Monday, December 29, 2008

Amir Khan – the newest advertising medium

In my opinion, Amir Khan is the biggest marketing guru. I want to know what his educational background is. Think about this, while all celebrities are still endorsing products, Amir has turned himself into the new-age movie advertising medium.

Sign a film with the guy, and the advertising and promotion are taken care of without any marketing consultants. What bigger medium do you need than the man himself?

This guy is creative director, strategic planner and marketing manager all rolled into one.

Even before the film industry turned into an organised market, Mr. Khan knew the exact value of things like brand identity, the look-feel of the brand, and the art of breaking clutter.

And there’s no question of media space – he does the bloody layout on his own face!

I say forget press conferences, even if he’s on a morning jog (or probably peeing at the airport), the people around think exactly of the film he’s doing at that time.

King khan vagairah theek hai, but look at SRK and you have no clue which film the pic is from. On the contrary look at Amir.

But you know the best part? In order to learn about creativity, strategy, branding and marketing, you no more have to go to a school. All thanks to this Khan. This guy single-handedly beats the IIM of A!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa Clause

My little one is three now. So the hubby and I decided it’s time to introduce him to Christmas, and therefore, to Santa.

So we told him about baby Jesus, which he wasn’t interested in. He doesn’t like babies because his mother holds them and coos to them. Which is his sole right, never to be shared. So that’s that about baby Jesus.

Then we introduced him to the Christmas carols. He liked ‘Jingle bells’ and made an attempt to sing along. I think they must have taught him this one at school too.

The last weekend we were at the mall and we showed him Christmas trees complete with ornaments and all. We told him all about the stockings and gifts.

And then we saw this guy dressed as Santa at one end of the mall. The father and I held his hands and made a dash. Both of were so excited and, with twinkling eyes, we said, “Look, this is Santa!”

Completely exuberant, we looked at the li’l one for a reaction. And what do we see? He’s horrified. He shrieks at this hideous creature in red with a long white beard and a mask on his face.

Slowly, we explain him that this is the guy who brings gifts to children. And that he’s quite harmless. We shook hands with Santa to prove it but that didn’t pacify the kid.

Only when Santa fished out a candy did the kid somewhat warm up to him.

More candies followed and he shook hands with Santa.

“Nice Santa?” I ask, eager for approval.

He looks nonchalantly. “Okay.”

“Can he come home to give you a Christmas gift?”

Pat comes the reply, ‘Only if he promises not to come inside.’

“But he has to put it in the stocking, sweetie.”

“Hang the stocking outside the window.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A brand to die for

Haven’t you ever thought of Religion as a brand with the greatest equity?

It’s a product nobody has seen, but it sells like hot cakes. It has multiple brand ambassadors and enjoys complete monopoly. Talk about early indoctrination and catching them young – no other brand has managed such a good job.

Strong brand personality, ardent following – we have it all. They teach us you can’t sell a brand by scaring your TG or by shoving them into the throes of guilt. Well?

Come to think of it. They’ve created an invisible entity that’s supposed to govern all life. And to make sure you believe in it, they’ve created another invisible entity that screws your life and after-life if you don’t believe.

You’ll go to hell if you don’t pray!

Sure, whatever.

And they tell me a brand can’t have a menacing tone of voice.

David Ogilvy said something, na? Ki you keep hammering the brand name so people just go pick up a pack.

Aren’t all the prayers some sort of a brand strategy?

All the prayers I know keep making you repeat stuff like, ‘Lord I believe in you’.

You keep saying it till you actually start believing.

You know how wearing a Nike makes you feel like you’re just gonna do it. And that you’re a winner etc. Maybe Brand religion does that to you in a temple or whatever place of worship. I got a darshan, a glimpse of god. Wowee! I’m a step closer to moksha.

I just sprinkled water all over the home. Yay, it’s pure now!

Religion is a best-seller.

Brand personality? Protector. Protects from er… invisible entity.

There’s no questioning the efficacy. It’s selling bigtime. Don’t we all know about the filthy rich… err.. sorry… rich religious institutions? The sales graphs are sky-rocketing.

Check the benefit. Redemption! And to think we make such feeble attempts at redemption offers.

This one even comes with a brand manual. In print, etched in stone, we have it all.

We’re also talking huge market share here. Maybe 99%. How many atheists do you know?

And it has a Brand following so ardent, people kill for it and die for it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How will protest marches and candle-lighting sessions help?

I think protest marches, lighting candles and peaceful demonstrations might just prove detrimental to the health of Mumbai.

As it is we don’t give a damn about the state of the country. If you don’t believe me go ask those women, who are angry at Naqvi’s ‘lipstick’ statement, who Naqvi is. Most of them have no clue. People who are protesting against ‘that rude Kerala CM’ don’t even know his name.

Worse, there exist people who can’t sing the complete national anthem and who don’t know the name of the current president of India. The only news most people are aware of is what is circulated on campus, office and facebook. Which is only the sensational stuff.

People, we are not a politically aware nation. And definitely not a politically conscious city.

“Stupid politicians ki wajah se we can’t guard our coasts,” is the general consensus. How many know that this is a difficult task even if we had the most righteous politicians.

Today Mumbai is angry. India is furious. We have woken up after so long and at such a huge cost. I don’t know about the rest of the country. But Mumbaikars will find a catharsis in the peace march and get back to work.

People will light a candle and think they’ve done their bit. Now back to office. That’s just what we don’t need right now.

It’s just now that people are registering to vote. The thinking people are yet not convinced that they need to quit office and get into politics if this country has to be managed. We have barely started finding out what’s happening and who’s doing what. We’ve just gotten to know the politicians by their names. We’ve just gotten sensitive to the fact that the army makes far less money than the cricket team. This was always the case. But nobody championed it.

We’re mounting so much pressure that people like Vilasrao Deshmukh are being asked to leave. This pressure, this fire remains to be alive for us to demand action in the country.

I somehow feel these silent protests will pacify us. And we’ll be back to our daily lives the very next day.

Monday, December 1, 2008

But, CM Achutanandan....

But, CM Achutanandan, Major Unnikrishnan HAS been a major and a dog DID go to his house.
Only, the father drove him away!

Getting cheap thrills out of Mumbai’s nightmare

Some people are making the most out of the terror attacks. Using them to get noticed, and how.

Like this woman I saw on TV the other day, who lost her friends to the tragedy. The channel said she’s an actor, so I’ll take their word for it. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think the name was Bhairavi Goswami. She went ranting about how she was at the hotel barely an hour before the attacks, and how she’d walked out in a huff post an argument with her boyfriend.

People, I quote her, “I wish I were there at that time. I’d have saved my friends.”

Right Ms. Goswami. Exactly what stopped you from going right back in to save your friends?

The experts took some nine hours to arrive. So you had plenty of time. Maybe we’d have sent the forces back home.

Then there was ‘We – the people’ a show on TV last night. Survivors of the attack were there speaking their hearts out. Many had lost their families. Tempers were flying, heart-rending stories were being exchanged. Barkha Dutt got misty-eyed, and so did I.

Finally, at the end of the programme, she announces that Prasoon Joshi has written a poem on the tragedy. And the entire poem was shown on screen. And even read out. Just when I was such an ardent fan of his. Sigh.

This one you have to see to believe. I actually laughed when I saw the headline. And don't miss the explosive visual. Yes Sunny Advertising. You have now suddenly turned into an aspirational creative hot-shop. Let me know when you’re hiring.

But, Narendra Modi takes the cake. Standing right there amidst all the shooting. Giving speeches right at the barricade. And of course, playing the blame game. Good footage, Modi bhai!

Achha hai. Now candles will sell. If you’re enterprising enough, you could make t-shirts with messages and sell them. Cabbies will earn from all those rides to the Gateway.

And after all that dies down, Mumbai will go back into its habitual trance till another such attack shakes it awake.

God, please keep the anger alive.