It’s just another dull Monday morning. I’m walking back from the bank at 10, and shops are yet to open. Two things catch my eye, the number 23 and green color. It’s a big ad of Ideas (by Gul Ahmed) stating they are giving out a 23% discount (no specific product) to celebrate Pakistan day from 17th to 26th March. Subconsciously, I have been looking for discount deals of restaurants as usually they do pop-up during holidays.
And that’s when I set out on a mission. The curious marketing student inside me wants to know how different brands are going to cash in under the patriotism slogan. There’s nothing wrong in doing it, we and all brands have a social responsibility towards society. Even our government and Army do it with Resolution Day Parade. It’s not exploiting patriotism but using it to connect with the people to get your message across.
I roamed around F-10 Markaz of Islamabad to find as many outdoor advertisments as possible and here’s my top 5 list from worst to best:
5. The Dinosaurs:
When I started to look around for more ads, this was the second that caught my eye. Although it is big in size and has such a prominent position, it took me a few minutes to realize it is by PIA when I found the plane lurking in the top edge. It looks like they just had to spend that money for 23rd March and asked an intern to make a billboard image for them. Take Windows XP background, paste Minar-e-Pakistan along with Quaid and Iqbal’s picture and voila! they have a banner. The message is worth a Facebook status but not on 10×30 ft. billboard.
If I could pick an ad of a telecom operator from 5 years ago, it’ll be the same as today. SIM LAGAO, MUFT BALANCE PAO. Is that the only way a telecom operator knows how to retain or get back a customer? They are throwing away money for customer acquisition without changing their strategy. With a million opportunities in digital marketing and millions of existing customers, they still don’t know what to do. I don’t even have a suggestion for them on how to improve their marketing strategy, bring back Faisal and Salma maybe?
This is the kind of Marketing Fundamentalism that brands need to come out from. Bata doesn’t care whether 23rd March is coming up or not, they know “Sale up to 70%” works all the time and they will keep on doing it round the year.
3. The Clones:
Al-Karam you already have a huge green billboard. All you had to do was write 23 somewhere on it. It’s the postmodernist era where people don’t just go to shops based on Spring/Summer collections. Public days are equally important for buying behaviors.
Green City – Waste of ad-space. Far from relating with Pakistan Day, maybe these people are right in assuming people who wait on bus-shelter have enough money to just buy a land if they print their number and a picture of their entrance, who knows. Talking about Marketing Mix and the 4-P’s, there is simply no consideration of Product, Place, Price or how they are Promoting it.
The placement of Kayseria signage is good because of its visibility. Although, looks like they don’t even care what kind of customers they are targeting. “Spring/Summer ’17 collection all in one, we are going to run this same ad from Jan to September and change our ads once a year.”
They are going to keep on cloning the hit formulas whether they work or not. The force is weak with these ones.
Some brands have missed the opportunity by inches, so close yet so far because it was never their intention. Brands need to plan and implement according to the market trends. They could have aligned their launch of Khaadi Kids along with Pakistan day. Imagine how good this Khaadi Kids ad would have been if all the kids were wearing green clothes sending a patriotic message? *heartwarming*.
1. The Winners
This is where it all started. A good effort by Ideas but a clumsy one. Their Brand philosophy isn’t very clear. What does Ideas stand for? What does it mean as a Brand for customers? It would have been better if they had specified the products that are applicable for discount. Logo of Ideas in black? Not a very good idea. Better than the rest but not the best.
On the other hand, J. at its best! Branding – check. Promotion – Check. Ad clarity – Check. Product and Placement – Check, check, check! J.’s never failed in its high quality brand consistency – Soully East and Shari’ah compliant advertising. A bright green parrot transforming into clothes representing both their Brand philosophy and Patriotism is a clear winner! From Ad to store to online website, everything seemingly flows in a familiar fashion.
IoT, Big Data, M2M… what’s next? Convergence of human and data.
It has already been predicted by brilliant minds that the next disrupt and evolution for man-kind is by becoming one with the machines and this will be done first by merging human and big data. The current technology and techniques are fast becoming inedequate to keep up with the pace of data being generated on daily basis and that’s how the next logical integration lies — The Big Wave.
Intersection of Biology and Technology
After Jobs was diagnosed with cancer, Reed(Steve’s son) began spending his summers working in a Stanford oncology lab doing DNA sequencing to find genetic markers for colon cancer. In one experiment, he traced how mutations go through families. “One of the very few silver linings about me getting sick is that Reed’s gotten to spend a lot of time studying with some very good doctors,” Jobs said. “His enthusiasm for it is exactly how I felt about computers when I was his age. I think the biggest innovations of the twenty-first century will be the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning, just like the digital one was when I was his age.” — An excerpt from biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
Mergence of Human Intelligence and AI
“To some degree we are already a cyborg – you think of all the digital tools that you have – your phone, your computer,” Elon Musk told World Government Summit in Dubai, the billionaire entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX said the kind of daily dependence we already have on personal technology will only increase as time goes on – to the point where human intelligence and machine thinking effectively become one.
Saving data on DNA
“In a new study, Yaniv Erlich and Dina Zielinski demonstrate DNA’s full potential and reliability for storing data. The researchers wrote six files—a full computer operating system, a 1895 French film, an Amazon gift card, a computer virus, a Pioneer plaque, and a study by information theorist Claude Shannon—into 72,000 DNA strands, each 200 bases long. They then used sequencing technology to retrieve the data, and software to translate the genetic code back into binary. The files were recovered with no errors.” — Article DNA could be the future of data storage, 2nd March 2017 by Katherine Lindemann”
Nokia is making a comeback this year by releasing 4 new phones including a revised version (or a tribute?) of Nokia 3310 with the same name. They have included (almost) the same features that have been exaggerated over the years: Snake game, (almost) same simple design, (not so much) power battery with 22 hours talk time and 30 days standby and probably a strong body (that won’t break the floor when it falls).
Has Nokia done it right? Will people really replace their 20+ MP cameras for a 2MP and no selfie camera where they can filter their selfies with dog or ridiculous flower crown? Will they really replace their WhatsApp with SMS? LTE with 2g internet? Where they can’t say ‘there’s an app for that.’, won’t be able to read their emails or to hail a cab they will actually have to flail their hand on the roadside and not wiggle their finger on screen? You won’t be able to post check-in on your Facebook about how much are you enjoying with your friends or Tweet your intellect in witty 140 characters and certainly not #WokeUpLikeThis Instagram pic. I certainly won’t be able to write this post on 3310 but I’m doing it on my smartphone.
Nokia 3310 has been glorified like some Greek-God-Phone which had all these amazing features that these new phones don’t have. It’s a Myth. All the latest phones are stronger, have a better battery, better display, camera, phone life and dozens of other features. They make our life easier. The Nokia 3310 everyone keeps talking about in memes is just like our first love – something we discovered for the first time. Something that we never forget because of being the first.
It’s been almost a decade since smartphones. We have a new generation that probably never used a Nokia phone before, unlike some of us who only knew about Nokia when we went to buy our first phone. People didn’t ask for different brands of phone back then but different variants of Nokia. So has Nokia in order to revitalise it’s Brand name and bring itself back from the grave done it right? How correct is their Branding and Marketing Strategy? Have they even considered what are they up against and what are their competitors or are going the same path ignoring everyone else just like they did in the past. Is it actually offering what people were expecting or should have expected? Customers buy the augmentation of their expectation, not the core product. Definitely not this Frankenstein-3310. You can’t give someone their first love back in another form and expect them to have the same feelings.
The power of Buzz Marketing and Network effects:
Usually, features are released to a select group to check the acceptance of users and then rolled out to a wider audience. Mark Zuckerberg being hell-bent to destroy Snapchat made tricky decision to roll out WhatsApp-Status to everyone around the globe at the same time.
It created an immediate buzz on all social forums (whether they hated it or not) and due to a bigger base of users on WhatsApp (personal contacts) people realized consciously or unconsciously that they can reach a far bigger population of people unlike Snapchat without going through the hassle of creating new account, installing new app and finding their usernames and adding them.
Everyone posted their test-Status even if just to show their frustration. Two crucial feature updates would be to introduce categories of people for privacy and filters for fun. People might have hated it yesterday, but they will be using it tomorrow.
Coming up next: Facebook Stories
“..some predict that by 2020, the number of Internet-connected things will reach or even exceed 50 billion.” – Forbes
“By 2017, the App Market Will Be a $77 Billion Industry.” – Entrepreneur.com
Recently, an article was published about P0rn searches by a very incompetent ‘Mic Editorial Fellow’ Miss Becca Stanek that ranked Pakistan as top-p0rn searching country. And went so far as mentioning that all Muslim-countries have the top 10 places in the p0rn related searches. Although her post’s main purpose was probably to address the topic whether ‘repression seems to be breeding curiosity — not suppressing it‘, it has a very negative impact on the cultural and religious values of a conservative country like Pakistan where all p0rn-related weblinks are inaccessible thanks to the PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) regulations.
And some other rather indifferent sources went and shared her post with a proud ‘#1 Pakistan’ heading so rumors could be spread without any effort of verification and bring shame upon already troubled country. The country’s one of the most read ‘The Express Tribune’ went ahead and re-phrased the same article without any proof and lowered their already cheap standards. But before I begin mentioning any facts, let’s correct the accusations – Miss Becca Stanek updated her post yesterday with the following P.S.:
So there it is, Google has denied it. And she has denied it. But who reads a 3-days old post with a correction? And all those people who shamelessly spread the article won’t stand up to the occasion and rectify their mistakes and tell people that what they shared earlier wasn’t true.
Now let’s face the true facts, the most searched items on Google was not p0rn in Pakistan but rather Bigg Boss 8 and ARY News Live. The complete list goes as follow:
And people that were searched were not p0rnstars but rather Robin Williams and Fahad Mustafa. Complete list goes as follow:
Why Pakistan is always taking such crap from the global media? And instead of correcting them why we stay quiet? The people of this country are going through so much mess lately that nobody cares to give it a second thought.
And now that the record of searches in Pakistan has been set straight, let’s see who is actually topping the p0rn searches according to the world’s #1 p0rn website:
Now there’s really amazing analytics and search results for the interested on the weblink but since this is not a p0rn facts/research post, I am not going to delve into that. Not a single reference to Pakistan except one, where it is rather very insignificant – in the mobile usage, and obviously! Thanks to the introduction of 3G technology in Pakistan last year.
Not going into much details of how this propaganda is spreading years over years after a comedy show quoted that Pakistan ranks 1st in p0rn related searches a few years ago, Pakistani people have to think and take responsibility of why and how they are projected in the Global Village.
For obvious reasons, I’m not going to add references to this posts as I don’t want it to be added to the auto-ban list of PTA, but they can all be found easily.