Sunday, August 9, 2009

Learning from the zoozoos


The perennial & timeless questions haunting marketers: How to gain more and more customers? How to retain existing customers?

In the present world where almost every market is a buyer's market, these questions are all the more relevant!

Product promotional campaigns make a big difference to sales. This is true of every product - pharma or otherwise. The recent promotional campaign to capture popular interest is Vodafone's zoozoo campaign. Nirvana films of Bangalore invented these cute characters (by the way, they are not animations!) to carry forth the message of Vodafone's value added services. The zoozoo campaign has been viewed on 'You Tube' by lakhs and has captured the popular imagination. The zoozoos have created the buzz. The zoozoos have strengthened word-of-mouth messaging for Vodafone. The zoozoo based promotional campaign has achieved significant mindshare among target audiences. In today's world of promotional clutter and brand warfare this is a milestone achievement.

The zoozoo appeal is such that zoozoo merchandise sales has picked up - particularly zoozoo T shirts. People are paying to be a part of the zoozoo (an advertiser's creation!) world! During the recent rakhi festival (where the girl ties a rakhi to the wrist of her brother(s)) zoozoo rakhis were quite a craze!

Why are the zoozoos popular?

In fact, the zoozoos are so popular that the phrase 'ZOOZOO EFFECT' is fast emerging to represent all that is innovative and catchy.

Marketing pundits would certainly like to have an answer to this question - why are zoozoos so popular?

Firstly, they are cute. Now how would you characterize cuteness? Well, they generate instant smiles and happiness. They attract. Probably their visual appeal and antics generate instant increase in levels of 'happy chemicals' in the brain like endorphins and serotonin. The egghead zoozoos absorb your attention. When you look at the zoozoos, they capture instant attention and for a few moments you are lost observing them and their antics. There is just sheer observation by the viewer - there is no judgment forming behavior in the crucial initial few moments. That is the high level of engagement and delight that the zoozoos generate on viewers. And the key to their cuteness lies in the above aspects.

The name ZOOZOO is extremely catchy! How true ! In this world where we are bombarded with new and complex words every minute, the word ZOOZOO comes as a breath of fresh air. It is simple, catchy and the sound is very positive.

The name and presentation of these zoozoo characters has made all the difference for Vodafone. Prior to this campaign Vodafone had become popular through the dog PUG in their advertisements, and now the zoozoos have renewed interest in the brand Vodafone.

The message as the product

Today the creation of a message carrying advt does not automatically guarantee viewership or listening or otherwise successful message transfer. There is a message glut out there in the market. This is true in pharma markets and nonpharma markets. Hence, the messaging tool should be visualized as a product that needs to be consumed. Thus, if the visual aid or leave behind literature is made for the pharma market, there is no guarantee that the input will impart the message to the target doctor or chemist UNLESS THE INPUT HAS THE ZOOZOO EFFECT! The promo input should at the first sight itself instill a state of complete attention in the recipient. Capturing attention is the first step to successful message transfer in the AIDA process (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action).

The zoozoos are very important components of messaging - as they have high level of engagement with the target audience, the brand Vodafone has become all the more popular. It has aided instant brand recall for Vodafone. The zoozoos are brand ambassadors that have helped Vodafone climb up the brand recall ladder.

The creation of such customer engagement tools in pharma and nonpharma communication strategies will surely fetch better business results.

Zoozoos have become as iconic as the SMILEYS. They act as memory pegs reinforcing the brand recall of Vodafone. Memory pegs are vital for brand recall and prescribing or purchasing habits. The success of zoozoos is a reminder to all pharma and nonpharma marketers that simplicity and attractiveness scores over complexity. KISS is a popular acronym - Keep It Short & Simple!! THANK YOU ZOOZOOS FOR ALL THE SMILES!!

The zoozoo concept is highly versatile

The zoozoos can be carriers of diverse messages. For eg., keeping in with the current Swine flu trend, zoozoos can become inventive to give out some VODAFONE ZOOZOO SWINE FLU GYAN! A Dr. Zoozoo can provide messages on hygiene and practices to prevent spread of Influenza A (N1H1) or swine flu. The Dr. Zoozoo can provide healthy tips like (a) use mouth masks (b) do not share handkerchiefs (c) while sharing the mobile phone or any other gadget wipe the gadget before giving it to the friend (d) visit the doctor if flu-like symptoms show up etc.

The zoozoo has the potential to become a friend in need is a friend indeed! Perhaps after Asian Paint's Guttu, Air India's mascot Maharajah and Ram and Shyam pair of Poppins, no other brand icon has generated such excitement and engagement! Zoozoos have demonstrated great marketing and messaging potency, which should translate in better customer conversions for Vodafone.

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