Jaisurya Das: The Genericisation of Brands… Arnab & beyond

04 Nov,2016

By Jaisurya Das


How often have you called  Acetylsalicylic acid’‘Aspirin’ or for that matter enjoyed the feeling of a warm ‘Jacuzzi’ jetting against your body? Or used a BandAid for that nick?

How many of us actually know that Aspirin is actually a trademark owned by Bayer and Jacuzzi a brand name for hot tubs with swirling jets?

Or for that matter Band Aid (from Johnson & Johnson ) is just one brand among many translucent, antiseptic, pressure adhesive plasters!

This is precisely how much a brand can erode itself and become generic with the product category.

It’s interesting how we have internalised these terms to the extent of believing that these are now products and services that go beyond brand names and symbols. Xerox or Fedex or for that matter Photoshop (Adobe) have today                                                                                                             become integral to these segments and sweet nothing will change this.

The human brain internalises and transfers to the sub-conscious resulting in almost instant recall and brand linkage when demanded. Obvious links are identified and picked up by our neural network and returned to our conscious mind in milli-seconds. This by itself happens at a staggering speed that beats most human calculation.

This is the science of brand recognition, linkage and ‘Genericisation’  that we have to deal with as marketers. Simple as it may seem, this can prove to be the toughest of all battles as we go along.

If we were to study the TV news scenario in our country as it is today, it would be apparent that English news is much about one anchor and what a lot of noise he makes.

Yet he’s in the news always be it his Newshour, or the news of his ostensible resignation that went viral. People chose to comment on him despite their seemingly indifferent attitude. The dichotomy of existence. We say we hate, we loathe and yet we wish to be associated with a newsmaker be it with hate, love or just camouflaged awe.

And amidst all this din, one question remains unanswered: What will become of a channel that is known to have become so synonymous with Brand Arnab?

I have friends in positions of pre-eminence in TTN who can’t be particularly relaxed having to deal with a high profile exit, or If I may so, the brand resonance exiting in itself.

Was this brand marketed a bit too well for comfort? If you ask me, yes

I seriously believe so.

He sure has the intensity of a super investigative journalist coupled with amazing stage presence but does that translate to being the only face the channel should position?
Stupas are good for the soul. One too little though.

Maybe it’s time TTN takes stock and revisits the business of news and what really needs pride of place. Is it the anchor that makes the difference or do we  bring in enough meat to go beyond the individual ?

And yes, if TV news is all about the anchor, then it’s time India creates a few

good ones lest the same faces get bandied around from one channel to the other. This may just be the right time for TTN to get in a new face for Indian news who can also be moulded well into the corporate ideology framework

among other things.

I guess only time will tell. Till then Indian news channels can hope and pray that they have their act in place for this man is certainly capable of disruption with Fox News or otherwise!


Jaisurya Das is a leading media professional and commentator based in Pune. He is also Contributing Editor,MxMIndia


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