The Marketing Magazine Vol. 1 Issue 1
The man who combined
two of our passions
The four P’s and the big B Marketing guru: Kevin Keller
The disruptive marketer Ad Buzz
ADS ON THE MOVE:
BRANDWAGON: It gives us immense pleasure to launch the first ever Marketing Magazine ‘Master
P’s’ of IIFT’s Kolkata campus. Our objective is not only to understand the 4Ps but
to go beyond them. Creativity is everywhere from Dabbawallas to Dell, but a plat-
Coordinators: form is needed to unleash creativity and encourage innovativeness. That is where
‘Master P’s’ comes into the picture. It is a platform for all the creative minds to ex-
press their ideas.
Gaurav Sharma My special thanks to the Gaurav and Devesh, the co-coordinators of
‘Brandwagon’: The Marketing club at IIFT, for their invaluable contribution
throughout the magazine. I would also like to appreciate the creativity of Wencesl
in designing the magazine to give it such a wonderful and attractive form.
Our issue starts with Ashwini Verma’s analysis of celebrity endorsement by taking
Editor: Amitabh Bachchan as an example. Abhishek authors our cover story about Kerry
Suresh Kr. Varisetty Packer who combined cricket with Marketing. Pankaj explains us how creativity
can make a difference in advertisements through Volkswagen’s ad campaigns.
Prabhash joins the group of people who vehemently opposes the SUVs through
his article ‘Disruptive Marketer’. It has always been an argument on exactly how
Design & Layout: many P’s are relevant to Marketing. Gaurav Verma adds 2 more P’s to profes-
Wencesl Khyllep sional services in his article: ‘Starting a Professional Services Brand’. Rajat Jain
starts his series on the worst ever branding mistakes of all times with the example
of ‘Ford Edsel’ in this issue. As a part of our commitment to exploring the different
kind of Marketing practices we have ‘Herd Instincts’ from Jitin and ‘Drip Marketing’
from Niharika. Ajay chooses Kevin Keller as the featured Marketing guru for this
issue. Without advertisements, Marketing will never be complete in itself. Rishi in
his ‘Ad Analysis’ categorizes 3 ads as good, average and poor. Gaurav Pundlik
argues the relevance of German made automobiles. Finally we felt that some
brands become a part and parcel of our lives. Nike is one such brand. Hence we
incorporated the periodical events of Nike and its logo history.
We would like to thank all the contributors for their untiring efforts in helping us
come out with this issue.
The speciality of our Magazine is the ‘Advertisement Challenge’ where the reader
is given a series of pictures and would be required to make sense out them and
create his/her own advertisement. Apart from all things, we lighten our reader’s
hearts with our cartoons and trivia.
We believe in constant improvement and continuous learning. We will appreciate
your feedback to be sent to email@example.com for the improvement of
For internal circulation only. Not for commercial purposes
the 4 P’s and the big B 4
(ashwini talks about the man’s market-
herd marketing 6
made in germany??? 8
the nike story 11
(they did it……..and how?)
starting a professional services
guru of the month: Kevin keller
(from 4 P’s to 6 P’s….the more the mer-
interesting re(ad)s 23
mar(cric)keting 16 drip marketing 25
ads on the move 18 ad buzz 27
(an advertising game) (a review of 3 of the latest ads by rishi)
the disruptive marketer 19 off the mark 29
(love for SUV’s=disdain for mankind??) (everything wrong about the Ford Edsel)
The 4 P’s & the big B
Hero-worshipping, whether it be cricket or bolly- Film stars have been the major sufferers. Latest
wood, has been a trend that the current genera- example could be the replacement of Virender
tion shares with its grandfather’s generation. Sehwag by Salman Khan for the endorsement
Successful marketers have always tapped the of Mayur Suitings.
popularity of such ‘stars’. The basic premise in
Amitabh Bachchan is an exception to this nor-
getting a celebrity to endorse a product is that the
mal life cycle of a celebrity in terms of endorse-
instant recognition provided by the celebrity cuts
ments. An immensely successful actor of more
through the clutter. Amidst an overload of adver-
than three-and-a-half decades in the Hindi film
tising, this feature guarantees an advertisement's
industry, a failed politician, a stumbling busi-
ability to stand out and generate awareness. If
nessman and anchor of just one TV programme
there is a fit between the personality of the celeb-
KBC- his is a unique combination. It is note-
rity and the brand characteristics, top-of-the-
worthy that during the first two-and-a-half dec-
mind recall is also ensured. If the endorser en-
ades of his acting career in more than a 100
joys wide popularity among different geographic
films, he never endorsed any product.
and demographic segments, so much the better.
What set him apart from others and drew a host
But a possible drawback of using celebrity en-
of marketers to leverage his personality was his
dorsements is the attachment of the brand with
popularity across the length and breadth of In-
their career or even personal life. Cricketers and
dia, cutting across the barriers of age, income,
region and language.
One of his strengths was his unblemished per-
sonality. As an endorser stakes his reputation
and credibility in endorsing products, the
cleaner the track record the greater the trustwor-
thiness. This aspect was exploited by Cadbury's
well for a come-back for dairy milk. Nerolac
Paints was another brand that leveraged his
credibility by having him assure the audience,
`Hum keh rahe hain' in its commercials.
When Eveready's storyboard for its torch-
light ‘Jeevan Sathi’ revolved around the
PAGE 5 BRANDWAGON
product as a dowry item, Ami- The endorsement value gets marketers is - how to stretch
tabh put his foot down and re- eroded and the brands end up as such a widely leveraged person-
fused to endorse it. Respecting just another product among the ality? How does one ensure that
his feelings and recognizing many endorsed and do not stand the enormous amounts invested
the advertisement's limita- apart. The question is, how many in this expensive brand ambassa-
tions, Eveready shelved it. In- product categories can his per- dor are well utilized? There's no
stances such as this reinforce sonality traits traverse? Market- stopping his endorsements, how-
his credibility and strengthen ers now face a dilemma in ex- ever. He is expected to sign
his brand value. ploiting Amitabh's persona fur- deals worth Rs 30 crore to Rs 50
The campaigns for Pulse Polio, ther. A wide range of emotions crore over the next couple of
Unicef and People for the Ethi- such as humor and anger have years.
cal Treatment of Animals been exploited from his acting
(PETA) featured him promi- repertoire. The challenge for
nently to have a big impact on
The critical issues: To ‘B’ or ‘In this land of Vertically-
not to ‘B’ challenged, anyone who
His endorsements cost between stretches past 6 gets a shot to
Rs 5 crore and Rs 12 crore, be the king.’
which is very high and questions
are being raised about the returns
on having him as a celebrity. For multinationals
with deep pockets such as Pepsi, having Amitabh
as a brand ambassador and renewing the contract
may be affordable. But for others, the temptation
to use him as a one-off exercise is strong. For ex-
ample, ICICI did not renew its deal with Amitabh
after it expired in 2002.
Overexposure, however, is the major issue, with
Amitabh endorsing too many products. His face
has promoted a slew of products in categories as
diverse as beverages, paints, financial services,
garments, automobiles, stationery, food supple-
ments, personal care, real estate, batteries, televi-
sions, chocolates and jewellery. Moreover, he has
a `guest appearance' in P&G's commercial for its
detergent brand Tide (shot while filming
However, the enigma of his personality faces the
risk of being unraveled. Exclusivity can no longer
be associated with him. The audience gets con-
fused when the same celebrity plugs many brands.
Jitin Shanker Bhasin
Heard about “HERD” marketing? No it’s not just media environment: SMS and internet are built on
some esoteric marketing jargon which would our species inherent desire and need to interact with
dwindle away with time. It in fact has taken the others. Recognizing the herd instinct has important
world of marketing by a storm and is changing the consequences for the marketers. For a start, it ex-
way in which marketers can create need. plains why mass behaviour is so hard to change.
Marketers should be expert at changing mass-
behaviour and putting consumer at the heart should
Over the past 10 years or so cluster of cellophane be the raison d’ettre.
wrapped bunches of flowers seem to have
swamped Britain’s roadsides. It is a phenomenon One of the primary assumptions in herd marketing
that satirical magazine Private Eye has dubbed the is to look at marketing function as C2C rather than
“cellotaph” syndrome-the setting up of floral B2C. This means recognizing that the most impor-
shrines to the victims of traffic accidents. But how tant relationship is not between the company or
did these shrines start? brand and any given consumer, but between latter
and other individuals.
The acceptance of our herd nature is changing the
One line of explanation is that each flower is the
result of an independent decision based on some
cost benefit trade off or is driven by a desire to ex-
press an individual’s grief. This is what we assume
when we conduct marketing research: we ask indi-
vidual consumers what they do now, why, and
what they might do in future. We also work on the
basis that individuals decide what they do inde-
pendently of others and can tell us about it.
Almost everything of worth in our world including
the power we have over future of the planet comes
from this “herd nature” and our ability and passion
for social interaction and collaboration. The same
is true of the technologies that are reshaping the
PAGE 7 BRANDWAGON
way some media players are evaluating media match, you would also fail to reap benefits of
channel options. While most of the media world word-of-mouth (C2C) marketing in the latter
is getting excited about moving on from count- case.
ing audiences and weighting them according to We as marketers of tomorrow should focus on
their wallets, to counting them according to how the most influential customer, “the prized catch”
‘engaged’ they are with the medium. Global who holds greatest sway over the majority of his/
agencies such as NAKED have proposed that the her peer group. One should focus on the types
real currency of the media world should be the and sources of influence that shape customer be-
extent to which an audience passes messages on haviour both positively and negatively and think
to others: the “propagation value”. At the same about their opinions and actions and even more
time we as marketers of the future should also importantly your reactions to it!!
heed attention to the fact that different target au-
diences would serve as “marketers” to different
sections of the society. Marketer of a lifestyle
product would be better off to partner with
NDTV or STAR TV instead of DD to advertise
the products. Apart from the target-thrust mis-
A journalistic term coined by combining the words advertisements and editorial.
It denotes articles or features which are paid by advertisers. Usually items of this
category are commercial in nature and have little news value.
2. The Difference Between Optimism, Pessimism & Marketing
The Optimist says, "The glass is half full."
The Pessimist says, "The glass is half empty."
The Marketing Consultant says,
"Your glass needs re-sizing."
MADE IN GER
Our whole society is unimaginable without 1996, and the other surprisingly by deciding
automobiles. They have more become a part of to move into sport-utility vehicles (SUVs)
our mental culture than our physical culture. segment under the name of Cayenne. Equally
They carry such an emotional appeal that we radical was Porsche’s choice of locations to
sometimes do not stop from expressing our build these SUVs.
personalities through a particular liking of a While rival carmakers such as Ferrari, Aston
brand .It's true for everyone, and especially for Martin, Alfa Romeo, and Lamborghini have
those who base their been happy to
purchase decision and locate where la-
aspirations on choice bor costs are
than just price. When vs cheaper, Porsche
it’s the question of lux- erected a small
ury foreign brands we facility in Leip-
cannot neglect the likes zig in eastern
of Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, and Bentley. has much higher wages than Eastern Europe.
Sometimes in their quest for image building, Moreover, unlike BMW or Daimler-Benz, Por-
dilemma of selecting customer segments and sche did not move closer to the main U.S. mar-
attaining bottom-line, companies go for risky ket.
moves. And this all for keeping it “Made in Germany”.
Porsche is the case in point. But because of this “Made in Germany” tag ,
Almost a decade ago, Porsche found itself at the controversial Cayenne turned out to be Por-
such crossroads. Known for its classy sports sche's best-selling automobile ever as it really
cars, the firm had taken a hit in 1987 stock played off the idea of ‘what exactly Porsche
was and what it stood for‘.
market crash and suffered a great loss due to its
overdependence on the U.S. market.
The firm chose not one but two routes to bring Does Location really matter in a globalized
revival in sales and recover itself. One, by world?
launching a new two-seater, the Boxster in BMW made a decision to locate in Leipzig
PAGE 9 BRANDWAGON
world innovate, improve in competitiveness and
quality, how long will customers is willing to
pay brand premium based upon nationality of the
product. The quality differentials are also shrink-
ing over time in almost all product categories as
Japanese luxury car makers like Toyota, Nissan
have famously shown.
That's an issue justifiably worrying German
firms “How are they going to survive as a whole
Cayenne model launched in 2004 either through the name, quality, or particular
excellence in its price?" And Porsche is no ex-
BMW made a decision to locate in Leipzig
rather than go abroad for targeting cash rich cus-
tomers in eastern Germany and it built a plant Reinvention
that employed thousands of people and is a ma-
Porsche has been accomplishing a tedious task of
jor manufacturing site, while the Leipzig plant
reinventing itself between '93 and the present. In
for Porsche is much smaller and employed
a sense Porsche is incorporating Japanese pro-
around only 400 workers.
duction processes of lean manufacturing while
Naturally a question arises, Can products just be still producing German-made cars and maintain-
manufactured anywhere? One possible answer ing the German reputation for quality automo-
can be: Think about relative productivity costs. biles. For past 6-7 years, German workers have
In Germany in 2001, the labor costs were about been moderating their wage demands, allowing
25-26 Euros per hour. In the Czech Republic German firms to become more competitive vis-
they were about 4-6 Euros per hour. So it's quite à-vis other European countries. Improved pro-
dramatic and if you still end up producing in ductivity is helping unit labor costs in Germany
Germany there have to be huge productivity decline over time. While these are positive
level differences between Germany and Czech trends, the problem is that these “super-
Republic which actually was the case. successful luxury” machines are not creating
new jobs in Germany.
Appeal of National Products Moving its production to Central Europe from
Germany means paying low wage rates for
There must be some reason why Opel claims
skilled workers which in fact was the German
“The difference is German engineering”. Ger-
firm’s strategy in early part of 20th century. But
man companies, known for their craftsmanship,
the wages in those parts are rising very fast rela-
generally compete as niche producers, particu-
tive to rise in productivity levels negating the
larly those that manufacture high-quality goods
advantage of facility shift. So that is an issue for
that demand a premium price. In 2004-2005 Ger-
Porsche moving abroad. We shouldn't be looking
many became the number-one exporter of quality
at a static number (costs), but really should be
manufactured goods in the world, and its market
thinking about it more dynamically
share was around 10 Percent, surpassing that of
(environmental and social factors) over time.
the United States. As other firms around the
BRANDWAGON PAGE 10
Then, it's about brand cause of the long supply chains among parts sup-
If we ask “by moving into SUV market did Por- pliers”.
sche remain true to its brand”? Is Porsche brand
too much dependent on its German roots? Is Cay- In many ways, Porsche has unconsciously gone
enne Made in Germany or not? back to its roots. After leaving Mercedes, Ferdi-
The answer is: The Cayenne is clearly German- nand Porsche founded his own design firm in
designed and inspired. Only when you think of it 1931 with his son and his son-in-law, Anton
in terms of a pure manufacturing product Cay- Piech (the father of Ferdinand Piech of VW).
enne has invited some controversies because its In addition, Ferdinand Porsche also had Central
components were partially manufactured in European connection, since he was born in Bohe-
Volkswagen’s Slovakia plant. To stop these con- mia (now Vratislavice in the Czech Republic).
troversies, Porsche’s CEO Wiedeking shocked What then do we call Porsche, ‘Made in Ger-
the investment world by purchasing roughly a many’ or ‘Made in Central Europe’?
20% stake in VW. To defend himself and “Made
in Germany” brand, Wiedeking says “It's near
impossible to maintain 100% national brand be-
Jest in case
The nike story
Suresh Kr. Varisetty
NIKE, pronounced NI-KEY, is the winged god-
dess of victory according to Greek mythology. She
sat at the side of Zeus, the ruler of the Olympic
pantheon, in Olympus. A mystical presence, sym-
bolizing victorious encounters, NIKE presided SWOOSH was introduced.....the rest is history!
(from Nike Consumer Affairs packet, 1996)
over history's earliest battlefields. A Greek would
say, "When we go to battle and win, we say it is
NIKE." Synonymous with honored conquest, History
NIKE is the twentieth century footwear that lifts
The Nike athletic machine began as a small dis-
the world's greatest athletes to new levels of mas- tributing outfit located in the trunk of Phil Knight's
tery and achievement. The NIKE 'swoosh' embod- car. From these rather inauspicious beginnings,
ies the spirit of the winged goddess who inspired Knight's brainchild grew to become the shoe and
the most courageous and chivalrous warriors at the athletic company that would come to define many
dawn of civilization. (from Nike Consumer Affairs aspects of popular culture and myriad varieties of
packet, 1996) 'cool.'
Nike emanated from two sources: Bill Bowerman's
quest for lighter, more durable racing shoes for his
Oregon runners, and Knight's search for a way to
The SWOOSH logo is a graphic make a living without having to give up his love of
design created by Caroline Davidson in 1971. It athletics. Bowerman coached track at the Univer-
represents the wing of the Greek Goddess NIKE. sity of Oregon where Phil Knight ran in 1959.
Caroline Davidson was a student at Portland State Bowerman's desire for better quality running shoes
University in advertising. She met Phil Knight clearly influenced Knight in his search for a mar-
while he was teaching accounting classes and she keting strategy. Between them, the seed of the
started doing some freelance work for his com- most influential sporting company grew.
pany. Phil Knight asked Caroline to design a logo
that could be placed on the side of a shoe. She The story goes like this: while getting his MBA at
handed him the SWOOSH, he handed her $35.00. Stanford in the early '60s, Knight took a class with
In spring of 1972, the first shoe with the NIKE Frank Shallenberger. The semester-long project
BRANDWAGON PAGE 12
was to devise a small business, including a mar- of this project to discover other generators of
keting plan. Synthesizing Bowerman's attention popular attention to health.
to quality running shoes and the burgeoning
opinion that high-quality/low cost products could
be produced in Japan and shipped to the U.S. for If Nike didn't start the fitness revolution, Knight
distribution, Knight found his market niche. says, "We were at least right there. And we sure
Shallenberger thought the idea interesting, but rode it for one hell of a ride" (Katz, 66). The 80s
certainly no business jackpot. Nothing more be- and 90s would yield greater and greater profits
came of Knight's project. as Nike began to assume the appearance of ath-
letic juggernaut, rather than the underdog of old.
Cut to 1963. Phil Knight traveled to Japan on a "Advertising Age" named Nike the 1996 Mar-
world-tour, filled with the wanderlust of young keter of the Year, citing the "ubiquitous
men seeking a way to delay the inevitable call of swoosh...was more recognized and coveted by
professional life. Seemingly on a whim, Knight consumers than any other sports brand--arguably
scheduled an interview with a Japanese running any brand" (Jensen, 12/96). That same year
shoe manufacturer, Tiger--a subsidiary of the Nike's revenues were a staggering $6.74 billion.
Onitsuka Company. Presenting himself as the Now in the year 2005 Nike’s revenues were
representative of an American distributor inter- $13.74 billion and in the year 2006 revenues
ested in selling Tiger shoes to American runners, were a staggering $14.95 billion.
Knight told the businessmen of his interest in
their product. Blue Ribbon Sports--the name
Knight thought of moments after being asked
who he represented--was born. The Tiger execu-
tives liked what they heard and Knight placed
his first order for Tigers soon thereafter.
By 1964, Knight had sold $8,000 worth of Ti-
gers and placed an order for more. Coach Bow-
erman and Knight worked together, but ended up
hiring a full-time salesman, Jeff Johnson. After
cresting $1 million in sales and riding the wave
of the success, Knight et. al. devised the Nike
name and trademark Swoosh in 1971.
By the late '70s, Blue Ribbon Sports officially
became Nike and went from $10 million to $270
million in sales. Katz (1994) describes the suc-
cess via Nike's placement within the matrix of
the fitness revolution: 'the idea of exercise and
game-playing ceased to be something the aver-
age American did for fun,' instead Americans
turned to working out as a cultural signifier of
status. Clearly, the circumstances surrounding
the shift are not this simple; it is one of the aims
PROFESS IONAL SERV
S TARTING A
A brand is a promise of benefits that will be One thing firms must adhere to common norms,
gained. Brand should live up to the promise and and mass advertising is generally not accepted or
customers should perceive that the service lives up allowed. Another issue is that consumers of pro-
to its promise. fessional services are very sensitive to quality is-
In the services sector the brand 'promise' is sues - whether real or perceived.
achieved through an ever-shifting dance of action So professional firms have a much smaller oppor-
and reaction between providers and clients. Every tunity to impress each client than general services
single interaction has an impact on the reputation firms. They have to create a far more powerful im-
of the brand. And once consumer perceptions of pact in every single interaction, and thus have to
the reputation are set in the minds of the consumer, employ a larger basket of tools synchronized to
it is very difficult to change them. So each interac- deliver the same message.
tion must deliver on the benefits expected by cus-
Marketing Mix for Professional Services.
Think of certain public-sector companies in the
services sector - say airlines or telecom providers - In addition to classic 'four Ps' of marketing –
who are stuck with a legacy of negative brand per- 'products', 'price', 'place' and 'promotion'. Services
ception because they didn't live up to their brand are marketed through the additional factors of
promise in the past. However effectively they op- 'people', 'processes', 'productivity' and 'physical
erate now, and believe me some of them run as evidence'.
well as or even better than their private-sector For Professional services we can add another 2 Ps,
counterparts, consumers find it difficult to give 'Proof' (proof of expertise and prior experience)
them any credit. and 'Plurality' (the multiple channels through
For services, there are no barriers to competitors which professional services reach end-users).
copying any new service. Yesterday's innovations When starting a relationship, these two factors are
become today's basic requirements. The banking the most important, since same delivery standards
and insurance sectors are good examples, as soon and quality levels provided to different customer
as an idea is introduced by one firm, clone servicesorganizations (or even to the same people in the
are quickly rolled out by competitors. same organization at different times) get perceived
As a professional services marketer, you'll have to very differently. A customer's purchase decision
face an uphill struggle in developing your brand. therefore starts with a search for explicit proof of
BRANDWAGON PAGE 14
capability, and that's what the marketer must first By contrast, the older consulting firms don't do
provide. New firms must therefore attack the prob- this, they always are able to - bring in top guns at
lem on several fronts. the time of pitching for business, but then switch-
Start with the basics - client attention ing teams around at the time of executing the
New firms find providing Proof' particularly diffi-
culty since there's no previous track record. At New firms should make sure that top people are
such a time, the profile of the firm's executives and involved in the work well beyond the extent prom-
their experience becomes very significant and ised and that the client notices it and appreciates it.
comes in for a lot of scrutiny. That's why new This can be leveraged in references and testimoni-
firms hire the 'right' people and publicize it als.
strongly, since that assures clients of high-quality
Everything affects your brand. Even your tie:
Plurality is another factor. Most products and services communicate with and reach customers through
a whole host of channels - electronic and print media, online, hoarding and store displays, etc. whereas
in case of professional services customers draw their opinion from a number of formal and informal
sources, ranging from past clients to cigar-room chats to comments in blogs and chat-rooms. These
sources are almost never under the control of the marketer and it’s impossible to control the message
Large firms get around this problem by sponsorship of events and brand ambassadors. Small firms,
who cannot afford this level of spending, must focus on impressing clients who are directly interacting
with the members of the firm.
That’s why; the smaller professional services firm must develop codes of conduct, appearance and be-
PAGE 15 BRANDWAGON
havior, and not just technical methodologies. ployee training, customer interaction processes,
That's why marketers at professional services report developments, etc. which have a direct im-
firms have to be involved in Operations like em- pact on client perceptions.
They are new and
haven’t done any Hey John what
big projects. I’m about Core Con-
Speak the language -- consistently and continu- riod of time.
Professional services need a 'quiet' style. Profes- To Conclude
sional services are by and large sold one-to-one
and driven by relationships. Consumer-style mass Branding professional services firms is tougher
marketing is hardly ever used. than it looks. The lack of options and the amazing
variety of ways that clients get information means
Firms should focus on 'Conversations' rather than that they develop their own notions of what the
'sales meetings', ‘Low-key and restrained’ rather brand may stand for. Marketers, especially for new
than ‘loud’, 'Clients' rather than 'customers', firms who must deliver as good a customer experi-
'Value' rather than ‘Costs’. Firms entering the in- ence as their older rivals, must therefore consider
dustry from other segments, such as technology issues normally not thought to be in their scope, to
firms moving into professional services consulting deliver their message.
must learn a very different mind-set and communi-
cation style from that used in technology sales.
The marketing cycle is also usually much longer,
and so there's a greater need to deliver the same
message consistently and over a much longer pe-
Watching cricket in a cozy bedroom or dining But,what probably made packer famous,especially
room(for singles like me) may not be a big deal for outside australia was the contribution he made to
most of us, but do you know who brought cricket world cricket.It all started in 1976,frustrated in his
to your house; who got the cricketers who used to pursuit to acquire the rights to broadcast cricket
look pristine in their white outfits wear those matches in australia by the coziness of relations
clownish colorful outfits, may be no: the answer is between the Australian Cricket Board and the Aus-
Kerry Packer. Before you start wondering the rele- tralian Broadcasting Corporation .
vance of this article in this magazine, I want to as- Packer decided to introduce world series ricket.He
sure you that this article is more of a discussion of signed up players of national teams by offering
successful marketing strategy rather than a com- them exorbitant salaries. WSC was conceptualized
mentary on cricket. as a made-for-TV cricket series. On December 2,
Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer AC (17 December 1977 to be precise, Australian cricket lovers turn-
1937 – 26 December 2005), son of Sir Frank ing on their television sets had for the first time a
Packer, was an Australian publishing, media and choice in their bill of fare. Live from the Gabba on
gaming tycoon who owned the Nine Network. He the Australian Broadcasting Corporation came the
was famous for his outspoken nature, wealth, ex- soothing sights and sounds of a traditional Test,
pansive business empire and clashes with the Aus- the first of a series against India. Live from Mel-
tralian Taxation Office and the Costigan Commis- bourne's VFL Park on Channel 9, meanwhile,
sion.At the time of his death, Packer was the rich- came the unfamiliar images of what purported to
est and one of the most influential men in Austra- be a revolutionary new variant on the game: a Su-
lia. pertest, brought to you by World Series Cricket.
The play itself, between an Australian team led by
Ian Chappell and a West Indian outfit captained
by Clive Lloyd, did not actually look all that dif-
"There is a little bit of the whore in all
of us, gentlemen. What is your price?" While some of the ideas brought into WSC were
intelligent - fielding circles, drop-in pitches and
batting helmets, for example - some of the market-
ing ideas were bizarre,to say the least. Sledging
was encouraged as part of the “excitement” of the
PAGE 17 BRANDWAGON
ans started off in poofy pink; umpires in brown
jackets and black shirts; blackened sightscreens.
And - so that Channel Nine could fit more ads in -
a shortening of the over from eight balls to
six.Packer was so passionate about getting the
crowds into the stadium that in the very first day-
nighter at the SCG in November 1978. With thou-
sands of people queuing outside an already seem-
ingly-packed ground, Packer ordered the gates to
be opened so that they could get in free.
It is worth pointing out that packer did not make
cricket popular, in fact packer coveted cricket’s
popularity. What he improved was cricket's ability
to exploit its popularity commercially. This he did
game, TV ads of West Indian opener Roy in a variety of fashions, jazzing up television cov-
Fredericks giving an obscene gesture to Dennis erage, promoting the players as personalities,
Lillee were repeatedly shown(or at least trying to, pitching the game as a product to the public that
through his batting glove). Kids were encouraged could be consumed over five days or one, by day
to run onto the field and thump their heroes on the or night, in white and colored clothing. This was
back whenever a batsman reached 50 (and I saw his biggest achievement he marketed cricket like a
occasions where they were actually being mar- product, using the principles that may appear to be
shaled into position by WSC ground staff, ready to straight from Kotler’s book.
leap the fence.) Press releases claimed that the Packer had his fair share of criticism, he was de-
WSC supertests were more exciting than the offi- rided by purists for spoiling the game and bringing
cial Test matches because more fours were being the taboo commercial element in the game, he
struck. Though Packer had more stars than Broad- could also be held responsible for creating one of
way: the Chappells, Dennis Lillee, Rod Marsh, the biggest rifts in world cricket, the players who
Doug Walters, David Hookes versus Lloyd, Viv signed up for WSC received lengthy international
Richards, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Andy bans, and the series eventually fizzled out, but the
Roberts. Attendance in this ‘Supertest’ was far World Series "circus" changed cricket forever. His
from satisfactory, fewer than 500 were scattered business sense, his audacity and his belief in the
round the concrete tiers of VFL Park. project gave the support to a bunch of people will-
Things started to click, however, in WSC’s second ing to innovate in an attempt to make the game
season, 1978-79. After NSW Government inter- more marketable. One can’t deny the fact that his
vention, WSC was permitted to play on the Syd- 'circus' saved cricket from a slow and painful
ney Cricket Ground instead of the grungier Sydney death.
Showground next door. And to bring the game to
more mid-week spectators and to prime-time TV
audiences, night cricket was developed. Flood-
lights strong enough to safely view the ball, which
nonetheless had to be painted white; coloured uni-
forms for the players, even though the West Indi-
ADS ON THE MOVE
1. SHOWN ABOVE ARE 6 SNAPSHOTS FROM THE LATEST AIRTEL AD.
2. USE THEM AS AN INTRODUCTION TO COME UP WITH YOUR OWN AD.
3. NO RESTRICTION ON THE PRODUCT, BRAND OR COMPANY.
4. ENTRIES SHOULD INCLUDE A BRIEF ON THE PRODUCT.
5. RELEVANCE & CONNECTIVITY TO THE SNAPSHOTS IS A MUST.
6. LATE DATE FOR ENTRIES: 31 MARCH, 2007
7. SUBMISSIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS: firstname.lastname@example.org
What would you wear on a bright sunny day for a to the lives of us lesser men who are sensible
visit to the zoo? A pair of gum boots and raincoat?enough to prefer cars. Perhaps a car owner’s worst
Well, such an analogy is seen everyday on our on-road nightmare is to somehow miraculously
roads. Go to the cities with their narrow roads anddrive around the city, going about their mundane
heavy traffic and you would see a lot of small cars,
chores while at the same time perform amazing
big cars and yes, the giants called SUVs. maneuvers to stay clear of these giants and their
Yes, the SUVs, built to conquer rugged terrains, drivers (who also, quite interestingly seem to ac-
the impossible contours and to boldly go where no quire qualities similar to their steed).
car has gone before. Hey wait! Now what the hell
are these reckless adventurers doing on our docile No, no don’t get me wrong. I do not hate SUVs! I
roads? Mingling with the lowly, minion, servile am a normal human
cars? being just like all of
Well the answer is quite you. I too like to go to
simple. It’s doing a lot of the zoo on a bright,
things- and none of them sunny day and watch
are any good! In a sce- the beautiful wild ani-
nario where the roads are mals. They are won-
cramped and threatening derful things, these
to burst with too much wild animals. Strong,
cars (and SUVs), these powerful created by
monsters are taking up the God to conquer the
precious space which atrocities inflicted on
could accommodate at them by the wild. I
least two more cars. Not to mention the parking enjoy very much to admire them through the bars
space, which is at a premium at most shopping of their cages. I like them even more when I see
hubs of our cities. Plus these juggernauts have an them in their natural environments. I bet you
appetite that eats up a major chunk of our coun- would too! But I doubt if any of you would like
tries fuel. Come on people don’t we all appreciate them as much if they were to escape the zoo and
a little efficiency? Also factor in the fact that the come prowling on the roads.
sheer size of these behemoths poses serious danger
BRANDWAGON PAGE 20
So, all you SUV owners out there……..get the hell or maybe “Small Cars Suck!” Haven’t decided
off the road! yet!
Next issue: “SUVs: Mankind’s greatest invention”
A retailer was dismayed when a competitor selling the same type of product opened next-
door to him, displaying a large sign proclaiming "Best Deals".
Not long after he was horrified to find yet another competitor move in next-door, on the
other side if his store. It's large sign was even more disturbing- "Lowest Prices".
After his initial panic, and concern that he would be driven out of business, he looked for a
way to turn the situation to his marketing advantage. Finally, an idea came to him. Next
day, he proudly unveiled a new and huge sign over his front door. It read,
Kevi n keller
We will be soon moving to the second year in Awards:
which all of us have to opt for some specialization. Dissertation Awards, 1986
Brand Management is a dream subject for any
marketer because ultimately a person has to de- American Marketing Association, American Psy-
velop one or other brand. Who better to give com- chological Association Division 23, Association
ments on Brand Management other than Prof. for Consumer Research, Marketing Science Insti-
Kevin Keller? Before going to his comment on tute
Brand Management let’s see his current profile. Harold H. Maynard Award, Journal of Marketing,
Name: Kevin Keller
Primary Title: E.B. Osborn Professor of Marketing
Primary Dept: Marketing
Areas of Ex- Marketing; branding; brand equity, and brand management;
pertise: integrated marketing communications and advertising.
Professor Keller is acknowledged as one of the 1993; Sheth Foundation/Journal of Marketing
international leaders in the study of brands, brand- Award, 2003
ing, and strategic brand management. Actively in- Has been awarded the 2005 ZIBS Distinguished
volved with industry, he has worked on a host of Theory Award by the Zyman Institute of Brand
different types of marketing projects. He has Science (ZIBS), a network-based organization lo-
served as brand confidant to marketers for some of cated at Emory University's Goizueta Business
the world's most successful brands, including Ac- School. The award is given annually and honors
centure, American Express, Disney, Ford, Intel, significant contribution to the field of brand sci-
Levi Strauss, Miller Brewing, Procter & Gamble, ence.
and Starbucks. Kevin Keller on Brand and successful sustaining
Education. the Brand
Keller has completed his education from AB, Cor- Kevin Lane Keller has helped some of the world's
nell University, 1978; MSIA, Carnegie-Mellon most recognizable companies create and sustain
University, 1980; PhD, Duke University, 1986. successful brands. He's also seen many companies
BRANDWAGON PAGE 22
fail. line between evolving the brand and destroying the
He feels that brand fails because equity promise.
of many reasons but the most im- Companies need to approach the idea of suggests
portant reason for the failure of that you don't spend 10 years appealing to middle-
brand is that people fail to grasp aged women and then suddenly turn around and
the importance of a well- start trying to connect with 25-year-old women.
articulated brand. He feels that You're almost certainly going to alienate the peo-
brand isn't just a name or a logo ple who have an investment in your brand, and
design, it's a relationship between there's no guarantee you're going to be successful
a product and a user. Just as peo- with the new group.
ple have to connect on multiple Keller feels that brands should not wait for the
levels, brands have to connect with their audience
world to change before they evolve. He feels that
in different dimensions. He feels that for a brand
the audience is a constantly moving target’s
to have a successful relationship, it's got to have
breadth as well as depth. changing needs, changing motivations, changing
hot buttons. If you're not changing with them,
Keller feels that strong brands are reliable, yet
you're on your way to becoming irrelevant.
they're also dynamic by nature and must evolve in
order to stay relevant. The quest for relevance is
key, but changing a brand in the wrong way and
losing its relevance is one of the primary reasons
successful brands fail. He says that there is a fine
Jest in case
"Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get
money from it."
Volkswagen Van came up with this brilliant idea to promote its carrying capacity as against many other
BRANDWAGON PAGE 24
Volkswagen comes with yet another winner for its Polo car in this classic advertisement. A little back-
ground may be essential to understand this one. The football rivalry between Germany and Holland is
as big as that between India-Pak in cricket. This ad, which has the headline “Extremely Well Built.”
has a group of german football team supporters travelling in a VW Polo car among a gang of Dutch
fans. And the rest is self-explanatory.
One last piece from Volkswagen for its Nueva Passat car. Here the emphasis on the luxurious back
space available in the car.
Drip m arketing
Drip marketing: Drip marketing isn’t a new strategy. It’s been used
time and again in insurance circles. However in
recent times new web-based technology is making
One of the most valuable assets in any business is successful drip marketing more affordable and
people who don’t buy from you—today. These are manageable than ever. If well engineered a drip
the potential customers, and form the majority of marketing campaign can be extremely effective.
the prospects for the business. Attracting these Besides the message quality (relevance), the fre-
prospects can be achieved through a marketing quency and timing of its delivery has a huge im-
strategy like using Drip marketing. pact on the effectiveness of any opportunity gen-
What is drip marketing? It is a direct marketing
strategy that involves consistent contact, such as
sending out several promotional pieces over a pe-
riod of time to a group of sales leads and existing
The trick here in this strategy is to build one’s
brand equity by reinforcing a message, image or
theme. . Every time you put your brand in front of
a customer or potential customer, you create an
impression, which impacts the perception of your
brand. When that perception is consistently re-
peated, you build a brand that becomes easy to rec-
ognize and remember.
The phrase drip marketing comes from the com- The concept of drip marketing is simple. Instead of
mon phrase used in agriculture and gardening one big concentrated marketing blitz, you create a
called "drip irrigation. Drip marketing was a re- long-term campaign that touches prospects repeat-
sponse to the "Law of 29," the belief among some edly. . An effective way to use drip marketing is to
marketing professionals that it takes 29 "hits" for a consistently do something each month to keep
marketing message to successfully turn a prospect your name in front of your current clients and pro-
into a client. spective clients. By doing this, the sales cycle can
BRANDWAGON PAGE 26
be diminished and a steady amount of business sults:
produced. 1. Pre-transaction Cultivation – Once initial con-
Specifics methods of drip marketing include: tact has been made with a prospect drip campaigns
Postcards can help build rapport and trust with prospective
customers, which would probably induce them to
Newsletters buy your product or service.
Promotional or Sales Brochures 2. Transaction Support – During the time that the
Catalogs customers are actually buying the product a drip
campaign is a great tool to help clients stay abreast
Brochures of their transaction’s progress.
FAX broadcast Post-transaction Marketing – After the transaction
Email Newsletter is closed emails can be used for building referrals.
Regular e-mails will keep one in the forefront of
Drip marketing these days is being extensively
past clients’ minds and increase the likelihood of
used for online promotions. e-mail drip marketing
is a powerful way to stay in contact with previous
clients and cultivate new prospects who are not However, it must be kept in mind that drip e-mail
ready to take immediate action. Drip marketing should only be used to work with leads that have
systems allow you to set up and then automatically already been contacted and from whom permission
send a series of timed e-mail messages to any has been granted to e-mail them but must never be
group of people with a common interest—first- used to generate new leads. Otherwise, one might
time buyers, move-up sellers, etc. inadvertently spam prospects and do irreparable
There are three points in the typical sales cycle damage to the business’ online goodwill.
where drip e-mail can be used for profitable re-
Jest in case
Rishi Kumar Singh
It has always been difficult to analyze the ad of So what’s the ingredients and the recipe of the ad
various popular brands due to sheer emotions they which makes it palatable? The ingredient is “a
are able to bring with them. Many ads which I bunch of small kids” which normally finds more
have tried to evaluate are brands which are centu- emotive connection with the audience. Cleaning,
ries old, very popular and nevertheless trustwor- dancing,
thy. But of course all ad-men are not always right. bathing and
They sometimes do fail, owing to their over- of course go-
banking upon the star power or sheer lack of mate- ing to school
rial or core substance. But some are able to click after com-
the grey matters leading to an interest towards the
chores (a so-
same. In this article I have tried to do justice to
some popular brands. I don’t know whether I will bility of
succeed in the same or not, but of course I will try every kid!!
my level best to pass my verdict as an audience on Kids learn
these ads. it). The recipe: Kids do create mess and are nor-
mally exposed to the dirt and dust affecting their
health. But don’t worry the soap is there to help
you keep clean. The message is clear: “Live your
Brand: LIFEBUOY SOAP
age…and yes maintain your health; the soap is
Starring: A group of kids with their mothers. there with you..koi dar nahin” and of course “Go
Move over to soap. Here is an advertisement, to school daily”..Phew! Many birds killed with a
which speaks volume without any big name at- single stone. A finely executed ad without any
tached with it. Mind well! The customer knows his hunky-dory things and, of course, cleavage show.
pick and of course you cannot fool him to buy And yes of course you don’t require to watch
anything just by showing a bubbly and sexy ac- “Lage raho munnabhai”…Gandhigiri…The kids
tress using it. The message is clear. No brainer. are quite capable of passing the same message
The ad clicks with me (and audience ...of course I “Clean your environment...don’t wait for anybody
am representing them here) and conveys the mes- else”..Munnabhai be careful…This is the uprising
sage directly. The absence of a big name behind of a small battalion, which can cost you your ca-
the brand, in fact helps the advertisement set reer.
Verdict: My showcase in drawing room
BRANDWAGON PAGE 28
as a nymphoma-
Brand: TATA SKY
toon or heroine!!
Starring: Hrithik Roshan and a confused jocular That perhaps
character creates more
confusion. Is she
returning to her
D-uh! One more ad without any new thing to con-
roots, I mean
vey. Hrithik Roshan looks cool but definitely lacks
that crucial punch which will hardly hint anybody
to buy “Tata Sky”, not atleast me. Come on,
haps she is better at the latter. One thing is clear.
watching the match with the hunk, doesn’t impress
She knows Frisbee throwing. And what’s more,
the audience and neither motivates them to look
she knows! Hmm..Perhaps bathing (of course it is
into the deal. What’s the deal after all? Watching
a soap advertisement, pal!). Is she being shown
the match with Hrithik. Haan! If that would had
bathing in the ad? No! The crux of the previous
been conveyed by a sweet and sexy actress (Take
ads of the legendary soap seems to be missing
Priyanka for my case) that would had been a deal.
here. So after all what is the ad about? Is it show-
Come on everybody knows, the of his chances se-
ing the curves of a beauty queen, which perhaps
lection for a treat? Don’t ya! And yes the man with
everybody knows, or showing that she has become
a green grass covering doesn’t provide me any cue
thinner, or perhaps she doesn’t have any movie in
as to what the advertise wants to convey. The
line? And where’s the product which she is vouch-
punch line “zingalala” looks too clichéd to click.
ing for. D-Uh…. I just kept looking at the better
The message looks quite obfuscated and hidden
“filled up’ areas of the actress. And of course, a
behind the charisma of the actor. A confusing ad,
girl would rather prefer to show her beauty and
with the talent
curve in a public place and not a nice, panoramic
and raw power
and a lonely island. And why only Frisbee throw-
of an actor
ing? Can the ad-maker explain this?
I would rather prefer to look at some other soap
where the message is quite clear. Perhaps Pears
click me over here. Or maybe Hamam or Godrej
Verdict: My Fair Glow…’Gora bana de’
s t o r e r o o m A totally worthless ad, without any message con-
shelf veyed, but yes with only one outcome:
“Aishwarya can now switch between a real and
cartoon character at the drop of a soap”
Verdict: My bowl.
Brand: Lux Soap
Starring: Aishwarya Rai(double role …a real and a
cartoon) and three spot boys to call the least.
Of f the mark
The process of branding was developed to protect Ford decided though, to fuel public interest, the
products from failure. Branding dates back to car itself should not be seen in the ads, and even
1880’s with companies like Campbell, Heinz. It when Ford dealers started stocking the car in their
was a huge success in that era. showrooms, they were told they had to keep the
Fast forward to 21st century and different picture vehicles undercover. If they did not they risked a
emerges. They have become a victim of their own fine and the loss of their franchise with the com-
success. Now if a product fails, it’s the brand pany.
that’s at fault. As Ford hoped, interest was fuelled. The company
In this series we will look through some of the did not think for one moment that the product
biggest branding mistakes by some of the biggest would not be able to match the hype, and would
giants like Microsoft, coke, Pepsi, ford, etc. and lead to a consumer backlash. After all, more work
analyze what went wrong. and research had gone into the development of this
car than almost any previously.
We will start with the classic example of brand
failure: “Ford Edsel”. However, some of the research had already proven
futile by the time of the launch. For instance, part
of the market research process had been to find
FORD EDSEL suitable name for the new car. This should have
been a good idea. After all, the highly popular
Ford Thunderbird car, which had been launched in
Among many US marketing professors, the story 1954, had gained its evocative name as a result of
of the Edsel car is considered the classic brand market research findings. This time, research
failure of all time. Dubbed ‘the Titanic of auto- teams were sent out to New York, Chicago and
mobiles’, the Edsel is certainly one of the biggest Michigan, where members of the public were
branding disasters to afflict the Ford Motor Com- asked what they thought of certain names and to
pany come up with their own suggestions. There was
The Edsel car was launched amid a vast amount of also a competition among employees to come up
hype. Although the car didn’t appear in show- with the best name, and the company even con-
rooms until September 1957, ads promoting it had tacted the popular poet Marianne Moore. Her brief
begun to appear months previously bearing the was to find a name which would signify a ‘visceral
teaser slogan: ‘The Edsel is Coming". feeling of elegance, fleetness, advanced features
and design.’ Her rather eccentric suggestions in-
BRANDWAGON PAGE 30
cluded Mongoose Civique, Resilient Bullet, Uto- sel’s problems. There was also the design. The
pian Turtle top and the Varsity Stroke. first blueprint for the Edsel looked truly impres-
Altogether, the company now had a pool of 10,000 sive, as Robert Lacey writes in his book on Ford.
names to choose from. Too many, according to ‘With concealed air scoops below the bumpers,
company chairman, Ernest Breech, as he scanned this first version of the car was original and dra-
through the names during a meeting of the Ford matic – a dreamlike, ethereal creation which struck
Executive Committee in November 1956. ‘Why those who saw it as the very embodiment of the
don’t we just call it Edsel?’ he asked, exasperated. future.’ However, this magnificent design never
got to see the light of day. The people who held
onto the purse strings at Ford decided it would
simply be too expensive to manufacture
The design that eventually emerged was certainly
unique. Edsel’s chief designer, Roy Brown Jr had
always set out to design a car that would be recog-
nizable instantly, from any direction. And indeed,
there is no denying that the first Edsels to emerge
in 1957 fulfilled this objective. In particular, the
car’s front-end bonnet and grille commanded the
most attention. ‘The front end design was the most
prominent feature,’ confirms Phil Skinner, re-
Henry Ford II, the grandson of Henry Ford, spected Edsel historian, ‘If you consider other cars
agreed. Edsel was the name of his father, and the from the mid-1950s, they all looked somewhat
Ford founder’s only son. alike. Basically it was two headlights and horizon-
Not everyone held the same opinion though. The tal grille. By having the big impact ring in the mid-
PR director, C Gayle Warnock, knew that Edsel dle – what we now call a horse collar – it really set
was not the right name. It had been an early sug- the Edsel apart.’
gestion, and had not been liked by those members Although some members of the automotive press
of the public who had taken part in the market re- commended this distinctive look, most were unap-
search (in word-association tests, it had been asso- preciative. One reviewer famously remarked that it
ciated with ‘weasel’ and ‘pretzel’ – hardly the best looked ‘like an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon.’
associations for a dynamic new car). Warnock had While another thought the front-end grille was less
preferred other names on the list, such asPacer, like a horse collar, and more like a toilet seat. (The
Ranger, Corsair or Citation. When the decision customer comments later proved to be even worse
was made, Warnock made his feelings perfectly with some saying that the grille looked like a
clear. According to Robert Lacey in his book Ford: ‘vagina with teeth’.
The Men and the Machine, Warnock responded to However, Ford had good relations with the press
the new Edsel name by declaring: ‘We have just and Warnock, the PR director, was determined to
lost 200,000 sales.’ For Warnock, a rose by any maximize the media coverage immediately before-
other name clearly didn’t smell as sweet. hand after the launch date. Articles subsequently
As it turned out, the name was the least of the Ed- appeared in both Time and Life magazines herald-
PAGE 31 BRANDWAGON
ing the Edsel as a breakthrough and explaining However, no-one can excuse Ford of underexpo-
how it had been planned for over a decade – a bla- sure. On 13 October 1957the marketing campaign
tant exaggeration on the part of Warnock as Roy for Edsel took product promotion to new heights
Brown had only begun designing the car in 1954. when Ford joined forces with the CBS television
The promotional brochure to mark the September network, to run a one-hour special called The Ed-
launch of the Edsel also promised a great deal. sel Show. The show, a parody of 1950s favorite
‘There has never been a car like the Edsel,’ it The EdSullivan Show featured celebrities such as
promised. This was a big claim, but Ford had Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. But even with
equally big ambitions. The company expected to such prime-time promotion Ford was unable to
produce 200,000 units in the car’s first year. This shift anywhere near enough units of the car. Con-
constituted around five per cent of the entire mar- sumers didn’t care whether it was ‘revolutionary’
ket. or not. All they knew was that it looked ugly and
Anyway, the pre-publicity had initially seemed to had a name that sounded like ‘weasel’. Further-
work. Car showrooms became packed with curious more, in an age when all the successful cars had
visitors, desperately seeking their first glance of tailfins, the Edsel was finless. According to Bob
the car. In the first week of its launch, almost three Casey, curator of transportation at the Henry Ford
million members of thus public visited Edsel Museum, this fact meant that the Edsel ‘didn’t
showrooms. The Edsel they saw had a number of quite fit into people’s vision of a car’.
distinct features, in addition to the ‘love-it-or-hate- In addition to misguided advertising, bad looks
it’ front-end grille. For instance, the car was the and a stupid name, Edsel faced a further problem –
first ever to have self-adjusting brakes and an elec- it was too expensive. As Sheila Mello explains in
tronic hood release. It also had a very powerful her informative book, Customer Centric Product
engine for a medium-range car. However, these Definition, the launch of the Edsel coincided with
features weren’t enough a move towards cheaper models:
In the minds of the public, the car simply didn’t Ford’s decision to highlight the Edsel’s powerful
live up to the hype. And unfortunately for Ford, engine during a period when the buying public
neither did the sales. Edsel sold only 64,000 units was gravitating toward smaller, more fuel-efficient
in its first year, way below the number anticipated. cars alienated potential customers. The first mod-
Ford launched 1959 and1960 Edsel models but els in the showroom were the most expensive, top-
sales fell even further (to 44,891 and 2,846 respec-
tively). In November 1959 Ford printed the last
ever ad for the car and halted production.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
The marketing campaign was certainly a key fac-
tor. In simple terms, Fordhad overstated its case.
Buoyed by the success of the Thunderbird only a
few years previously the company must have felt
invincible, and this was reflected in the rather too
self-assured advertising material
PAGE 32 BRANDWAGON
of-the-line models, resulting in what we refer to LESSON FROM EDSEL
today as sticker shock. Unfortunately, too, while Hyping an untested product is a mistake. ‘I learned
some Edsel models were more expensive than that a company should never allow its spokesper-
comparable cars, they had an equivalent or greater sons to build up enthusiasm for an unseen, un-
number of quality problems. Often parts didn’t fit proven product,’ confessed C Gayle Warnock, the
properly or were simply missing, since Ford fre- PR director responsible for the publicity surround-
quently built Edsels between Fords and Mercurys ing the Edsel launch.
on the same assembly line. Many dealers were ill
equipped to replace these parts or add accessories Your name matters. At the most basic level, your
brand is your name. It doesn’t matter how impor-
The car ended up looking more expensive than it tant the brand name is to the company, it’s what it
actually was because of poor timing. In the 1950s, means to the public that counts. If the name con-
US new car models typically appeared in Novem- jures up images of weasels and pretzels it might be
ber for the following year. For instance, a 1956 a good time to scrap it.
Thunderbird would have come out in November
1955. However, Edsel was launched in September, Looks count. Visual appearance is a key factor in
two months before the other new models arrived. creating a brand identity for most products. It was
It was therefore a 1958 car competing against the distinctive shape of Coca-Cola bottles which
1957 models – and more importantly, 1957 prices. helped that brand become so big. In the car indus-
try, looks are particularly important and as Edsel
In fact, the situation was even worse than that. Not proved, ugly ducklings don’t always become
only had Edsel decided to push its most expensive swans.
models first, but the 1957 models it was competing
with were being offered at a discounted price in Price is important. Products can be too expensive
order to sell them before next year’s models were or too cheap. When some brands price themselves
wheeled into the showroom. too low, they lose their prestige. However, with a
car such as the Edsel, the high price couldn’t be
A high price may have been acceptable if it had justified in the minds of the public
been worth paying. However, the experience of
those few early Edsel customers quickly gave the The right research is important. Ford spent time
car a reputation for mechanical problems. Edsel and money carrying out the wrong kind of market
now popularly stood for Every Day Something research. Instead of hunting for names, the com-
Else Leaks. pany should have been concentrating on whether
there was a market for its new car in the first
One thing though was completely beyond Ford’s place. As it turned out, the market it spent millions
control. After a boom period for the US car indus- trying to reach didn’t even exist
try during the mid-1950s, the end of 1957 saw the
start of a recession. In 1958 almost all car models Quality is important. Of course, product quality is
saw a drop in sales, some by as much as 50 per always important but when it comes to cars it is a
cent. Ironically, one of the very few models to wit- matter of life and death. Bad quality control
ness an increase in sales that year was the Ford proved an extra nail in Edsel’s coffin.