Conceal and reveal

Mystery marketing initiatives have been a part of the retail market since some time now has its own appeal as it breaks the clutter to give a fresh breath of life to marketing gimmick initiatives.
Mysterious ways

Mystery marketing initiatives have been a part of the retail market since some time now. Brands having been stung by this bug, referring to both – print and television ads have had their share of curiosity involved and have managed to get hold of the attention of the target audience.


It used to be a trend in the earlier days to do teaser ads in print and suddenly we’ve had many players jumping onto this innovative way of reaching out and appealing to larger target audience. It must be understood that ‘mystery marketing’ serves two purposes successfully – educating the audience while drawing attention towards your products/brand/services in an engaging way.


Venkatagiri Rao, Creative Director, Copy, Mudra West opines, “In order to interpret ‘mystery marketing’ literally, I feel that teasers have long been used in advertising to pique viewer interest, to increase their involvement. As a matter of fact, it is just a newly coined term. What is new is perhaps the way these days stories are left unresolved for viewers to take forward the way they like. He further interestingly points out that one can see more of this on the web, than on TV.

Core idea

In today’s time when people don’t really have ample time to remember advertisements in order to grow a particular level of fondness towards the brand in context, mystery based ads and marketing campaigns serve to solve the purpose in a great way. Be it a shampoo brand, a crème brand or a coffee player, the initiative has been taken by many. Rao says, “The core idea is to get the viewers more involved and to make it a two-way dialogue. Also, the internet has been a big help.”


Harish Bijoor, Brand-expert & CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. comments, “Mystery marketing works in advertising environments where there is too much clutter in terms of overt branding. Therefore, the first ad that does not use its brand name, but leaves back small little clues of what it could be, and finally reveals it all, works. Once a few have done this, the aura of such advertising and marketing ceases as well.”

The point made is however simple to understand that in a market where everyone is trying to shout the loudest, the one who is whispering the least is heard the most. Most mystery marketing campaigns aim to fulfill this aim.


Law and Kenneth spokesperson comments, “The core idea is to make the viewer/reader more curious about the brand and create a certain expectation about the revealing of the brand and in some cases, the celebrity.”


Creating a buzz

Rao says, “Creating a buzz and generating a favourable response depends entirely on the quality of the idea and the consequent execution – The better the idea, the better the response.” Bijoor avers, “Only the first four benefit, while the rest are all sheep that follow. These will be slaughtered by consumer cynicism, boredom and disgust.”


Law and Keneth spokesperson makes a different point and says, “The cost of print/TV spots are roof-high, hence only the big players with the big pockets can sustain such an attempt. Ideally for print ads, a 3 day period should be ideal while on television either a blitzkrieg like Apple did during the ‘superbowl’ or a period of a week should be ideal for television or again a complete channel block on a single day could do the trick.”


As understood

In this space, referring to FMCG marketing, especially in categories where it is difficult to generate ‘new news’ is a tough ball game and ‘mystery marketing’ comes to their aid as a savior. It is a practice which when implied in a right way can lead the brands to new heights like never before.


However, the ads made in this space form a nano percentage as against the usual/non-mystery ads which we see both in print and TV. Law and Kenneth spokesperson shares the percentage to be 2% at the maximum. Rao shares that the percentage is very small. “Though, many try and fail as with any communication, it is entirely to do with how good the idea is and how relevant it is,” he concludes.






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