Saturday, December 26, 2009

1 Click 1 Tree. Our initiative for planet earth.

Here is our initiative towards creating a greener earth. We are looking at planting 5000 trees of hope for 5000 citizens of world. Join us on this.

2010 Greetings. 1 Click 1 Tree. Our initiative for planet earth - 141Sercon

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Ass Effect !!

Subject: Unable to attract even a single girl, frustrated man sues Axe New Delhi.

In what could prove to be a major marketing and legal embarrassment for Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), a 26-year-old man has filed a case against the FMCG company, which owns the Axe brand of men grooming products, for ‘cheating’ and causing him ‘mental suffering’.

The plaintiff has cited his failure to attract any girl at all even though he’s been using Axe products for over seven years now. Axe advertisements suggest that the products help men in instantly attracting women.
Vaibhav Bedi, the petitioner, also surrendered all his used, unused and half-used deodorant sprays, perfume sticks and roll-ons, anti-perspirants, aftershaves, body washes, shampoos, and hair gels to the court, and demanded a laboratory test of the products and narcotics test of the brand managers of Axe.

Vaibhav was pushed to take this step when his bai (maid) beat him with a broom when he tried to impress her by appearing naked in front of her after applying all the Axe products.

“Where the f****** is the Axe effect? I’ve been waiting for it for over seven years. Right from my college to now in my office, no girl ever agreed to even go out for a tea or coffee with me, even though I’m sure they could smell my perfumes, deodorants and aftershaves. I always applied them in abundance to make sure the girls get turned on as they show in the television. Finally I thought I’d try to impress my lonely bai who had an ugly fight with her husband and was living alone for over a year. Axe effect my foot!” Vaibhav expressed his unhappiness.

Vaibhav claims that he had been using all the Axe products as per the company’s instructions even since he first bought them. He argued that if he couldn’t experience the Axe effect despite using the products as directed, either the company was making false claims or selling fake products.

“I had always stored them in cool and dry place, and kept them away from direct light or heat. I’d always use a ruler before applying the spray and make sure that the distance between the nozzle and my armpit was at least 15 centimeters. I’d do everything they told. I even beat up my 5-year-old nephew for coming near my closet, as they had instructed it to keep away from children’s reach. And yet, all I get is a broom beating from my ugly bai.” Vaibhav expressed his frustration.

Vaibhav claims that he had to do go a lot of mental suffering and public humiliation due to the lack of Axe effect and wants HUL to compensate him for this agony. An advocate in Karkardooma court, who happened to mistake Vaibhav for some deodorant vendor when he entered the court premises with all the bottles, has now offered to take up his case in the court. HUL has been served a legal notice in this regard.

HUL has officially declined to comment on the case citing the subject to be sub judice, but our sources inform that the company was worried over the possible outcomes of the case. The company might argue that Vaibhav was hopelessly unattractive and unintelligent and didn’t possess the bare minimum requirements for the Axe effect to take place. Officially HUL has not issued any statement, but legal experts believe that HUL could have tough time convincing the court.

“HUL might be tempted to take that line of argument, but it is very risky. There is no data to substantiate the supposition that unattractive and unintelligent men don’t attract women. In fact some of the best looking women have been known to marry and date absolutely ghoulish guys. I’d suggest that the company settles this issue out of court.” noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani said.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009



As many as 70% of brand decisions are made in the “last mile”. 70% and growing.

This research finding was 1st published by POPAI, and has been substantiated over years by a number of other studies including our own research using some of our last mile tools into various product categories. What is interesting is that in a lot of cases the percentage is higher.

What this indicates however is alarming. This percentage effectively indicates spillage (even gross wastage) of media buying costs which are not being successful or effective in generating real sales.

I am sure we have all experienced the magic of the last mile, whenever we have stepped out to pick up something like a washing machine, or a TV or a refrigerator – we leave our homes with a fair understanding of the product category, the top five brands in the category and our intended brand purchase, however, magically most of us come back with a different product – 70% of us do it time and time again.

Reasons why shoppers switch brands are multiple however almost all of them are centered on effective usage of last-mile consumer touch-points by some brand when compared to others.

Last-mile touch points are multiple & diverse ranging from product pricing, POSM quality, share of display, quality of experience, quality of salesmanship to basic issues like brand presence. All these combined create a last-mile experience which ensures brand switches.

On a number of brands our studies show us a significant “intent of purchase” of the brand amongst consumers when they walk in to the store – thereby indicating obvious good work done on the awareness & interest creation front by the advertising, however, significant negative shift in the actual purchase.

The fact that an in-effective last mile can be a bleed on the success is well understood, however, not all brand managers seem to understand how to address the issue in effective and measureable ways.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009



It is well understood that the consumer is spending a lot of time online, in a lot of cases much more time than what he spends in front of the TV set or reading print. And this share of time is increasing at a feverish pace.

When online the consumer does his research on the brand, this research can be a combination of self driven or could be triggered by peers on his social networks.

The more expensive the purchase, the more involved and extensive the research.

This is far more relevant because this is where the consumer spends time engaged in the category, seeking and deciding what alternatives he has options of. This is when is willing to form opinions and is willing to read and listen to referrals.

Most importantly, this is one dialogue process where the consumer is completely in control – he not only chooses the time and level of dialogue, if he does not like what he sees he can merely click it away and move else where.

The consumer is not closed to any brand in this stage – he is in fact in a “SELL TO ME” mindset, which has been well captured by Yahoo and exploited to the fullest by Google by their huge success of Adwords platform. This process is radically different from the one way communication which he gets subjected to in a TVC, print ad or a hoarding.

Putting up the brands’ TVC on is not the answer, ensuring that the brand participates in the “search” journey – by providing access to relevant data & information on brand comparison of features, USPs, costs, etc, and enabling communication with the user community and engaging with the user community - is the answer.

While brand owners have started spending an increased percentage of their budgets online (and is growing) – for a number of brands that spend still is backed by the “awareness creation” thought process, rather than focusing on the consumers search for information journey.

This integration of shopping with technology is real. 87% of US consumers research products online before buying them in person or in a store.

However across categories…the major buying still happens off line.

ROBO = Research Online Buy Offline.

This is not limited to B2B products or big ticket purchases like computers, phones or cars, but extends across all categories.

The consumer spends his research time comparing features, absorbing user experience reviews, understanding costs.

All this before he heads out in the last mile, to check out the physical experience and then buy.

To get into the consumers mindset, presence in the last mile needs to be preceded with relevant presence in the online search process.



For a number of years we have profiled the shoppers, into various categories, e.g. value shoppers, lifestyle shopper, convenience shoppers, family shopper, etc. After this classification, we have decided on how to approach a shopper based on this profile and what is the nature of message which the shopper responds to.

This “shopper type” has meant that we could decide which type would want discounts vs. which type would buy lifestyle vs. which type would want convenience.

This “typification” meant that we could target relevant brand messages to these specific segments of customers and the expectation has been that once a value shopper always a value shopper.

However, new research indicates that the same shopper shops in discount stores, while he also shops in departmental stores and specialty stores… but he/she shops differently.

Consumers are less loyal to any single channel / type of retailer than they were in the past.
Different needs = Different stores.

What this really means is that a brand needs to increasingly target the shopper close to the moment of purchase and hence at the store level and dependent on the store format.

Consider a shopper at a “cash and carry” store – he or she is there to buy in bulk and is seeking out value for money. So if a cola brand has to be relevant to the shopper, it has to offer a bulk deal or maybe a value pack based offer of 2 free bottles with 10 bottles or it might want to push its mega sized bottles at a discount.

Now consider the same shopper hops into the gas station convenience store for a drink while he tops up his fuel tank. For the same brand of cola to be in the consideration set in this format – it has to be in a very handy size, in an easy to grab location, ready for immediate consumption and maybe bundled with a short-eat.

The fact that the same shopper will respond to very different stimulus at the two locations is because his purpose of shopping is different – value vs convenience.

While the brand would have the uniform overall image, however, its last mile messaging, is what gets the brand into the shopper’s basket.

The brands consumer touch-points need to be relevant to where is it placed and which need state does that format address.

One singular overall “awareness” focussed message / campaign does not work on ensuring conversion in the last mile.



We are increasingly moving towards or already living in a “disposable product” society. The quest for quality and durability has been replaced by the desire to stay “current”.

The mindset of the consumer is to buy cheaper – replace quicker – stay current on technology. While this is especially true for things which were in the past considered to be indulgent purchases, and which have now become more “every day” and common – say for example a blender or a iron, however, even bigger ticket items are getting disposable.

This is not to say that the consumers are moving away from “luxury” – quite on the contrary, however, that is a different category and has different drivers.

The consumer is keen on staying current rather than investing heavily into something which will last longer – this is also prompted by frequent technology upgrades and fear of investing heavily into something which could become obsolete in a hurry.

While this trend has various levels of adaptation in different geographies, a recent study by NDP Research across North America assigns this as one of the leading reasons why there is growth in private labels beyond the consumer products category.

Take a product category like a blender; the shopper is willing to buy a private label or a basic blender and replace it every couple of years with newer and better blenders rather than buy a machine which will guarantee a 7 year usage life – in which time it is bound to be obsolete.

Now consider this shopping behavior to that of a generation ago when what was purchased was expected to last.

Monday, November 16, 2009



The numerous product enhancements are designed to make consumers’ lives easier, better, more convenient and more enjoyable – leading to purchase of products which I didn't even know I wanted.
When a consumer walks through an isle or glances at a shop’s well stocked shelf, he notices products which address a need state which did not seem to exist a while back.
This need state and hence the desire to use is enhanced in any of the many “experiential hooks”.
A consumer is far more likely to pick up a pack of skin lotion, if he/she is demonstrated how it works on his/her skin type, rather than purely based on a recall of a print ad with a supermodel.
Products which address specific need states of a specific niche of shoppers tend to create tribes of users and are able to benefit in a big way by creating positive referrals amongst the TG. However, the interesting aspect is that the shoppers evolves and switches between tribes on a fairly regular basis.
These new and enhanced needs and wants lead to a lot more experimentations and hence an increased amount of impulse buying.



We are seeing new products and enhanced features within products introduced at a mind – boggling rate, and the lifestyle of individuals have become increasingly multidimensional and multifaceted. With so many added choices, customers have more purchasing decisions to make and these decisions are more complex than ever before.

Gone are the days when the consumer used to watch a TV ad, “become aware of the brand name” and then walk across to the store and ask for the brand by its brand name. That used to be a done deal!

Today, a consumer is faced with a plethora of brand options to choose from in any category – and not merely from amongst the brands, but also from within the brand. Take for example a rather “simple” decision of buying a tube of toothpaste - it is no longer enough to decide from amongst the brand names, but also from within countless features like, extra whiting, vs. tartar control, vs. mint or other flavors, vs. medicated, vs. specially formulated for kids or older folk, vs. blue or red colored pack, vs. extra volume, vs. what appears cool & new in the retail shelf to even vegetarian or a non-veg and lots more reasons.

A consumer is induced to switch his preference within the brand and overtime also amongst variants across the category. The consumer is less likely to be loyal, more open to experimentation and more likely to change his mind based on what he sees on the shelf.

This flood of options leads the consumer to take his brand decision not based on what he sees on the TVC or print, rather on what he sees on the retail shelf on that day!