Monday, May 28, 2007

One or some or every or all without specification

In this day the most popular advertising campaign in Singapore is the "Anything or Whatever" one. The idea of the product - a carbonated beverage - is most unique because it gives consumers the lotto feeling - not knowing what they will get. Out of the Box Pte Ltd - a very apt name for the company launching this product - used to focus on golf related projects before making the switch to being a beverage company.

They are also very socially responsible and concerned about the environment. You can see some cans pasted to the Clear Channel bus stop advert in the picture above. When I took this picture on the 23rd of May, these cans were in the process of being removed because people vandalised these empty cans by crushing them or taking off the flaps, which caused much concern by some members of the public who felt that the opened cans posed possible dengue hazards, collecting rain water.

But what interests me most about Anything or Whatever is the campaign itself - lodging permanently into consumers' heads and creating awareness about the new product. Early May all the Clear Channel bus stop adverts were carrying messages like "Ask for Anything on May 18!", "Grab Whatever you see on May 18!" etc. Yes, I am one of those who saw the website address on the advertisement and went to their website where I got to see a semi-erotic video that was very suggestive and then I got to wish for "Anything". Being a "yippie" or hippie as you may better understand, I obviously wished for "peace". Then they brought me to this screen with a huge tree with a bunch of leaves that show a message when you hovered the mouse over it. My leaf marked "peace" was also there, among others.

I just wonder if it is possible to sue a media giant that promises you "Anything" and gives you a huge tree instead. They could argue that there is a deeper meaning because "Anything" is the name of the product, which is a carbonated beverage. But this is so misleading! Singapore law entitles me to the truth!

I went to the Shell Select shop behind PGP after the product was launched on May 18, and I saw the can marked "Whatever" so I had to try it, and it turned out to be white grape tea. I found out that when you buy Whatever, you could get any of the following:
Ice Lemon Tea
Peace Tea
Jasmine Green Tea [eugghh!]
White Grape Tea
Apple Tea
Chrysanthemum Tea

If you buy Anything, you can get any of these:
Cola with Lemon
Fizz Up
Cloudy Lemon
Root Beer [yuck!]

So for me, the main problem is that if I ever think of buying Anything or Whatever, there is a 1/6 probability that my money will go to waste and I will have to throw the drink away. Root beer tastes like toothpaste and I can't go beyond taking more than two sips of Jasmine green tea.

All in all, I think it is a very unique product, which has been launched successfully and effectively. The TV adverts are incredibly funny and what can I say, I am just a great fan of the entire marketing campaign for Anything and Whatever. Considering what most of the Singapore population's taste-buds are like, I think Anything and Whatever will sell loads. My question is, what happens once the excitement of getting "Anything" or "Whatever" is over, or when people stop seeing the humour in it? And what if they want "something" rather than "Anything"? I guess it could not be a more perfect launch if the company is planning to launch each of these twelve drinks individually in the future. As a product, I think sales will soar in the short run, but in the longer run they will tend to drop, and that can't be good.

Anything advert [30 secs]:

Whatever advert [30 secs]:

Making of the adverts and an interview with the director [9 mins, 57 secs]:

Click for the teaser website [the one with the tree]


Ali Zaki said...

I actually bought the dam thing yesterday from near Bugis, and it turned out to be root beer. And really bad root beer at that. A way it could work is if they cut down to 2 - 3 flavors only per drink. Its not going to fly for long as it is now.

rachelngsheauyun said...

I think the company just want to make its product to be so attractive to increase the purchasing.
The ingredient could be so simple yet the idea of publicizing the product could be so profitable. seems like the ingredient really like "anything" or "whatever".
Haaha.....yet it earn money~

Regina Escobar said...

this is actually unusual in singapore advertising scene.

where i come from, you get this kind of ads - scantily clad women with doe eyes and come-hither messages - to endorse liquour, not some wholesome drink.

sex sells. there is this episode of the apprentice indicating that this is sort of a desperate kind of advertising.

Kenneth said...

sex does sell ;) granted, it may not be original and it must be applied appropriately - but if it works, is it really desperate?

that being said, this marketing campaign does not solely focus on scantily clad women. they also effectively use humor to create buzz and grab people's attention. whatever they are doing is working.

all in all, sex is one of many the tools in a marketer's arsenal. if it can influence my good friend nabeel to buy the drink while fantasizing about the taste of the woman in the ad, they they have done their job well. it would be foolish of them to not use the sexy ladies they have at their disposal.

Anonymous said...

Nabeel is a pervert =)

Regina Escobar said...

use women at their disposal... wow...

well using sex as a way of marketing, which will definitely sell, is cheap, because it WILL definitely sell. tells how creative people are when they use something of last resort. and it does work, damn right...

but as what nabeel said in this post, what will happen to the revenue in the long run if the drink is crap?

that said, this campaign, does not add anything to the image of the product whatsoever. think of other product like coca-cola... nothing refreshes like the real thing... macdonalds... i'm lovin' it... carlsberg says it's probably the best beer in the world... what exactly is this advertisement hoping to remind people about the product?

Stuff magazine, which uses women as forefront to the gadgets and gizmos inside, is using the same thing... it does not focus on the scantily-clad women, of course, because at least they are holding something... but it uses women to get the attention of poeple, for people to actually look at what the add really was saying...

but oh well, at least this advertising is a fresh reprieve from the usual ads here...

Nabeel K said...

from Claire Sequeira
to Nabeel Khalid

date Jun 5, 2007 5:22 PM

Dear Nabeel Khalid,

We really appreciate your kind wishes!

We also thank you for supporting our Anything and Whatever drinks! We hope to add some more 'fun' and excitement to the very common ritual of having a softdrink, and that people all over Singapore will enjoy it...

Thanks again for contacting us and for supporting us through your blog!

Kind regards,

The OOTB team.