For all you jigsaw junkies –

Found another cool website. This one’s actually a temp thing mostly, it’s part of Lipton’s new marketing strategy. What they’ve done is created an online jigsaw puzzle, and supposedly the world’s biggest as well. The marketing strategy is called “Stay Sharp” and they’ve started a website of the same name (given above). The website interface is pretty convenient and refreshing (all yellow and all). The puzzle interface, too is pretty cool, bits scattered about that you have to drag around with the mouse. You sign up, and the webpage will display a gigantic puzzle, divided into tiny blocks of smaller puzzles. Click on any block and start solving it with a 10 minute time limit. I took about 6 mins to solve mine, and the record time was 0:15 mins. (shame, shame) The site gives you your own dashboard, where you can keep track of puzzles you’ve attempted, solved, and owned (puzzle where you hold the record time). There are currently about 7257 users and my rank is 4106 (sheesh) The more you solve, the faster you get, and the faster you get, the higher your ranking and there are prizes too. Although I’m not really sure of the prizes, this seems to be a fun thing to do in between work — take a puzzle break. And there’s so many to solve, I could never get bored. The site also very cheekily puts in the advertiser’s two bits about the new Lipton Tea. Sort of, ‘grab a mug of Lipton to get ‘sharp’ before solving’. Cheeky, very cheeky.

(Btw, You’ll find the link on the right side under Web-o-scope)

Which brings me to an important question: What exactly is Lipton’s point? I mean, sure, the website’s cool and fun and very, very neatly done. It’s got a decent number of members too, possibly genuine and growing, but what’s the entire point of the marketing strategy. I seriously wonder, how many are going to go on and buy Lipton tea after solving a puzzle. I for sure as hell ain’t. But that’s ‘cuz my mum governs the tea in the house (heck my mum governs everything!) and no one’s bringing any tea without her explicit permission. So where is the conversion value? The strategy isn’t marketed at any particular target audience, it doesn’t (won’t) bring about many conversions. (People are very picky about tea, it takes a lot more than a puzzle to get them to change) it will generate whatever hype it does only for so much time (My dad’s office is the ad agency for Lipton and I wonder how many of their employees went onto the site) Let’s look at the explanations one might give behind such a marketing strategy:

  1. It’s a brand re-launch: Fair enough. Seems like a good enough platform to launch the brand. But how many people are going to identify ‘puzzles’ with ‘Lipton’? A brand launch is supposed to bring a product into recognition, and have such an impact that subsequent ads just need to be reminders, or announcements (Look! we changed the packaging! or Look! you get 2.5% more…Yippee!!!) Will launching a giant puzzle help people remember that the name of the tea was Lipton?
  2. It’s trying to engage its customers in a manner that is interactive — breaking the fourth wall: Yes, again, well said. But this brings us back to the same question. You broke the fourth and managed to get them to solve a puzzle. Now what? How is this going to translate into increased sales, or profits for the company. One might reprise a term here: Brand Recall. It will help customers remember Lipton whenever they see a puzzle. Remember, and then what? Reminiscence? Think about the good times spent moving pieces on the screen? The chances of someone buying tea ’cause they were reminded of it by a puzzle are pretty slim.

And finally, the marketers’ favourite:

3. It’s not just about the Tea, it’s about all that a tea means, all that the Tea stands for: Oh Puhleeze! This particular argument is valid only for those products that have another value DISTINCT from their intrinsic value or functional value. For example, although the functional value of a car is Time utility — it makes traveling faster — that is not the only reason people buy a car. In fact, most times, that’s never the reason. This is because cars have a value distinct from this intrinsic or functional value. They’re valued as prestige items, status items, and that is what companies cash in on when they market them. Tea is freaking tea. It’s gotta wake you up in the morning and make you come to work, puzzle or no puzzle. It’s gotta keep you awake through that lousy board meeting, puzzle or no puzzle, and it’s gotta hit the spot on your tongue and your brain, the caffeine or nicotine’s gotta kick in and make you feel good, puzzle or no puzzle. Tea has only one value — it’s functional value. The only company to get this idea right to some extent was TATA Tea with it’s jaagore campaign. They had a good explanation too: Corporate Social Responsibility.

So someone (especially people from the company my dad works at) please give me an answer. What was the whole point?