, , , ,

Foolish consumers, brand ambassadors and the Admantium phone

Micromax and Hugh Jackman? WHAT THE F**K!!! This news ACTUALLY made me write this. For me, Wolverine and a desi brand is like Rolls-Royce and a beggar. No offence to anyone but still – No way man!!!



I am a big, big, big fan of superheroes. As much as I worship God, I worship Superheroes. Marvel, DC, doesn’t matter. For me, superheroes stir that superhero element in you which give you that extra-kick, push, lift – whatever, to go that extra mile. Mere recollection of superhero supermoments in movies (sorry, never read their comics) gives me an adrenaline rush. And today some desi mobile assembler pinched me hard!

This desi mobile assembler, harsh though I am, is the second biggest mobile seller in one of the fastest growing markets in the world. It has crossed the 2 million units mark in shipments and with a market share of around 22%, is just behind Samsung which has 26% for Q2 2013 as per IDC. In less than half a decade, it has taken the world’s largest democracy by storm, literally forcing Korean giants to come up with cheaper models and thus, empowering the aam-aadmi with a ‘smartphone’ – which, otherwise, he may have just dreamt of! By the way, you need to read this.

I had learnt in my MBA that branding is the SINGLE most important feature of any product. A good product will sell due to its virtues, branding or no branding but ANY product will sell if it is branded well. Chennai Express, Ek Tha Tiger – Bollywood is full of examples. But real products and concepts? Yes, we have seen celebrities selling us ideas and beauties like Sonali Bendre convincing us to use washing powder brands as body soaps!!! And how we fall for it.

That’s the power of branding. Celebrities make it all the more easy. We all have preconceived notions of stars in our minds. Associating them with any product makes the product positioning stronger in our brains. So if we respect and admire Sachin, even if he promotes a lowly beedi (which I am sure he would never), that beedi’s perceived value would rise in our minds. That is precisely how any dumb, chillar product can become a brand and that is what marketers cash on – it is their masterstroke. SRK, Katrina, anyone. Nokia, Lux, anything. That’s the power of branding.

Today, reading this news, I was flabbergasted, shocked, traumatized and shattered. How could a Hollywood A-lister, an Oscar anchor, the only Superhero to act in the same role in maximum number of films accept an offer from a brand that is still not a A-lister in pure brand perception terms in its own country of origin? For a couple of million dollars, how could The Wolverine say yes without knowing what the brand personality and brand equity the brand carries? Does he even know how much damage he has done to the brand of Wolverine by endorsing Micromax? Did his PR team did enough research before saying yes? Did they even Google the brand value it carries? Or did they get blown away by the number of zeroes the paper had or the number of cities Micromax has offices in. Atleast for me, the Admantium is breakable now.

Hats off to the team which pitched the offer to Logan’s representative. Cheers guys! You just earned a virtual PhD in Extraordinary Sales Pitch. I would love to see the ppt which you guys presented to Jackman’s PR team (surely you guys didn’t pitch by gifting the Canvas Turbo or Canvas Shoe or whatever) and would embed it in my blog. Any interview you give in which you reveal your strategy of pitching would become a case-study at the IIMs for sure. Well done folks! Kudos.

Wolverine, you just disappointed me. It is not about endorsing Micromax or Samsung or Gillette or Rolls-Royce. It is about not knowing your worth, your brand value, your virtual equity which you commanded. The respect superhero fanboys had for you. The time we back-counted for each of your movies to release. The adulation your scenes got. You just lost it Logan, you just lost it! Go back to hibernation.

NB – I personally believe more in quality than mere branding. But somehow Micromax doesn’t fit in that branded frame in my mind. Very personal belief. Hence even when I had to buy a cheap second phone, I preferred a Nokia B/W than a Micromax color QWERTY. Call me a fool, I may be, all consumers are foolish J