One mistake that I make when commenting on business, particularly advertising and marketing, is that I am often self-referential. If I don’t like something, I tend to believe that not many people will, because “they’re a sensible lot”. That’s myopic, and I realized this a week or so ago, at a Pepe Jeans store:
On noticing the Pepe Jeans’ Dhoom 2 collection at a store in CP, I thought I’d ask the store owner about the offtakes. A segment of the left wall (not particularly noticeable though) had been dedicated to the collection. Above the racks was a large POP banner of the movie, and a cut-out (which I hadn’t noticed on the way in – banner blindness, for sure) had been placed in the display window next to the entrance. The offtakes? Fantastic, he said. Young people are walking into the store and asking for what Hritik Roshan wore in this-scene or that-scene and buying. The same with Aishwarya Rai and Bipasha Basu for girls.
“Yeah, right!” you’d think. “That’s just plain PR speak. No one’s really buying this stuff.”
And then someone walks up to us and quietly (embarrassed?) asks for a particular jacket that Hritik wore in some specific scene. Pepe’s done a smart thing – the collection is straight out of the movie and they’ve printed a catalogue with stills where the actors are wearing these clothes. Three pieces of clothing were picked up while I was there for around 15 minutes. At the checkout counter, strangely enough – in a bowl – accessories from Dhoom 2 were kept for impulse purchases. Someone picked up a bandana with a flowery design.
Hence, I now accept that there are people who are star-struck, and user preferences can never really be based on a specific way of thinking. Even Rakhi Sawant has a fan :P. People do have idols whom they want to emulate…My nephew was very protective of his Kkrish jacket and rubber mask. I might think that almost everything on TV is stupid (apart from the History Channel, Discovery Travel & Living, CNBC-TV18, Zee Cafe, Zee Studio and a couple of others), and talk about the youth slowly switching to the Internet because prime-time soaps are stupid, and news is blatantly sensationalized – but there are who are lapping all of this up, and will still want passive entertainment instead of having to choose what to watch/do online.
Individual differences. So what do you do? Find common preferences, a niche perhaps, to target them. And ensure that while you cater to one groups preferences, you don’t piss off another with a drastic shift in TG. People switch very quickly. Speaking of clothing, when it was launched in India, Givo was a high-end brand. Floundering now, from what I hear.
Of course, it’s not that I’m not star-struck…Please note that if you have exclusive invites for lectures by Joseph Stiglitz, George Soros and Amartya Sen, in Delhi, and you decide not to go – please don’t say something like “Nix, those invites just went waste…I couldn’t go and I was thinking – Damn, who should I give these to?”
I suggest you lie and tell me you gave them to your dad or girlfriend, or sold them. Just don’t tell me they went waste. And don’t blame me to attempting to strangle you at a bookstore in CP.