The Zen Festival left me, and many others, sorely disappointed. Being a stable brand in India, I hoped for a better ‘performance’.
On 6 August 2015, ASUS conducted the first leg of its “Zen Festival” series at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. However, if the company is really interested in capturing the Indian market, they need to take note of two important things:
- Understand that for Indians, ‘festival’ doesn’t mean a 3-hour long product presentation.
- Strengthen their backend support.
As the guys at TechPP.com asked and I repeat: “Did Asus need a Zen Festival?”
NO, they didn’t.
What ASUS Launched at Zen Festival?
ASUS launched three new smartphones – Zenfone Selfie, Zenfone Deluxe 2 (Rs. 22,999) and Zenfone Laser (Rs. 17,999). As the name suggests, the Zenfone Selfie device is for selfie lovers. It has amazing picture quality and clarity.
The Zenfone Deluxe 2 is the world’s first smartphone with 4 GB RAM, with a crystal miracle design at the back. The Zenfone Laser has laser auto-focus, a perfect device for camera lovers looking for an affordable device.
The Zenfone Max will be launched in October 2015 and will have a powerful 5,000 mAh battery. Price and features will be announced later.
Zen Festival: Heavily Mismanaged and Misguided
The Zen Festival audience comprised audiences of many categories: bloggers, media, ASUS Twitter and Facebook fans and some general public.
I went there as a blogger, receiving invite from Blogmint and Ripple Links, both. Now, here’s what happened.
A Grossly Mismanaged Event – People Denied Drinking Water Even
Knowing the hugeness of the JLN stadium, the event organisers should have mentioned the entry gate number and not expect the attendees to trapeze around the stadium, looking for entrance.
Invitees reaching by 1 PM were supposed to get a Zentastic surprise. Where is that?
Inside, a HUGE crowd had gathered and even though there was severe space crunch, people were not allowed inside. There were no proper registrations, crowds fighting over goody bags and the saddest part, there was no drinking water.
I came across their refreshment stall with a friend and when requested for water, this ‘gentleman’ from the event management team shooed us away saying water and other refreshments will be served inside. This didn’t happen either. It left us sorely parched and hungry.
During the event, much of the audiences started to filter out but again, the event management team didn’t fail to surprise – they blocked the exits.
I don’t know who the hell advised the ASUS team on the event but they did a very poor job. One can’t actually blame the ASUS (based in Taiwan) team as they are unaware of Indian culture but know this, in your subsequent events in India, make sure every attendee gets at least drinking water, tea and coffee, if nothing else.
Superpass Invite – What was the Purpose?
A handful of bloggers were given a ‘Superpass’ invite to sit in the first couple of rows and interact with the celebrity and the company staff. Let’s just say it was a completely superfluous and pretentious move because I didn’t see any blogger getting within a mile of the celebrity and ASUS guys.
Yes, some 5-6 people did manage to click selfies with Sonakshi Sinha and as you may have already guessed, it was an “insider job”.
And why 5-6? Barring them, are rest of us untouchables? I don’t think it would have harmed if people from the actual audience group got up on stage to take selfies. In fact, it would have been a better promotion of the ASUS devices than the “models” and college students pretending to be ASUS users.
Did ASUS Need a Zen Festival?
It’s obviously a good strategy to interact with existing and potential customers and on some level, their effort is appreciated. If they had applied the same precision with which they created their products and orchestrated the stage presentations, their money and purpose would be justified.
Things that went wrong:
- Audience targeting was partly wrong
- Too long presentation, which is suitable for corporate meetings
- Naming it as ‘festival’ and no festivities.
Judging by their solid India-presence, I don’t think they need to organise Zen Festivals. Even if they want to, they should be very selective with the attendees. In fact, if they would have invited ONLY existing ASUS users, made them a detailed presentation and offered them some kind of product promotion incentives, it would have been great. Similar approaches can also be taken towards affiliate marketers and bloggers.
On a closing critic note, the approach of ASUS’ Chairman, Jonny Shih was fantabulous. I also liked the product comparisons with iPhone 6. ASUS do have really good products suitable for the Indian market.
The ASUS mascot, Zeny, was so beautiful. Every attendee received a Zeny keyring-cum-pen drive on their way out and with this, we came to the end of Zen Festival.