Sunday, December 20, 2009

How to hurt your brand?!!

So an international ice-cream brand decided to open its stores in India. It also decided that it will segment itself as “premium” ice-cream brand from a foreign country. Hmm, well that sells, so far so good. Seeing the success of my neighborhood Mc Donald’s over the amazing Udupi Restaurant, I must say it would work. And in their teaser campaign they say “Exclusive preview for International Travelers” and “Access restricted only to holders of international passports”.

The advertisement

That my dear is a sure public relations disaster in India. Its like putting your own foot along with the rest of your body into your own mouth! I can only pity the marketing genius who came up with that idea. I think in any Marketing 101 course in India the first thing that should be taught is – never discriminate in India based on location, language, religion, nationality, sex, age, color, pets, cars, clothes, spectacles, mobile phones or anything that can be remotely thought to hurt our sentiments :) !!

I can’t imagine how they are gonna recover from this. It will be interesting to see how the company tries to apologize and cover this thing up. Will make a good marketing disaster case study in B-schools all around the world.

This also reminds me of a famous designer’s rumored comment “If I knew that blacks and Asians were going to wear my clothes, I would have never designed them”. To verify whether it was correct, I looked this thing upon Snopes, and apparently it is false.

And then today, in the world of YouTube, you can verify whatever you want .. so here is the video which lays to rest all speculations about it..

I don’t know what took him 10 years to come on her show and confess that. His publicist should have tried to cover this up like a decade ago. Cause when I had heard it way back in 2000, my young impressionable mind resolved to never use the brand ever in my life (Unlike some other very expensive designer brands, this particular brand potentially has people like me in their target market). Now, that I bet was the resolve of many other impressionable minds like me. Well, frankly speaking, I don’t think we really make a big market to actually affect the sales of such big brands. But still its a disaster I must say.


  1. They should be tried for Treason.. bloody jerks...bloody rascals..

    but we will forget sooner rather than later and then they will harp on the opportunity to make profits from the very country..

  2. Oh man, that haagen-daaz thing is really horrid. If they had targeted me, I would be outraged. Tear down the walls and steal all their ice-cream.

  3. you know one interesting thought I have....may be not all indians read the instructions so my guess is people would read that foreign sounding name and just barge right thing we have to remember is there is no scarcity of young population in india who have the money to try new things....

  4. @Vaibhav - I don't think it is as bad as sounds. I can bet that the creative brains behind this advertisement is definitely an Indian. I bet foreign companies are extra careful about not hurting local sentiments and hence hire local marketing firms to do their jobs.

    @Angela - Yeah, we should have an "Ang Mos only" sign outside the hagen daz out here :) !!

    @Gadi Sir - True, this too shall pass, we got the money and we want to be associated with such stuff!