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Grabbing Attention vs Brand Love


We understand that advertising today can be very tough for marketers and we go to great lengths to grab the attention of our target audience. Whether it’s Vim Black, the Bournvita Forced Pack activation or now the PUMA Anushka association and the way it was announced; the core premise is that in the cluttered content heavy world we live in, one must grab attention first and foremost!  

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Controversy may make for virality and provide social currency. In that aspect, the aforementioned examples were successful in being classified as attention-worthy, new and disruptive. However, disruption may not always be good.

Shouldn’t brand custodians and consumer experts be worried about where to draw the line? In case some of these brand activations backfire?

Our work at Elevate Insights has taught us that such ‘impactful’ campaigns can be backfire when it is:

  1. Clearly staged: Reality television-like controversy can lead to mistrust amongst consumers and can take away from brand love & respect. E.g. the Anushka- Puma controversy will impact both Puma and the brand Anushka. Consumers today are evolved and can see through such propaganda.

2. Idea Out vs Brand out: Brand objectives can be forgotten in the chaos of selling an idea through creative advertising. This can deeply impact brand values and the signals we are sending about the brand. Advertising testing doesn’t capture this as it is focussed on cut through and comprehension rather than brand fitment.

3. Celebs vs consumer: oriented: It is important to stand out with celebrity endorsements because each celebrity endorses many brands at a time today. In some cases celebrities are used in their personal avatars or when a brand pays homage to the celebrity. E.g when SRK was referred to an ‘uncle’ in the iconic Pepsi slim can commercial


4. Culturally insensitive: Marketers need to be super sensitive to religious and cultural sentiments of the audience to avoid backlash. Raising the right questions on communication resonance and checking for potential red flags at the stage of testing the creative can go a long way.


Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner infamous commercial taught us that the brand can’t really control the final social narrative, which can sometimes be far off than intended messaging!

In Sum

We understand that it can be tough for marketers as impact is measured basis campaign uplifts in this short term ROI and KPI oriented world. It is completely acceptable to define brand salience as the key campaign objective! After all, it is possible to communicate brand benefits via other means and use advertising to meet brand salience goals. The case in point is perhaps the Rahul Dravid Cred advertising.


However, negative brand disposition is surely not a desired outcome. Hence, campaigns need to be in sync with core brand values and the role of the brand in the consumers life. Aiming for brand love can pay handsomely in the long run. 

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