Accidental Advertising

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Accidental Advertising
SANJEEV TIWARI, Business Consultant, India

I define an accidental advertisement as one wherein the benefit of the advertisement is reaped by unintended product, services or idea.
On the 10th of April 2016, a full page photo of Lionel Messi in the Times of India as Global Brand Ambassador of Tata Motors, lured me into having a look into the Tiago car advertisement.

It was a 4-page advertisement supplement which had an attached folded cardboard piece on the last page. It mentioned “2.3 Million* people will virtually test drive the new Tiago VR Gear, in a single day. Join the movement that will help create a new record.”

I realized that the attached piece was a VR gear (Virtual Reality gear) which was to be created by me as per the instructions given (4 steps to be precise). Probably the sleeping mechanical engineer in me nudged me to go ahead. The steps required me to raise the panel, attach the flap into the notch, open the Tiago Virtual Drive content on my mobile phone, secure my mobile handset in the VR gear, plug in the earphones and look through the two lenses.

This exercise seemed very interesting and I wanted to know what it is all about. The virtual drive of Tiago was enjoyable. It was a good experience providing a vicarious feel of sitting inside a car with the visual changing based on the direction of my head movement. It kind of seemed similar to viewing places on Google street.

It was kind of nice experience however the point here is that in this whole activity of making this virtual reality gear and using my phone to experience this VR gear, the focus on Tiago car was lost.

It created more curiosity for VR gear than the car. In my view, companies trying to advertise VR gears should be grateful for this Ad, which seemed more appropriate for it than a car.

I started wondering whether this advertisement had really achieved its purpose or it has given prominence to something else accidentally. I’m not sure if such a term exists however I’d like to call it “accidental advertising”.

There has been a much discussed case in India of Nerolac Paints’ advertisement with Megastar Amitabh Bachchan (popularly known as Big B) as brand promoter. Although the endorsement of Big B put the brand on a high awareness state, the Ad had a negative effect on the association of brand and celebrity. There was a report which mentioned that during the Big B endorsement, when consumers where asked about the brand which Big B endorsed, they mentioned Asian Paints rather than Nerolac.

Is it a case of “accidental advertisement” wherein the benefit of the ad is reaped by unintended product, services or idea? I am curious to know if any such instances exist.


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