Saturday, December 25, 2010

Famous Marketing Blunders

Famous Marketing Blunders
Cracking an international market is a goal of most growing corporations. It shouldn't be that hard, yet even the big multi-nationals run into trouble because of language and cultural differences.

·       Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."

·       Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish where its translation was read as "Suffer From Diarrhea."
·       Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick", a curling iron, into German only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the "manure stick."

·       When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as they did in the U.S., with the beautiful Caucasian baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of what's inside, since most people can't read. Yikes!

·       Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious naughty magazine.

·       Hunt-Wesson introduced its Big John products in French Canada as Gros Jos before finding out that the phrase, in slang, means "big breasts." In this case, however, the name problem did not have a noticeable effect on sales.

·       In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into Schweppes Toilet Water.

·       Japan's second-largest tourist agency was mystified when it entered English-speaking markets and began receiving requests for unusual sex tours. Upon finding out why, the owners of Kinki Nippon Tourist Company changed its name.

·       An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el papa), the shirts read "I saw the potato" (la papa).

·       Pepsi's "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave", in Chinese.

·       The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Ke-kou-ke-la", meaning "Bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax", depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent "ko-kou-ko-le", translating into "happiness in the mouth." 
       When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." Instead, the company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."

·       Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate."

·       In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" came out as "Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead."

·       Also in Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin' good" came out as "eat your fingers off."

·       When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that "no va" means "it won't go." After the company figured out why it wasn't selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.

·       Ford had a similar problem in Brazil when the Pinto flopped. The company found out that Pinto was Brazilian slang for "tiny male genitals". Ford pried all the nameplates off and substituted Corcel, which means horse.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Super Bowl advertising is risky business

Under Armour shares were pummeled after the company announced advertising buys that would hamper earnings, including a commercial during Super Bowl XLII costing about $5 million. Garmin received publicity for its Super Bowl spot — the wrong kind. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School named Garmin’s commercial (which cost $2.4 million to buy) the worst among scores of Super Bowl ads broadcast. 

Despite all the hype about their creativity and an ability to reach television’s largest audience (93 million viewers) annually, Super Bowl commercials are risky ventures. Millions of dollars are dropped in less time than breaks between NFL plays, and the result may be viewers’ yawns and media pans. Which makes one wonder: Considering all the major sporting events during the year, isn’t there a better way for companies to spend their ad money?
True, certain sports events don’t really lend themselves to commercial buys. For instance, the Kentucky Derby on ABC draws nearly 14 million viewers, but it lasts only two minutes and no spots appear during the horse race. In golf, The Masters — broadcast by CBS — limits commercials to a handful of sponsors.
But other marquee matchups offer solid opportunities. During the 2007 World Series sweep of Colorado by Boston, Fox received about $400,000 for each 30-second commercial and attracted roughly 17 million viewers per game, a better deal than the Super Bowl in terms of cost per viewer. The upcoming Daytona 500 is drawing about $550,000 to $575,000 for each 30-second commercial, with close to 20 million viewers likely for the Fox broadcast, again a better bargain. How about a major PGA Tour event, where the average price for a 30-second spot is less than $200,000 and companies can reach the coveted male demographic with six-figure incomes? Spreading millions of dollars across half a dozen other major games, races and the like can make more sense.
The unrivaled exposure of Super Bowl ads means a commercial that alienates can heavily damage the sponsoring company. In the past decade, ads have been lambasted for being everything from racist to homophobic to inappropriate. Particularly at risk is a company making its advertising debut during the game in hopes of establishing a national reputation. It can be battered if the commercial lands short of the standard that has been established. And the high stakes of the event mean agencies can take the fall for a bad ad. For instance, Cramer-Krasselt resigned from the CareerBuilder account after ads failed to make USA Today’s Top 10 Super Bowl commercials. 

 Not only are Super Bowl ads expensive to purchase, they are often pricey to produce. Audi told USA Today it paid anywhere from $500,000-$1.5 million just for the right to use “The Godfather” imagery in this year’s ad. Anheuser-Busch shoots more than twice as many commercials as it uses and then spends money to test them in focus groups around the U.S. Well-known celebrities who appear in Super Bowl ads, such as Justin Timberlake and Carmen Electra, demand a premium fee.
The Super Bowl hasn’t always been the ad showcase it is today. The Apple commercial “1984” a quarter-century ago helped focus viewers’ attention on the spots. According to Michael MacCambridge, author of “America’s Game” about how pro football became the country’s most popular sport, the Super Bowl game in Pasadena 15 years ago changed everything.
”I think Super Bowl commercials became more prominent around the time that the NFL decided to add A-list pop stars to the halftime entertainment — with Michael Jackson performing at Super Bowl XXVII in 1993,” he said. “Emphasizing the halftime show ensured that the game would transcend sports; it took the largest TV audience of the year, and made it even broader and younger, setting the stage for commercials that would make news on their own terms.”
Companies such as Anheuser-Busch — which buys so many commercials every year that it pays only about $2 million for each 30-second spot — have become synonymous with the Super Bowl. Because of its over-the-top Super Bowl presence, the brewer has earned value just from the fact many fans assume Budweiser is the official beer sponsor of the NFL (it’s not — Coors is). And in the day of the Internet, ads will be watched online millions of times after the game, so their life, and thus impact, is seemingly limitless today.
Still, Super Bowl ads are a roll of the dice. And, if God forbid a game breaks out between the ads, and Eli Manning throws a last-second touchdown pass to shatter a New England perfect season, who’s going to talk about a Kraft commercial the next day? Spreading the risk among a number of prime sporting events may be the smarter move.

By David Sweet

Sunday, November 14, 2010


An interactive session “Ideas that work” was conducted by Mr. Uttam Solanki at Institute of Management, Nirma University on November 12th, 2010. Mr. Solanki is the branch head of Lowe Lintas, Gujarat and has over 15 years of experience in this field. The whole session was organized by NiCHE, the marketing club of IMNU and attracted a good crowd.

The speaker subtly explained the concept of a high value idea to the students and also focused on how brand equity is based on a single idea. Videos of leading brands like Idea, Surf excel, Liril and others were shown along with the justification of how a single high value idea is accepted across various cultures as well as countries. The whole event was greatly acknowledged by the students, following which Mr. Solanki gave answers to the questions that arose in the creative minds of students of IMNU.

It was a fantastic knowledge gaining session for all the budding marketing professionals of Nirma University, who are interested in choosing branding and marketing as their career ahead in future.

Content Courtesy: Sidharth Udani

Monday, October 18, 2010

“Good guys finish last.”

“Good guys finish last.”
“Rules are made to be broken.”
“The ends justify the means.”

Should You Play By the Rules
From the time we’re young, just beginning to understand what’s going on around us, until we’re too old to care anymore, one question comes up again and again. Should we play by the rules?

Now, I’m sure most of you are pretty opinionated. But before you answer yes, no, or it depends, consider this. You probably play by more rules than you think … or should. Some of them are even rules you impose on yourself, and for reasons you may not be aware of. Those are the ones that tend to be the most career and success-limiting.
You see, rules fall into three general categories: legal, societal, and self-imposed.

Legal rules are pretty black and white. America’s a nation of laws, and the rule is don’t break them. Just to be clear, we’re talking criminal and civil laws. That trips up a lot of people who mistakenly think fraud, discrimination, domestic violence, harassment, even downloading copyrighted material or rolling through a stop sign, are ethical or moral issues. They’re not.

Societal rules involve complex issues like ethics and morality, so they’re far more subjective than legal rules. Even if you feel strongly about one thing or another, there are likely circumstances that would change your opinion.
For example, I generally don’t fault people who cheat on their spouses, but I might feel very differently when the person being cheated on is someone close to me. Similarly, while I think people should treat others with respect, I know I fall short of that ideal all too often.

So, you can see how societal rules are subject to perspective and circumstance. These are rules that from time to time we may break, feel badly about, realize that we’re human, and ultimately forgive ourselves — even while those we harmed may not.

Now, let’s talk about self-imposed rules. They’re the kind of rules you hear again and again in every workplace. I hear them in many of your comments and emails, as well:
  • “I won’t compromise my principles to climb the corporate ladder.”
  • “I don’t play politics at work.”
  • “That’s outside my comfort zone.”
  • “Life is too short to work with a**holes.”
  • “I won’t work for a boss who, at a job where, or at a company that ___________ (fill in the blank).”
Now, we’ve all uttered a phrase or two like that at one time or another, right? Well, let me introduce you to a concept called self-limiting behavior. In this context, it’s when we put restrictions on ourselves that have unintended consequences because we’re not aware of the real reasons behind them.
For example:
  • Nobody has to compromise principles to climb the corporate ladder. You may, however, have to sacrifice a great deal, including some of your own personal needs and wants, in favor of those of the company’s customers, shareholders, and employees. So, maybe you’re not principled so much as selfish, afraid to give up that much control, or afraid you might fail.
  • As for playing politics, show me a workplace where everyone sings Kumbaya and gets along like peas in a pod and I’ll show you, well, Utopian BS. It doesn’t exist. And those who say they don’t play politics are usually the most political of all.
  • Whenever you hear, “that’s outside my comfort zone,” it’s actually code for “that’s something I’m scared of.” While it’s human to be afraid, it’s not a good thing to be unaware of it.
  • As for not wanting to work with a SOB, I’ve got news for you, those who are fond of saying that are usually the biggest SOB of all. Some casually toss that term around as if it’s some kind of absolute. The truth is that we’re all SOB some of the time. Half the time you’re the SOB and the other person is just reacting to it. And one person’s SOB is another person’s spouse or best friend.
You see, none of these self-imposed rules are about ethics, morals, or conviction. They are, however, about trying to control a world, or at least a workplace, that’s chaotic and scary. And by setting these arbitrary limits, we delude ourselves into believing that we’ve gained some measure of control. In reality, the only thing we’re achieving is limiting our success and potential. That’s why it’s called self-limiting behavior.

So, back to the original question, should you play by the rules? Legal rules, absolutely. Societal rules, it depends. Self-imposed rules, never. Not if you want to have a successful management career.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010



The world of marketing is full of brands that are promoted together. They have related brand values and thus benefit from each other. Yes, we are talking about co-branding.
Here are the rules of the event:
1. You can send in your individual entries or in a team of maximum two members.
2. The teams need to choose two brands (one brand from Set A and other from Set B) which have variety of products across categories to choose from.

Samsung Mobiles
Barista Lavazza
Fast Track Accessories
Apple IPod
Nirma (washing powder)
Ray Ban
Mc Donalds
Hotel Leela
Canon Camera
Surf Excel
Tata DoCoMo
Red Bull
Times of India
Tata Sky
Sony Bravia
India TV
Radio Mirchi 98.3 fm
Big Bazaar
Nataraj Pencils
Bajaj Pulsar

3. The teams need to choose one brand from each and create a print ad or Hand Made Drawing (soft copy) and an abstract on the same reflecting what they intend to communicate (not more than 100 words).
4. The teams can simply relate the two brands and promote them or come up with a new product category or service that uses both.
5. The teams will be judged on the basis of the creativity and innovation that they show and the concept. The ideas should be practical and relevant.
Please send your entries to: before 17-Oct-2010 11:59:59 PM (Sunday).

Prizes worth ` 800/- to be won.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blast from the Past - Flashback 'June - September 2010'

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it ~ Greg Anderson

The start of the academic year is always exciting at IMNU. It is a nice blend of 300 new and excited faces amongst 300 who have been there ... It is a season where new students are exposed to the cult IMNU ... the various clubs and committees. If one were to ask anyone about the process of the selection of junior members of the clubs and committees, there would be a unanimous reply to that ... the length of the interviews exceed the length of interviews it took to get into IMNU and the tasks are not a cakewalk. I believe the experience of going through an interview for a club / committee you want to get into and the feeling you get on converting it is unmatchable. I feel proud to be a part of both a committee(Student Activity Committee) and a club(NiCHE - The Marketing Club of IMNU). NiCHE defines who I am.

NiCHE was one of the first clubs to organise a fun-filled event for the fresher batch. The event was named Masquerade, it required the participants to market a product given to them in a very innovative and creative manner. The event was a huge success with over 35 teams of 3 members each registering and taking part in Masquerade. Few highlights of the event were the famous 'Aata Chaata' Ad by the team of Shivani Arora, Praneta Shukla and Swati Vishnoi, The 'Pappu Toliye' Ad by Manpreet Singh, Deepika Bhatt and Nikita Pareek. 

The winning teams were: 
First Prize ~ Team 'Bucket'
Second Prize ~ Team 'Nail-Cutter'
Third Prize ~ Team 'Pasta'
With a Special Prize for Team 'Aata Chaata' 

After the success of the Event Masquerade, Senior NiCHE began its quest to hand over the mantle to the Juniors. After receiving 100s of applications and a couple of days of interviewing they selected 22 members who had the potential to become a part of team NiCHE. The batch of 22 was split in 2 teams of 11 each and each given a task to organise an event of the caliber of Masquerade ... One task stood as the final hurdle between NiCHE and the few selected.

Enter Team 1: 
Event ~ Façade – what can you be??

An event named ‘façade’ was organized by NiCHE. The participants had to enact products, wherein different categories of the same were given. They had to identify the products of the chosen category and had to ‘be’ the product they were selling.

The event was fun-filled with all the participants coming up with innovative ideas, jingles, features, all with acting and ‘being’ the product itself.
Enthusiasm was infectious, with teams pricking products like Surf Excel vs Nirma, Perk vs Munch etc.

The winning team was Tapas Gupta and Ashish Agarwal who enacted Jockey and Rupa Brands respectively.
The runners-up team was of Rajesh Sawant and Romil Doshi who enacted Surf Excel and Nirma Respectively. Prizes for the event were Cash Rs.100 for the winners and Rs.50 for the Runner-up and loads of Chocolates for the participants and audience.

Enter Team 2:
Event ~ Mark-O-Logo

NiCHE organised another event called ‘MARK-O-LOGO’ wherein skills had to be represented in real life situation. A logo, Brand and Tag Line had to be designed for ‘Krisp Solutions’ an IT firm in Ahmedabad. The event was a huge success owing to the teams who participated with full vigor and come up with really creative logos. We received over 30 entries for the event from participants in teams of 3. 

The logos were a perfect blend of creativity, purpose and vision with a conspicuous uniqueness in each team’s performance.
Krisp Solutions selected a logo and has implemented it … the winners were Parth Das and Gargi Roy. The prize was Cash Rs. 150 and a consolation prize worth Rs. 100/- was given to the second best entry.

 The List of the final 11 who made it through is as follows: 
Ashish Agarwal
Arghya Biswas
Gaurav Somani
Kittu Rajpal
Mitesh Jain (FB)
Praveen Wakle
Rajiv Mehra
Romil Doshi
Ruchi Sachdeva
Sidharth Udani
Surbhi Jain (FB)

RannBhumi 'The Quest for the Best' - The battle of the sections...
The first event organised by the new team was RannBhumi ~ 'The Quest for the Best'. RannBhumi comprised of branding one's section. The sections designed the Names, Logos, Tag Lines, Chants, Songs, T-Shirts and Videos for themselves. The battle that started in the First Trimester shall continue for atleast until next 2 years with each section not wanting to miss any opportunity to prove themselves superior over the others. The memories of this event shall remain in the hearts and minds of everyone for a long long time. 

The Auditorium was no less than a stadium … With the rotating trophies at stake, students from each Section turned up in numbers to extend their support to their respective teams.

The Best T-Shirt Design was awarded to Vikings – Section A (FT)

The Best Section Branding was awarded to Dynamos – Section B (FB)
On Behalf of my team, I would like to congratulate the sections once again and thank them for making RannBhumi a great success and help carry on a tradition at IMNU. Thank you Team Vikings, Samurai, Bohemians, Falcons & Dynamos.

No matter how badly we want the good times and things to carry one, they must come to an end. Thus Trimester One / Four came to an end, the memories are so fresh in the minds of everyone that it feels like yesterday. With your help I am sure we can make good --> better and better --> Best! Hoping to get your extended support and encouragement in the 2nd / 5th Trimester as well. Your support is the motivating for Team NiCHE to  perform better each time and come up with events like no other. 

Thanking You once again...

On Behalf of Team NiCHE
Romil Doshi :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Some Brands, despite missing out in making it to the most valuable brands list, deserve a mention. Reason: They hold immense promise, deserving of an inclusion in the list of the most promising brands 2010.
Kent RO

Kent RO, the 15 year-old brainchild of Mahesh Gupta (Founder and CMD, Kent RO Systems Ltd) has given a new meaning to domestic water purification, having given the country its first RO purifier system, and that too with an enduring celebrity endorsement. With greater media visibility guaranteed over the next few months, this brand is certainly in for bigger prizes soon.

Senator Worldwide, marketer of specialty writing instruments, may not be one of those brands that you watch being flashed on mass communication channels day-in-and-day-out. But it is here, hopefully to stay. The company has entered into a JV with one of India’s leading business houses, the Modi Group, with an aim to become the most influential brand in the business of writing instruments. The Senator has landed!


Logistics is one business where credibility is of utmost importance, and advertising is key. Proof: Look at Safexpress, which is making waves with its most recent campaign dubbed “Distribution Redefined”. The brand has been able to secure an impressive list of clients, comprising global and national corporate houses. It’s only a matter of time when the legacy of this brand becomes an analysis for b-school case studies!
All Cargo Global Logistics

Popularly known as India’s first logistics business to make it big on the international scene, this listed-corporate brand, valued at `22.04 billion on BSE, has promises for its investors, especially with strong industrial growth and rise in trade in between emerging markets and countries in Europe.


Two years back, none would have ever imagined a name like Micromax taking the world of marketing by storm. It did! Today, you can see the brand all over – from the Asia Cup 2010 to IIFA Awards 2010, the mobile maker is burning the tracks and painting the skies with its logo. Today, with a market share of 7%, Micromax is biting on the heels of the No.2 Samsung in the Indian market. The brand has a clear positioning – low-priced products. Period!

A country which speaks the language of Levi’s when it comes to jeanswear, Numero Uno brings in with it a gush of fresh air. Price-sensitive is the market it wants to rule, and competitive pricing is what it uses as its USP. There is of course the quality it offers, which is a bonus. A highly regarded brand already, it swears to become the numero uno in its category soon.


Already a much-discussed brand in the world of mobile handsets retailing, The Mobile Store made a timely entry into the world of Indian telecommunication. With over 1,300 outlets spread across 200 cities (and with a vision to add 200 more by next year), this corporate brand already scores high on visibility and credibility. With the 600 million mobile user base growing in count by the day (thanks to multiple handset ownership and increasingly lower ownership lifespan), this brand is in for a ball in the times to come.

In a country like India, which is plagued with the fact that higher level education is on one hand unavailable and on the other elitist, an institute like Sharda University (from the stable of the Sharda group of institutions) gives new hope. With an aim to deliver quality education and prepare students for the industry, the institute is a solution to the huge supply gap in the availability of well-educated managers capable of running successful businesses.


If you hate to hear the bothersome snores or are worried about your hair loss, you will love to love the Modi Omega brand. Besides the two products mentioned above, this OTC drug manufacturer sells everything from skincare products to weight & cholestrol reducing tablets. It the ‘Alpha to Omega’ when it comes to a brand you can trust with your health.

With media vehicles in India clogged with real estate developer brands, trust and credibility become the two key factors that decide the ultimate choice of the buyers. Today the SVP brand carries both tags. On-time completion of projects and transparency is what sets this developer apart. With plans to complete 70 lakh sq. ft. in fy2009-10 alone, this brand poses a serious threat to the biggest of real estate brands.