"Guts Vs Vision": Anything is possible

MUMBAI: Innovation and change is not about vision but about guts, says the creative energies' steward of the Arnell group.

The personification of that validation is Peter Arnell himself, who swears by the above statement. The obese Arnell weighing a whopping 150 kgs 22 months ago, is today, with his guts and willpower, half the man physically speaking. It was not his vision to be a slimmer man but the guts to dream and implement what he sought out to do, that reaped the dividends.


Trend hunting is something Arnell thrives on. Clarity on content vs. context is crucial when one is talking about spotting the next big idea, he says. Speaking at the Youth Marketing Forum on Thursday, Arnell noted that insights into what is happening, why they happen and what can't and what can happen are crucial in building the brand momentum. The question of significance here is how does one develop a trend and place it in a market place.

He made an interesting point; pointing out the talking vs. listening syndrome. Most consultants start talking and stop listening to justify their huge costs, and there arises the first fatal problem. A hunter's mentality is what one should seek for optimum utilization of one's immediate environment. One needs to train oneself to look at what is 'not there' to ensure a trend setting paradigm.

Another factor which brings us closer to this are accidents. Accidents act as a catalyst making room for the gateway of creativity. To get lost and find one's self and rediscover is an exercise in itself spurting off very out of the box thoughts. Once it is identified as a trend then it needs to be nourished and throughout one's career, the trend needs to be nurtured and fostered over all obstacles. Every path breaking process will attract criticism galore, and one needs to fathom that criticality is the biggest foe of the endangered species of creativity.

Trends can be accepted and translate into essentially two categories:

" Short term

" Cyclical

The Krispy Kreme doughnuts brand for instance is the best example. With the low carbohydrate diet in vogue and the fight against fat has slaughtered the profitability of the company by nearly 1000 per cent in the last few years. So the key learning here is, "Anything is possible."

Arnell shared his strategies on how he built the 'Simply Samsung' brand out of the fact that there was nothing to build on. He cashed in on the fact that "Sex does sell and everybody likes to see a good body male or female." And hence one needs to understand the convergence of 'What if' and 'What could'. The first spot was a naked man carrying a microwave progressing to the second with Nicole Kidman hugging her TV in a sensual manner and so on and so forth. Also the tag 'Simply' although was born out of desperation managed to work for the brand at the macro level, and hence worked brilliantly with its efficacy working across all the Samsung products.

So, Arnell basically used grassroot strategies for years. They were simply simple and cheap.

Another interesting point is that a product brand and its attributes complemented by a celebrity endorsement making the brand and the celebrity synonymous is combination worth giving a hard look.

Tina Turner did not just endorse Hanes hosiery, she stood for it. She was the epitome of resilience, strength, beauty and longevity which was what the brand was trying to communicate. It was the mother of all revelations as a 56 year old Turner was talking about hosiery using the characteristic " All you've heard about me is true." Apart from this, Oprah Winfrey was partnered with Turner ensuring the show which makes dreams of women world over come true.

DKNY was another interesting campaign where Arnell incorporated the statue of liberty in the K of the DKNY. Slowly and steadily the campaign became the nation's pride and after 9/11, DKNY was no more just a brand as it had attained historic importance as the twin towers was a part of the whole picture. So the next key leaning would be, "Everything we are doing should have tremendous 'talk value'."

Make a compelling story which makes everyone participate.

Reebok is also a unique case study. With a brand that was perceived as a grandmother brand, Reebok made a U turn with its campaign, becoming once of the coolest hippest brands around. In order to attract the young consumer, Reebok went in for a makeover that was actually frightening. A serious corporate formal brand transformed into being a funky, wild, irreverent one with a little help from Terry Tate, Arnell said.

Bottomline; kids hate preachy brands. They thrive in irreverence.

The above case studies will be possible only if the below is followed:

" First one needs to identity a great agency.

" Second is to give them the freedom and trust them.

Muktesh Pant, the former marketing guru at Reebok and also the man behind the chain of boutique yoga schools across the US and other countries was also present at the YMF. Pant is all set to provide an authentic lifestyle solution that pre dates technology. Product 'Y' as it is referred to is looking at revolutionising Yoga . The brand also proposes to have extensions in a variety of related fields.

So cheers for the duo in crime and hopefully "Product Y" as a brand will be as wild and out of the box as the duo itself.

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