Monday, February 12, 2007

Are you engaged?

Things are moving fast. Internet speed to speed dating. IM to IP (Instant pasta). Movie Mania to Maggi Mania. 110 TV channels to choose for two hours of viewing in a day. Ten financial newspapers and 20 English dailies with the same news, yet time for reading is just 15 minutes. Debates, documents, dialogues, decisions, work life is diabolical; personal life, demonic.

Going to a party and enjoying a good time depends on when you need to reach office next day. That’s why you never forget to pop ‘Party Smart.’ You go for dinner at a restaurant and expect food to be served as soon as you place the order, you chuckle, watch the person next table gorge, look at your wrist watch 3 times, if it’s more than 10 minutes, you call the manager. Fast food is junk food; your inner voice reminds you. And how can you ever think of not carrying your Blackberry on a weekend trip to the jungle resort some 60 kms outside the city.

Stress is the biggest lifestyle disease and urban Indians don’t have a remedy yet. (I know there are spas and gyms.) But we are happy with health clubs and happy hours. This lifestyle disease seems like a mixture of a chronic and complex virus of contradiction, confusion and chaos. When your (we urban dwellers) attention span have shortened, surely you are affected by the virus.

So, one day advertisers decided to engage people at a marathon meeting in their confusing conference room. How? Go guerilla, do digital, promotion pooh-pooh, attention ambient. Eventually conduct events. Call it 360, holistic, disruption; all you need to do is brief specialized agencies. Boom, the engagement plan ready for implementation.

Here is an example of true consumer engagement (It there for a week, alternatively you can download the same from here.) Yes, you’ll argue Standard Chartered pulled a similar stunt in Mumbai. But let’s be honest, how many will remember it as a SCB Run. You may say Hutch did a better job in Delhi. I’ll agree with you. Atleast it was better coordinated engagement. But still it was a copycat idea. Isn’t it?

So here’s my take on some engagement ideas for some brands:
Barbie: Doll Shows at all girls school. Get them to be more creative
X-box: Interschool Annual X Day for boys aka Annual Sports Day. Button it out
History Channel: Live the Story at our Heritage Sites. True stories come alive. Write your experience.
Excalibur: Lessons on corporate etiquettes at Business schools by industry leaders. Power dressing for the future leaders
Heinz: Throw Tomato Day. Smash it on the face like you do on Holi.

How about theatre, stage performances in semi-urban or rural areas? Brand theatres. Instead of TVC, why not enact the script with real people on a real stage?

Engagement is education. Engagement is encouragement. Engagement is exciting. Engagement is entertaining.

So, next time when someone tells you about engagement, you now know what to be done. Do share with me if you have some good examples.

No comments: