It is increasingly challenging to sell designer clothing, whitening creams, or ethnic attire. The traditional ad doesn’t catch consumers’ attention anymore in a world flooded with OTT content. We live in a world where we no longer remember advertising because we are bombarded with ubiquitous content, including seasons of television shows and endless levels of video games.
No one even recognizes work or routines anymore since their brains are flooded with streaming content. Brand recognition is no longer enhanced by the usual emotions of love, nostalgia, and smiling celebrities. Even if everyone hawks everything from undershirts to magic hair oil.
‘Whenever An Ad Is Released, It Serves A Higher Purpose’
Marketers who sell MSG masquerading as snacks or yellow or red carbon dioxide as youthful happiness has arrived at a new formula to make money-manufacturing dissent, provoking controversies, and shaping new narratives. Future adverts create dissent for a cause, a greater purpose to catch the national and international audience’s attention. In an attempt to emphasize inclusivity and empowerment, a designer shows a gay couple wearing Mangalsutra.
Rather than selling expensive designer clothing, it’s imperative to appeal to higher purposes and tie it in with that purpose to increase sales.
The whitening cream of a century-old brand is getting attention by dissension. Taking advantage of the internet’s infinite shopping channels, old brands are abandoning their lifecycles. With the help of VC funds, lower prices, better packaging, and indistinguishable quality, craftier direct-to-consumer brands are gaining ground. Adding to the new platform’s value, its brand mimics all the USPs of a classic, older brand.
To go viral, then, what should a century-old brand or one that sells ethnic clothes and designer clothes do? It is essential to have a powerful message, something people will share, catch everyone’s attention, or go viral. Sharing evokes emotions – not just produces but raises it to a vulgar level. The marketing guys like outrageous content, but they like outrage as well.
Does our post-truth world also include their false surprise at the excessive response that forced them to withdraw the ad? Is there anything a staid, old manufacturer of juices to whitening cream can do? Surely it could not choose stunts designed to entice attention to a whitening cream when it sells artificially infused sugar like honey. With Karva Chauth, a lesbian couple celebrates a higher purpose. There will be a whole lot of attention to this festival. Indeed there will be.
All those who are opposed to taking over a religious festival should voice their dissent vociferously. The advertisement stokes controversy and is shared on WhatsApp, creating dissonance. The politician wants to get attention from the electorate, so it catches their attention. Using a traditional Hindu festival for an advertisement, the brand imposes its whitened cream usage on the celebration of marriage and filial companionship. At the same time, they also substitute two women for a husband and wife who break the fast together.
Since it is a day of fasting, the brand no longer sells products bought on Karva Chauth. There aren’t any products used on this occasion, such as sarees that we can wear on Karva Chauth. The festival was chosen because it is celebrated in many Hindu households to cover a good chunk of the Indian population. I am sure that their advertising geniuses discussed their target audience at length, especially that we need to empower women.
Lesbian relationships are among the most important causes for women. The Hindu festival that was not made for this type of celebration is suitable for this. Using a reason to seek attention is like asking a comedian to tell a joke to a distracted audience. In any company with realists and people in touch with the consumer, salespeople asked questions – some pretty silly and some simple, such as, who is our target audience? How can we express our solidarity with the community by repackaging our products in rainbow colours?
Do same-sex couples still celebrate Karva Chauth? If we misappropriate their religious symbolism, will Indians be enraged? If we subvert a Hindu festival in a conservative country, will we sell crores of products? It is vital to stand out in a content-rich world, establish a new narrative, spark controversy, and establish dissent where none previously existed.
A Shift In Mumbai’s Ad World
Lastly, a brand is riding causes to manufacture dissent in three instances. Dopamine-addicted millennials are driving trends since mass media is dead and traditional media is shrinking. We have to shock them to sway them. But they don’t realize that there are multiple Indias involved.
They aren’t the only audience. The clothes are being sold as ethnic. People looking to show their Indianness by purchasing ‘handicrafts’ are its target audience. They are young, recently settled, and confused. The company founded by American ex-pats has created a trend that is well-crafted. The Americans can teach Indians how to be Indians!
Although the brand must stand out in the crowded Indian choli and chunni market, which is made in Vietnam and China, what does it do to draw consumers to its stores and get them to buy the same things three to four times the price? With a solution to rebranding the most significant Hindu festival Diwali in Urdu, marketing geniuses are credited with rebranding Diwali.
That’s a genius idea. In a photoshoot, models in ethnic wear are photographed with a significant Hindu festival rebranded with an Urdu name. Muslim people use Urdu. It’s a colossal step — the advertising agency and the company must have actively discussed it.
For example, it must have been asked: Can we reach our target audience better using Urdu? Do our consumers celebrate this festival and also read, understand, and speak Urdu? Do our consumers consider Urdu to be a modern language? Do consumers see this advertisement more often, and are they likely to buy the brand’s products?
It’s all about selling or making the brand more recognizable: that’s what advertising is all about. The solution was to sell concentrate sugar and preservatives as fresh fruit juice, according to marketing mavens. A viral advertising campaign would create not only a lot of brand recognition but also increase brand awareness.
On social media, it will be shared and discussed. There will be reams of coverage in the news media because it will have such a high resonance. The marketing genius might elevate the ethnic wear brand to stand for social cohesion and harmony across cultures and languages.
This social advancement will benefit the company by attracting more distributors and shopkeepers to stock its products. As a symbol of higher purpose, millennials will tattoo the brand on their foreheads for such a clever marketing piece.
Not An Isolated Incident Of Ignorance
When the advertisement is released, a greater purpose is served. As a result, social media goes haywire, political leaders attack the advert, news networks engage in debates, and celebrity columnists comment on the advert as if it were art. The outrage brigade then brays about how secular and tolerant these leaders are—talking about freedom of speech and a dark world descending, comedians on a TV debate. Thanks to the for-and-against lobby, it has become a religious issue, political, and even judicial one.
It is deemed a sign of intolerance by a Supreme Court judge. Advertisers play a game with them, little realizing they are part of it. The marketing mavens will eventually withdraw the advertisement. Nonetheless, brand recall is at an all-time high, thus serving their greater purpose. Due to the controversy, even if the ad is withdrawn, the people still remember the ad. And it is still archived online forever.
The issue is not isolated ignorance on the part of a few well-meaning executives who misunderstood problems. Young people and impressionable adults wanted brands to have an aspirational persona. Occasionally, they also represented the lifestyle of the middle class and the middle age. In that way, they filled in a void and became an ideal. Creatives in advertising are now trying to enlighten their consumers about causes and purposes they lose their very connection with. The mavens have a lot to offer in the metaverse, and we have no idea what to expect.
Article Proofread and Edited by Shreedatri Banerjee