Another kind of democracy

People respond much better to brands than they do to politicians. We don’t give brands a second chance. Who says happiness isn’t for sale?

Umair Kazi July 27, 2010
My name is Umair, and I’m a marketing strategist.

And as a marketer, I’m trained to offer creative solutions in the face of extreme adversity. Between apocalyptic stories of fake degrees, rampant corruption, and all-around disappointment hovering in the international media, Pakistan is almost always in the crosshairs of a bad governance witch hunt.

Much like a marketing brief, let’s tackle this problem by identifying the crucial elements:

What’s the job-to-be-done? Good governance.

What’s the market scenario? Destruction and despair at the hands of politicians.

Who’s the target audience? The population of Pakistan.

What are the competitors (read: the opposition) doing? Promising to usher in change.

What have they done in previous campaigns? Commit. Break promises. Repeat.

Here’s the creative solution: Replace politicians with brands.

Brands make promises too. But unlike politicians, they don’t have the luxury of forgetting them at the drop of a hat. Guarateed results! Buy one get one free! Results visible from first use! Free prize inside! Although fine prints exist, brands don’t nearly fool the people of Pakistan as much as politicians do. We don’t give brands a second chance or a third chance, or their brother/husband a fourth chance. If a brand disappoints, it’s out. Good marketing can sell a product just once, but politicians win elections by rewording the same old promises year in and year out.

So, as a thought exercise, we conducted a Brand Election, complete with an Election Commission and all. We went to the people of Pakistan and asked them to vote for the brands that are near and dear to their hearts and minds. No judging panels, no sponsors, no claims of rigging.

What we found on the streets was shocking. People respond much better to brands than they do to politicians. Brands surround them in every aspect of their life. They help them do their tasks, enhance their lifestyle, and interact with them on a daily routine. A brand helps you get that fresh minty feeling in the morning, another helps you get to work, and yet another helps you keep cool by conditioning the air around you. A brand helps you avoid pesky insects, it helps you connect to your friends while on the move, and it even helps to put a smile on your face after a refreshing ice cream. Brands provide value at every passing moment of your life. Morning Fresh ki Roti, Outfitters ka Kapra, and Bahria Town ka Makaan!

Brands deliver. Maybe it’s time we ditched the next elections for a Brand Election!

Who says happiness isn’t for sale?
Umair Kazi A strategist who blogs at
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


No Logo! | 13 years ago | Reply Well I even asked on shoaib's post to enlighten us all with the CMI's mechanism adapted to reveal such results, but, no reply... Besides everything, I have my serious reservations on the fact that 'Happiness is for Sale' particularly from the promises 'our brand's' aim to deliver through a monotonous set of the 'most un-engaging communication'. My most humble and sincere request to all would be to 'Think Human' not 'Think Consumer' and let's not further paint the picture of our brands bringing in some change to a society faced with such grim consequences today. If healthy food is the key attribute, price-value proposition is for all, functionality promises convenience and new product line extension offers real value-added benefits to the audience at large only then I would make a brand my prime minister. In a society like ours, with a neighboring country like India having strak and obvious advertising communication differences, I would rather prefer not to hide away from reality, face challenges to make my world of brands more lively / its communication aimed at identifying the deeper truth of my target group rather than trying to commit suicide by electing such representatives who would though be considered BA pass but would hardly be able to 'Glow' chanting slogans like 'Karo Mumkin', 'Soch Se Aage Barho', '1-minute mein'... For anyone & everyone aimed at fetching the premiership should rather be a reflection of possessing a true leadership role(regardless of the ethnic/racial/class difference) rather than securing a position with hefty media spends controlling thought processes OR yielding results through a short-listed preferred ones benefitting the industry stakes at large... I would be really glad to know and learn more about how these positions were secured and would be glad if we all could benefit from it. Unlike our political actors : 'Let's focus on building a stronger democratically elected Brand Pakistan by identifying the 'deeper truth' of our audience' Cheers!
MAZEN | 13 years ago | Reply The only difference between the brands and politicians is of choice,people got hell of of the choices as far as brands is concerned,but unfortunately this is'nt the case if we talk about politicians.
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