Using Celebs to promote hardware: Boom or bust???

6

27/11/2010 by The Sorcerer


Survey monkey lets you see results upto 100 votes if you’re on a free account, but this is technically to get a fair idea of how Indians (Read: People like us) would react if they knew their hardwares like motherboards, graphic cards, pc peripherals or such stuff were used to look good infront of celebrities. Now remember, we aren’t talking about laptops, mobiles, pre-built systems. Aces170 says:

Hmm you are asking the wrong crowd here? Ask in a non-tech domain, and the chances are 90% will say yes. Sad but, Kareena’s size zero campaign has worked wonders for Sony VAIO. I am pretty sure it wont be same for RAM or mobo etc…

and Shripad did post the following:

Geeks are not the people the brand is trying to convince to buy their products.
The promotions, awareness campaigns, celebs are there to pull the attraction of masses towards the brand and product. Nothing more, and nothing less. And it works.
Take an example of Android. No one except me and couple of my cousins knew about android. A successful campaign by Samsung for their Galaxy S resulted in everyone asking what is android.

The talk of added expense to end customer is also equally flawed. The returns these people get from a successful campaign will wipe out that expense without any additional cost to existing customers. There is no way a product will get cheaper because company is focused only on making a product and not on marketing it. That does not work.

Take an example of Toshiba. Not many even knew their notebooks existed in our country. Put Sachin as brand ambassador and people ask sales rep at big shops where they can see these laptops. Effective marketing works. It does not always need a celebrity, but having then as brand ambassador works, have worked in past and will continue to work.
The aim of all these things is to get the attention of people who usually wont even think about that particular product or brand and not to pull existing tech savvy crowd. Honestly even we should benefit if companies are able to run successful campaigns which directly results in more sales. This brings down the prices in long run. Currently the volume in which computers and computer parts are getting sold in our country is no where near the actual possibility. We grossly underestimate the purchasing power of Indian consumer, and techies and geeks like us tend to underestimate the power of effective advertising campaign.

Yeah, they talked about laptops. We weren’t refering to laptops. I posted these comments since Techenclave’s general section requires you to sign up TE.

But anyways, carrying on. This is how it went down:

So, out of 100 people, 51 are from techenclave, whereas 28 are from IVG, 19 are from Erodov, 13 from chip and rest as you can see. Broadband forums, Gaming forums, about 3-4 all class tech forums and a handful of Indians in the international forum.

Survey went like this:

Question #1:

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Question #2: If the company PR/Marketing folks decide to use celebrities (Read: Starlets/”upcoming” models/Bigg boss types) to advertise for motherboards/graphic cards/other pc hardware, would you think so much effort+ money being spent will be worth it??

Boy!!! People really don’t like power users/gamers being invited in India. Odd number, considering the response from MSI’s BYOC with team Fnatic was a hit IIRC.

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Question #3: What would you prefer from companies?

Giveaways!!!!! Seriously, its high time companies concentrate on giveaways. I still have the Microsoft’s halo tournament tees and gamer.tv UK’s bag- its old and faithful!! I am telling you, people wear them whenever they have to go for forum/user/product launch/power user’s meet. Its gives some boost of “pride” that they are wearing a logo of their favourite brand. This is a proven success in the foreign countries but if you really think about it, its almost non-existent in our country unless you are a volunteer in the tournament or you happen to get one with your hardware. There was a time Gigabyte India gave a “gold coin” as a giveaway. If the good folks at Gigabyte are reading this, people throw away those chunks of metal. T-shirts!!! caps!!!! No pens please!!!

Midnight launches? Game4u did do it very recently for a game, although they did a poor job in putting the message across.





Milestone interactive did pull up a decent crowd, considering its a launch for a game title. This is pretty good. We would most likely see a lot of midnight launches!!
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People also did put out their own comments under the question “what would you prefer from companies?”.  I am not putting one of the comments in good faith that I am sure my friend would ask not to put that as he hates when people deem him as a “celebrity”. Other than that, I am putting the message across:

# freebies, cheap stuff

# We need the product at cheap price insted of wasting money on these bullshit celebs give us the product cheap you will see your products going like hot cakes off the stores shelves. So high quality for low price is the need.

# Please no celebs with tournaments. preity zinta was invited to a wcg city qualifier but people who came to win ended up wasting 4 hours and many people left.

# hot girls not necessarily famous add a nice touch though at tournaments or product launches

# reduce distributor profiteering on low-volume/cutting-edge hardware

# Please don’t use celebs! Instead try to lower the sky-high prices of GPUs and PSUs in India. And educate some of the retarded shopkeepers. Two of my pals also say no to this.

# what about in-game advertising, if properly done it is quite effective….

By the way, how many of you guys remember the Xbox 360 India ad?? Yuvi and Akhshay Khanna/Kumar. If you really really really think about it, it didn’t speak about about the product or even introduce a new product. Playstation India however, did a pretty nice way of promoting their entire playstation lineup! Remember the time back in the good ol’ days when I was member of the month back in December 2007 that I covered the playstation experience event? They let me in before they good ready all thanks to the gamer.tv cap!! See- giveaways work!!

Also COM IT Expo 2007, (most pics are gone) but after that all the expos were stale.

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Reactions from the forums itself?

These are the comments from techenclave:

Sei:

You know, if you had asked me otherwise, I would have just scoffed… but in a country like India, promotion via celebs works bigtime. I really think that they need to adopt new tactics to make people aware of computer h/w like motherboards and graphic cards.

As it is, most people aren’t even aware of anything except Intel and 512/1gb gfx cards

——————-

Gannu/Desecrator

Would this mean, we will see Koena Mitra, Riya Sen and the likes flaunting some hawt GPUs and boards?

——————-

GGT:

Brand endorsements, more capital investments by manufacturing companies,so higher margins to cover the added expenditure. So i am not game for it. Let it be as it is or give some offers like black friday to india. The sales figure will improve automatically.

——————-

Mohitpreet:

geeks dont need celebs to help them buy hardware products and the common man (read non- geeks ) will as always go to a computer shop nearby and ask the person over the counter ” sir ji ek pc chahiye thaa 18-20 hazaar ke budget mein”

and the person will start making a quotation for him and telling him ” sir ji this is the best and latessstt products , best price, aur kahin nahi milega”

In response to the above comment, Lord nemesis says:

That will probably work for non geeky crowds who are alright with buying any el cheapo RAM, but then you don’t do get such costly advertising for cheapo stuff. If you are talking about premium products, then the geeks who buy them would be too buy overclocking or pepping up their rigs to notice the celebrities. Using celebrities for computer hardware is futile in a country like ours.

Hellfire says:

Personally, I don’t care. But then, why do those ‘tech’ magazines like Chip India and Digit sport a model on their front cover all the time?

Greenhorn made some really good points:
specifically for motherboards, the sale needs to be done to not just the customer alone
1. there is the channel – I imagine the channel partners and distributors take care of that
2. the assembler dude at the shop who asks the customer (if at all) or decides for himself which brand/model to use. Especially at the bottom end (say an el cheapo AM3 mobo) , there is little to differentiate between the three brands, other than perhaps price, margins, service and warranties.
3. to the customer who chooses between the brands, or insists on a certain brand, I doubt if specifically advertising mobos or gfx cards would be worth it. A more feasible approach would be an umbrella brand awareness campaign, and giving customers a reason to , say choose asus over gigabyte ( need not be technical. the point is to make the bugger choose brand A over B.)
the important thing is, it can be done. Remember the uphill battle that most of us faced while trying to convince folks to buy amd processors in the early part of the decade? that was because Intel had done its homework and advertising well. All parts manufacturer needs is a half decent campaign to create a positive brand image and sufficient recall, and they’ve got it made. 

Celebrities might work, not sure if tying them to specific products or launches would help. And while us enthusiasts might think that the entire hardware industry revolves around us, it really doesnt IMHO – the niche players who care about us can’t handle promotions on that scale, and those who can afford to are going after bigger fish.

Sirl_k says something that I haven’t seen/heard yet:
i guess we already have Intel core i family campaign wooing the saas bahus jijas and entire gharana watching saas bahu serials to buy the intel family cpu on star plus, i guess VFM celebs for promoting sales on rich non-techie brats & khandans….imagine the khandan visiting tech store to buy pc stuff after finishing off with sarees & gehnaas…
nehaladsul:
As long as the Promotion Expenditure burden is not pulled out of my pocket, the Hell I care which nut promotes the tech products!!!
Kippu:

non geeks and less techy people are more than compared to the geeky crowd who google and search for perfomance and reviews before buying stuff , the impulsive buyer market in india is high which is why the celebrity tie up works.

Party Monger:
Why do you want to involve Celebs and increase the prices? I know they will sell more, but also, their costs will increase :-/
Spectre:

This may work only with people who buy those 1GB ‘gaming’ cards which can play all games, running on 400 bucks SMPS

sri_k:

This may work only with people who buy those 1GB ‘gaming’ cards which can play all games, running on 400 bucks SMPS

Aman27deep:
it will push the price up – so no thx
Reaction from IVG? Here you go!!
Dabba:
lol… where do they come up with these “brainstorms”. are they friends with a down on his/her luck “celeb” n trying to get them publicity n some ad revenue? :giggle:. i don’t think educated person looks for celeb backing when buying a technology product . that being said…
Django:
It sounds like more of a celebs publicity rather than the product’s

Jigsaw:

i wouldn’t care… the way i look at it… when u *have* to rope in a superstar/celeb or resort to hot chicks it means your “product” is not strong enough to sell itself. Atleast thats how i’d look at brand advertising for tech stuff. baaki for things like beauty products and lingerie you need teh awesome chicks

Dredd:

if they want to burn money on celebs, let them do na. kareena doing a VAIO ad suxorz. on second thots, she sux anyways.

Silent Assasin says what if “they” hired Katrina Kaif

Shantz:

I dont really care which way they go except the fact that bringing celebs would mean burning more money, which implies that they will recover this cost by increasing the prices, which is unacceptable to me..

JC Denton, refering to my first post:

Coming from a marketing, gaming and gadgets background I agree with you. Most of these suits should stick to crunching the numbers rather than get into this side of the business and I’ve been in a similar scenario many a time. IMHO it doesn’t work unless you’ve reached critical mass in terms of sales penetration but that’s another post for another time.

Nemo:

personally i would go for the product quality at first. but having a celeb AND an interesting advert will surely catch my eye.

Other reactions from erodov, digit and chip.

Even if you get in geek celebs, they really haven’t went ahead of ipods, blackberries, iphones, macbooks, etc. That’s pretty much it as far as “geeky celeb” goes. They are still till there for the time being.

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But what about using existing overclockers/hardware enthusiasts (not magazine/website reviewers mind you) to promote their hardware? But I am pretty sure one particular company will never promote using one particular person. Some say he made the copper from the board pop out like a pop corn and generous amount of lubes…

Gaming products? I don’t know. I would most probably PM clan ATE/Team invictus and ArunrulezZzz to see if they would be interested to do such deals and/or would allow companies to use their name. No, I am not saying like how fatal1ty does (however you have to question him- What does he even do these days), but maybe posing next to a hardware and giving a thumbs up or something like that.

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In the meanwhile, I forwarded this link to couple of people I know in their respected PC hardware companies. In all fairness, remember the Asus “asses” ad

If you haven’t noticed, this is not their official ad. No need to feel like a bunch of asses (Bad pun, I know!! Sorry to the peeps and the good people at Asus land) Asus had a contest in their facebook so that people will get stuff. Which also reminds me, if you are promoting your brand through social media/products, make sure its a 2 way communication. After GOOC India qualifiers, rest of the stuff put up on their India’s FB page was press release. No promotions. No “special” deals. No giveaways and hence no interaction. People just join for the heck of it.

And to imagine that we had our very first overclocking competition in India, online however. Still, efforts could have been made to call the least first 3 winners, give the prizes to them and do a photoshoot. Atleast people will know this actually happened. A good PR opportunity lost sadly, and a pretty good one too. Don’t be suprised if another company decides to do a similar thing, but have a photoshoot and make a press release on forums/websites.

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6 thoughts on “Using Celebs to promote hardware: Boom or bust???

  1. | Balu | says:

    Companies, especially those whose products are not glamorous enough to catch the interest of non-geeks should tap into hardcore users, overclockers as you suggested to create a set of evangelists. When it comes to product like MBs and graphic cards, such people can play a big role. They could also look at social media, the way Microsoft is doing with Xbox 360 in India. But for that again, they need to get the right kind of person or firm to handle their product.
    Apart from freebies, there should be a way for these companies to break news to public without depending on a press release or a blog which no one reads. Facebook groups or pages works in that way. But the users need to feel that they are getting the new directly from the company and not from any third party site.

    • The Sorcerer says:

      True. However getting the “right” person is difficult. Even if one has the right person for the right job, some people just have a bad habit of meddling in the middle.

      As far as press release is concerned, there should be a lot of backing up as well. Asus needs to prove a lot and prove that it actually works. If you think about it, EPU function reduces voltages on particular scenario which doesn’t really reduce to a level you can say it saves power. They have their share of making good hardware, but yearly records of bad service just kills it. As far as press release is concerned, just how many people really do that. Guys like us don’t do this for a living rather do it to make the community strong hence we have the “keeda”, but others just don’t have it. They assume that we belong to a niche category, but if that was the case, we wouldn’t have seen Mach 3’s ICG ’10 nationwide tourney.

      Yeah- Neha Dupia and some cricketer was called in 😛 but nobody really cared if they came or not, did they?

  2. Rajeev Bhatia says:

    I remember when companies have meets with users, they usually get bashed by the public. you see in photo shoots in techtree and magazines like digit and chip which come with substandard reviews and conclusion, they take such pictures and say they had a “healthy” conversation to which it was a successful meet. Companies want to use India as their means to sell their stuff which they can’t sell worldwide or give it away as a prize. Giving an osolete board from gigabyte is actually very cheap. Intel gave a p55 board in a B school gaming event in Goa. Usually cash prizes of ten thousand rupees are given in decent college tournament events. I hope you dont stop what you started. Its only people like you and such articles will get the message across.

    Gaming crowd in India is not niche at all. They just want to find some excuse to favour countries where they can earn profits like US, UK, Dubai, European countries and taiwan/china/Japan. I loved playstation experience. I came all the way from Nashik to see that and I was not dissapointed.

    • The Sorcerer says:

      No business can stay long in a country without earning profits, even multinational companies.

      That being said, problem is service, proper price cuts and availability. Availability has its problem all thanks to our sad logistics services and worse- octroi/customs/special charges. Service is bad because they can’t afford decent enough repair people in their service centres. Not too sure about the reason for not reflecting price cuts, but if you think about it distributors and retailers play their own set of games.

  3. Asif Ali says:

    This is why I like asus, coolermaster, intel and razer. They love gamers and therefore i love them. i will buy stuff from companies who treat me like fans and not like a monkey. i love republic of gamers…plz plz plz make republic of gamers graphic cards.

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