MTV changed the world? Eat this!

It’s close to midnight and something evil’s lurking in the dark
Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes
You’re paralyzed

‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night
And no one’s gonna save you from the beast about strike
You know it’s thriller, thriller night
You’re fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight

These above lines were immortalized by the King of Pop – Michael Jackson. I would attribute the success of MJ to an external factor. Agreed he was awesome with his music and moves, but what brought him to light and reached him to a larger audience was something he had no control on.


I think MTV was a game changer of the 1980 thus opening up many new avenues of livelihood apart from being a trendsetter concept in itself. Some of the many firsts which can be attributed to MTV include:

  • Music Videos
  • VJ a.k.a Video Jockeys
  • Music Awards
  • Musics News
  • Music Promotion

MTV changed the way people viewed many things, including life. MTV became a rage and its influence on the young is a still debated topic. With the advent of MTV, new and specialized genres started getting its place under the sun. Not just on TV, but on every other medium. It would be fair to say that MTV has influenced every one of us in a very strong way. I must admit that I am!

There is another concept which is silently doing what MTV did in the 1980s. We are about to see the world operate very differently owing to this phenomenon. People will think differently, communicate differently and operate very differently. And that is…

WEB 2.0

Though there is no difference in the technology between ‘World Wide Web as it existed before’ and Web 2.0, the difference is in the interactivity. The power of the internet has become manifold owing to its interactivity and its omnipresence. We now have the web with all its interactive features in almost every single carrier and medium you can think of.

Interactivity, which forms the core of Web 2.0 can now be seen everywhere. An example of interactivity and Web 2.0 at its best is something that you and I use everyday. It is called Facebook. I am just attempting to explain how Web 2.0 will change the way we function with Facebook as an example here.

Facebook has just changed the way people communicate. With the advent of e-mail, we lost the Postman (at least a large section of the population did). With the advent of Facebook, we now have a communication tool, which is many-to-many and is available at the comfort of your desk. So if I have good news to share, I just put it up on ‘FB’ and I have communicated it to many people. And all my ‘friends’ on FB would congratulate me right there! Many-to-many communication platform right in front of you!

Connect: I know of friends from the fifth grade with whom I connected through FB. If not for FB, I would probably have not gotten in touch with him ever. Especially since he lives in faraway Athens now!

Play: With online interactive games like Farmville and Mafia Wars and many others that I have never bothered to find out about, one has a very different way of connecting with his / her friends and make new ones. Farmville for instance is so addictive (apparently!) that I know of people who have spent eight hours a day just to ensure that they reach the next level faster. I am sure they would have learnt a thing or two about farming, but I think the intention was to make friends, spend time (euphemistic way of putting it) and have a bit of fun. Today, games have taken a very different plane and connect people very differently.

Those were just a couple of examples of how Web2.0 can change the world. But I am going to delve a little deeper on how Web 2.0 can change the way marketing would be affected in days to come. So here goes…

FB has a very active market place. I once wanted to sell something away and I had put it up in FB marketplace. I would have received as many as 15 calls in less than a week. And I am not the most active on FB. If I can get to have as many responses, then an active marketer can milk FB to its hilt. Here’s an imaginary situation:

Sabyasachi Mukherjee (SM) has just launched his new Winter collection (is it winter collection now?) and has decided to launch it online. So you now have videos of the entire collection shot in the cozy comfort of his home draped on a few friends (read: top models) and uploaded on Youtube and has been FBed (well, that’s the term dudes) at 10.30 am on 28-July-2010. Guess when he can get the result for his collection?

1 month later?
15 days later?
1 week later?

All of the above is wrong. He would get the result real time. Same day, same moment! Because there is a ‘like’ button in Facebook which has changed the way people express themselves. So SM would know the marketability of his collection real-time and would also get comments on why the collection is good or bad. What needs to be considered is his readiness to change the collection according to the tastes of the larger audience and ensure that the collection is a success. It will also help him understand the niches which he needs to cater to with his designing.

For instance, there might a few hundred people who might like the collection and would also be willing to pay a premium because it appeals to their sensitivities. But there might be a thousand others who would believe that they would not take a particular outfit because it costs more than what they are willing to pay.

Going by the above imaginary example, Facebook is now the source and soul of the Marketing Mix. Product, Price, Place, Promotion.

Here you have Facebook, which helps you in taking a product decision. SM has created a collection and has tested his line using FB (consumer research) and has tweaked his collection a bit to cater to the larger audience and has also got ideas for his new niche line owing to a few people specifically giving comments on what they would want.

Price decision has also been arrived at using FB. He now has a section of people who are willing to pay a premium because they like some items in the collection and with a little tweaks they would get what they want. So SM tweaks the collection both ways to cater to a niche and to also to a larger audience and prices the two collections differently. He makes his money and retains his elite client base. Best of both worlds!

Place – Obviously all this has happened in an imaginary market place which was created using Web 2.0. Today, web based sales enabled by Web 2.0 tools like FB, Amazon, eBay etc form almost 20% of physical retail sales. My sincere apologies to calling FB, Amazon & eBay as ‘tools’, but honestly that’s what they are! These Web 2.0 tools are amongst the largest market places in the world today. With instant results!

Promotion – Less said about this the better. We have almost every product or service peddled on the internet. From books to insurance policies availability of these offerings on the internet has opened up the requirement of promoting them using these same tools.

Web 2.0 being the core of your marketing mix is not far off and is already a reality with many products / offerings. And Web 2.0 is changing the marketing world in the same way the MTV of the 80s did to culture. I am sure there is more to discuss here, but for now that’s that!

Note 1: One of the regular (!!!!) readers of this blog Mr. Vasudevan had suggested that I delve deep into one of the topics rather than discuss many points as bullets. I am planning to take his advice and will probably attempt to provide my views on Web 2.0 as a marketing tool in my subsequent posts.
Note 2: Some parts of this post were inspired and influenced by a discussion which I had with “Senior”. Yes! We refer to him as Senior and he also goes by the name Anil Nair. He is a founder member of a leading communications, advertising and marketing firm Law & Kenneth.

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2 Responses to “MTV changed the world? Eat this!”

  1. Very well written article Nanda. But I would like to know your opinion on the importance on Brand recognition and its impact on Marketing Mix using Web 2.0
    How would a budding designer who doesn’t enjoy the same status as a SM benefit from web 2.0 for his Marketing Mix?

  2. Thanks for the comment. I am not sure where you are writing from, but I think the best part about the web is its democracy. You may not know Sabyasachi Mukherjee, but chances are that someone who you are connected to would. Thus you may get introduced to the collection and you would have an opinion about it which will get aired. So existing brand recognition may not be as important.

    I know of a lady called Meera Mittal living in Bombay. She is a budding designer too. And she can be a case study for this question. She has been using FB and other Web 2.0 tools to spread the word around. The market place may not be as big initially for a budding designer but would increase and improve over a period of time. Of course subject to the product living up to the expectations.

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