What is the advertisers single aim? To grab attention!
In the endless battle to garner our attention brands dive deep into a variety of things. Some come up with commercials laced with tongue and cheek humour, some resolve to the communication of product benefits, others weave in a musical tune into the commercial to keep it catchy etc. But for fastrack there are no niceties here - shock tactics make one stop and stare. Mission accomplished.
This combination of frightening, gory and/or offensive advertising material is known as "shockvertising" and is often considered to have been pioneered by Benetton, the Italian clothing retailers which created the line United Colors of Benetton, and its advertisements in the late 1980s . Shockvertising is a portmanteau of shocking and advertising. Since then many brands have used it either as occasional bursts or adopted it completely.You can browse through the 10 most controversial advertisements in history here.
1. A small recap:
Fastrack was launched as sub-brand from Titan. But it has slowly evolved to become a major brand of its own. (2.6 million likes on the fastrack’s Facebook Page). Fastrack is essentially a youth brand with a target audience of 15-25 year-olds (SEC A,B). Fastrack was one of the first brands to use social media to engage with potential and existing consumers with two communities on Facebook and a Twitter account in September 2007. It has always tried to stay ahead of its times and enagage with its TG in the way they move and live.
Then it moved on to celebrity endorsements when it signed cricketer Virat Kolhi and actress Genelia D’souza. The campaign tried to drive home the message ‘Move on!’. Watch the TVC here.
2. First signs of shock:
It was in 2010 that Fastrack created some buzz when it came up with the f******k 20% off campaign. Most major road intersections were adorned with the visuals and a TVC was created to support the billboard campaign. However the TVC was banned due to its provocative nature.
3. The current campaign:
It was via Storyboard’s feed that threw in a photo of this topless girl brazenly posing and saying ‘Don’t Stare at my T_ _S’. I was shocked. It’s not the first time the brand has gone this way to censor the words to play double entendres. I visited the website and the landing page says is that fastrack merchandise is giving out a 25% discount. So it's not just something for the sake of branding but is very transaction oriented. But when the scroller moves you see the image of same topless lady with the caption ‘Grab some T_ _ S’ while the button to proceed in the continued risqué manner ‘Grab now’.
Also if you pay close attention or have been following the brand, this was the brand’s foray into T-shirts. But with provocative lines such as these I believe the brief sent to the agency would have been – ‘to have one-liners which would prompt people to take off their t-shirts?’. This is also validated by the Economic Times. Team Fastrack believes the ads and the site walk a fine line; they are naughty and provocative without being sleazy. This it seems is the teaser. The teaser campaign played around with words, created intrigue and got people engaged. Fastrack being one of the better brands at digital marketing is closely monitoring the same too.
Fastrack merchandise starts from 595 INR( 12$) for watches and in the case of T_ _S its 650INR (13$). Is fastrack trying to capture a large part of the unorganized junk jewellery market?
4. The Inspiration:
The brand draws its inspiration from Diesel. From closely following the communication and way the brand is extending its portfolio, it is probable that the brand wants to become the Diesel of India. Its uses the same risqué communication and bold imagery to shock the consumers. Like the ‘Be Stupid’ campaign which certainly got a lot of attention.
5. The Take:
· Judging advertisements on their potential to offend is like comparing the music of Beethoven and Anu Malik. What one person sees as provocative another hails as creative. A piece of stimulus in itself is difficult to be universally offensive unless it goes into taboo areas like child abuse.
· Advertisements for products and services should all follow a single, simple strategy: to be consistent with the brand. We consumers hate being misled, when advertisements are full of untruth. If taboo subjects are used in advertising, but the rest of the product and service is not risqué, the brand is running into trouble.
As a side question I want to know why do the risqué advertisements targeted for the Indian audience always feature anglo-Indian models?
So, that’s the thought! I will see you right back here!