Category Creator : Bandaid


They say marriages are made in heaven and in that sense we truly have God to thank for this invention. If accident prone Josephine Dickson had not married Earle Dickson, and then repeatedly cut herself with the kitchen knife while working in the kitchen, the Band-Aid might never have been invented. Earle Dickson invented the Band-Aid in 1921 because he realized that the gauze and tape that was being used then would not stay on his wife’s very active fingers. He therefore put a piece of gauze in the middle of a tape and covered it with crinoline to keep the gauze sterile. This piece of tape could stay in place over the wounded area especially for small wounds.

Earle Dickson was working for Johnson & Johnson at this time. When James Johnson saw the Band-Aid he realized its potential and started making Band-Aids in 1924. Earle Dickson would go on to become the Vice President of the organization before his retirement.

However, the first band-aids were hand made and crude and were not very popular. In order to increase the awareness about Band-Aids and to exhibit its usefulness, Johnson & Johnson gave away free samples to the Boy Scouts. This PR stunt remarkably increased their sales and made the product popular overnight. As Band-Aid was the only brand making the product, the product and the brand started becoming interchangeable as well.

By 1924, Johnson & Johnson started making these bandages with machines. Band-Aid gained further popular acceptance as millions of Band-Aids were shipped overseas during World War II and to emergency care units in hospitals.

Johnson & Johnson continued to concentrate on children and released decorative bandages in 1951 featuring Superman, Spider-Man, SpongeBob SquarePants, Hello Kitty, Rocket Power, Rugrats, Smiley faces, Barbie, Dora the Explorer, and Batman.

Johnson & Johnson currently makes a number of products under the Band-Aid brand such as Band-Aid liquid bandages and Scar Healing bandages. They also make bandages, which come in various shapes that form a fluid filled barrier to help heal wounds faster called Active Flex bandages. Another product is their waterproof Tough Stripes in which the adhesive is stronger enabling the Band-Aid to stay on longer. Johnson & Johnson has also created another brand called Burn-Aid which is a burn gel applied as a prepackaged bandage.

The adhesive bandage category has a number of players currently all of who were tempted by the success of Band-Aid. Band-Aid has a market share of about 60% and is the recognized category leader. In fact, Band-Aid is the generic name used for the category.

While it is a great thing for a brand to be synonymous with the category, it is not without its downsides. Shopkeepers stock multiple brands of adhesive bandages and when a customer asks for a Band-Aid the shopkeeper hands over any one of the brands he has stocked up. In order to overcome this problem, and to protect their trademark, Band-Aid products are now referred to as Band-Aid Brand products.


Competitive Advantage through Sales and Distribution

Which is world’s largest selling biscuit brand?? It’s that thing in yellow wrapper with that baby pic on it that has ruled the Indian market for some 75 years now. Yes, it’s Parle-G. It is a biscuit that has remained a strong favourite in the market despite not being very differentiated- a simple glucose biscuit. Significantly, they haven’t done much wrong over the years, sticking to a simple yet effective strategy- Be Available. What really differentiates Parle-G in the marketplace is their strong Sales and Distribution system. They make it a point never to lose out on a customer by being available in the remotest of locations- including several villages with populations of just about 500 people. Parle has an extensive network of over 1500 wholesalers who in cater to nearly 450,000 retailers. In a way thus, they have beaten competition not by spending multi millions on advertising but by using their extensive sales and distribution network as the key differentiating factor.

There are several other examples of companies who have used this approach to become industry leaders. Which channel a company uses to reach its consumers and how effectively it utilises these channels can go a long way in determining the success of their marketing strategy. Traditionally, there are 4 levels available between the manufacturer and the consumer.

With changes in the market place, this structure has changed dramatically. Earlier, most companies used one of the above channels to reach its customers leaving little room for differentiation on this basis. That however no more holds true with sales and distribution becoming an integral part of companies’ business model. Companies now look to beat competition by creating value for customers through their sales and distribution structures. Take Dell for example. Dell redefined the entire PC industry by using a direct selling model, the shipping companies being the only intermediary. They entered the industry at a difficult but quickly adapted to the retail chain evolution by adopting a radically different path and taking orders on the phone. The move paid off as they have gone to become one of the industry leaders.

The model in itself is not very difficult to copy, but Dell incorporated it as an integral part of their business model and was miles ahead of the pack by the time competition noticed. Some that did try to copy the model failed miserably as they failed to align the rest of their business to this model. A sales and distribution structure in itself cannot ensure success but has to be well aligned with the entire business model.

Strong positions taken up by companies in the market place on the basis of their sales and distribution structure also pose significant challenges for their competitors. Electrical equipment giants Schneider toiled for a over a decade to establish itself in the US market before deciding to purchase Square D- a local player with a strong presence with the electrical equipment wholesalers. The acquisition gave Schneider access to Square D’s extensive distribution network and eventually a stable position in the US market. IBM at its peak had a tremendous network of sales representatives who maintained good personal relations with IT managers making it difficult for competitors to crack the market.

While Parle used traditional sales channels established over several years in an established market, Dell used an innovative one in an emerging industry to create a competitive advantage competitors could not easily match. What this also shows however, is that no business is immune from the impact of effective channel strategies. Businesses need to continuously evaluate their channels on the basis of channel economics, alternatives available and emerging competition. They need to keep looking at how they can align the sales and distribution function better with the entire business model and if they can create or leverage any opportunities to create strategic advantage. Reading the market signals and reacting quickly can create substantial competitive advantage as Dell proved. As IBM on the other hand discovered, failure to move rapidly can be detrimental as they failed to adapt to the changing environment.

The Dark Knight: Redefining Social Media Marketing

Social Media: It’s the IN thing

Social Media marketing refers to the use of social media to complement an organization’s integrated marketing strategy. With the internet wave there was a new channel for firms to communicate with customers but the advent of social media such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter has increased both the potential reach and impact that marketing campaigns can have on customers. In every marketing campaign the customers are the target but one critical difference in the case of social media campaigns is that customers are not only the target but also the medium through which the campaign propagates.

The Dark Knight Campaign: What was it about?

An early start

The viral campaign for the 2008 epic film “The Dark Knight”, started 14 months before the actual release of the film. The buzz that it generated has been unparalleled and the campaign is one of the most interactive and successful ones in the history of Hollywood. The producers, Warner Bros. were able to take viral marketing to the new medium of the internet and cultivate that idea further and deeper into the psyche of the fans.

In May 2007, 42 Entertainment began a viral marketing campaign utilizing the film’s “Why So Serious?” tagline with the launch of a website featuring the fictional political campaign of Harvey Dent, with the caption, “I Believe in Harvey Dent.” The site aimed to generate interest among fans by having them try to earn what they wanted to see. On behalf of Warner Bros., 42 Entertainment also established a “vandalized” version of “I Believe in Harvey Dent”, called “I believe in Harvey Dent too,” where e-mails sent by fans slowly removed pixels, revealing the first official image of the Joker. It was ultimately replaced with many “Haha”s and a hidden message that said “see you in December.”

The follow up

In the months leading up to the release an alternate reality game turned more than 10 million unique players towards real time Gotham city, a city where the anti-hero Joker left his marks from buildings to dollar bills and created an army of henchmen across the world. At the world famous event for superhero enthusiasts, ComiCon, players got there first orders from Joker.  After that started a spate of clues over the social media that led enthusiasts to a central place in many cities. Lo and behold, Joker fans had their next clue delivered in the skies through a jet plane.  The result was, Joker was on his way to create his own army. The Gotham city had spilled over from the online arena to the streets.

Engaging the end customer

On December 3rd, 2007, a new page appeared at “” with a hammer game and some teddy bear toys. The toys had addresses of a number of cities around the US on them. The note on the game told people to go to that address and say their name was “Robin Banks” and they’d get something there. It was on a first come first serve basis and each location was a bakery. What they were given was a cake with a phone number written on it. Now here’s the best part: inside the cake was an evidence bag (complete with Gotham City Police printing) that contained a cell phone, a charger, a Joker playing card and a note with instructions.

The note read the following:

“Wow. You really took the cake! Now put the icing on it. Call XXXX immediately from this phone and this phone only. Do not give this phone number to anyone else. Let’s hope your fellow goons come through as well as you. Once all the layers are in place, you’ll all get your just desserts. I’m a man of my word.”

When the person called the number, a lady answered from Rent-a-Clown to thank the caller. Apparently she said she knew who the caller was and then after hanging up, they received a text message. It read:

“Good work, clown! Keep this phone charged and with you at all times. Don’t call me. I will call you … eventually.”

Joker had a real army now with people waiting for his call for their next clues.

Additionally, once all the cakes were handed out, a new page was linked where users could sign-up to receive a free screening pass to see I Am Legend in IMAX which included the first 7-minutes of The Dark Knight that was filmed specifically for IMAX. Another link also revealed the first teaser poster.

On the other side was an army of Harvey Dent, the protagonist. Harvey mobilized Gotham residents (the online phenomenon) by contacting them through mobile phones and emails. Another campaign was started that countered one created for Joker. Citizens marched and rallied in the streets with posters, “I believe in Harvey Dent.”

The campaign reached its climax when all the websites that were related to Gotham city were Jokerized. Fans were led to central locations in major cities through clues where they saw Jokerized version of the Dark Knight trailer and a defaced Bat man sign.

In a nutshell, The Dark Knight viral campaign was a trans media experiment with over 10 million participants in over 75 countries that played across hundreds of web pages, interactive games, mobile phones, print, email, real world events, video and unique collectibles.

How the campaign fared

S no.


Dark Knight’s Performance


Return on investment

The film was created with a budget of $185,000,000. However, through its heavy marketing and buzz it was able to surpass the cost in the opening week itself. Following is the breakdown of the 1stweek earnings.$158,411,483 (USA) (4,366 Screens)
£11,191,824 (UK) (502 Screens)
BRL 7,102,500 (Brazil) (549 Screens)
€1,969,100 (Italy) (616 Screens)
PHP 61,603,157 (Philippines) (92 Screens)
RUR 85,019,263 (Russia) (610 Screens)The film had grossed a whopping $533,316,061 in USA alone by March 2009 making it the second biggest grosser of all time.


Engagement Ratio

The campaign was able to bring fans of all the ages together by creating an interactive online format. The whole city of Gotham was created online with its own Mayor, newspaper and authorities but the citizens were real fans who were made a part of the whole campaign. They could participate in games and contests and win rights to be the proud citizens of the Gotham city or marauders from the Joker army



The timing of the campaign was bang on. It was a campaign that begun 14 months before the actual release and gained intensity as the release date came closer. The main villain, Joker was created into a larger than life character and with the death of Heath Ledger, the focus shifted on immortalising the final and greatest performance of the actor. The trailers were brought out through novel mediums like free trailers on new Nokia phones.


Choice of Social Medium

The Dark Knight Team utilized every possible social media available. As mentioned earlier it tied up with Nokia to bring the first trailers into the market through mobile phones. More than 100 websites relating to various facets of Gotham city were put to use to reach as many people as possible. The producers also employed regular online media like facebook and youtube to promote the film. Among the many facebook pages on the Dark Knight, one has more than 7,710,900 members


Amount of Control

The media agency had extremely high control over the whole campaign. At every point, it required the agency to give additional clues. They always had the potential to take the campaign forward or hold it back as and when required.

What went well?

The campaign managed to divide the fans in three major groups- supporters of Batman, Joker and Harvey Dent. The public could associate themselves with a cause and feel to be a part of something big. Due to this, it was possible to introduce the movie to a demographic that would have otherwise not had an interest. Many people found it hard to believe that others had taken to streets for some fictional character. But none of them could resist asking, who is this Harvey Dent. The agency played a very intelligent mix of curiosity and interactiveness to create the requisite buzz. This was a classic case of the end user itself acting as a channel of propagation. A very important message for brand managers.

–                     Bhasin

THE AXE EFFECT – Perfect utilisation of the Segmenting, Targeting and Positioning model

Axe was born in France in the Year 1983. 24 years later, this brand is Unilever’s bestselling brand worldwide. It is also one of the rare brands which can boast of replicating its entire marketing mix across geographical boundaries. The campaigns that we see in India are the same as elsewhere abroad.

Axe Effect
Axe Effect

The Axe deodorant was popular in India in the Grey market (duty paid shops). Impressed by the volume of Axe sold there, Axe deodorant was launched in India in 1999. The brand launch was very quiet and had the strategy of ‘High Price, Low Promotion’. At that time, the deo market was a nascent one with an estimated market size of Rs 72 crore. HLL, at that time, had the brands Denim and Rexona and was ruling the market. Axe was priced at a premium above the Denim brand (also a mens deodorant brand). In just three years flat, Axe had a market share of over 35% and HLL started phasing out Denim to concentrate more on Axe.

Axe, one of the naughtier brands in India, is targeted at males aged 16-25. The brand is positioned in a manner to promote itself on the underlying message that (a) Axe users are high on confidence, and (b) women are seduced by Axe users and hence, they make the first move. What makes the brand even more approachable is that no hunks are used in the ads, rather ordinary, regular guys are seen as getting hit on by girls.

Along with these, the brand also ensures that customers are constantly engaged with new fragrances and campaigns. Over the years, Axe has had high-profile launches of its new fragrance CLICK, the Axe Land campaign, Axe-Academy, Axe Voodoo and Phenomenon. Axe has also started its Internet based marketing initiative in India with Axe Land which involves a virtual trip to the Axe world. Another web initiative was The Axe Effect. Check it out at

Online involvement, intensive viral ads plus chat room activity involving consumers talking about AXE, their favourite fragrances, the AXE effect, their experiences in the mating game – all played a role in the powerful brand building of Axe. For instance, dozens of bloggers who were intrigued by the Pitman anti-perspirant deodorant print campaign chose to write about it and referred over 100,000 consumers to the Axe website to play the game and try to get a keychain.

Not only does the brand use TV commercials to its advantage, but it also uses its print ads effectively. Besides print, the brand also uses outdoors for maximum impact. Hence, Axe is a classic example of the 360 degree branding effort.

TV Commercials: