Brand image?

Recently, there has been hot issues about several Indonesian artist who had their sex video leaked to the internet. Like in the golfer’s case, the woman had her contracts cancelled by the brand immediately for image. Then, had a short talk in amusement with my colleague.

Is it really that important? Set aside the mindset of developed countries like the US or Europe, I think most in Indonesia would use products they’re already used to except if there’s a good reason forcing them otherwise (commonly money related). There’s no stopping peoples using products made by companies that caused pollution because, well… other than groups of peoples doing it (most of the time for “prestige and lifestyle” instead of “awareness translated into action”), there’s no compelling reason, no alternative, and no “it will cost you more money in direct and short visible term” reason.

So, how much would the brand image… no, something more basic, the sales figure, be affected by the model’s image? For me, none. It’s not like the soap suddenly turns poisonous, and the actress is just a feast for the eye in the advertisement anyway, nothing in relationship with the product itself.

But in the newspaper today, there’s an interesting news. This one is about taxi companies in Bali. In Jakarta, there’s a taxi company with reputation, Blue Bird. They build reputation of being safe (no getting robbed, raped and thrown out in the freeway) and trustable (no tampered taximeter that runs faster than it should be). In contrary, some companies are notorious for the in-cab criminality. In development, many taxi starts imitating the iconic blue colour (that’s why you’ll see many blue taxi here).

In Bali, that company’s group is expanding their market and got strong resistance from the local taxi operator. Why? Well, just like the resistance from small retailers when a beast like Wal-Mart came in. They believe they would get crushed, or at least had their income killed in significant manner. After all, the cost of taxi operation seems to be regulated by the government (or semi-government organization) with several price range only. So in this regard, peoples seems to think about the company image.

But then… the image is still, “you won’t die when using this company”, or “you won’t be over-billed when using this company” or “you won’t get robbed of your money when using this company”. In the end, the reason is really… simple selfish reasons.

So I wonder why those environmentalists are still trying to use the same approach as developed country (trying to use conscience and altruism and awareness) or demanding help from people power, instead of finding a workable feasible and selfish solution where the selfish peoples would do it gladly because it brings them profit.

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