Google Adwords: Google made a small mistake :)

I am sure Larry and Sergie could do the best Google search. With all the advance search techniques, the delimiters, the quotes, commas etc. I mean ofcourse – they designed and built it! They know it better than anything else!

Okay – how about Google Adwords?

Sample this: Most of us keep struggling with good landing pages, google adword creatives, text ads, image ads, gadget ads… Keep tweaking them all till we don’t get our CPC, CPA, CPL, visitors, visits, pageviews right.

But some things we never forget to check, re-check, click, doubleclick… is the URL… Some of the paranoid us also recheck the spellings, the brand names and the grammar one too many times!

Today while random surfing (I get paid for this :P), I noticed Google AdWords being used heavily for the US Elections 2008 registration phase… Obama or Palin (McCain yeah!) doesn’t matter to me.. But I thought I would like to see what Google has to offer for the campaign…

But what does it do?

It ends up using a Wrong URL for its ads (!) – Yes, check it out for yourself: http://www.google.com/2008election/

Worth forgiving I tell you… But if I was a client… I’d be nervous :'(

Here it is:

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How I know Shiksha.com could be Infoedge’s foray into education

A couple of weeks ago, I got to know of a big transaction in the Domaining world. Shiksha.com was bought by Infoedge (Naukri.com) for an undisclosed amount. This info was interesting as it came in close heels with this announcement by Infoedge (Naukri.com) on their foray into the booming education market.

Now today, during my regular reading on domain investments, I saw ‘Siksha.com‘ (notice it being Siksha and not Shiksha) being bought by another South Delhi based software company for USD 10,000.

Okay – so here is what I foresee: Siksha.com will get a lot of type-in traffic once cash rich Infoedge starts to advertise using mass media. Free traffic for Siksha.com and ad revenue for Pragati Infosoft . Could that would force Infoedge (Naukri.com) to buy the domain by adding another zero to the figure? Or maybe am speculating too early. Watch this space.

Exciting. Domaining is getting into mainstream! And I can be with the FBI for unearthing something which is virtually unknown to many.

Edit: The domain records of Shiksha.com now carry InfoEdge as the owner with the VP (Technology) Manish Gulati’s Yahoo address.
Siksha.com owned by Pragati Infosoft

Shiksha.com whois record Infoedge

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Hindustan Times – Are we on the same page?

If I had one word that great brands stand for – consistency would be it.

But why should consistency be perhaps the only or the most important parameter?

It is about predictability (I know what I’d get), which leads to comfort (I’d take that – no questions asked), and which leads to loyalty (I will only take that). And yes, I think it can be that simple. No surprises, life is good, brand advocacy (you take that!) prevails.

So today, while I paid my routine visit to AgencyFaqs I was in for a surprise from Hindustan Times (and as a loyal user it meant *&#^$(*&% ).

Just to set the context: I am still a very friendly newspaper reader. Yes, most of my reading actually happens on the Internet, but the comfort and ‘portability’ of the newspaper still cannot be beaten. Have been religiously reading the Hindustan Times since the time I could phonetically read the masthead “etch eye en dee you ess tee aye en… …. … …. …” (straight out of English 101)

So I saw this site capture running on the home page of Agencyfaqs: (Frame 1 & Frame 2)

Hindustan Times .com Campaign - experience news like never before

Hindustan Times .com Campaign - experience news like never before

As a loyal user, I had to click on it. Read the lines “the all new hindustantimes.com” well, the last phrase any marketer should use. If it is all new, and offers great value, you rather rebrand it. Anyways, so since it was all “new” and all that, I was hoping for a surprise! And a good one.

I land up on this page:

Hindustan Times .com - Homepage

Old Page (spot the difference?)

Hindustan Times .com - Homepage Old

While the above is not a huge difference, what has made me wonder is the look of the communication (the above banner) and the actual landing page?

Great landing pages should start from where the creative/communication/teaser left?

Not only that, if you see, the Gateway of India is sinking. The historical monument that has been the symbol of Mumbai’s fervour been marginalised to such obnoxious extents?

Lastly – the logo. Last I heard, companies spent gazzilion of dollars beefing up their logo consistency, changing the logo, and ensuring that guidelines are met.

All it takes is one Flash Designer?

The new UI and site would be covered by me soon. Till then, I rest my case against HindustanTimes.com

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Telecom Brands in India: Airtel, Hutch, Idea

They are all talking the same.

Zero product level differentiators. Zero service level differentiators. Near-zero service in anycase!

We need number portability in this country.

Period.

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Jack Daniels: An ode to Indian Alcohol Advertising

Alcohol advertising is banned in India. Well literally!

There is this interesting read on the ‘Tipsy Liquor Policy of India’ I came across a few months ago.

It is funny how the Government of India makes the sale and consumption of alcohol legal in India but makes advertising and promotion illegal. Hypocrisy is it? By the way the sale of liquor to mortals aged less than 25 years is anyways illegal. But a glance into the numerous pubs shows that perhaps that’s the ‘demographics’ that throngs the bar!

Now lemme do some “Freakonomics” here:

The Government makes oodles of money collecting the zillions of bucks as excise, tax, license fees (from bar owners).
The Bar/taverns/restaurants/liquor shops/soda sellers/those recycled plastic throw-able glass sellers/DJs: all make money.
The liquor companies: they perhaps make more money by spending less!
The Advertising agencies: Well, their gravity prevailing profits are leading them to be “not-for-profit organisations’
And like always the ad-execs end up getting less money!

Until, one stray instance, one brand shows us the way while I am driving on my way to a client meet:

jack-daniels-jd-india-liquor-policy-india

There billboard is on the Delhi-Noida-Delhi expressway. This cheeky, ‘complete the picture’ creative leaves one gasping for more. It is the logo, nothing more, and infact it is not even the complete logo.

It is like saying “If you don’t know me, don’t drink me’… And I love it!

It is not the first time this has been done. I clearly remember the Neil French crafted Chivas Regal campaign

chivas-regal-no-bottle-neil-french.gif

I would certainly like to argue that this “Interactive” in nature. Yeah, go on, get that smirk on your face. But the point is that, it certainly make me interact with a darn hoarding.

How?

For me and others who know Jack Daniels: Well, this caught my attention, my pea-sized brain made me consume the information and process it to say ‘wow’ to myself and gain greater conviction, respect, build stronger bonds with ‘Jack Daniels, the brand’.

While others are using surrogates like sodas, music, events, parties, one brand decided to stick it’s neck out.

It didn’t tell you that alcohol is cool, it didn’t tell you that listening to music, partying or ‘anything lifestylish’ but pure unadulterated branding. It is slow, it is drop by drop, much like the Tennessee Whiskey.
Cheers to Jack Daniels. Cheers to the Alcohol Advertising in India.

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Orkut improves user interface: a quick take

Google’s take over of Orkut has started to show in more ways than one.

To begin with, we started to see contextual advertising on the Orkut community pages.

Now the Google engineers are working hard to improvise the user experience. Now we can reply to scraps right from within our scrapbook.

Earlier, we had to click on someones user ID, then click on view scrapbook and then actually write and post the scrap! Pretty archaic and long winded! But now things are simpler and quicker! Kudos…
orkut-user-interface-reply.jpg

Today is Diwali, the festival of lights. This is what welcomed me on Orkut today.

orkut_india_holiday.jpg

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Brand Apple: Is love really blind?

I love Apple. I love Steve Jobs. I love their advertising. I love their arrogance. I love their products. Infact the love stretches beyond just products. It extends into inspiration, unconditional love… ummm a religion? Saatchi & Saatchi refers to this phenomenon as Lovemarks.

Strangely, while the above is somehow far more intangible in the buying decision making process, the far more tangible aspects like ‘consumer reviews’ fail to soften the purchase motivations.

Recently, while surfing Apple’s online catalog, I read some fairly negative consumer feedback about the Apple Mighty Mouse.

Suddenly, I took notice, but I didn’t defer my purchase. Primarily because of the following reasons:

  • The fact that Apple had the arrogance, courage, confidence and the transparency to showcase the negative comments worked for me, and somehow fit the current brand image in my mind
  • the Lovemark,
  • And lastly the amazing product that Mighty Mouse is in the first place.

Whats leaves me gasping for answers is whether all the consumer mass that is enamoured by a brand ready to ignore the user feedback and go on to pay a premium for products (read brands)? If it does, then whole a lot of things work – Super Bowl (1984 Think Different Ad) as media (remember, White Colour, Fruit-led brand names, and some great advertising.

Apple Store Reviews by Customers

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