Last week when I took the family truck to the service station, I had the choice of getting the tyres filled with Pine-Scented Mountain Air from Kumaon, Goan Sea Breeze or bottled Mistral imported from France. The mountain airs would help my tyres run cool, I was told, while the Goan breeze was obviously more swingy. After much deliberation, I opted for the end of season discount they had on the local Moist Monsoon Magic (the moisture cleans the tyres from the inside).
Too far-fetched? Not at all. This is Branding 2.0 and it’s just round the corner. What water do you top up the radiator with? Bisleri, Aquafina or the specially formulated Aquatherma from Mobil? And how about the water you’re putting inside yourself? Surely, it has to be from Mikazaki’s Autumn Collection if you’re expecting guests for dinner, or at least Bonasera’s Aqua Bueno if it’s just the family. What? You’re still drinking Evian?
So I’m not exaggerating much after all.
Every time I switch on my DTH box, it first shows me a commercial from a liquor company selling CDs, fashion or attitudes. So I dutifully go and mix myself a drink before choosing a channel to watch. The thing is, what these ads are running on isn’t even a channel. This Zero Channel space never existed before – it’s a media invention like the Strategic Time-out in 20-20 cricket.
Having done cars, chips and colas, marketing corporations are running out of things to brand and spaces to stick the brand name on. Colonies and dhabas sport logos of telecom and cola companies respectively. In the field of sport, sixes have been rebadged Maximums, and the posteriors of riders in motorcycle grands prix are poised to become the next bit of media real estate.
Given the prodigious rate at which the human population is increasing, image-conscious humans are on the lookout for increasingly unique selling propositions to differentiate themselves with: Can’t trust regular air these days – it’s so public. That’s why my family breathes only Purevac’s Double-Oxy Atmos, enriched with Hyper Hydrogen and a hint of spring mist.
Branded bijli is already on its way. And as an advertising writer, I’m licking my chops with eager anticipation. With multiple distribution companies competing for your custom, can differentiation be far behind? ‘Watch Your Bulbs Light Up With Joy’ Joy Electric will say, only to be countered by ‘The Volt With A Jolt’ from PowerInd, and by ‘Only Optima Turns Me On’ from Optima Electricity. Zapping, no? But it’ll be here faster than you can design a mnemonic for ‘microprecise amplitude management with hydrolised electron modifiers’.
What I’m really looking forward to though, is getting myself sponsored. Seriously, why not? I’m a pretty outstanding sort of chap, and quite willing to accept a bunch of banknotes if some company wants to stick its name in front of mine. Indicom Siddharth Prasad has quite a ring to it. And Fizzicola Siddharth Prasad sounds like fun too. I’ll even wear the company t-shirt. Any takers?