The business of balancing Advertising and the rest of it!


Advertising is all about emotions; how to capture the imagination of masses with a common humane denominator like love, emotion, Religion, relationships, goals. Our shared history & culture define who we are and how collective behavior come naturally to us.

Last Sunday morning when I logged in my Twitter found #BoycottRedLabel at top trending and just got me curious. It is a brand and agency nightmare scenario (on the weekend really!). From screenshots and tweets, I tracked the advert that bought the trend in front. To my surprise, it is a year old Ad published on Sept 14, 2018. Then why is trending negative a year after it?

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Ad in question:

YouTube video of Red Label has 1,829,620 views.

But this isn’t the first time RedLabel got into trouble apparently in March 2019 HUL had to apologize for #ApnoKoApnao campaign publically. Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest religious and spiritual event, has lately come to advertiser’s eye. Film promotion, brand promotion, venue branding a lot has happened. They have even pulled this campaign down from their youtube channel.

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#BoycottRedLabel was used even to protest the Kumbh campaign. Now that is trending again; it seems the last two days there has been a substantial increase in negative comments on their YouTube channel. Reason for this looks like as we approach Ganpati, the content related to it does reappear and get republished in many popular content platforms. For the lack of fresh content or sometimes to bask in the glory of popular old Ads. And for better or worst the negative trend got picked up from it.

Modern-day advertisers/ agencies are creating content that not only has a brand message but rather have brand and its positioning weaved into a story or content that has entertainment, a message, a deeper meaning. Campaigns topics need follow up conversation on social media. As advertisers, we are taught or requested to make content on trending topics, catch on a popular topic. ( why we don’t have a post on Chandrayan? ) .

Patriotism – nationalism is one such topic that most of the brands have played with when they want to catch the pulse of the nation. ( Our desh has Desh ka Namak, Desh ki mitti se bani tile, Desh ki Dhadkan, and so on ) You can’t go wrong with this.

Another such popular topic is Religion. I consider this a very tricky subject. Talking on this is walking on a thin line. Lately, India isn’t divided by Religion or caste or on social status, but there is conscious effort to separate it half to LEFT and RIGHT. Beyond control, forces will use simple advert and twist it for motives beyond rational grasp. Content created on Religion lines is getting picked positioned on either side. For the good and bad of it, this will open dialogue on-brand content, but the brand has to be ready with “at what cost?” ( Snapdeal paid the very unfair price of a statement their brand ambassador made in a personal capacity )

Coming back to Ganpati, around the same time another brand did release their commercial but let’s compare the view number of both.

Burger paint:

#Paintyourimagination Published on Sep 12, 2018

Views : 114,428

GS Tea :

Views: 987

I am sure these no ones remembers or talks about.

From Meat and Livestock Australia Commercial

Globally also there are cases when it has backfired for brands. I found this really interesting case study with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) who in their two-minute-long video featured a range of religious figures and prophets, including Zeus, Jesus, Odin, Moses, Aphrodite, Ganesha, Confucius, and Buddha.

View Ad here :

Quick take away from this is Religion is a weapon to be used very wisely.

Having said all this, I second this gentleman below!

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Spare us on weekends.

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