By Shoaib Hashmi
This is some while ago, but I
am sure you will remember it. They brought out this
new soft drink see, and to get it off the ground
in a market already brimming with the colas and
things, they had to start off with a bang. And they
They made this memorable ad, with this cowboy who
comes out of the desert, tired and thirsty, and
walks into the saloon, and there on the counter
are all the soft drinks in town lined up waiting
-- and he takes out his trusty six-gun and blazes
away, smashing them all to smithereens -- except
the new one!
What was even more noticeable about the ad was that
they'd been very, very careful with the editing,
and you could make out the general shape of the
familiar bottles, but you couldn't actually read
any of the brand names! We thought it was just a
case of politeness and good manners; after all even
in the cutthroat world of advertising, one does
not go around trashing one's rivals and competitors;
at worst one calls them 'Brand X'. And we thought
it was a sign of maturity and mellowness in our
Then one happened to see the same ad in the cinema,
and cinema advertising being cheaper, it was longer,
and that was not the only difference; there, large
as life and for all to see were the names of the
rival drinks, coke biting the dust, and Pepsi being
blown to the skies and the Mirindas and the Sprites
flying with the shards of the bottles. The admen
had no scruples about naming names you see; only
PTV in its usual mealy-mouthed way had chickened
out and edited the brands out of the ad.
Some time later a fledgling new daily newspaper
came out, which I will not name, because, as I said,
it is not nice to name names, but I will call it
the 'times' because one has to call it something.
They too had to make a splash, and they did it with
another ad, this time of two men on a park bench,
one reading the 'times' and the other one the 'Post'.
All the passing joggers look on, and stop to read
the 'times', and eventually the other man also throws
away his 'Post' and takes to the 'times'. And it
was all right because there was no real newspaper
called the 'Post' or anything like it.
This was some time ago, which means the ad is old
hat, and no one is going to look at it too closely,
and they don't really need it any more, so we were
a bit surprised when they dusted off this old relic
and suddenly started running it, every ten minutes
or so, on dozens of channels on the cable -- until
someone came and dumped a complimentary copy of
another brand new town newspaper on our doorstep!!
That was a sneaky one!
They've stopped since, which means they must have
cottoned on that while it may be sneaky to trash
your rivals, it is dumb to give them free publicity
too, which is what I am doing, so I must also stop.
Stop! (Courtesy The News)