Saturday, July 09, 2005

Yahoo male

Yahoo has just launched a new campaign to promote "Yahoo India Mail" featuring Malaika Arora Khan. Mumbai Mirror gushes:

"This is the first time that a leading internet company in India has shot with a Bollywood personality for an internet campaign".

Model and vejaay, yes. But Bollywood personality?? Malaika, as far as I can remember, has appeared in one item number on top of a train.

The company elaborates: "We were looking for a vibrant, regal, fashionable, easily recognisable youth icon and someone the youth of the country could easily identify and connect with."

Someone who'd charge less than Rani Mukherjee or Shahrukh Khan, I guess. But the basic question is: can a celeb add any value to a brand like Yahoo mail?

I have a yahoo account, am reasonably happy with it and too lazy to shift elsewhere. But if I had to open a new one today I would probably opt for google. Because I perceive it as better, faster and 'cooler'.

So sure, yahoo is feeling the heat. It's much lower on the 'gotta have' scale than it used to be a while ago. But I don't think having Malaika to greet every user who wishes to sign up for a new id is gonna do the trick. (no kidding - that's part of the deal!)

Note the manner in which the company's communication tom-toms Malaika and mentions the tech bits just by-the-way. Like yeh Indian userlog na, kaafi dumb hain.

"The company perhaps hopes to put the heat on hotmail with its own online hottie. And yes, Khan brings with her larger storage space, greater attachment capacity and advanced spam control. And if you still need more Malaika, you could actually have her... on your mobile phone as well. Yup, Malaika themes, wallpapers, screen-savers, video clips and even Malaika games!

Exclamation marks kis liye bhai. Are Malaika games and wallpapers the ultimate in excitement? But wait, there's more...

"Malaika's expression in the advertisement has been able to convey the key product feature and its utility to a celebrity like her."

Well, I haven't seen the ad but sure hope the expression is an improvement on the Pizza Hut ad - where Malaika's 'expression' conveyed the impression of a large marble stuck in her mouth.

I may be completely wrong. Maybe all the research and deliberation yahoo has done is right and there are thousands of starved young men out there (the kind who post ads on dating sites like:"hi i m jayes and i like to make friendship with girls!") who will appreciate this campaign and sign up in large numbers.

But my personal view is that while celeb endorsements may work for a soft drink or a clothing company (if at all they do work!) they do nothing for a brand like yahoo except cheapen it.

To make a mark in the online world your inherent offering needs to have sex appeal.

But full marks to Malaika's publicist. If anything, the yahoo campaign puts her on a far higher pedestal than she actually occupies!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Advertising crap. Wonder why u highlighted it here?

  3. Heh.

    Trivia: A few ex-Xavierite Yahoos follow your blog :)

  4. Hey Rashmi,

    First things first, i totaly agree that Malaika cant giveme the motivation i need to sign up .. i mean not the motivation that some Bill gates kinda wud give.
    But you must remember that the not-so-popular-then vj Yudi(i gues thats what his name is) did wonders for Sify, (the ad where he says "whats new")
    Also for GK, Malaika, danced on a trainwith Shahrukh, danced somehwere with Bobby in some movie , was lead model for Shubha mudgal's music album(the Dholna one).

    And the actual reason i am puttin up this comment is for the 'hi i m jayes' was absolutely hilarious

  5. he he :))

    sitting in australia, and a user of gmail, i haven't been much into yahoo. but the statements that uve quoted are amazingly funny :P:P

  6. kiran9:02 AM

    Hey Rashmi,

    The point u made is apt...being a net freak my self...i find no relevence in featuring "Malaika Arora" for yahoo.

    Instead they should have gvn some add on offers like increasing the Storage Space...which gmail did..

  7. She also danced with SRK for the title song of "Kaal".....just a bit of useless trivia which has nothing to do with your post. But just to stress she did more than 1 item song.

  8. GreatBong,
    I was abt to post the same thing.
    Anyway I know Malaika cant woo me to sign up for Yahoo! for I already have one. Hehehe :)

  9. Malaika adding brand value to Yahoo .. he he .. that just might be the joke of the century .. You may be right about Malaika not the kind of person Yahoo should be looking up to for the job, but I doubt if your thoughts about Cinestars not adding value to clothing and accessories were correct. such things are the life style and status measuring scales for many and if a cine star endorses a clothing brand, hordes of janta would flock to the nearest store to get a hand on one of them. But seriosuly Yahoo and Malaika are a total mismatch ( as much as I love them both ). The way Yahoo is heading they could be roping in Arshad Warsi ( who seems to have no other work than hosting some crappy shows ) too.

  10. See a screen-shot of Malaika on Yahoo! Mail's login page.

    For those who have not seen it.

  11. Nikhil2:27 PM

    This blog is deteriorating into a page 3 equivalent of Indian blogs. Improve the quality of your posts Rashmi, atleast to keep the reputation of IIMs intact.

  12. Yahoo not so long ago was the undisputed king in terms of brand recall and prominence on the net. This dominance came under threat with the runaway success of Google. Gmail is superior to Yahoo in my opinion not just for the enormous space but also for the nifty features that continue to get added to their service as it is in beta.

    I suppose many are deserting its service for Gmail and it could fade away into the sunset as an also-ran.

    Malaika Arora symbolises glamour. Her appeal is being used to garner attention to Yahoo Mail.That is all.. no more analysis required.. Whether or not Yahoo succeeds is another matter. personally i believe gmail will take the cake..

    Does anyone need invitations to open a gmail account ? Rashmi - you should switch to gmail and experience the difference. it is addictive when you use their uncommon features.

  13. Why not Amitabh Bachchan to promote Yahoo! Mail? Here's a different take on this.

  14. Anonymous12:10 AM

    really sorry for this - but your blog is getting as boring as the remaining snippets of nonsense on most of blogspot.

  15. Anonymous10:41 AM

    page 3 of blogs hah ha

  16. saurabh11:07 AM

    rashmi, i can see the influence of mumbai mirror on your blog. your articles are slightly tabloidish nowadays. whatever happened to the incisive posts??

  17. Hey Rashmi
    Pls check your mail.And I think Malaika looks pretty good in that Yahoo advert compared to how she normally looks.

  18. Malaika is supposed to be some sort of a youth icon *sic*.
    Bottom line is, Malaika sells.

  19. Anonymous6:47 PM

    Hey shilpi.. rashmi just checked her mail!


  20. I think people should be banned from posting anonymous comments.

  21. Anonymous9:54 PM

    May be they think that people are gonna look at Malaikar and jst shout out yahoo!... i kno its a bad one but even if you don't want to sign up for yahoo atleast their adverts would be eye candy


  22. Anonymous7:46 AM

    Page 3??? Its becoming like Punjab Kesari in English...

  23. cool blog
    yahoo is jus using the indian male..oops, did i jus say that?
    am a devoted fan of her (not the acting), so might be a weeeee bit prejudiced! :D

  24. I dont agree that this blog is scrolling down to Page three status. This blog item is helping a good product like Yahoo from needlessly experimenting with P # kind of publicity.

  25. Ashleyjd5:58 PM

    Last week's Yahoo print Add on the backside page of the businessworld Magazine seems more creative and convincing .

  26. I find this funny. Whenever any female writes about anything remotely connected to men (or even women), she goes into the women liberation mode.

    She discusses, or as in your case implies, that this world is so unfair. This male domintaed society and blah and blah and then again blah.

    There is a great virtue called being contended. Bible teaches it. Gita as well as quran teach it. Modern Day women, sadly, have forgotten it.

    That is probably the reason, that I am still to some across any article written by a female that describes how happy female life is in its present form.

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