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By Hook or by Crook

I was visiting a client of mine in the last week and as soon as I entered his office, I casually asked his team “Kya chal raha hai” (What’s going on?) and one of them responded “Fogg chal raha hai” (Fogg is trending). We had a hearty laugh and everyone proceeded with their respective tasks.

The point I am trying to make here is that, how a home grown brand like Fogg, has given market leader Axe, a run for their money? How it has been able to capture this kind of mind share? The answer is simple, it triggers a response to one of the most commonly used question in India and I believe rest of the world as well.


This is one of the most used conversation starters in the country and almost everybody irrespective of gender, age and standard of living uses it. You may hate this ad campaign, but it has achieved its objective of making Fogg one of the most recognizable brands in its category.

The Hook

This strategy is known as “Hook” or “Breaking the clutter” in the marketing world. As a business owner, it is imperative to hook your target audience in your marketing pond. The bait has to be very interesting and you can achieve so by having a deep understanding of your target’s needs, wants, habits and preferences.

When creating a Hook, emphasize on what’s uniquely valuable about your offer and why people should care. Remember: it takes time. Crafting a Hook is a creative exercise.

The better your Hook, the more Attention you’ll grab, and the easier it’ll be for your message to spread.

Questions about ‘Hooks’

  • Can you communicate what makes your offer uniquely valuable in a single, simple sentence?
  • Does your hook imply a benefit while describing what your offer does?

Remember, hook is not the whole offering, it’s a teaser, enough to create an appetite in the prospect’s mind to know more about the product. In the online context, hooks can be coupons, discounts, cash backs, free downloads, contests, etc.


Let’s look at the some of the examples:

  • Amazon: Aapki apni dukaan
  • Nike: Just do it
  • Bajaj Auto: Hamara Bajaj
  • Idea cellular: An idea can change your life

One of the best examples of hook used widely in the recent past and has a great recall value even today is “Ab ki baar….Modi sarkar”.

Hooks can also be something innovative you do in your business which gets people get hooked on to it in the long run. eg:

  • The inventor of the shopping cart had to pay people to push them around for 2 years before people would use them. Can we imagine visiting a supermarket and not having access to shopping carts?
  • Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said in 2012 that many analysts initially thought the service would fail because it had no obvious use. “Nobody thought it was a good idea,” he told a conference in Montreal. “And I distinctly remember my colleague Evan Williams saying, ‘Well, neither is ice cream. Should we ban ice cream and all joy or can we have something that’s just fun? What’s wrong with that?’ ” (source: FT)
  • One of the hindrances to online shopping in India was Indians lack of faith in making online payments before the delivery of product. The concept of cash on delivery was introduced which lead to a spike in number of people buying things online.
  • And the list is endless.

Go Get Hooked.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this one.

(This article was featured on Your Story and can be found here)

– @SajidKhetani


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