Maruti or Suzuki or Nexa or S Cross: killing two birds with one arrow is bad strategy

First came the teaser campaign on television which left audience to wonder what Nexa is. The ad campaign used ambiguity route to creating curiosity to capture attention in otherwise highly cluttered communication scene. These were sleek and finely executed and managed indeed to build expectations that something premium is being launched. The clues that made up the ad- words like ‘feeling’, ‘joyous’, ‘amazing’, ‘pure’, ‘indulgence’, and ‘exclusive’ coupled with visuals of fast moving light, finely cut suit, smart men, expensive watch, trimmed beard, close up of eyes, and expensive box (probably containing keys)- did manage to create an impression of upscale and out of the ordinary. But it was not a campaign for car, as one thought initially. Rather it was campaign of a new car showroom.
The company, Maruti Suzuki launched new branded showrooms with proposition – ‘new hospitality experience’. The purpose is to sell high end vehicles though these Nexa showrooms. The company claims to have hired staff with experience in hospitality and aviation with the focus that these sectors equip their people to deal with wealth customers with high soft and communication skills.
The bread-and-butter Altos and Swifts won’t be retailed at these outlets. The NEXA-branded showrooms will try attracting customers looking to buy vehicles priced Rs 8 lakh and above.
The showroom ads were followed by the launch of X Cross, cross sports utility vehicle. The car is designed to have looks and style distinctively different from its current range. And its print communication reminds of ads of Mercedes Benz (may be due to similarity in font) and ad format.
This twin salvo is aimed to help the company shed its dilute its image of mass car producer to move up the price point. The company has already experienced failures in its earlier attempts to move up the car hierarchy with variants like SX4, Balneno and Kizashi. To undo what it did in past the company the company is seeking to produce high end cars with greater engineering, performance and appearance coupled with new branded channel of distribution (superior in store experience).
In supposedly an innovative way, the company is seeking to reach out the premium customers with premium branded showroom experience. The question arises, is this actually a right move to cater to a segment which earlier refused to patronize Maruti Suzuki’s premium vehicles? And was this rejection based on lack of availability of ‘branded showrooms’ and ‘hospitality experience’?


The ads of S Cross which zoom in on a swanky finely crafted car to reveal its identity through ‘S’ letter on the grill comes as an anti-climax. The hype build by Next and cleaver maneuvering of camera in introducing the vehicle does what it is not suppose to achieve- it is an “S” or ‘M’ car. It should have been a ‘N’ car distantly related to Maruti-Suzuki. But ‘S’ on the grill makes is closer to ‘M’ which is what led to rejection of company’s premium entries. The customers did not reject Maruti’s premium cars on the grounds of their performance. The rejection was due to imagery and perception.


Nexa, different exclusive branded showrooms is a good attempt to physical separation of customers and brands-mass and premium. But car branding reverses it. The premium segment play is certainly about performance, but it only operates at hygiene level. The motivation operates at the psychological level. The most important reason to buy a premium product/brand is to achieve distance from the mass- at psychological level. But ‘S’ and ‘M’ on the premium offerings of Maruti-Suzuki would continue to hound it like an invisible ghost. The lure to leverage brand equity directly sometimes proves fatal, the Company should have learnt it long time back.

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Rahul Gandhi, Branding, Confusion, Complexity and Connection with People

Brands have become relevant in modern society for a variety of reason.  Urban life is very complicated compared to rural life and life and the past was simpler than what it is now.  What does complication mean in contrast to simple? It means tangled, difficult to unravel or understand, intricate, arduous, convoluted, knotty, and abstruse. Confucius said that ‘life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated’.  Let us just focus on complication from marketing perspective.  The markets are flooded with endless product and brands. Does explosion in choices add to pleasure? Answer is that beyond a point excess of anything becomes a burden.  The product, brand, and feature explosion make choice difficult instead of simplifying it.

Can an average customer actually make a choice of a LCD or mobile phone or even toothpaste in rational manner? Probably not, brands in this context assume significance because they have become short cuts to negotiate complicated and confusing choice terrain. Brand acts like an ‘information chunk’ or ‘short cut’ or ‘short hand’ or ‘engram’ or ‘trust mark’ or ‘love mark’ or ‘signature’ which simplify choices.  Two of the important facets of a brand are visual and verbal. Brand name and visual symbols become signifiers of what a brand truly stands for. For instance ‘Apple’ word verbally and the ‘apple’ fruit visually communicate the essence of what Apple brand stands for.  In this sense every brands appropriates or assumes or envelops a meaning in its fold. A brand name in the absence of a meaning is nothing more than a hollow symbol.  It must be understood that a brand name is nothing but a signifier; it conveys what a brand stands for. It is carrier of a meaning. Meaning is far more important than the name.   

Name per se is likely to assume important when all available option are devoid of any meaningful difference. Therefore in commodities, name may alone be a differentiator and can potentially attract customers.  For instance if eggs produced in farm are similar but are given different brand names the customer are unlikely to be evenly distributed among different brands. The reason, name causes differentiation and creates liking which depends upon how a name is elaborated. For instance a name may be closer to your name or son’s name or linked with pleasurable event in your life. I remember my grandmother liking Congress just because it had a symbol of ‘cow and calf’ just because it reminded her of her own cow or lamp symbol of Jan Sang. 

Political parties in India have long relied upon peripherals to attract voters like cast, religion and other symbols (wearing a skull cap) name (Shiv Sena,  Samajvadi Party).  Peripherals assume significance when customer/voters are immature or incapable of making choices based on thinking. All these provide short cuts to voting. But as customers become mature, discerning and discriminating the peripherals are pushed to background and substance take the front seat. Names like Haldiram and  Hazoorilal may not be acceptable to many but they are good brands because name is ultimately a signifier, signified is what people want.

Rahul is a good name. If you add ‘Gandhi’ it becomes better for it leverages equity of Nehru, Indira and Rajiv. But unlike the past when people (people who remembered INC and its role in freedom struggle) voted for the name or symbol, the new generation which constitutes a significant portion of voting population is unlikely to be impressed. For the youth of this country now the word ‘Gandhi’ is only a sir name like any other name- this does not add any equity. Rahul is a good looking relatively young person. This may ring bell with some naïve (who get moved by looks in politics too) but young generation is far more educated, discerning and discriminating. They know good looks are a qualification in media or movies not in politics (now even not so good looking actors by conventional yardstick are successful).

 In this background, what is needed is for Rahul Gandhi  is convey what he stands for besides a good looking young politician who is a Gandhi.  Political choices like any other product category are complicated because there are many political brands which make competing and often confusing claims. Gone are the days when political parties could succeed simply by miscommunication or over communication. Now people what to make informed choices. Political campaigning is not as much about image making as communicating the substance.  Thus the essential important question is what Rahul Gandhi stands for and electorates want to know that.

One of the cardinal rules of branding is that brand must stand for a concrete idea- like Moov stands for back pain relief; Pepsi stands for the young, Head and Shoulders for dandruff.  What does RG stands for? Not many of us have a clear idea. In the absence of clarity of what he stands for, it is very unfavorable situation for him as people do not buy brands which either stand for many things or do not stand for anything. Confusion is antithesis of branding, especially when people live complicated lives which leaves very little time and energy with them to resolve it.  When confused, it is much easier to move on to the next clearly defined alternative or to avoid the situation. 

Brand Identity, Image and Change

It is important to fully appreciate the connection between brand identity and image. At the most basic level, brand identity is internal and brand image is external to an organization. Identity is like a charter given to defining the brand in terms of what it stands for encompassing all its attributes, benefit, positioning, personality and values. Identity is a complex issue. Brand identity is executed through all marketing programs and it comes alive through different Ps. Identity is like a unique signature that a brand wants to leave in customer’s mind. Image, on the other hand is totality of perception that is created in customer’s mind. It is external to the firm. It stands for mental picture of a brand that people hold in their minds. It is extracted or decoded portion of expressed or presented identity. It is important for a brand to keep its image always aligned with it identity.

Brands belong to a world that changes every moment. Change is external to brand and it is beyond control. Thus a brand is vulnerable the forces of change which may render it obsolete and out of sync with emergent realities. For instance vanaspati brands like Dalda and Rath suffered as consumers become health conscious. On the other hand Bajaj was quick notice the transition of two wheeler market from scooters to motorcycles. It is imperative for brand managers to define what they want their brand to be and what they don’t. Consider a brand like Suffola cooking oil, it has shifted its proposition from product ingredient (cholesterol busters- PUFA and MUFA- heart attack prevention) to healthy oil to healthy life style.

A brand may engage different senses to create an intended signature. For instance Singapore Airlines uses many senses to create brand distinctiveness- patented scent, cabin ambience, meals and beverages, stewards and stewardess (Singapore Girl), service, Malay sarong kabaya, hospitality and entertainment system. Of all these are expressions of brand identity but Singapore Girl is the most important one. It is visual emblem of what the brand stands for. It is condensation of brand’s core essence by which it seeks to forge customer relationship. It is an extraordinary expression of brand’s core idea of Asian hospitality with all the powerful characteristics like- gentle, warm, elegant, grace, serene and grace.

In order to be successful,  a brand must communicate what it stands for to its target customer. The visual signature is important in this context. Brand’s core idea can be conveyed in split of a second to both insiders and outsiders. It is here all the visual elements- name, font, typeface, color, form, shape, mark, mascot, logo, word mark- are orchestrated to both connote and denote a brand’s core. Visual identity is instrumental in driving brand recognition, preference and commitment by developing a cohesive and consistent picture.  

One of the most visible examples of identity change in India has been Bajaj. In its new logo which can be described as white and blue reverse hexagonal with combined with the words ‘Bajaj Auto’ signed off by cursively written line ‘inspiring confidence’. This identity change celebrated and signified its transformation into a motorcycle major with credible technology credentials (DTSi technology). The identity change is not just a creative change rather it is signification directional change in the life of a brand. The new identity takes forward the Bajaj’s core values –learning, innovation, perfection, speed and transparency- and adds ‘excitement’. The new abstract ‘B’ (flying B) that replaces the old symmetrical hexagonal symbol signifies – style and technology. The brand very subtly leverages company heritage and adds new values to enrich the brand.

Mahindra is another example of Indian group that has made rapid progress in its diverse set of businesses. The group’s rapid stride across all its businesses necessitated the need for a new cohesive and contemporized identity to be signaled across all businesses and geographies. It was designed to mark group’s evolution and its readiness to future challenges. The process got initiated in 2011. The idea was to contemporize the brand and reflect global ambitions. The new word mark in different in style, color and logo- in energetic red presents ‘one Mahindra’- cutting across diverse businesses like IT, vacation ownership, tractors, financial services to automotive. The new mark strikes a balance between continuity –its roots, values and strengths (name Mahindra) and change (new execution) – aspiration and evolution. The new execution is done to appeal younger set of audience.

Mahindra’s new word mark accompanied by new graphic device/ element (called the ‘ridge’) signifies Himalayan mountain range. It condenses the idea of ‘Rise’. The inspiration here is Mount Everest’s ridges that lead to its peak. The Mahindra group in this symbolism becomes a platform or enabler for its people which provides them with paths to reach their potential. This identity change must not be confused with a simple tweaking with its logo. It is not a shallow change of brand elements without corresponding change in people, processes and values. Rather the word ‘Rise’ is summed essence of brand’s ethos, raison d’être, its intent to enable people to rise.

For some managers identity change is nothing more than an indulgence in creativity. This is nothing but hollow exercise in deception. Visual identity change is real when the internal substantive aspects of brands undergo a change.

Soft drink brands, Commonality, Personality and Archetypes

An interesting piece of writing by Gautam Talwar, chief strategy officer in The Economic Times throws how strategists use several methodologies to glean consumer insights to create brand resonance and differentiation.  Soft drinks come in different names and flavors but these essentially contain sweetened water with added fizz. This product sameness is both obvious and known. It takes not rocket science for consumers to discover that most brands of cola, lemon, and orange drink are no different from each other.  This product sameness makes marketer’s life difficult for they walk on a slippery path unsure of customer loyalty and commitment. Customers switch brands with drop of a hat.

When product element ceases to be a source of meaningful difference then branding assumes significance. When difference can’t be created by product then it brand symbolism holds some promise. With branding, marketers lower their anchors deep into consumer mind to get a hold and stability against waves of competition. Two of the bed rocks on which anchors are hooked are customer resonance and competitive differentiation.   

Different brands of cola like Pepsi, Coke and Thums Up tap into all kinds of cultural resource to create a sense of perceived inequality to kill brand indifference. These include plugging into meaning reservoirs like ambassadors, events and other forms of express communication. The brand asset valuator model is one of the diagnostic method ( of Rediffusion-Y&R)  which can be used to discover a brand’s  reality in consumers’ minds. This model tracks brands on four aspects: differentiation (brand uniqueness/ stand apart from competition), relevance (answer to personal needs/ appropriateness), esteem (living up to expectations/ perceived quality) and Knowledge (awareness and understanding of brand).

Most of brands in this category score high on knowledge and relevance factor of BAV but score low on differentiation.  This implies that different brands of cola are unable of stand apart from each other in spite of millions of rupees that are spent on building differentiation.  The attribute commonality restricts product differentiation. It is here the role of imagery or symbolism begins. Brands are given characters which often are inspired by archetypes (model of a man/ template of persona of a man). Carl Jung , Swiss psychiatrist  suggested that these archetypes come from the collective unconscious and are innate and universal.  These are mythic characters housed in collective unconscious of people: hero, creator, explorer, outlaw, jester, lover, caregiver, everyman, innocent, ruler, sage and magician.  These archetypes characterize our personality and hence become of interest to marketers. Brands are invested with human qualities or characterization to develop relationship.

Consider different brands in soft drink category, a large number of these are given an imagery involving dimension of energy and emotions.  Cola brands like Pepsi and Coke (including Fanta and Mirinda)  have been a joyous, free spirited and fun character.  Thums Up and Mountain Dew also come close to this imagery but with additional dash of Jester traits (daring, witting and resilient- live the present moment with full of enjoyment because you live only once). Given the competition it is a matter of investigation whether shifting these brands towards Warrior and Hero will help the brand further. The other drinks like 7 U p and Sprite share Jester character. Quite away from the crowing mango drinks like Maaza and Slice come close to enchantress and lover archetype. This brings traits like sensuality, glamour, and temptation to the brands.

When product element of a brand ceases to provide meaningful differentiation, marketers turn to symbolism. Human archetypes provide an important guide in shaping branding strategy to break away from cluttering effect created by proliferation.

 

Value Branding, Perpetual Discounting, Customerer Intelligence, Koutons and Peter England

A couple of years back some brands descended on the Indian apparel marketing space with a very interesting value model. These included LaFanso, Cantabil, TNG, Lee Solly, TQS, and Koutons. The brands announced ‘drop a bomb discounts’ previously unseen and unheard to lure value conscious middle class buyers. Take a look at the following:

50%+50% off

505=40% off

80%+20% off

90% off

 

But now most of these brands are reeling under crises. The results of Cantabil Retail India has not been good. It reported a standalone sales turnover of Rs 37.83 crore and a net loss of Rs 4.24 crore for the quarter ended Dec ’12. The case is no different for the other discount brand Koutons. The company is debt ridden and has been incurring losses. It has been closing down its showrooms discontinued it’s another brand ‘Charlie’.  Once a common sight on the market space, these brands seem to be slowly vanishing form the scene. A variety of factors have contributed to their fate including excise duty, raw material costs and inflation. But it is interesting to explore these brands from marketing perspective. Is deep discount model which rests on a perpetual promotional offer by which a high maximum retail price (often greater than top brands like Van Heusen and Park Avenue) is discounted by a big percentage to give an impression of irresistible bargain tenable in the long run?

 

Peter England arrived on the market and went on to write an impressive success story.  Unlike Van Heusen and Louis Philippe which were premium offerings, this was a value for money offering by Madura Garments. It went on to carve out a niche in ready to wear menswear market by intelligently packaging its value for money proposition as ‘honest brand’. By calling itself as an ‘honest shirt’ it indirectly struck a chord with value sensitive Indian buyer without bringing price into an explicit consideration. The affordability was brilliantly packaged as honesty. The idea was to deflect consumer consciousness from a discourse involving price, cheap, economy and bargain. It was ‘economy’ decently packaged.  The brand developed ‘down to earth’ ‘unpretentious’ personality which connoted ‘value proportionate to price’. Later the communication took the brand to a notch higher by a symbolic campaign ‘More is less’ in order to appeal the younger audience (psychographic matching).

 

Sales promotion schemes by definition are short run activities and generally involve tactical maneuvering of customer behavior. These are aimed to influence demand (spikes) by offering short term consumer incentives. But the crucial issue is can sales a promotion activity (explicit discounting in which high prices are reduced) be made part of brand identity? What effect does a sales promotion based discount strategy has on customers?

 

The attribution theory explains how people interpret events. People try to figure out why things happen in a particular way or why people behave in a certain manner. People try to make sense by determining cause behind a phenomenon. A short term deep discount can be interpreted as sudden stock liquidation or a celebration offer or competitive maneuver. But a long term use is likely to make people suspicious about genuineness of the offer.

 

How long a discount offer is likely to be perceived as golden opportunity? The adaptation theory explains that people have a tendency to get used to or adapt to a situation. As a result a situation/ stimulus ceases to be stimulating which causes people to seek novelty elsewhere. An offer like 50%=50% is likely to be perceived as an exciting offer for some time in the beginning and act like a magnet but its long term usage is likely to rob uniqueness out of it.

 

Discount brands tread on a difficult territory. Perpetual discounting can position a brand as cheap and create undesirable connotation. It is psychologically gratifying to be able to grab a bargain but socially it is undesirable to be associated with a bargain brand. People love to buy an aspirational brand (brand imagery) at a discount (made affordable) but shy away from a brand cheap brand (personality). There is fine distinction between a cheap brand and inexpensive brand. The concept of social signification applies equally to economy customers. It is here brand needs to deflect bargain oriented discourse from their image.

 

Peter England built its market by smart use of symbols in communication. By developing an ‘honest, down to earth and unpretentious’ personality it developed image of an affordable brand. A price oriented strategy promotes price sensitive culture and preempts a brand from seen from any other angle. Deep discounting model that relies upon ‘drop a bomb’ discounts to attract customer on equally ‘blow your tops’ maximum retail price is likely sow seeds of its own destruction by making customer clinically analytical about what actually is in the bargain.

Tata Motors, Sales slide, and Dichotomy between a cab and a car

Last week one of the news dailies published a news item titled ‘Tata Motors struggling to reverse sales slide: aggressive marketing and deep discounts not enough’.File:2000 Tata Indica.JPG

The car industry is passing through a rough patch. A variety of macroeconomic factors and buyer sentiments are working simultaneously against the industry.  The data released (Jan 2013) by the industry body revealed that auto industry has gone down to its lowest growth rate (close to 3%) since 2002-03. Inflationary pressures, economic uncertainty and customer sentiments are externally imposed constraints which seem to be discouraging people to indulge in big ticket buys.  Industry leader Maruti reported clocked in almost similar unit sales this Jan (compared to last year), Hyundai registered 1.45 % increase. But Tata Motors experienced a huge slide by a massive 61% against the previous year’s figure.car-on-rent-tata-indigo

This kind of situation elicits two kinds of responses. It is not uncommon for managers to search and use tools of immediate sales revival.  Consequently marketing aggression degenerates into excessive use of sales incentives aimed to trigger impulses in favor of promoted brand. Common to car industry are tactics like free insurance, music systems, interest free loans and service package. But the reality of competition is harsh. Any attempt to disturb the market equilibrium by use of tangible or economic value manipulation is quickly copied and neutralized by other participants in the industry.  This brings us to the question why Tata Motors’ decline is disproportionate to overall industry and other players there in?

Tata Motors created a huge splash at the time when Indica was launched (1989). It’s punch line ‘More car per car’ said a lot about the vehicle. Here was product which packed everything more-space, price (less), mileage, trust- to appeal to value sensitive middle car buyers.  The measure of trust that potential buyers reposed in Tata brand can be gauged by huge booking figure (over a lac) which Indica received within weeks of its announcement. Soon after its launch Indica went on to become one of the top selling hatchbacks in India. Later Tata Motors moved up the product spectrum by launching other models like Indigo (three box sedan), Indigo CS(compact sedan), Indigo Marina, Manza, and Aria.

At the heart of Indica’s appeal was trust which flowed from identity that this brand drew straight from company name TELCO. Tata Motors was previously named as Telco which produced commercial vehicles, primarily trucks. The engine of Indica was developed internally which was based on the engine used by the company for its pickups and SUVs. It was a logical extension of the company to move into technologically adjacent market by derivation and modification of what moves the vehicle. Externally, to customers, the Tata name allowed this off spring to tap into huge equity reservoir developed over the decades.  So the name (market assets) and engine (internal capability/ asset) combination created an irresistible offering. So strong has been the link between the offspring and the mother brand, that even now the brand is called ‘Tata Indica’.

Tata being a strong player in commercial segment wanted to move into burgeoning car market.  At the heart of this move were synergies which could be harnessed. Car enjoys a lot of engineering commonalities with commercial vehicles. So to an automotive engineer, a move from commercial vehicle to private vehicle is incremental. The reality in customer mind may not be the same. The customer point of reference to perceive a car (Tata’s car) is likely to be radically different. The term car evokes a very different normative frame, which is created by other brands in the category. A car in customer’s imagination is everything but not anything associated with commercial vehicle.  A car is an identity expression device; it is an instrument of indulgence.  What appears to be a smooth transition internally is not so externally in the mental world of customers.  Hence Indica made a lot of sense to commercial segment (cabs) but fails to excite a typical car/sedan buyer. A quick car ownership survey can establish this fact.

In the world of marketing the idea of creating a brand that appeals to all is very un-marketing. It is counter to the concept of segmentation and targeting. It for this reason, brands especially with the symbolic core have to erect barriers which prevent it from going to non-customers.  Consider how car Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen are strategically positioned which may share internal commonalities but are very different from one another in terms of appeal and appealed.

Pepsi, “Oh Yes Abhi”, Slogans , Resonance and Layers of Meaning

Two important routes to brand creation are visual and verbal. The visual (illustration, pictures, logo) and verbal (message, headline, slogan) elements are combined to create brand image. These elements engage prospects through two of the five senses, the sight and sound. Brand slogans assume heightened importance in present day time-short and over-assaulted consumer. Perceptual filtering and defense mechanisms are pressed into action to escape from incessant barrage of messages that hit consumer’s mind. Slogans for being short and mnemonic are effective tools because of being less stressful on cognitive system. Slogans can convey brand’s essence (what brand stands for) in an instance and simultaneously contribute to brand strength by building recall and visualization.  For instance a sign off/ slogan like ‘High performance delivered’ (Accenture), ‘Melts in your mouth not in your hands (M&Ms) and ‘”When it Absolutely, Positively has to be there overnight’ (FedEx), ‘We try harder’ (Avis), ‘Think different’ (Apple), ‘Solutions for a small planet’ (IBM) convey brand promise succinctly and position it in relation to competition by highlighting relative strength.  Ranbir,Priyanka And M. S. Dhoni Photo Shoot For Pepsi Oh Yes ABHI! Ad

In the quest to bond with its market, Pepsi has launched its new campaign ‘Right here right now’/ ‘Oh Yes Abhi’.  It is interesting to see how brands change gears in their negotiation of psychological space in their search for relevance and resonance. Brand is much more than product, in this case the drink.  And the drink  is likely to deliver the same kind of experience. But then why the campaign has been launched that seeks to alter brand’s meaning semiotic ally? This brings us to the question whether people buy brands only for the utility sake or their delivery extends beyond functional boundaries.  A campaign that aims to alter brand symbolism without any  change of its product is certainly an effort given to align brand’s meaning with evolving consumer psycho-social reality.

Pepsi’s communication campaigns provide an interesting case study on changing youth psychology and life style. The brand is quick to size up the psychological space and read its undercurrents. It seizes opportunity in hidden concerns, dilemmas, and aspirations of its young target group. Prima facie Pepsi’s slogans appear simple statements with a very definite literal meaning. The denotative meaning actually is superficial to all these communications. The brand actually engages with its consumers at connotative level.  Accordingly communication says one thing at express level manner but quite another at the unspoken form. One of characteristics of good brand is that it forges bonds which transcend the logic, reason and rationality. Consider the following slogans which Pepsi has employed over the time:

‘Nothing official about it’ (1996)

‘Yeh dil maange more!’ (2006)

“Pepsi ye pyaas heh badi” (2000)

“My Pepsi My Way”(2009)

“Change the game” (2011)

 “Oh Yes Abhi” (2013)

 

In an interview with ET (28/1/13) Justice Verma  said, ‘If the government takes time, they should make way for persons who are quicker. If, at 80, I am so impatient, govt should understand the impatience of youth’.  Philosophically life is a different phenomenon from what it used to be. The meaning of time, relationships, institutions, consumption and artifacts has changed. There has been a fundamental shift in life values, aspirations and goals: life is short, time runs fast, conflicting priorities, a lot to be achieved, now is when you exist, pleasure is fine, me is first, old is no wisdom.  The certainty (emanating from linearity of progression in everything) coupled with philosophy of abnegation (sense control) made contentment an easily realizable goal. When tomorrow is uncertain, the focus shifts to now, young seek instant gratification ‘ Cause time can’t wait then I sure can’t wait, I ain’t got no patience no I just can’t wait… ‘No time for procrastination’ (Now generation song). The dictionary meaning of ‘impatient’ is lack of patience; intolerance of or irritability with anything that impedes or delays/ restless desire for change and excitement. Impatience is fuelled by a desire to ‘do more’ (‘yeh dil mange more’/ ‘ye pyaas heh badi’) which proportionately reduces the time available. This is the reason why the new currency of trade has become time (do you measure distance by time or kilometer?)

The idea appropriated by new Pepsi campaign taps into inner psychological reality of impatient generation (psychology of instant gratification- no urge deferment).  The slogan ‘Oh Yes Abhi, does not urge you to drink Pepsi ‘right now’ as it may seem to suggest but seeks to give the brand a new consumer resonating identity.

 Prof Mitra, my esteemed colleague at FMS says that Pepsi’s slogans have a third layer of meaning which operate within the realm of sexuality. Read these slogans. They do seem to be laden with  sexual connotations.