Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mahindra and its font change

When Mahindra launched their vision of ‘Rise’, I hailed it as an outstanding though-process. Mahindra was getting ready to catapult itself into one of the biggest brand for automobile manufacturing in the world. It already was the largest manufacturer in terms of Tractors with the acquisition of Ssangyong.

With the aim to continuously strive for more, and rise in terms of everything- volumes, numbers, brand awareness and brand equity, Mahindra was charting its way on its own accord. The type of communication through Television, print and online showed that Mahindra had marketing and brand managers attuned to the highest forms of creativity. Mahindra has changed their font in its latest communication change. The ad released in national dailies talks about the rationale behind selection of the font. Creative renditions of fonts are subjective like all creative outputs but the adjectives used to explain the font are slightly haywire. How can hunger be attributed to that font. Or for that matter, nimbleness. Quite strange reasoning. Plus it mentions that the logo is subtle in change, which indeed it is. But if it was subtlety was to be kept, why change it in the first place.

Another thing of note is that the full page print ad doesn't show the Mahindra symbol. Wonder about the future usage of that symbol. And if it is going to be used in future, why make its absence conspicuous. In the complex jargon of advertising and abstract thoughts, basics or obvious interpretations are given a miss. 

Source: Mumbai Mirror - 30 January 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hermes - Absolute luxury

Only a handful of brands command the kind of awe, adulation, aspiration and unqualified love as Hermes. The mere mention of the name gets ooh-and-the-aahs from the audience. Wearing a Hermes accessory is a sign of arrival on the uber-luxury scale. A favourite amongst the fairer sex especially the page 3 socialites from Sydney to Mumbai to London and New York. Hermes gets unparalleled attention.

This full page ad just showcases the carefree attitude of the Hermes user. It is of note that nowhere in the ad is there a mention of a product/accessory of Hermes. The question arises that if it has so much of a brand value, why does it need to advertise. The objective of the ad is only to increase awareness of the brand in the nouveau riche and the aspirational-wealthy class. Thus although an ad, it hardly has the requisites of a print ad. Just the contact details to know more about the brand. It isn’t loud yet subtle and classy in its appeal. The target audience of Hermes doesn’t differ in any of the attributes required by a buyer based on location.  Undoubtedly, it is an international brand. 

No wonder then that the creative rendition, by Publicis EtNous, isn’t from the Indian arm of Publicis and uses an international model. Luxury brands have to be extra-careful in its communication because the awe is its unique selling proposition. It is intangible. It is priceless. And it’s tender in its image. Handle with care. Hermes it is.

The only slight disappointment - it should have been on the first page rather than the last.

Source: Times of India - Bombay Times- Last page - 16 January 2013

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mercedes – downgrading the elusiveness

Everyone feels the pinch of the downturn. Luxury brands feel them the most since they are conspicuous consumption. Luxury brands chose the communication of conspicuous consumption to stand apart and be a luxury brand. The secret of a luxury brand is to always remain aspirational and elusive. And yet have a target market to generate your profits. Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gulfstream, Porsche, Gucci, Rolex, Jimmy Choo among others are brands who stand for absolute luxury.

These brands command a premium for the badge value. And the only way it is lost is if it becomes ubiquitous and thus loses the aspirational value. There is always the pull factor associated with such brands. They should never go for push. Discount, sale, freebies, value-for-money should never be associated with luxury brands. Mercedes was most luxurious known brand in India for a long time before Indians started knowing about BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, Rolls Royce. Having already lost this tag, Mercedes is doing itself no good by having the ad as above. Zero insurance cost, zero maintenance cost and zero interest cost seems like an ad by any of the other mid-level car brands such as Maruti or Tata or Hyundai. Anyone owning a Mercedes wouldn't just have that car but at least one more. Such costs wouldn't matter to the targeted audience. Reduction in these costs wouldn't be the deciding factor or compelling factor to buy a Mercedes. Although it seems that this ad hasn't been done by Mercedes but by the Distributor, Mercedes shouldn't have allowed it. Building a luxury brand takes eternity but losing it doesn't take more than an ad like this one.

Source: Times of India – Bombay Times – January 06, 2013