Canon: Mixing business with fun

By , agencyfaqs! | In | March 05, 2002
The four-ad series created by Rediffusion DY&R, Delhi, takes up different Canon products and shows how they can be put to innovative use

A kid in a business products advertisement. Makes no sense, right? Wrong.

For Canon, it's a perfect fit. The latest series of TV ads on Canon made by Rediffusion DY&R, Delhi, engage kids and adults with 'refreshing possibilities' of using business products. The four-ad series takes up different Canon products and shows how they can be put to innovative use. While two of these ads are for Canon scanners, one is for its cordless printer and the other is a corporate ad.

The first scanner ad has this kid in a Gurukul, who outwits his teacher, using the Canon scanner. When the kid is unable to solve a math problem, his teacher asks him to write 'I will practice maths' 5,000 times as punishment. The clever kid uses the scanner to finish the job in no time. The second scanner ad shows has this guy covering up a Pamela Anderson poster on his wall with a scanned image of his mother. While showing his room to a visitor with his mother smiling down from the wall, the glue gives way to reveal the Anderson poster underneath.

The Canon printer ad shows how a guy fools an usher who denied him entry into a conference room. Not to be put down, this guy goes ahead and fools the usher with a paper tie, cut out from a printout taken from his mobile cordless printer. The corporate ad is about this kid, a prankster, who accompanies his father to his office, and turns everybody's life upside down by using Canon's multifunctional machine, the camera, the Canon projector - all that he can lay his hands on.

All the Canon ads manage to break the monotony associated with business-related products, and create interest in a category that is low involvement, to say the least. What really helped the company and the agency understand the brand requirements and people's perception of the category was a study by market research agency Quantum. "The study conducted last August threw up three important findings. First, since business products is a low involvement category, purchase decisions are primarily influenced by the dealer. Second, none of the existing players - HP, Canon, Epson etc - had a clear brand positioning. HP did have a strong presence but it was generic. And third was that Canon was associated with cameras and not printers. However, the good thing is that Canon is perceived to be a good quality product because of its Japanese heritage," says Alok Bharadwaj, general manager, systems products division, Canon India.

The task for Canon was not just creating brand awareness but also drive home the fact that there was more to Canon than cameras. The IT-related products in its portfolio had to be pushed in an interesting way. "People find technology boring. In fact, they are a bit uncomfortable with technology. So the first step was to demystify technology. Keeping that in mind, we have shown how Canon's IT products are easy to handle, so much so that even kids can work with them. The tag line 'Use it the way you like it', says it all," explains Ajay Sood, client services director, Rediffusion DY&R.

Getting Canon closer to people was one aspect. The other was the treatment of the ad. To find out what clicks with consumers, the agency used BAV (brand asset valuator), a proprietary brand management tool of Y&R. "BAV is used for mapping brands in the consumer's mind. It uses a sample interview of 32,000 people across the globe relating to 7,500 brands based on a set of eight to 10 questions. This questionnaire takes into account four important parameters - differentiation, relevance, esteem and knowledge. What we found using this tool was that fun and excitement were the key differentiators of a brand. We applied this observation to our brand communication for Canon. And it worked," Sood adds.

The new strategy for the brand hinged on going beyond its functional benefits. "The earlier ads were extremely tacky. They were the typical nine papers per minute (ppm) versus the 4 ppm ads," says Bharadwaj. "Our motto was to present the refreshing possibilities of Canon. So our creative approach is diametrically opposite to the way business-related products have been advertised in the past. In a way, we have created confusion in this category. Since the idea was to talk about all the IT-related products, we have projected the complete Canon range. And each story line is layered with fun and excitement while product features get highlighted," says Rahul Jauhari, creative group head, Rediffusion DY&R.

The Rediff team on Canon thinks the sign-off line is a clear winner. "The best part about this tag line is that it perfectly relates to the products' ease of use," says Subhasish Biswas, creative director, Rediffusion DY&R. Jauhari adds, "It is so flexible that in case another team starts working on Canon or the brief changes, you can still use the tag line." This is not the only reason for the smiles at Rediff. The agency has won a gold for the Canon campaign in the consumer products category at the Calcutta Club Awards, 2002, only last week. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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