"Mind Your Language"

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A strategic provocation by wolfzhowl strategic behaviour & brand consultancy on the need for regional-connect in advertising in a country like India.

Ho a simple word like glamorous can lead to so much of mis-interpretation and why there is a need for more strategic efforts in understanding the local consumer context especially in the area of marketing communication.

Brands & brand custodians need to look a lot more closely at regional-connect & context.

It was not like yesteryears where only the metro/tier-1 cities of India were primary consumers. There is fortune at the bottom of the pyramid and there is the mass market which is the reality.

But even more so, for similar category of consumers - the socio-cultural context is so different, that if you take your consumer for granted your marketing communication efforts will be rendered impotent!

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"Mind Your Language"

  1. 1. "Mind  Your  Language”:    a  strategic  provocation  by  wolfzhowl  strategic  behaviour  &  brand   instigation  consultancy.     Simply  Google  the  amount  of  languages  that  are  palpably  employed  on  an   everyday  basis  in  India.     Mr.  Anant  Rangaswami  in  his  1st  book  (elephants  in  the  room:   http://www.firstpost.com/ebook_download.php?id=80  )  opined  about  lack  of   "regional-­‐connect"  in  advertising  and  how  the  lack  of  relevant     re-­‐interpretation  of  the  thought  in  the  local  language  alienates  people.     In  my  immersions  with  people  as  consumers  in  #stratalogues,  I  have  videos  of   Andhraites  finding  most  of  the  ads  "dubbed",  "non-­‐conversational",  "non-­‐ contextual"  and  most  of  the  times  only  distantly  relatable.     Some  Andhraites  even  find  the  ads  (TVCs  mainly)  laughable  and  funny.     Hey!  There  is  quite  a  lot  of  popularity  for  all  the  south-­‐films  dubbed  into  Hindi...   but  they  are  aired  only  in  the  afternoon,  ever  wonder  why?  Would  the  north   population  ever  replace  Bollywood  cinema  with  dubbed  south  cinema  at  9pm?!   Would  it  be  aired  on  prime  time  on  a  Friday,  Saturday  or  Sunday?!.     Yes!  Just  like  the  African  American  culture  became  popular  amongst  the   Caucasian  population  in  the  USA,  there  seems  to  be  a  south  culture  finding  an   MTV'isque  &  ghetto'ish  popularity  in  Bollywood  (Quick  Gun  Murguan,  Ready,   Rowdy  Rathore,  Chennai  Express  and  Rambo  Rajkumar  etc;).       From  Mehmood'isque  slapstick  portrayal  of  the  south'ies,  "Southern  Masala"  has   come  a  long  way.  But  if  you  pause  &  notice  the  most  successful  Bollywood   movies’  based  on  South  culture,  which  have  done  well,  all  of  them  are  originals.   They  have  been  re-­‐interpreted  in  the  right  context  and  enough  creative  pains   have  been  taken  to  either  infuse  elements  of  South  into  mainstream  popularity   or  placing  a  northerner  amidst  a  southern  setting  and  creating  a  relevant  context   for  viewers.     Whether  Dhoni's  ads  for  Chennai  Super  Kings  or  Virat's  ads  done  in  a  Tamilian   context  -­‐  it  was  like  an  ode  being  paid  to  the  70mm,  melodramatic  aspect  of   Southern  &  Tamilian  culture.  Again  well  thought  through  and  it  is  not  the  same   as  mindlessly  "dubbing"  originally  thought  in  English/Hindi  TVC's  into  local   languages.     Coming  back  to  Mr.  Rangaswami's  point  in  his  first  book,  if  advertising  is  all   about  creating  consumer-­‐connect  for  a  brand,  then  we  are  miserably  failing  most   of  the  times  while  connecting  with  people  of  other  languages  (with  the  exception   of  a  hutch  pug  ad  or  har  ek  friend  zaroori  hota  hai  -­‐  which  is  about  a  universal   human  emotions  -­‐  it  is  semiotics  in  motion  that  any  &  every  human  being   connects  with).  The  problem  is  with  the  other  70%  of  the  ads  that  actually  don’t   connect  &  infact  alienate  and  are  a  waste  of  money!  
  2. 2.   For  example,  let's  look  at  a  simple  word  "glamorous".  In  an  urban/Mumbai-­‐Delhi   context  (&  I  give  it  to  you  even  parts  of  Hyderabad  -­‐  but  not  even  in  a   Vijayawada,  Vishakhapatnam  etc;)  the  context  in  which  "glamorous"  is  used  or   the  meaning  of  the  word  is  so  very  different.      "Entertainment"  is  an  FB  page,  which  has  more  than  80,000  FB  followers  and   most  of  its  "tollywood"  based  posts  get  50/60  to  300+  likes  and  on  an  average   10+  comments  (at  the  low/mid-­‐end).  It  keeps  posting  "tollywood  gossip"  &  has   an  avid  consumer  base  (these  are  stats  some  of  the  best  brands  can  also  not   boast  of).     Check  this  link  from  them  and  please  for  yourself  analyze  the  meaning  &  context   of  the  simple  word  "glamorous"!!       http://www.nthwall.com/te/n33/2013-­‐08-­‐ 25/featurednews/Youngheroesstrongrecommendationstohotheroine!.php           Glamorous  =  a  subtle  (southern  polite)  way  of  saying  exposing  (skin  show).     Now  imagine  a  dubbed  TVC,  which  chooses  to  convert  the  ad  thought  in  "Hindi"   and  keep  it  in  a  "Tinglish  =  Telugu  +  English"  manner.      
  3. 3. Imagine  the  TVC  is  for  a  brand  like  "rejoice"  shampoo  or  another  brand   addressed  to  women  in  the  heartlands...do  you  really  think  a  woman  would  buy   that  product  with  you  saying  "glamorous  ka  unda  daaniki"  (to  stay  glamorous)?!.     And  who  are  our  contextual-­‐conversational  custodians  while  "dubbing",   "translating"  or  "trans-­‐creating"….  the  language  re-­‐writers  who  are  as  much   Mumbaikars  as  we  are?!       "Mein  meri  bhi  baat  nahin  sunta  hun  or  something  like  that"  etc;  are  mainstream   dialogues  beautifully  leveraged  by  advertisers/agencies/creative-­‐folk  at  times.   But  where  is  "naakoka  tikkundi,  daani  koka  lekkundi"  (  I  have  certain  madness  &   I  have  certain  calculation/measurement  for  it)  punched  by  Power  Star  Pawan   Kalyan  being  leveraged  in  advertising?.  Sadly  several  opportunities  are  being   missed!     Certain  categories  can  work  on  universal,  common  aspirations.  Certain   categories  simply  do  not!.  So  let's  not  aim  to  do  Cannes  or  urban  all  the  time  -­‐   cause  it  does  not  simply  work!  It  simply  is  not  relevant!  Let's  stop  looking  at   every  piece  of  creative  from  what  we  want  to  create  only  and  filter  in  the  context   and  the  connect.       Till  then  "think  context"  before  you  "dub"!!       Wolf-­‐out     @wolfzhowl     http://www.slideshare.net/ChallapalliKalyanRam/edit_my_uploads     https://www.facebook.com/Wolfzhowl.Strat     http://in.linkedin.com/in/challapallikalyan/                

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