First of all a very happy new year to all of you. 2018 was a roller coaster ride for me. I started a podcast for the first time and did a couple of podcasts successfully. In 2019, I will try my best to complete the halted A-Z Actors series, Human series and apart from that I promise you some interesting articles along with many more podcasts.
This year’s movie race started with an interesting race for Pongal. After a very long time, Super Star Rajnikanth’s movie is released along with another big star. Ajith – Siva combo’s fourth collaboration Viswasam competes with Rajnikanth – Karthik Subburaj’s Petta. More than the movies the reviews of the movie brought in a lot of buzzes. Many of the reviewers I respected gave good reviews for Viswasam more than for Petta. This created a lot of rift among the movie watchers and as usual, the fans started fighting and taking the fandom to a new level.
This incident was quite interesting to me than the movie itself. So what makes the case scenario here is our expectations from the product and what we get in return. The case with Viswasam was most of the reviewers must have had a very low expectation after their previous outing Vivegam. One must have felt that this can’t go low beyond that, and what they expected from the teaser, trailer, and music is just a plain star vehicle with tonnes and tonnes of build up. In a way, it had these elements but along with it, the movie had a pleasant surprise in terms of characterization and acting. No mansplaining, no misogyny, and tonnes and tonnes of tearjerkers made it work. Although the movie follows the usual commercial track, it was made interesting with performances and investing the audience emotionally. Kadaikutty Singam in a way did it perfectly last year. This made the reviewers rate the movie higher. On the other hand, we have Petta written and directed by Karthik Subburaj. This movie marketed with the tag Get Rajnified created a lot of buzzes to showcase the 90s Rajni. And the first half indeed satisfied the Rajni Pangs. But in the second half where the story begins people kind of expected a Karthik Subburaj movie was kind of dissatisfied with the end product. This didn’t satisfy the fans of Karthik Subburaj in a way. But the fan wars starting comparing the two movies and the discussion of how can you give more stars to Viswasam than Petta.
I took this curious case and applying to another situation called Food. We go to a roadside shop where all they offer is Idly and Dosai. These shops may not have variety and all they give is a consistent, simple dishes worth for your bucks. You go away from the shop with greater satisfaction. At the same time, you might go to a coffee shop and order a delicate dish which is made by the chef with a lot of passion and artistry. With the hype and the money involved you have had a huge amount of expectations for the dish and somehow the dish is not meeting your expectations and you give them a poor review and go away dissatisfied. Now, would it make sense to compare the two shops? A chef can’t come and say my dish involves a lot of artistry and passion, whereas the other one is just a regular dish and it has nothing great about it. This won’t make any sense right? This is exactly the scenario now. On one hand, we have a product released with least expectations and it delighted the customers with a greater value proposition. On the other hand, we had a product which promised much more and in no way it is not a bad product but due to rocketed expectations, the reviews came out differently.
This again brings us a beautiful question about human emotions and a strategy for marketers. Keep the expectations low for the consumer and delight them with a product of higher value. This definitely gives you an edge over your competitor. In this case, I want to talk about two other films which in a way did the same in terms of value proposition and delighting the customer. Kanaa and Seethakkathi are the two movies which did the same. Kanaa on one hand was not marketed as a Siva Karthikeyan movie, but his extended cameo served the movie well and was well received by the audience. On the other hand, Seethakkathi, which had extended cameo by Vijay Sethupathi was marketed as a Vijay Sethupathi movie but he had only an extended cameo and the value proposition was not leveled. This again resulted in diverse reviews.
As you might have seen that I have suggested that keep the expectations low and delight the customers. Once the customers are delighted due to positive word of mouth the sales/revenue will increase and the product will get its reach. But, will it work when the stakes are higher? will it work the same way if enough buzz is not created for a product which involves huge money? Will a product so big can wait for the word of mouth or the cushion period to reach for a larger crowd? This is the question that the marketing person has to take. How are you going to position the product? what basis will the product become successful?
Apart from a product isn’t it also the same with life? Relationships falter due to expectations. In every scenario, we measure on a relative scale and not on an absolute scale. We create a relative scale for people, situations and actions. We measure them based on our perception and weight given to their actions and then react for the same. If a friend does something, we take it casually, but if a partner does the same thing we see it differently. This weighted ratio of priorities and perceptions makes human perception unique.