One of the few things that could make me choke on my breakfast while reading The Times Of India happened today. It was an advertisement, by the way – not a piece of news.

basicslifeIt was an ad for Basics Life, a clothing and accessories brand from Hasbro. It was a half-page ad in the Times Life supplement, that glossy one.

And, it had a Facebook fan page mentioned quite prominently, along with the now-famous Facebook ‘F’ logo!

That is enough for me to choke on my breakfast and shout, ‘…it’s happening!’

The first thing I noticed…they had a vanity URL, not a set of numbers – that means they already a sizeable number of fans. Hmmm…interesting!

The second thing I did…went to Times of India epaper to get a soft copy of the ad. Surprise, surprise, the ad is missing in the epaper (bottom half, page 4 of Times Life). Instead, there’s something else that would be interestingly apt for Times on a Sunday – a piece on Sonia Dara and a come-hither pic with her in a 2 piece…bikini. I wonder why Times chose to replace the print version with a half-page ad and not the bikini pic. It’d have been a tough choice between the ad cost vs. increased eye-balls on a weekend. But I digress…sonia-toi

The Basics Life Facebook page has more than 2,400+ fans and seems quite active. They seems to be running contests and a frequent buyers’ program too! Fans have uploaded photographs, ‘liked’ and added comments too.

There’s a link to the official website too and thankfully, the Facebook community page is mentioned there too – good integration.

So, what does it say about the brand? From my perspective it says that it is indeed a confident brand. And that it wants to convey not just what it has to say about itself, in marketing-speak, but also wants us to know what others (people like you and me) think about the brand. But, a clothing brand is, in my opinion, low engagement (not necessarily low involvement, given the amount of time and effort we take to find the best ones for us) and hence there is only so much customers/ fans can say about a nice fitting short or a great pair of jeans. From that point of view, having those contests and frequent buyer program are brilliant ideas. It really shows that the brand has thought through the low engagement part and has invented other, incidental ways to keep people engaged online.

I’d still like a high involvement/ high engagement brand (gadgets, automobiles and the likes) to go this route – of proclaiming their online community URL – but, this is a great start! Is this is the first time a print ad has carried an online community URL? Have you seen any other brand in India do this? Do share…if you recall other brands doing the same.

Incidentally, this is precisely what I had in mind when I wrote on this topic, last month – We look forward to hearing from you! Really? (Feb. 15, 2010)



3 thoughts on “Basics Life’s print ad with a Facebook community URL!

  1. Great read. Had seen the facebook url’s appear on a few ads before, many of them being movie ads. But quite a few of them had the url with their numbers & not a vanity url. But as u said this is a good start. Hoping to see more of these.

  2. Felt truly good to read your article.
    For my Marketing Support Consulting & Training assignments, I’ve a huge collection (in the hard & soft form) of print advertisements. Facebook logos are seen quite often on print advts (e.g: Pantaloons have joined the fray recently), but have never come across fancy URLs for communities.
    I admit it’s a good beginning. However, I fail to understand why the BASICS advt does not figure in the epaper. Still wondering what could be the logic.
    I’ve also come across great brands like ‘Britannia’, ‘Gala of London’, etc who are totally indifferent of what consumers are discussing about them on the internet.
    MRP of ‘Gala of London’ lipstick is Rs.65 but retailers are charging Rs.85 withh impunity. Discussions on Social Networking sites have gone unattended by company personnel although the company plans to be the 3rd or 4th largest colour cosmetics brand in the next few years.
    All said & done brands need to get serious about their online presence …..

  3. Deep: Yes, that appeared quite bizarre to me too, even though that is not the point of this post. And I happened to find it by chance when I saw the epaper!

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