Thursday, November 01, 2007


People Brands marrying one another

Abhi-Aish and the brand thereafter…..

By Harish Bijoor

Q: With the wedding of Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai just ahead, how do you see these two mega-brands ride into the future? What is the brand dynamics at play here?

-Anjan Parekh, Mumbai

A: Anjan, these sure are two big mega brands from tinsel town. Brands that have whole sets of consumers swooning on their respective aura.

A marriage of two such mega brands with one another is not quite like the corporate marriage of two mega brands that go to make an even bigger brand presence felt. Remember, this is 'Bollywood'. And ‘Bollywood’ survives on the whims and fancies of its viewers.

While a Tata-Corus deal might cause for a bigger Tata-Corus entity in the future, I can’t say just the same will happen to the Abhi-Aish brand of the future.

Why so? Very simply because we must remember the audience of ‘Bollywood’ that resides in our country is a chauvinistic one in many ways. If you study the history of what has happened over the last fifty years in Bollywood, the trend is all about the male brand gaining form a marriage and the feminine brand losing.

I do believe this mega brand-marriage is going to be a positive stroke to brand Abhishek and a rather negative stroke to brand Aishwarya. Why so again? Very simply because the audience at hand is a chauvinistic one.

Hindi cinema is all about chemistry. The chemistry that the lead pair is able to exude, hold, tantalize with and subliminate finally. Viewers love the chemistry that exists between two stars who are not married as yet. A marriage actually sublimates this chemistry and the audience wants something else!

When Amitabh and Jaya were yet to be married to one another, their movies did very well, as did their respective brands. When they did get married, things turned different. The Amitabh-Rekha movies were forever a hit, right up to Silsila. The chemistry was intact. I do believe it still is. Audiences love this chemistry.

A marriage of two big mega brands from ‘Bollywood’ therefore does not result in a bigger still brand post-marriage. Instead, it is a smaller brand of Aish and a slightly bigger brand of Abhishek. I just however hope I am wrong this time round.

Hollywood on the other hand is different. A Brad Pitt-Jennifer Aniston and now a Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie are indeed bigger brands as a whole than their individual parts. And ‘Bollywood’ is different.

Q: The World Cup is barely two months away and we don't see any ads
highlighting cricketers like we did even during the last world cup?

-Dhruv Vashisth, Delhi

A: Dhruv, cricket is still on the back-burner of the marketing company. Remember, it
still is on the burner, but the brand-cricket-policy is that much more

Let's remember, cricket itself is a brand. A powerful brand that evokes
emotion positive and negative among large sets of consumers in this country.
As a sub-set of the big mother brand CRICKET, exist the brands of
cricketers. A Sachin, A Saurav and a Dhoni are all but sub-set brands. Both
are indeed complimentary to one another.

In the current case, cricket the mother-brand reigns supreme even today. The
lack of performance of the sub-set player brands has created the current
lack-luster cricket-advertising environment.

Cricket as such is an over-hyped game in the continent in any case. The
valuation commanded by the stars of cricket in any case make people in
discerning marketing companies sit up and think. Now even more so, as the
team does not perform to expectation. But wait and watch. Every match can make a difference.

Q: If you look at 2006, what is the biggest marketing idea of the year at large?

SK Sampath, Chennai

A: Mr. Sampath, the biggest idea of 2006 was not a single brand idea; instead it was a very big idea at large. The Idea of the Indian at large.

This was not an idea put forth by any advertising agency as such. Instead,
it was the India story at large dominating the psyche of the Indian and the
world-citizen at large.

In the old days, the dominant thought was:" India Happens!"

The year just gone by has transformed that thought to a very hip: "India

Everyone therefore wants a piece of the action.

This Big Idea has percolated the consumer psyche at large not through a
top--down brand-building process. Instead, it is a thought that has happened
bottom-up. It is therefore that much more solid. More real, as contrasted to
thoughts built by advertising inputs of the high decibel kind!

The India brand and the India story is what I would vote as the biggest of
the big ideas.

Q: Please explain the paradox of a no-name brand with special reference to agricultural products.

-Jayant Joshipura, Pune

A: Jayant, I personally do not believe in a no-name brand. The brand is essentially a name for a start. A name that is recognition and a distinction from everything else around.

No-name brands are surely a paradox in themselves. Do remember, a brand is meant to command and elicit a premium from its consumers. A premium that sets it apart from the commodity at large. A no-name brand is never successful at this.

Agri-products must transform themselves onto the branding movement if they are to truly capitalize on true-value.

Harish Bijoor is a business strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.


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