Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Marketing and 26/11 - The Moral ground

After one year of the Mumbai 26/11 attacks there is some introspection needed in our outlook. Exploiting the hysteria or rather "Grabbing the opportunity" to earn more money might make good business sense but does it make good moral sense ? Infact this issue was troubling me for quite a while. I was part of a team for "Warketing"; a marketing competition by a reputed Indian B-School. A hypothetical war like scenario was created where we had to increase market share for our product by using the war time hysteria created in people. For Warketing, we chose a cola drink as our product and our marketing strategy was to sell "Hope" and "Inspiration to unite people" during crisis. In return more sales, greater market share. The concept seemed good to me while I was designing the marketing strategy for the cola drink. At that point of time it did once come to my mind the moral responsibility associated in exploiting wartime hysteria, but I went ahead with the plan. I thought, more sales meant more production, which meant more jobs and tax. This thought made me go ahead with the strategy. The case of Mumbai Terror attacks is quite similar. Here the hope is a better police force, which reflects in the IDEA campaign.

In the 26/11 case, lets say a business uses the opportunity to tap into a consumer base. And let me tell you, the percentage gained from it wouldn't be very high. In such a situation people might perceive you as being insensitive to a national tragedy or might think of you as being sensitive and coming out openly about it through ads. Blatant advertising is although a strict no no! But I feel using your business to help people look forward or think positively that in a way benefits both is not opportunistic. After all marketing is about adding value,but yes, for a price! I do agree that this approach somehow lies in the grey zone. It is not absolutely the right path.Ultimately it is how you see and perceive things. Whether the perceived intention is exploiting the emotions or sign of solidarity is upto the discretion of the consumer.
I'd say, what has gone is gone and cannot come back. Lets move forward and remember the souls who lost their lives. Lets do our job and do whatever we can to prevent or reduce the impact of such a scenario if god forbid it ever happens again anywhere. As far as the moral ground is concerned I don't see any discomfort [Read Visible discomfort of milking 26/11] behind an advertisement on a news channel covering post 26/11 scenario. Yes, I do have objections in the content of the news itself. If we are genuinely looking into the incident the ads actually don't matter. Let them do whatever they want to, let me do my bit.

My condolences to those who lost their loved ones during this tragic incident.