GENMARK 2010 – The Art of Marketing to Generations-1
GenMark 2010 was a marketing seminar organized by Total Communications, an event management company. to highlight the differences between marketing to three different phases of human life : kids, youth and adults and to showcase this differentiation, various luminaries from the marketing and branded world of Pakistan were called in to speak on their respective areas including Numan Nabi Ahmed – CEO the brand partnership and cartoon network, Miftah Ismail-CEO Ismail Industries, Zeeshan Misbah – Brand Manager Djuice, Afzal Shahabuddin – Marketing Head Nokia, Bushra Iqbal – Brand Manager Always, Qashif Effendi- CEO 180 Degrees, Amjad Shahabuddin – Change and Engage Manager Shell, Aly Mustansir – Head of Brand Management HBL, and Taher Khan –Chairman Interflow Communication.
Marketing to Kids
- I have been in this industry for 15-20 years.
- We are the ones who persuaded cartoon network to come to Pakistan.
- We organized T20 cricket matches in Canada and this year again in September we intend to repeat that.
- Kid marketing in Pakistan is mostly superficial, the marketers confining themselves to just pester power.
- On the international stage, there has been tremendous research in this arena. Those researchers are focusing on mother-child relationship, how the mother seeks the opinion of her offspring for her choice of perfume to how she looks.
- Pakistani marketers have gone nowhere. They don’t have the guts to promote durables on cartoon network when it has been proven that kids have a large say in major buying decisions.
- Indian research has shown that kids influence even car-buying decision from the color right down to the make of the car.
- My own personal experience has shown this to be true. When I was intending to buy a Prado, my son persuaded me not to buy it because it gave the impression that you were a Wadera. I brought a Surf instead. My line of thinking as in any father’s line of thinking is, if my kid is not going to enjoy sitting in this car with me, what’s the use of buying it.
- Then many years ago when I was going to buy a Honda Civic, my younger daughter persuaded me instead to buy an old Accord. In those days the Civic didn’t come with the sunroof whereas the Accord version had it.
- Even travel decisions are influenced heavily by kids. You may want to go to Thailand but your kids want to go to Malaysia. Again you reason that you are taking the vacation for them. If they are not going to enjoy it then what’s the use.
- A new category of kids has been identified which seems to have a major say in buying decisions –Tweens – kids aged 3 to 12.
- This was known by the Pakistani marketers back in the 60s and 70s as well which resulted in classic ads such as State Life, Binaca and Naurus all which employed a kid as the focal point of the ad. Now insurance is something which is not understood even by adults, so the rational of using a kid to star in a State Life is not apparent because kids are not the target market for it. Yet their influence reaches even a serious issue as life insurance.
- Kid in the age group of 7-9 years observe and absorb the most from their surroundings and they have strongest aspirations of all kids. This is the time they seek and identify with a role model. It can be anyone, from a blood relative to a distant cousin to something shown on TV.
- Brand Activation is bullshit in Pakistan. They don’t know the difference between activation and on-ground activities.
- I have identified four pyramids which encapsulate the domain of kids marketing.
- The real power of the kids’ influence has been realized by brands like Safeguard and Lifebuoy so much so that they have changed their brand positioning by 180% to take this factor into account.
- Commander Safeguard was not so successful in the Philippines but it has met with resounding success in the Pakistani region. This forced Lifebuoy to change its 30 year old positioning.
- According to New Generation Research, a comprehensive research on the tweens of this region, when kids were asked to name any brand they remembered, Safeguard got the highest spontaneous recall at 19% even though it’s not brand that they buy themselves.
- There are 48 million tweens out of a population of 170 million in Pakistan. Out of these 28 million reside in the urban centres.
- About 19 billion rupees are spent by kids.
- There’s a perception amongst Pakistani marketers that the average pocket money of kids is just Rs.5 and thus they are confined to that amount. What they don’t take into account is the fact that when the father goes out in the evening to buy groceries, the kids usually accompany him on this trip and get him to buy a number of goodies for them far exceeding the Rs.5 amount.
- Marketers need to come up with characters that kids can look up to and then build their brand strategy around that.
Q- What do you have to say about the ethical implications of using kids as a marketing material?
There’s nothing wrong with it. Unless I’m marketing an illegal or harmful product, it’s perfectly alright. Even in the tea ad (shown earlier), the kids are not shown drinking tea like an adult, they are just used as a theme. What’s wrong with that? They are, after all, used by marketers as objects in marketing products for the kids.
Q. I agree with him that marketers have a responsibility towards what they market. Blue Band was found to have plastic content, how can you market such products?
Ans. So sue them. It’s not the responsibility of a marketer to check for this. By the time the product reaches the advertiser, it is approved by all the authorities with respect to its quality. If it does not meet standard requirements, then prove it instead of rumor mongering.
- I agree with Numan that a manufacturer has everything to lose if one of its brands is sub-standard. Lays is a major competitor of ours and yet I myself assert that it is a Halal product.
- There are only two types of activities possible in school – education and wasting time.
- You should be clear what sort of value proposition you are offering to the target market.
- Kids love colors and change. When they go to buy a candy, they desire it to be wrapped in different color packaging.
- Rio made brilliant use of this insight when they changed the vanilla flavor in their sandwich biscuit category to two flavors – vanilla and strawberry.
- Despite the fact that there was no real innovation in it, kids loved it and the sales of this brand shot up.
- Kids are completely open-minded and they will try a new thing everytime. But they have their own value system and they have the intelligence to see through your deception if you try it.
- On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to get adults to try anything new. Almost 20 years ago, I tried selling a new shampoo and there were no takers. There was this 40 year old woman who didn’t want to try the shampoo and yet she gave a new brand of biscuits to her kids to try.
- In 1992 went to Germany to attend a confectionary exhibition. At that time our bubble gum was selling for 50 paisa like all the other brands. Their I saw a tattoo feature that would have added 10 paisa to our unit cost. I rejected that proposal and went to USA but my brother got this technology implemented and sold the bubble gum for Rs.1.
- It became one of the biggest selling bubble gums despite the doubling of the price. The moral of the story is that kids will go for new features even if the cost is high.
- Have tasted failure as well. There was this lollipop Funny Bunny which we used to sell for Rs.2. Out of stupid arrogance on my part resulting from the fact that we had no competitor, we jacked up the price to Rs.3.
- Although we had conducted research before the price, asking kids if they would have the lollipop even if the price was increased to Rs.3 to which there was a consensus of yes, the strategy failed badly. Out of the blue JoJo industry in Faisalabad and one other in Karachi started making and selling lollipops at Rs.2 and our sales went from 18,000 units to 3,000 units.
- Even if these competitors hadn’t cropped up, kids could have easily switched to some other category. It’s not a cancer drug that you absolutely need to have it.
- This also shows that you got to be careful when conducting market research where there are children involved. They don’t lie but they don’t necessarily tell you what they want or will do. You may ask them if they will buy an expensive candy and though they may tell you they will, they will never act on it.
- Fanty candy was one of our biggest success stories. Fanty used to be priced at 50 paisa. We increased the size of the candy and priced it at Rs.1 and since then there has been no looking back.
- We created a simple ad for it with a simple jingle that kept repeating. Never use minglish words in the jingle because they tend to confuse the audience. You can use them in the ad however.
- Check whether the name of the brand is something which can be easily pronounced by everyone, including the sales team. We named one of our brands Giant. Giant is a simple English word and yet most of our sales people pronounced it as ‘Gheeant’. So ensure that everyone is at ease with the name of the brand.
- Try to invest as much as possible in the ad creation. The better looking the ad, the more sales it will generate.
- Hilal doesn’t spend much on the creation of TVC but they spend a lot on the media placement. Their distribution is not that strong so they usually rely on their branding efforts to make inroads into the market.
- After Cartoon Network, Star Plus is a big market for advertising candies and goodies for kids because most nights of the week, the children have to watch this channel because their parents are hooked on to it for the Saas Bahu dramas.
- Billboards is a medium I’ve always opposed in my own company because I don’t know how to measure its effectiveness.
- Adultism is the new jargon which refers to discrimination against the kids in the sense that they are looked down upon and not given respect as an individual. As a marketer, it is imperative to never indulge in it otherwise the brand suffers.
- In fact never show a kid losing out on something, always show them as winners.
- Kids in general love music, excitement, silly humor in ads. Boys in general love slapstick and wicked humor. They born built in with the stupidity gene so that while an adult may sympathize with a person slipping on a banana peel, a male kid would laugh at it.
- Bisconni grows by 40-50% per year in terms of units sold.
Marketing to Youth
- Today’s youth can be termed as the digital native youth.
- He may have 53 friends in the real world but that translates into millions of them online. That’s how connected he is to the rest of the world.
- There has been a paradigm shift in the consumer behavior of the youth.
- In my days I used to remember going to concerts and all. Today’s youth want their own jamming sessions.
- Coke Studio is a great example of how a brand can reach glory through the power of the social media.
- Harley Davidson is a classic example of a brand staying relevant to the youth culture in spite of the fact that the average age of a Harley Davidson owner is 47 years.
- What today’s youth likes and wants doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of the population will want or like. For instance the sms thumb ad we ran was disliked by majority of the people but none of these belonged to the active youth segment.
- In reality the campaign was phenomenally successful. So are you aware of what your target market really wants?
- (Showed the interview clips of a number of teenagers revealing their aspirations and desires. Then showed the text excerpts of some youth interviews both from Pakistan and the US)
Question from audience: What was the insight behind the thumb ad?
Ans: It was based on an insight gleaned from an international study that a thumb was sitting in a bar and blabbering.
Q: Which SEC are you targeting within the youth?
A: We don’t define the segments in terms of SEC but rather in terms of lifestyles and behaviors.
Challenges & Opportunities- Afzal Shahabuddin – Marketing Head- Nokia Pakistan
- There are 75 million consumers in Pakistan in the age bracket 16-30 which is a bigger market than UK, Italy and Thailand.
- In 2007 Nokia was a market leader but it was not the leader in youth segment who considered it as a reliable brand but not cool.
- Nokia then repositioned itself focusing on music as the key to the hearts of the Pakistani youth.
- Nokia identified and used new touchpoints to leverage with the youth.
- Nokia took to the top 10 cities of Pakistan, conducting concerts and carrying out extensive BTL activities there.
Questions from the audience:
Q. What are the similarities and dissimilarities between urban and rural youth?
A. The similarities are that they love to listen to music and watch cricket. By way of dissimilarities, one of the insights we got from the rural lot was that they liked to listen to cricket commentary and music as a group, therefore in line with this insight we launched a new model which didn’t require the use of headphones.
Q. What’s the next step?
A. Touchphones are the next step. Nokia is increasingly focusing on apps on its Ovi store to make owning a Nokia brand a fruitful experience beyond just the features available on the device. Pakistan lack accurate and detailed maps of its cities because of which the Map app cannot be leveraged. But once maps are developed, navigation through mobiles would become a whole new ball game.
Q. There are many dual sim mobiles available on the market and apart from Samsung most are unbranded. Why hasn’t Nokia tapped into that market as yet?
A. Yes it is an opportunity and one which Nokia recognizes. However it’s not that big an opportunity as you are projecting. But Nokia is working on this and hopefully will come up with something to cater to this segment.
To be Continued in Next Part……