Friday, April 27, 2012


Adult content on Mass media television

Adult content and the kid at home

By Harish Bijoor

Q: The recent clamour has been to push adult content on reality shows into the late night 11pm slot. What’s your view on this? Is this really right?
-Sarita M Gupta, New Delhi

A: Sarita, there is an "innocent audience" in this country that is oft taken for granted. This is the child audience of the country.

In a nation that does not believe in child-locks on the television, the television set is the most accessible point of entertainment for the child in the home. A set that is accessible at will, and a set that is viewed by the child with the entire family at home on most occasions. In some, there is solus viewing as well.

I think broadcasters have taken this child audience for granted. Today, it is not only program  content, but it is also advertising that is guilty of it. Sensitivity to the child audience of this country has been lost track of. Television serial content has kept pushing the envelope, slowly but surely. It has now pushed it so far, that the government needs to act. Self-regulation and self-restraint has been totally missing in the quest for the TRP at large.

I do believe the measure of pushing for a 11pm-5am adult slot is a great thing to do. Most children sleep at this time. And those who are not children anymore in their hearts and physically, can surely stay up and watch all that Pamela Anderson,  Bigg Boss 4, Rakhi Sawant and more have to offer viewers.

This is a great way of segregating choice. A great way of showing sensitivity to the child audience of this country as well!

Q: What is the ideal way to approach a market when one is building new brands from scratch? Any gyan on this?
-Gyanesh Rudro, Kolkata

A: Gyanesh, the pun is really in your name.

Your question is a good one. In the initial years, I do advise building the brand bottom-up. I do not advise advertising inputs of the heavy kind in the initial years. These are consolidation years. Brands must earn their spurs in the market through their hard-working offerings. The early years are years in which the brand must earn its appeal with consumers basis the work and solution that the brand provides. Advertising folk do not like me when I say this, but I say it with integrity. I say it because it is good for the advertising agency and the client in the long-run if caution is adopted in the initial years of brand presence. All brands must be built basis integrity.

Once having cobbled up enough size in terms of customer appeal and use-endorsement, it is time to advertise,. Advertising must be basis the integrity of the product and not basis the exciting appeal of the creative brought in  by the advertising agency.

Early-strategy must be consumer want and need led. Not consumer 'desire and aspiration' led. In later years, when the brand is that much more stable, advertising and branding can traverse the realm of the 'desires and aspirations' of their potential customers.

Today, with the digital world growing at a frenetic pace, I recommend digital branding as an inexpensive tool to use as well in the early years.

Q: What is the prognosis for organized retail in 2011? I do believe it is a good question to ask at the beginning of the year.
-Rakesh Mehta, Mumbai

A: Rakesh, this is a good question to keep asking all the while. Keeps us on our toes.
The Retail Industry is going to be in a consolidation phase in 2011. I know I do sound like Mr. Bejan Daruwalla now. The years of 2009 and 2010 have been reasonably tough ones for the industry. As many as 1890 retail outlets closed down in the organized retail industry in the above two years. The largest chunk of contribution came to this from the closure and burn-out of Subhiksha, of course.

Compare these closures in organized retail versus the addition of some 43,000 mom and pop stores in un-organized retail in India over the last two years. That's robustness.

Therefore, growth will be there at both ends of the spectrum of un-organized and organized retail. The trend in un-organized retail will be more robust of course, as compared to organized retail.

Organized retail will however remain high on image, high on decibel of shout and high on PR visibility. Not on profits. Not in 2011 as well.

The retail industry will go through a year of consolidation where formats will re-invent processes, re-invent their choices of towns to expand, and will indeed re-invent models to tap the rich potential that lies untapped.

Q: What’s this small pack revolution in the market all about?
-Shyamala Pai, Bangalore
A: Shyamala, modern marketing is marketing with ease. It translates into products being packaged and sold. This is  a form that is totally hygienic, and caters to the varied needs of consumers, putting products into pack-sizes that different segments of people could buy into. A Biscuit for instance could be bought by a home paying Rs.40 for a large pack. The same biscuit could be bought by another daily-wage earning consumer for just Rs.2 in a smaller low unit pack. This is true-blue democratization of the buying process for all.

The small pack revolution is about this and much more.

Q: Do I need to get onto Social network marketing for my travel agency? Doe sit help?
-Rohit Bansal, Mumbai

A: Rohit, it does help. Try it. Social networking is not for social reasons alone anymore.

All networking is today being monetized. Social networking holds immense potential in the arena of brand monetization.

Social networking is soft networking. When brands and messages relating to brands and consumer offerings travel on the same channel, the brand message is that much more accepted than overt and in-the-face advertising.

The new wave of advertising, branding, marketing and everything to do about them all, is 1:1. Gone are the days of Mass 1: Everyone marketing. As we enter this new era of 1:1, digital branding holds  a lot of promise and potential.

In any consumer market, it is the young who spend more than the old. India is a young nation. 54% of the population is below the age few 25. This market emotes with social networking and is in many ways wedded to the digital. If one is to gain from this market, one needs to jump onto the band-wagon of social network marketing.

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

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