Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How even a good idea can imply a negative message

Myntra.com's latest campaign 'Real life mein aisa hota hain kya' focuses on its 'amazing' 30 day return policy. According to the latest ad from this campaign Myntra will give cashback after trials / usage for reasons as flimsy as 'the customer not getting a good feeling on wearing' their products. Ofcourse the retail stores would not give a similar assurance and replace sunglasses / dresses for any reason nearly a month after it being bought. Hence the ad goes 'would such things happen in real life' except ofcourse at Myntra.




But another implied message in this ad, for online buyers, is that there is a high chance of the newly bought product from Myntra being someone else's discard. I am not sure this aspect has been looked into by the Planners. When the Account Planning team sat on it and reviewed the features of the brand to tackle the problem of low trials for apparels and accessories they would have found the 30 day return feature as way to get their audience stand up and take notice. And in creative execution who doesnt exaggerate. The resulting ad, currently on television, shows a man return sunglasses as he didnt seem to get 'that feeling' on wearing it and still get a full cash refund. It really assures Indian customers, who havent yet caught on to online shopping especially for apparell, shoes and accessories which Myntra retails. Through these ads, I feel, the Planning team will achieve its campaign objective of getting new people to try Myntra.com. But I am not sure why they did not consider the earlier mentioned negative fallout of this campaign. Afterall there are many such popular beliefs in India: like cheap products arent of good quality, easy replacement means retailer repacks the goods, etc.
I am also unsure why the client didnt consider the operational fallout of such a campaign that encourages people to return products they do not like on second or even on third thought. This will lead to higher percentage of return on the already inefficient Cash on Delivery (COD) distribution. And even if the customer pays on delivery after checking and trying the product she can still return the product if she has a change of mind within 30 days. This could lead to small usages of the withering products like readymade dresses, shoes, etc. before returning. If Myntra questions much and doesnt give immediate cash refunds as easily as shown in the ad it will lead to customer backlash. This could be tackled by Myntra in asking its customer to courier the products back- larger packages are costly to ship for retail customers - to detest returns. Another method is to give 'Cashback' instead of cash back i.e. not return the money to the customer but to give them a credit note to purchase on Myntra. But this goes against the encouraging ad from the campaign which shows the customer getting real cash from the store while returning a product. The above two methods could reduce returns but could lead to negative publicity from agitated customers who will vent their anger in online forums. And the fallout of such an image online spells doom for an online reatiler like Myntra. 


Myntra.com's Facebook Page's Cover photo
Else Myntra will have to keep around 10-20% of its revenue for such returns and consider this as a marketing expense to instill the brand and online purchase option in the customers minds. Still the risk of establishing itself on this singular value is high as it will later become difficult for the brand to move ahead of this feature.



Heres the first ad from this campaign which seems to imply that one can try a dress and buy it even in an online store. It maps an experience of buying a dress in a physical outlet and does a good job of it. It encourages people to order product on COD, try those and pay for ones they like while the rest and shipped back.



But the next ad in this campaign seen above is where the issue aggravates. It takes the '30 day return policy' further by showing a man return the sunglasses he bought earlier simply beacuse he didnt seem to get 'that feeling' on  wearing it and then gets cask back. 

There are many implied messages in any communication and Brand Planners should always find and avoid any negative implications in a communication. Afterall the same message can be communicated in a different way without the negative implied messages. And Clients need to be prepared about the operational aspects involved in an advertising campaign than consider it just a communication tool which would not impact the functioning of the business in any other way than just sales.


[More: How Lava used First mover advantage of Branding to get great PR]