Lahore School of Economics

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Advertising and Branding

Mr. Ali Akbar, Head of Marketing, Coca Cola Export Corporation visited the Lahore School on 26th April 2017 to deliver a session on Advertising and Branding to the MBA class.


He started his session by defining marketing in an inventive way: Creating and leveraging context. Also, marketing is not only about advertisement but about find a gap and creating a stream of revenues. One is hired for creating profits not for making ads.

In Pakistan, some ten years ago Pepsi was bigger than Coke. Since then, Coca Cola shifted gears and launched itself on the social media, created Coke Studio and more.

Inevitably, Ali was asked about the recent and famous TVCs of Coke focusing on tea. The MBA students in particular asked him to explain the rationale behind these ads and explain how Coca Cola prevented offending tea drinkers.

Ali Akbar gave a sterling and professional demonstration of how the ads were made. He explained at length how Coca Cola ensured that tea-drinkers were respected: He asked the class to note how in all the three ads the tea cups, saucers and the tea-pot were clean and pretty. The idea was not to ask consumers to stop drinking tea! All Coke wanted was one cup less in consumption per month and one bottle of Coke more.

It took years to get the research right. The product and brand roles were fine-tuned. Some risk had to be taken in all such ventures, for without risk there was no reward. Three ads were made. And, Ali emphasized, with the ads the company focused on taking the distributors along. One must excite trade. All led to success.

Students agreed it was one of the best sessions. Ali interacted with the students most of the time and answered their questions with patience and deep knowledge of an industry which he so clearly loves and understands. The class thanked him and insisted he returned to the Lahore School again before leaving for his new appointment.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 4/27/2017 12:13:00 PM,

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