LG locks horns with Sansui

By , agencyfaqs! | In | June 04, 2002
In yet another case of two marketers locking horns, LG has moved the ASCI seeking a restraint order on the Sansui Core TV commercial

As a senior marketing professional in a Delhi-based MNC observes, "The times reek of bankruptcy of marketing thinking."

LG Electronics has moved the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) to restrain Sansui from airing its Sansui Core Television series of commercials. LG had brought two things to ASCI's notice (on Friday last, May 31, 2002). One, the model (Micky Dhameja) who appears in the LG Golden Eye commercial has also been featured in the Sansui Core TV ad. And two, the brand communication of Sansui Core TV is strikingly similar to that of LG's Golden Eye TV ads.

The two ads in question are indeed similar. The latest LG Golden Eye campaign created by Lowe, Delhi, and as featured by agencyfaqs! recently, tries to win the mother's trust with the assurance that LG is concerned about the health of the kid. One of these ads (the classroom commercial) has model Micky Dhameja answering all the questions raised by his teacher, courtesy LG's Golden Eye television, which he watches regularly at home.

In the same ad we see his friend in a fix. The reason? He is not allowed to watch TV at home. Dhameja suggests his friend should ask his parents to buy the LG Golden Eye TV, which does not harm the eye at all. As the voiceover suggests: "Sirf LG TV mein hain anokhi Golden Eye technology, jo aankhon ko de aaram. Kyonki aankhein hain anmol."(Only LG TV has the unique Golden Eye technology that does not strain the eye. Because eyes are precious.)

In the Sansui Core TV ad, created by Quadrant Communications, Mumbai, we see Micky Dhameja - the intelligent boy in the LG Golden Eye ad - tiptoeing into a room to watch TV. The reason? His mother says, "Aankhein kharaab hoti hai na!" (Watching TV harms the eye). In the next shot his mother joins him to watch TV. Surprised? Now they have the Sansui Core Series TV at home. The voiceover says, "TV dekhna banayein bilkul aaram daayak."(Sansui Core TV has anti-glare fixed glass which makes watching TV a soothing experience.)

While both the ads harp on the same issue - of being good for the eye - LG has taken offence as its ad broke on television first.

Ganesh Mahalingam, general manager, marketing, LG Electronics India, is livid. "What Sansui has done is unethical. First the company goes ahead and signs up my model and then launches a television commercial based on the same eye care concept! This has to be more than a coincidence."

Quadrant is unruffled. "Let me just clarify one thing," says Manish Jain, account director, Quadrant, Mumbai. "LG never had any contract with Micky Dhameja. Whereas we have a formal contract with him. Of course, LG Electronic and Lowe cannot stop us from using Micky Dhameja."

Counters LG's Mahalingam. "Of course we had sent Micky Dhameja a contract. And it is an unwritten self-governing law in the advertising industry that once a model is taken for a brand, competition does not immediately sign up the same model. If LG Electronics were to use the Whirlpool model, consumers would have been confused. Competitive brands can use the same model after a year or so and not in quick succession. It is damaging for the brand."

Quadrant's Jain has his defence ready. "The decision to take the model (Micky Dhameja) was an internal one. The creative inputs and the concept required that we hire Micky Dhameja."

The bigger issue in the debate is the overlap in the creative ideas in the two ads. Quadrant sees no issue in this either. "The creative idea came from the product feature. The feature is an anti-glare fixed glass, which is attached to the TV screen. So we had to come up with a communication that talked about eye care. The message is rooted in the product feature," adds Jain.

Apparently, Quadrant has not received any notification from ASCI. But Mahalingam feels vindicated in a way already. "It is quite obvious that it is hurting Sansui the most. The marketing insights of LG are being used by competition to create their USPs. Which shows we are on the right track. Only weak brands follow the strong ones. We are glad to be the hot leaders," he says.

The next few days will reveal who has the last word. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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