human beings. It’s ironical that perhaps only animals are the ones who are not prone to animal instincts these days.

Two, your costs go down drastically. Only paying the animal trainers perhaps; with no more multi-million dollar deals down the 18 holes. And they are easier to capture on film as well. Easy flowing, natural movements, no pretensions. None required. Because with the more evolved two-legged species, it’s always a  case of who is wearing a better mask.

And no tantrums, no where’s-my-one-third-cranberry-and-two-third-pomengrate-juice expectations, no touch-ups, no sunscreens, no mascara, no brushes, no lip-gloss, no nothing.

Now would you say that that’s what all marketing teams should be thinking? Can’t be. If you are selling a beauty soap, you need an Aishwarya or Priyanka to get the impact. Can’t show animals there really. Even though some of them are more good-looking. Same is true if you sell branded clothes for that matter. You can’t have peacocks wearing Reid & Taylor suits. A Gandalf-like Amitabh is your best bet.

So here’s the moral of the story – If your brand can do without a human face/body to convey the message, then it might be worthwhile taking that route. The Zoo-zoo is another wonderful success story. Same principles apply there as well. It’s a phone service. And if you can avoid associating a personality trait to your brand, then that’s your solution. No doubt humans are more easily identifiable with personality traits and that’s where the strength of that technique lies. And that’s what they were trying with Woods.  Though unfortunately, that’s where lies it’s biggest weakness as well.

The “animal” cure is good, but lesson for others – prevention is still a better strategy.