Couple of months back Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL, previously HLL) has blocked all Star and Zee Channels and aired only HUL products ads through out the day. Through this HUL showed advertisement of their major products Lifebuoy, Dove, Ponds and Fair & Lovely through out the day on both Star and ZEE channels. This was a very costly affair for HUL as it has to shed out around USD 4.5 million.
We had a very big debate on this topic on a professional platform of Social Networking Site which involves professional from Advertising agencies, Software, Marketing, Sales & Finance etc.
Majority of the professional were against the ad blocking strategy, as per their opinion this is really waste of money as consumer does not sit to watch ads and continuously showing same ads will give negative impact of advertisement. It doesn’t justify investment strategy for Business or Brand Image Development.
Some professionals even said it will change the business message like Benefits of products to Differentiation of Product/Brand from the other…. or target customer should be changed from ad to ad. etc.
Everybody gives more emphasis on quality and how you reach out to your customers with your product, however other professional said that HUL is already a very big it does not require this kind of strategy, they said it is like a strategy were “I squeeze you and you squeeze me and at the end both would be at the same condition”.
Some other professional said that margin in which HUL works doesn’t vote these kinds of promotional strategy.
Other said if your product’s benefit is not measurable in terms of money and social aspiration, then even you book entire life span on television, consumer is not going to pick your product.
Some other great professional from advertising front said this kind of advertisements cannot make viewer think that HUL products are selling great guns, lets BUY… in fact it can appear to look like a desperate move or like the final punch.
However one of the professional who is closely associated with the sales of most of HUL brands said Unilever’s issue is not brand awareness. The issue is that consumers today are expecting much more from brands in form of innovation & quality and HUL have failed to keep up to the consumer’s expectation in the current decade. That too when in 90′s HUL has taught the Indian consumers the power of good brands. Now it is resulting in either stagnant market share in a growing market or a negative market share year by year. As per him these kinds of strategy is just for a short term for crisis management.
Now my question is, Does excessive advertisement is good for brand building & business growth?
I still feel these kinds of strategy works unless and until it doesn’t come under “ABUSE” marketing.
Ad blocking or excessive advertising is one of the ways to promote your product excessively. I think this type of concept works as consumer will see advertisement of that particular company / product through out the day and it really make impact in the mind consumer about the product.
This kind of strategy should be adopted when a company develops new ads and try to make huge impact of it in the minds of consumer. This kind of advertisement is really helpful for established brand in a particular season and event or in particular scenario.
Take the example of Pepsi & Coke- If you are a sports or cricket lover then you might have seen so many times that during a ODI cricket matches particularly during “ WORLD CUPS” or other major events Pepsi comes out with a new add for that particular event and display it excessively through out the match so that consumer can remember the add. This kind of add always comes up with some sort quiz or promotional tactics. It provides company boost in sales compare to his competitor for some period of time.
PEPSI has been doing the same for last decade or so and they are benefited by this. In a cricket crazy country like India people watch matches whole day and if they see only one company’s advertisement through out the day then it really makes impact in the mind of consumer. Yes pricing & quality are true for each and every company. But sometimes ad blockades / excessive strategy are also very necessary and successful for established brands/new brands. It has given dividends to company like Pepsi.
Example 2 – Whenever any company launches new TV channel they do the same thing. Sometimes in a highly competitive environment you have to penetrate the market. “COLOR TV CHANNEL” does the same, before launching the channel; they give excess advertisement to create awareness about the channel by making huge expenditure on advertisement. Now you see COLOR is one of the top TV CHANNEL in entertainment segment. Yes their contents are also very good but they have created awareness in the minds of consumer by providing excessive advertisement.
In my opinion excessive advertisement is not waste of money it has provided benefits to both new brands and established brands. I think in HUL case it could be a good short term idea to boost its market share or other way I can say HUL’s market share and brand image has declined over a period of time so it was a strategy to strengthen their brand by penetrating consumers mind. So, it was more of strengthening the brand image “HUL” rather than product advertisement.
I would like to have your views on this.
Do you think these kinds of advertisement should be allowed? Have you done these kinds of ad blockage/ excessive advertisement to improve your brand image or business development? Do these kinds of strategy is valid in your country / location?
Please share your views…….