KARACHI: “Advertising is the principal reason why the businessman has come to inherit the earth.”
So said James Randolph Adams, a leading name in the world of advertising, when asked what he thought of commercials that have enveloped our lives. So how much influence does advertising have on the sales of products?
A senior marketing executive of Gul Ahmed said that compared to 2008; their products’ sales have jumped 40 to 45 per cent in 2009. This figure, he said, shows the impact that of advertisements on their sales. Gul Ahmed’s financial statements reflect that sales in 2008 had been Rs11.7 billion, while sales in 2009 had increased to Rs13.9 billion.
The marketing director was of the opinion that the media has played an essential role in creating brand awareness. “People are more aware now, especially where designs, quality and the latest fashion trends are concerned,” he said.
He shared that their exclusive annual magazine was their biggest asset in the advertising world. Gul Ahmed’s magazine is a perfect example of where advertisements can take an organisation. Over hundreds of glossy pages of the highest quality possible and the magazines are given away for free. “It’s our main mode of advertising. People read our magazine and then visit our stores, which are very easy to access as they are all over the country,” he added.
A source related to Gul Ahmed said that they easily recover all their expenditures as the manufacturing of the fabrics has low costs compared to what they are sold for. “For example, even if a hundred thousand rupees are spent on advertisements that give us no revenue return, the boost in sales helps us to recover eventually. There is never any loss when advertising,” he said.
On the other hand, supermodel Vaneeza Ahmed also gives great importance to marketing. “My name was a brand in itself and yet to deal with competition effectively, I had to advertise. That’s how essential advertising is,” she pointed out.
The advertising trend was introduced in Pakistan just a few years ago, she said. “There are so many brands in Pakistan now, that you have to market yourself to remain on the top”, she added. “We didn’t have a Gucci or Armani in Pakistan. Until six or seven years ago, nobody would have thought of designer lawns as the concept of a designer itself was not there” Vaneeza said.
Vaneeza said that intensive advertising through the media has changed all that. Referring to the incident where Firdous textiles had employed the Indian model Kareena Kapoor for their campaigns, Vaneeza said that: “It’s a problem that Pakistani people have. For them, the grass is always greener on the other side”. The supermodel said that a lot of local firms are ready to pay millions to international stars rather than their own celebrities as the psychology of the mass accepts “the others more than us”.
“We had a western complex and now we have an Indian complex” she said. Interestingly, the fact remains that Firdous textiles have hit the market with a bang and have given many of their competitors a run for their money.
Omar Saleem, Director of Firdous textiles said that their campaign has been a run- away hit. “We hired Kareena Kapoor to create a brand awareness of the highest calibre possible and we have done even better than expected” he informed.
Saleem did not confirm the Rs30 million paid to the Indian actress for the campaign.
Nevertheless, he said that the advertising helped them to gain a loyal following which would lead to the firm recovering their marketing costs soon. “Our sales have increased significantly and about 15 per cent of the rise can be directly credited to Kareena Kapoor,” he said. Saleem refused to cite figures, referring to them as company information, but he did advocate that advertisements are the best way for an organization to pave their way towards becoming “a consumer favourite”.