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Tuesday, January 9

Grey Worldwide - Life not the Agency

While flipping through the India Today Special Issue(Jan 8 - 2006 Year of Remixes),these two images struck me most! And once again there was this acute sense of realisation that no part of our world/ brand world is black and white any more. Just about everything is a shade of grey...

For many years now, grey has been the dominant colour of popular culture. And in most of the lingering images of 2006, it's position in our lives and in mass media has been cemented.

1. Sanjay Dutt, the likeable star(the 'bechaara son' of Sunil Dutt and Nargis) of the years biggest block-buster-Lage Raho Munnabhai and the proponent of Gandhigiri is actually facing conviction under TADA! Similar fate awaits the darling of the Bollywood fraternity- Salman Khan...

2. News TV, founded on the values of 'Sabse Tej', 'Sach Dikhate Hain Hum', Haqeeqat Jaisi, Khabar Waisi' has actually become 'Tamasha TV in it's relentless lust for TRPs and sticky eye-balls.

So, every jhatka of a dance bar girl, the macabre child deaths in Noida, the unfortunate fall of a boy in a ditch make for 'Breaking News' and high-decibel coverage!
News TV is the new grey zone between reportage, activism, sensationalism and ludicrousness!

3. Politics has always been in the grey zone of 'criminalisation' and 'vote bank politics'

4. Prime time entertanment(saas-bahu serials) has been in the grey zone of 'slick-and-high-decibel-marketing, 'idiocy', idea-bankrupcy' and 'regressive themes'.

5. The newspaper brand that starts the year with a 'Let there be light' slogan ends the year with 'I will get into scandals' resolution!! It's a strange variegation of light and darkness here. LOL

6. Colas have now been in the grey zone of glamour, pesticide controversy and credibility-under-question celebrity endorsements.

7. Consumer behaviour has been in the grey zone of 'brand indifference' and brand-slutness as Marian Saltzman calls it!

8. Companies are invading the blogosphere as well. Flogs-fake blogs are grey!
Few silly corporate attempts to penetrate Youtube, myspace, orkut are grey marketing examples...

Funny, how living in this 'Grey World' we still create 'pure' brand worlds/ brand keys and virtuous brand values laundry list...

Fig. The ad for Suzlon in ET today(the wind energy guys). Look at the pure world they are alluding to. A world that today exists only within the glossy pages of a magazine often not read!!(Suzlon is here just a representative example.)

- Would a grey world need a new brand thinking lens?

- What would today's kids call grey when they grow up?
Will it matter then?

- Will grey work in the long term or will there be a backlash...

- What is the threshold limit/ boundary of a grey world?

-Is this a meaningless question in an India Poised(the new TOI campaign) - that's drunk on its youthful exuberance, new found envy from the West and a general middle class(biggest market) self congratulatory mood?

- Once again Bollywood found its grey icon long before corporates or advertsing did. SRK in his various roles in movies like Darr, Baazigar, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Don2 has been the Grey Baadshah for a decade now...

The public has accepted him. Will the consumer do the same? And aren't they anyways the same:-)

Guys, if you get the time do rack your grey matter on the grey world!

Related Post : McHealth and Brand Grey Zone

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