Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Jan-Feb 2012

Beyond banners

Published in Jan-Feb 2012
A review of the latest advertising campaigns.

No we are not going to talk about Imran Khan, for that you have to read your digital news feed. Although, if we were to take Imran as a brand and like any brand team revisit his campaign KPIs, he is not doing badly in terms of ‘likes’ and his TOM is increasing day by day, but does it help achieve the overall business objective of the brand?

I had planned to bring the digital revolution to Pakistan, where campaigns would focus on smartphones, GPS would be the key element, YouTube videos would go viral, Twitter would start countless conversations, Facebook would make them look great on everyone’s profile, and Google+… well I am still not sure about that one, but you get my drift. And then a friend of mine shared some stats with me and my perfect digital world came to an abrupt halt… over 50% of our telecom subscribing population is unable to send text messages, over 150 million are not online, yet his brand spends approximately seven million rupees a month on web banners. Naturally I was interested in those seven million. So I thought about it and turned those stats upside down. There is a phone in at least 60 million pockets, 20 million plus people are online and Facebook is fast becoming the social platform of opinion leaders. So yes, seven million makes sense, but the sad thing is that the money goes mostly to banners.

However, digital has certainly evolved; I thought while doing this review that there would be a lot of campaigns to criticise. To my surprise, brands are testing new stuff. A lot of viral content is being generated, some brands are having serious conversations on Twitter and multiple Facebook pages are popping up. However, brands are aimlessly chasing fans with no clear objective set for their digital strategy. In fact, apart from the word digital, there is no integration in the overall marketing mix. Most brands are focusing on Facebook with a standard invitation to play and win or like and win.

Here are a few campaigns I thought stood out. I cannot help but be nice to all of them, as their digital agencies managed to sell these to their clients and I am still trying to sell mine.

BRAND: Pepsi

Platform: YouTube and Facebook

Effectiveness: Remember Afridi celebrating his birthday and Shoaib and Razzaq playing cricket at an airport? And the kis nay kaha tha Pepsi per panch ruppay kum karo thematic? They were big hits on social media and went viral to an extent well beyond the brand team’s expectations. Although I think that the going viral bit was not intentional, it just happened and created enough user-generated content to encourage the brand and the agency to take ownership of the result. (I would have done the same.) Attention catching work is also being done on the Pepsi Pakistan Facebook page, a simple ‘Captions Competition’; to win, all you need to is to get 20 people to like your caption! Instantly shared!

Verdict: We can either sit and say it is too early, or start to experiment. There is nothing better than free media.

BRAND: Zong

Platform: Facebook and Twitter

Effectiveness: There is a lot going on. Let’s start with the Manchester United SIM offer. There is nothing fancy about the page that will attract traffic, but they have followed a simple rule, which is to engage the audience in a conversation (and it doesn’t get any better than that if you can start chatting with your audience). They don’t have a dedicated ManU-Zong page, so by default cricket is also part of their update, which includes predicting scores, discussing games and giving away prizes. During their last M9 launch they did something simple and exciting, which was to post a re-charge code every hour and the first person to redeem it got to keep the balance. Now even the M9 page is catering to Manchester United; however they are posting exactly the same stuff with a delay of one second. Their Twitter contest encourages people to join and retweet ‘Zongers’ to win weekly prizes. However, I don’t think they garnered the followers and conversations they were aiming at.

Verdict: Confused. A lot of the conversation is going to waste due to lack of a simpler digital strategy.

BRAND: Nescafé

Platform: Facebook

Effectiveness: Nescafé’s Hum hain jawaan is not a page looking for fans only; it is a perfect example of how to engage audiences by using their own content. This fan page comes with a nice user-friendly app, which encourages young people to share their stories, using video or a comic strip toolkit. The greatness of the campaign is it keeps the big idea intact across all the media, while a well-thought digital execution delivers the results.

Verdict: Campaigns like these will set a benchmark for other brands to follow on social media.

BRAND: Karachi Snob

Platform: Website

Effectiveness: They don’t use any other platform except for a group page on Facebook. The portal focuses on what is going on in the metros of Pakistan, providing comprehensive listings in terms of shopping and food options. In fact, a desi version of a ‘time out’ guide. The site has become so effective that any small café or small business that starts up feels the need to have its listing on Karachi Snob. The site is now promoting a membership card which will keep audiences engaged. The only thing missing is dialogue; almost all the reviews were posted by the owners of the various businesses listed and none by their customers.

Verdict: A brilliant idea, but lacks engagement. Maybe a mobile app or a simple text address delivery will give them an edge.

BRAND: Wateen

Platform: Facebook

Effectiveness: An interesting app that offers a trip to infinity and beyond. All you need to do is capture (image or video) an emotion of your choice and upload it. I like the simplicity of this app. Wateen is not trying to sell a dream destination, but it makes you discover Pakistan. All they want you to do is express yourself and if the brand can get this from their followers, Jo chaho is spot on.

Verdict: Keep it simple and catchy!

Khizar Hayat Rizvi works for an advertising agency in Pakistan. khizar.hayat@gmail.com