Decoding Ads is the best way to learn Marketing. There is just so much that you can gain from a single communication. At Kraftshala, we call the process of ad analysis as Reverse Marketing.

This is a way to not just get better at marketing but also to crack marketing interviews. If you examine them closely, analysing ad campaigns can help you unearth strategic information about a brand. And this framework if presented in an interview to get into a discussion with them about an ad of their brand can be an absolute delight for an interviewer.

What makes this process of reverse marketing challenging is that often people analyse ads from their personal lens which leads to internal bias. As a marketer, you should look at an ad and analyse it from the lens of the business/brand owner.

In this edition of Kraftshala Live, Varun Satia, Founder & CEO of Kraftshala, picks up his favorite campaigns from 2018 and talks about their (apparent) strategy, insight, persuasion tactics and storytelling genius behind the advertisements through Reverse Marketing.

The same frameworks can be used to break down any ad campaign in the world. We have summed these up for your ready reference.

The Consumer Engagement Funnel

The funnel is a metaphor for visualizing the consumer journey. The funnel outlines the process of turning prospective customers to loyalists by driving awareness and lead generation.

The Kraftshala Marketing Prism

The Marketing Prism Framework by Kraftshala helps to break down the ad campaigns into its key elements.

The Objective

As per the prism, The objective is the first thing that the Brand Manager has to think about in real world marketing.

Where will your growth come from? Are you trying to get new users? Or are you going after your existing users? Are you going after category users or category non-users? Are you going after light users or heavy users?

These terms can be simplified in a simple equation which we call the growth equation.
This is how it looks:

And thus every business has the following ways in which they can grow:

  • Penetration
  • Frequency of consumption
  • Average Weight of Consumption
  • Pricing

How you define your business objective is how to measure the success or failure of an ad campaign and thus this becomes the bedrock of a successful campaign.

The next step is to define the communication audience. It refers to the audience that you keep in mind while creating the ad campaign.

It is the set of users (target segment) which is the most attractive as well as present the biggest probability to win for us. When we are talking about the target audience here, we mean the Communication Target Audience (which means the audience you keep in mind while creating the communication) and not the Media Target Audience (the audience you keep in mind while running the ad).

Communication Target Audience is always very sharp whereas the Media Target Audience can be much wider to reach the relevant number of people.

For Example: For Thumbs Up, the communication audience hasn’t changed over the last decades which is ‘Adventurous and macho image seeking teens’. While this audience may represent only 15-20% of the actual Thumbs Up consumers, they have been very rigid in going after this audience in all their communication.



You can read about the Thums Up targeting in detail here
To be differentiated, you can’t be all things to all people, which means your optimal strategy is to choose a set of consumers that you are not just going to attempt to ‘satisfy’ but go ahead and ‘delight’.

Communication Challenge

The next step while analysing an ad campaign is to identify the communication challenge. Communication challenge is the behaviour or the mindset that you are trying to change in your target consumer. You start by identifying the existing mindset and behaviour with respect to your brand and then lay out the desired mindset and behaviour. It can be summarised as, “If there is one thing I want to convince my target consumer of, it would be………”

All of this information, and a lot more, is captured in the communication brief which is created by the marketing team, which is then given as an input to the creative agency like McCann or Publicis for strategic execution. The role of the creative agency is to tell an interesting story around that, which is the ad that you finally see.