Monday, July 07, 2008

Internal marketing! A case study!

There are some times in your life, that you are faced with challenges that stretch your imagination to the limit. It is a do or die situation! And you cannot afford to lose. One such situation happened to me recently.

I was doing this marketing campaign across several cities last month. As part of the goodies given out during the campaign, we froze on Polo mints as an ideal give away among other things. We ordered several cartons of the same, branded with our logo on the label and felt pretty pleased with ourselves. The campaign was a huge success and we distributed the Polo to everyone and sundry who attended...or did not. After reaching Bangalore, we we were pleasantly unsurprised to find that we had another 100 cartons of Polo left with us. We had gone and ordered too much!! My work station looked like a retail warehouse!!!

While I was collecting my wits about me, the Boss walks past, takes one look at the heaped cartons and promptly collapsed laughing. If looks could kill, I would be in jail now for murdering my Boss! His 'ha ha he he' rang cruelly in my ears after navigating through the hundreds of cartons lying around my desk. Sticking my tongue out at his receding back, I did what I usually do when faced with such grave crisis i.e wonder what the big deal was and promptly got back to work happily ignoring the Polo!

By mid afternoon I was busy playing a rather tough game of Solitaire, my chair sitting precariously on six cartons of Polo, the external monitor of my Laptop atop four cartons of Polo and my laptop on two cartons of Polo. People passing by were chuckling and some really cruel jokes about someone’s breath rend the air which I ignored with practiced ease. Sometimes it got a little too much and I took some quality time out to throw a whole lotta Polo rolls at lotsa peoples retreating backs. Their *ouch* was sweet music to the ears, besides it succeeded in getting rid of some Polo. Very nice!

In the afternoon Boss called me and my teammates for a friendly chat. "Get rid of those Polo guys or I reduce one thousand rupees for every carton from your take home salary heh heh” he chuckled amiably. We looked at each other in dismay! That would make us bankrupt twice over!! We would now have to *gulp* eat dosas from the cart vendor!! “And you cannot throw it in the dust bin understood?” said the Boss, cutting in our reverie. "Remember company policy Anjali" he said wagging his finger "NO WASTAGE!! Now get rid of those cartons!"

With the threat of eating dosas from the cart vendor looming over our heads, we huddled together for a pow wow. People like mints, we reasoned. So we will offer them one. That’s it! Simple! We would have got rid of the cartons by the end of the week and eating dosas from Ballal!!! We were so happy!

Our week went somewhat like this.

Marketing Communications Group Member (MCGM) to colleague: Here’s some Polo for you!
Colleague: Thanks!!!

MCGM: Care for some Polo!
Colleague: Okay!

MCGM: Polo?
Colleague: No Thanks!

MCGM: Pol..
Colleague: NO!!!!

MCGM: Po...
Colleague: *thwack*!!!!

Our plan was in disarray and we were in dismay!! We had succeeded in getting rid of 20 cartons only!! 80 more cartons remained. So we hatched another plan. It was called the “SHOCK AND SEDATE” plan. According to the plan we would wait at the entrance in the morning and when people started trickling into the office, pounce on them, grab them, sedate them and when they woke up at their work stations, they would have their pockets, drawers etc stuffed with Polo!!! Whatay plan! We were so impressed by ourselves!! The plan had to be quickly shelved and renamed “Shock and Awe” when we realized that none of knew anything about sedatives. The Shock and Awe” plan was a success!

Hey Nagraj!! Look! A flying giraffe!!!

We succeeded in popping another 20 cartons this way. That left us with 60 cartons and people closing their mouth before saying "Where?"

Next plan was called the “Allure and Secure” plan. As per the plan we made posters. The posters showed a guy team mate eating Polo and being besieged by girls, (modeled by us gals).The guy seemed to be literally being molested in the posters. The poster attracted a lot of interest and we managed to reduce another 20 cartons from our kitty. However our celebrations were cut short when the Facilities staff rudely pulled our posters down after female colleagues complained of housekeeping guys, A/C mechanics and AMC guys reeking of Polo pacing aggressively before their cubicles.

We were now left with 40 cartons. Boss's deadline of "get rid of that thing before next weekend" was fast approaching. So we did what people in despair do. We are after all the communications team no? So we sent mails with subjects like this our dealers. "TAKE 100 BOXES OF OUR PRODUCT AND GET 10 CARTONS OF POLO ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! TAKE NONE AND YOU STILL GET 10 CARTONS FREE!!"

We got rid off another 20 cartons this way. The move led to a marginal dip in sales, but then who cares? That is the Sales people’s headache no? Duh!

We were now left with 20 cartons and all options closed. People were avoiding us like the plague and even our creditors ran for their lives the moment we said “Polo.”

So we hit upon another novel plan. A contest called “BREATH ANALYZER” was organized. Random people would be hauled up for a breath analyzer test and people with 1000 micro grams of Mint or less in their breath would take home three cartons of Polo. There was a mad scramble for Polo after this announcement and we got rid of another 10 cartons this way.

But we still had 10 cartons of Polo left with us. So we decided we will do what we had hoped we would not have to do. And that is EAT IT OURSELVES!!! Pretty soon we were gagging and had to think of another plan after the fumes had died down. So we generated the "RANDOM ELIMINATION" plan. We met with both failure and success in equal measure.

Security: Madam please swipe your Access card.
MCGM (deliberately hiding access card): I forgot it at home Yeshwanth!
Security: Then you will have to take a Temporary Access Card Madam.
MCGM: Sure! If you take a carton of Polo from me!
Security: Aiyyo!! No Madam! Married man madam! Two wife three children madam! You may go in madam! Tomorrow bring access card okay?
MCGM: @$#%@

MCGM: Mr Marketing Manager (MM), please approve the ads I sent to you yesterday!
MM: I am traveling. Will do it positively next week! Is that fine with you?
MCGM: Sure!! If you agree to take home two cartons of Polo!!
MM: @$#%@.

We got rid of the rest of cartons this way and were celebrating in exhaustion at the cafeteria when a colleague from another group, popped in to ask if we had any spare cartons to give him for one of his events. He needed approximately 100 cartons he said you see.

He never knew what hit him. But when he regained consciousness, he was in the hospital, holding empty cartons of Polo!


scorpiogenius said...

Ah, after all that misery! :))

thanks for the lesson in marketing..Now we know which ways to adopt if we have surplus goodies left @ stock.

but dont worry, we'd certainly fax our collegues from other groups before attempting your ideas!:))

mathew said...

Aaah..that explains when someone told that Bangalore smells of mint these days!!

and who did might have created a 'hole' in the pocket of the finance manager!!the banner 'Mint with a hole' might have made perfect sense in his desk ;-D

I would have actually glued 5 polo rings and marketted it in china as the olympic logo!:-P

Jinguchakka said...

Entertaining. You could have given away everything to Foxy assuring him that chomping mints would get him the kind of "demure" girl he wants!

P.S: Do you know that mint causes impotence in men?

P.P.S: I notice that post-lunch, the number of people online on your blog goes up. :-)

Balanarayan NT said...

now thats a story with a hole! =D

Abhi said...

Awesome, u could help coming up with some plans for all kind of excesses we Indian's have to bear with, starting with the number of corrupt politicians, stupid bosses and so on! I think if u put your brain to it, you'll surely figure it all out!

@ Jinguchakka - Totally agree with u on all three counts!

Nikhil Narayanan said...

This is called hands-on-marketing experience.

Thanks for the insight.

Philip said...

The 'Allure and Secure' plan was super! Can't stop laughing when I think of the poor security guy.. LOL.

Jim said...

You had BOXES of Polo??? Gosh, too bad I don't work at your company, I'd have been more than happy to unload a few cartons of the stuff! (Background: I used to be addicted to the stuff. Think 5 packs a day :)

Deepti said...

Excellent Post!! absolutely ROFL
allore and secure plan and flying giraffe plans ... hilarious :)

Amey said...

Aah, what a refreshing post. I guess your office must be smelling minty fresh for ages.

Now that the cartons are gone, what is left in your work station?

skar said...

ROFL@shock and awe idea

Btw, did you check if all those cartons sitting in your office created a shortage in the city? It might've been the perfect opportunity for 'minting' money ;)

Seema said...

"Security: Aiyyo!! No Madam! Married man madam! Two wife three children madam!" I am still LMAO on this. Looks like a typical Cinema dialogue made for Salim Kumar.
The "Allure and Secure" plan was perfect and should have got rid of more cartons if not for the female colleagues.

Anonymous said...

"pow wow" sounds so cute always, and you're just so sexy sexy funny, Anjali. Now if you could just let on that you look like Jordon and usually run around in a bikini, ... *sigh*

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Sigh! You had trouble giving out free stuff? You do have engineering colleges i your area, don't you? :P

meenakshi said...

the marketing plan with so many holes!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Coward Alter Ego..
I am feeling like such a loser even though the psychiatrist say I have an ego running on a hot fart balloon...Trying desperately to grab attention in a world where probably hyenas are all what is left in my friends list!!

But I definitely win the prize for obsessively making a joker out of myself..

@Alter Ego
You probably don’t even deserve a statement like ‘Get a life..’

sorry…couldn’t help commenting..

Darkness and deep said...

hehe... too funny!!!

Anonymous said...

am still laughing out loudly lady ...

remembered the post on spelling mistakes in ur blog. that was the first blog i read of urs and commented ... lemme repeat what i said there ... u r indeed the bestest blogger :)

Vikas SN said...

Hehe, Nice marketing there but even I had the same question as Sudipta asked
"Were there no engineering college nearby?"
The 100 boxes would have been over in a jiffy ;)

mirage said...

hi siverine,U could have send the cartons of polo as a courier to ur boss:)))))
just kidding:)

poor security guy he he

Awesome post!!!!

Arunima said...

you could have donated to some orphanages.

Neena Padayatty said...

Shock and Awe was simply funny...Maybe u could have tried making disposable earrings with some ;-)
Wish i worked in ur Polos.
Mint cool post!

Safari Al said...

The mint with the hole, or whose brain had a hole to come up with this brilliant idea?

deviant said...

Nice blog. Happenned on it through technorati.

Maybe you could quit and go to work for whichever company makes the mint with the hole. Nice story it would make at the interview, I say.

Tazeen said...

quite informative

mathew said...

Excusez-moi Madame, Vous ĂȘtes tagged!

Athira said...

Aah ... a miserable anti-climax !! Someone now has to get 100 cartons and after his event, try to dispose what's left ;-)

Bharat Rajawat said...