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While browsing through the shelves of the hypermarket to buy groceries for the next month, I came across at least a dozen different brands of corn flakes and its variants. On the insistence of my friend, I kept looking until I found Kelloggs placed at a shelf much below the eye level. While I did consider the other brands, I was urged to buy Kelloggs Corn Flakes by the argument “If it’s Corn Flakes, it’s gotta be Kelloggs!!”

Some of us might say that this is the power of a brand and emphasis on a well thought marketing mix. However, I feel that out of the marketing mix, advertising plays a major role in building the brand for the customer, much before the others of the 4Ps come into picture. Right from communicating the advent of the product into the market space to bringing it into our consideration set and thereafter making a loyal customer base,  good advertisements have the power to convince a customer into buying a product, leaving the onus of the final purchase on the effectiveness of the distribution channel. In the above case, the advertisements were successful in creating an image that Kelloggs stands much above the me-toos in the category.

A good advertisement should not be judged on the basis of the witty copy or the visuals of an ad, but on how effective it is in increasing the revenues of the company. While it is important to attract attention of the customers by standing out, the ultimate aim of advertising should be to make the purchase happen.

Sometimes, the presence of a celebrity in an ad can overpower the brand itself, making the customers remember the celebrity and not the product itself. As observers we might feel that black type on a white background, long copy giving exhaustive details about the product and discount coupons are clichéd, but we as consumers ourselves need to appreciate that these are the things that are of prime importance to the customer and are crucial to make a sale happen.

Testimonials from non-celebrities might sound boring but can actually convince the viewer into believing the claim. A four-colour ad is costlier than a black and white one but is more memorable as it stands out of the rest, hence more than makes up for the additional cost incurred. An ad spread over one full page in a newspaper is likely to generate more volume of sales compared to a smaller ad. The headlines must capture the essence of the value proposition that can urge the reader to go in for the details and the visuals in an ad must be what the viewers would like to see, so as to create more impact. These are the nuances of advertising that are often considered overused and hence ignored in order to differentiate.

So, as marketers we need to understand that it’s important for an ad to stand out and at the same time have the capability to drive sales. A short witty ad might capture the attention and admiration of the reader, but it’s only when the customer is influenced to make a choice that an advertisement serves its purpose.


December 21, 2009 at 2:50 pm 2 comments

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