A word from Baba Fooka

By Ali A. Rizvi
Has digital media come of age? People involved in this business call it the future; media agencies include digital in their plans but cannot justify its presence to the brand team; marketers acknowledge the medium but hesitate to explore it. So what does the future hold?

Perplexed by this question, I decided on a visit to Baba Fooka and respectfully asked him, “Baba jee, digital media ka future kya hai?”

Giving me a rather disgusted look he replied: “Mera ilm-o-hisab kehta hai kay, this is the future, aur don’t ask again.” 

After a pause he continued: “You may think you know digital media, but there is more to it than Facebook and status updates. You have no idea what it is and what it can do. Before it grows even more in importance, you better get up to speed.”

Staring into space, Baba Fooka told me that digital media was born in the form of text available on the internet. As the internet gained popularity, there was an increase in content. It started when people began sharing photos, leading to the need for photo sharing sites. Then audio files became the rage and websites like Napster and Audio Galaxy showed up. And finally there was video sharing, made all the more popular by YouTube. The mother of all innovation and integration came with the advent of social networking sites, which gave us the ability to share all kinds of information from a single platform, and in so doing, they completely changed the dynamics of our social behaviour. It is how we will communicate in the 21st century.

Certain that social media will continue to grow, Baba Fooka stressed that we need experts who are able to create the offline-online connect as well as brand teams able to embrace the power of this medium. It will require a change of mindset for Pakistani advertisers to realise the potential of this medium, in the same way that the telecoms and other MNCs have already done. A word of advice which he gave to the telecoms was that “Facebook aur Cricinfo say aagay jahan aur bhi hain.” I wonder why he said that?

Then Baba Fooka told me how brands can benefit from digital. To start off with, brands need to develop interactive and digital specific creative. Integration is the name of the game; develop content for traditional media and create a connect for it on digital. It is good to create community pages on social networking sites but it’s a sin not to update them or communicate with your community members regularly. 

To drive his message home, Baba Fooka shared five brand campaigns that demonstrated how to create a brand connect.

BRAND: Coca-Cola

Campaign: www.cokestudio.com.pk
Effectiveness: The official website hosts videos, pictures, widgets and downloads. All three seasons are available for download, with videos, performer information, behind-the-scenes footage, lyrics, pictures, wallpapers, mobile content and applications. The website provides links to the Facebook community page, Twitter page and the YouTube Coke Studio channel. When a new season is on-air, the website generates traffic by running contests.
Verdict: A very good example of how to use digital media for brand initiatives and content integration. It would be nice if an official blog could be incorporated as well.

BRAND: Nestlé Fruita Vitals

Campaign: Facebook community page
Effectiveness: Over 119,000 active members added in a year is quite an achievement. The community is professionally maintained and updated regularly. The page is strictly moderated and members can only post community and brand relevant comments. The page informs fans about what is happening in the Fruita Vitals brand world in terms of new flavours; there are small surveys to understand the digital consumer, interesting contests, and messages relevant to specific social and cultural events. It also provides exercise tips and recipes for punch and mocktails.
Verdict: Shows the way to good social networking. There is real time consumer response on all brand initiatives with a minimum of 150 responses to any post.

BRAND: Pampers

Campaign: Facebook community page
Effectiveness: Over 61,000 active members; mostly parents. The page is committed to baby care and keeping parents involved. It is also a testament to the fact that housewives are internet users and will respond if the message has the right emotional connect. From celebrating baby’s birthday, photo shoots, picture of the day and sharing videos, there is much to keep a proud parent engaged. The current promotion is to take the ‘Pampers Dryness Challenge Video Contest’ which involves making a commercial and having a chance to be on TV. 
Verdict: Nothing dry about this community. It keeps fans entertained and engaged, and with uploads of over 15,000 baby pictures, this is a winner community. 

BRAND: Vaseline Pakistan

Campaign: Facebook community page
Effectiveness: Over 60,000 fans in three months shows the power of social networking used appropriately. Vaseline did this by creating a simple application called ‘Invite & Win’, with three simple steps: Join the application and like the page; invite your friends and build your network. If your network grows into one of the top 250 networks you receive a prize, which can range from an iPad to a gift hamper. Plus, you can post your comments on the fanpage and ask for brand advice. There wasn’t a single post on the page that did not carry a response from the moderator, which shows the importance of customer care.
Verdict: An amazing buzz for a newly launched brand that will develop loyal customers.

BRAND: Djuice

Campaign: Lucky ghanta
Effectiveness: The message is action oriented which makes you think of what will happen once you click it. The game is simple, although it requires quick reflexes, which makes it more fun to play. You will not leave the game until you have clicked the dog.
Verdict: Full marks for being different, although the creative for the banner was just ok.

Ali A. Rizvi is COO, Contact Plus. ali.arizvi@gmail.com

First published in the January-February 2011 issue of Aurora.

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AURORA is Pakistan's leading advertising, marketing and media magazine; it is widely recognised as the voice of the industry. Building on a decade of experience, it offers its readers insight into the latest creative marketing campaigns, new product developments, consumer trends, and industry opinion.
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3 Responses to A word from Baba Fooka

  1. Amina says:

    Nice blog entry boss! ;)

  2. Tyrone says:

    Heh Ali gr8 idea about Baba Fooka but it would have been better if you showed us less FB examples. Also the debate rages about quantity vs quality and whether a lot of fans really means anything.
    Nestle Fruita Vitals is doing well on FB but what about they're Youtube channel? 4 uploads in a year? What a waste of one of the most powerful tools around!
    I'm no SM expert but how can you not use Youtube effectively? Think consumer content, think make your own version of the TVC etc -all ancient ideas in social media these days!
    Personally I think our marketers need to advance from the invite and win or like and win model to more interactive actions.

    The real development in SM is being done outside the main circles thru bloggers, app developers, game creators like Mindstorm and a few marketers are savvy of this like MS, Nokia etc through working with PASHA and CIO.

  3. shan awan says:

    meri naseeb me shadi hai

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