You all must have seen it right? You know, that billboard with Maya Karin in that red slinky dress smiling ever so seductively. And invitingly too. And beside her picture, there is this phrase printed in white over a backdrop of blue, “dengan Celcom, anda berkuasa” (with Celcom, you are powerful). Damn it. That advert is so, erm… uplifting man. Not in the spiritual I-may-have-seen-the-light sense of the word but more towards the forklift-moving-upward-to-the-sky sense la. I mean, that advert makes me want to stop my car, rush out to the nearest Celcom booth and buy its pre-paid card man. It makes me feel so, um, “berkuasa” if you know what I mean. Yes Maya baby, let’s meet up and feel my “kuasa”. And I just love it when in the Celcom TV advert she would say something like “saya mahu lebih…” (I want more). Well Maya, actually, I want more too. More than the more which you want and probably some more after that. More!
Strangely enough, that very same advert, does not evoke that kind of feeling from me when the picture used is that of Steven Gerrard or Ryan Giggs. Or that smelly Frenchman Robert Pires! Perhaps because they say it in English - with Celcom you are powerful – rather than in Malay. Just perhaps.
It does not take the brilliance of say, Wahap Patail - boy, is he brilliant or what? – to tell you that sex, in all its manifestation and form, sells. You want to sell a car? Well, take a huge picture of Tyra Banks in some tight pants and a top so tight that her chest looks like it’s gonna burst like some water sprinkler pipe in a Putrajaya building, and slap a teeny weeny picture of the car next to her and you would have a bloody good car advert. What else do you want to sell? Ciggies? Jeans? Whatever. Sex S.E.L.L.S. Rule number one.
The primary objective of an advert is to grab the attention of the audience towards whatever the advertiser is trying to sell. The audience, you and me that is, are very busy people. WE have very short attention span. 3 seconds the most. Because looking, and analysing, adverts is not our hobby. We just look at the advert (or watch at as well as listen to them) because we either have nothing to do while stuck in a traffic jam or because something in the adverts grabs our attention to them. Like Maya Karin in a slinky red dress smiling at me while saying “come Art, I want your baby!” Okay, I made up the last part. But you get the idea. I hope.
That’s the primary objective. The next objective is to try and hold the audience’s attention for as long as the advertiser can so that he or she could be told about the product being advertised. So, in Maya Karin’s case, the product is Celcom. Okay, we all know that because beside Maya Karin pontianak smile, the word Celcom is printed. That adverts scores 2 points. It grabs my attention. Then it manages to introduce me to Celcom.
What’s next? Well, in a competitive market, it is not enough to thrust just a brand name. A good advert must be able to tell the audience, in that 3 seconds attention span, what the hell is so special about the product compared to its competitors. And so, back to the sundal malam girl. It says “with Celcom, you are powerful”. That’s it. Simple. Celcom is powerful. Now I know. So in my mind, just as I passed that billboard, having spent 3 precious seconds of my very precious time in my precious car being stuck in a not-so-precious traffic jam, I would then be thinking, why would I be powerful with Celcom? Dang. That advert works. Celcom would than be planted in my head. For a while, that is. But Maya is planted for a lot more while than Celcom. Oh Maya…you tau, I berkuasa you tau? Fu-yoh!
A good advert will also be able to tell the audience about certain features of the product which makes it special, or better than its competitors. It’s like an advert of the new Court house, if ever they need one. I could imagine it saying, “the Jalan Duta Court House, big corridors, largest in the world”. Ya, something like that. With pictures of Fairuz and Wahap, smiling ever so, erm…charmingly. Well, it wouldn’t be as uplifting as the Celcom advert, but it might be upshifting, rather. You know, when you see the advert, you like upshift the gear so quickly because you want to get away from it ASAP!
Okay, okay, I digress. And so I come to Proton Savvy advert. On TV, the advert has these 2 bonkers in a Savvy on top of a roof when this, um, this huge grey creature which looks like a giant marsh mellow came and grabbed the Savvy and threw it down. And these 2 bonkers were like, aiyo aiyo we are gonna die. Then the grey giant marsh mellow went away and like, nothing happen. The car was in a good shape. It’s like, well, nothing happen. Like, totally. Oh, wow! The Savvy. Focking strong car it must be! Brilliant. It means the Savvy can be pushed down a ravine, or smashed against a steel divider, or take on a bull dozer head-on, or make it turn turtle in the rain near Jalan Parliament and nothing will happen to it. Ever! Well well well, that is the biggest CRAP I have ever seen on TV in my whole precious life! Idiots! You don’t sell cars by telling people that your car is so strong, especially when your car is a small car meant to be driven to the market, clinic or some kindergarten by some women! You only do that if you want to sell a tank to the MoD! Blinking morons!
Than comes the Savvy advert in newspaper. I saw it. It says “Savvy…blah blah blah…AMT”. Hmm…AMT? AM what? AMT. What the fock is AMT? I have to see the small print now. Oh AMT stands for “automatic manual transmission”. Like, d’oh! If a transmission (gear box) is automatic, how could it be manual at the same time? And vice versa. This Proton guys must be really clever to come up with an automatic gearbox which is also manual at the same time. Brilliant. Not! I then made a few calls. It transpired that what the Savvy is offering is actually a semi automatic gearbox. It can be switched to auto mode, where the gear will change itself like any other automatic gear, or to semi auto mode, where one could up shift or downshift without having to deal with the clutch. In fact there isn’t any clutch in the Savvy.
This semi auto gear box is nothing new. Porsche started it a long time ago and called it “tiptronic”. That word is so well known that even the Proton loving school teacher would have known about it. Tiptronic. Yes, that thingy which allows the driver to up shift and down shift without having to kick a clutch pedal. Tiptronic. Tiptronic. AMT? No, it’s tiptronic. You fool! BMW followed suit. They also came up with similar gearbox. BMW is a huge car manufacturer. Bloody huge it makes Proton looks like a mere tahi lalat on Rossie O’Donells’ ass. And yet, despite BMW’s huge-ness, they did not name their gear thingy AMT. They named it “steptronic”. Maintaining the “tronic” sound to their name. Why? Well, ask Wahap Patail. He is brilliant. He would tell you BMW did not name it AMT or UMNO or whatever because “tiptronic” has become so well known for that device that really, there was no reason, marketing wise, to change that term to something else. So, BMW, in all their wisdom, called their device “steptronic”. Tiptronic. Steptronic. Not AMT! You wankers! And why would Proton, this, this small ciku, who DID NOT invent this device in the first place, name it AMT? Excuse me. AM what?
The purpose of an advert, well, one of the purposes, as I postulated earlier, is to tell the audience of how special the advertised product is. And that purpose, ladies and gentleman in the Proton marketing division, Ma’am and Sirs, is not going to be served by naming your special device in some alien form like AMT. You see? Because when readers like me, stupid people that we are, read AMT we would not be having a blinking clue as to what AMT is. Get it? Feeling thick today are we?
You need another example? Well, Honda came up with variable valve timing in the late 80’s when they launched one of the best sports car ever, the Honda NSX. Honda called their invention VTEC. It is such a good invention that many followed suit. Mitsubishi followed suit and called their invention MIVEC. Toyota called theirs VV-t. Suzuki also called theirs VV-t. Then Honda launched their intelligent VTEC and called it i-VTEC. Toyota also became intelligent and called theirs VV-ti. And so on and so forth. But they are talking about the same thing. It is variable valve timing, whether it is VTEC, MIVEC or VV-t. But the terms are so well known. Mention VTEC, MIVEC or VV-t, and people will know what it is. Even if they don’t have a clue as to what it is, and how they work, in their mind, they would think oh well, this car has got that VTEC thingy lah. And that thingy must be good lah. So Proton. What did you do. Well well, you all also came up with variable valve timing. What did you all call it? CAMPRO.
ps Imagine Proton developing a new anti brake lock system (more popularly known to the world as the "ABS"). Would they call it ABS? Naah, they would call it the "Malaysian Caliper Un-locking New Technology" or MYCUNT, in short. I could just imagine the billboard. They will have Siti Nurhaliza (with or without Datuk K) - well, it could be Mawi though - flashing her famous sweet sweet smile. Beside her there will be this new Proton car , probably called the Wajaria or something like that. And the tagline will read, "Proton Wajaria, now with MYCUNT, good eh?" Like, todally. Idiotic. That is!