Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Brand Equity now Bekaar

This comment, calling the Nike commercial Bekaar in this morning's Brand Equity

"Brand: Nike

Maybe it’s the length of the commercial that got to our panel. Sitting through a two-minute gully cricket match to find out that it only sells a shoe is too much for them to bear."

Maybe it’s the quality of the comment that got to me. Sifting through a four page newspaper on advertising, marketing and media that so many of us respect calling the commercial a “two minute gully cricket match” and Nike “ a shoe” is too much for me to bear.

Perhaps Brand Equity has become only a supplement.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Why Peter Mukerjea will make shitloads of money

Now that Indrani Mukerjea has announced that INX is getting into the television channel business, and NDTV has announced that Sameer Nair will, indeed, join them to head NDTV Imagine, salaries of achievers in the TV business will skyrocket.
Because it’s not just these two entities that will launch channels by the dozen in the coming couple of years – so will TV18 and TV Today.

And where are the people to run all these channels, create all the programming, sell all the airtime?

That’s where Peter Mukerjea comes in. Peter the headhunter, Peter the recruitment expert. Not Peter alone, all those search firms focusing on the media business will make a pretty penny in the next two years, placing candidates in these eleventy-two forthcoming channels.

That’s why Peter chose not to compete and decided to resist the temptation of launching TV channels.

Now you know. And you read it here first.

Santosh Desai brilliant, but who cares?

Last evening, Santosh Desai presented the Advertising Review for the year 2006 under the auspices of the Bombay Advertising Club.
When Desai accepts an invitation to speak, be on a panel, write or review, he does so with a commitment that is uncommon. He has viewed — literally — 1500 commercials that were aired in 2006, during the course of which he looked for trends that he thought noteworthy enough to share with the advertising community. I won’t “report” those brilliant, and sometimes provocative and debatable observations – I’m sure the media and advertising supplements, magazines and websites will, as will CNBC’s Storyboard.

What surprised me was the quality of the audience. No one from O&M, no one from JWT, no one from Grey, and so on. Hardly any clients. And hardly anyone from newspapers or television channels.
Have we become incapable of learning from a peer? Or was the event not glamorous enough?

To the Bombay Advertising Club, reeling as they are in the tug-of-war between them and the AAAI, there’s an opportunity staring them in the face. The review was brilliant, even if the attendance was not. The entire proceedings have been videotaped – digitize it and sell it. With brand building, not profit, as the objective.
An objective, as Desai pointed out, that seems to have been somewhat lost in last year’s advertising.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Gavaskar: no more my idol

Sunil Gavaskar’s gone nuts. To quote an example of an Australian cricketer (who’s memory I won't tarnish by naming) who died in a pub brawl and use that to show how badly behaved Australian cricketers are is the closest to a brain dead statement I have come across from any human being that one thought was intelligent.
And an individual that I greatly respected.

He can do the right thing, and apologise. Or do the wrong thing, and not apologise.

And cease to be an idol to people like me.

Of the ICC World Cup, and of "minnows"

Now that the ICC World Cup Cricket has got off to a start, and a few matches have been played, a few questions:

Isn’t the ICC worried that the word “minnows” has been used so often on TV, print and the web?
Isn’t the ICC worried that the stadium was half empty even for the West Indies match?
Isn’t the ICC worried that the viewership even in India (according to aMap) thus far has been so negligible as to not even remotely affect ratings on other channels?

Has the ICC’s evangelism caused the popularity of the World Cup to regress rather than gain?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The ICC World Cup, Commercials, the Internet and call to action

Interesting, the number of commercials which highlighted a web address or had a call to action. The ones listed are those which aired in the first half of the game, when the West Indies batted. I guess it’s enough to call it a trend.
Commercials include: Nokia (, Candyman (, The Mobile Store (, Maruti Zen (, Hyundai (, Motorola (, Mountain Dew ( and TVS Apache ( .,,, and ran no spots but bought supers and interstitials.
The blue billion contest, where there was a call to action to or an SMS to 2525 just disappeared off the screen.

Other decent Call-to-action efforts included Kotak’s 8558 insurance super and Luminous 6161 highlight. Hutch exhorted viewers to dial 123 to receive their horoscopes. Cool. Not.
Thomas Cook asked me to SMS "Europe" to a number I couldn’t catch. BSNL had a toll free number that viewers could contact.
Those who didn’t attempt to send traffic to their websites include Gilette, Thomas Cook, BSNL,Airtel, Mayur, Luminous, NECC, VIP (innerwear), Sony, Sprite, Pepsi, Kingfisher (water, dummy), McDowell (soda, dummy), Hero Honda and Videocon. And the one that surprised me the most? Aditya Birla Group.

2007 cricket world cup Trivial Pursuit

While all the MSM will be full of all the predictable stats, I thought, since I’m a cricket freak anyway, I’d track records and landmarks which all of us in media and advertising could find more useful than the strike rate of Brian Lara.

Like, the first commercial AFTER the batsman entered the ground, but before the first ball was bowled, was that of Videocon.
The first commercial AFTER the first ball was bowled was Pepsi’s.
The first ground runner to be hit by a ball was a Hutch board.
The first tech goof was from the very first ball till the 13th ball (not counting extra deliveries), during which period commentary was completely absent.
The first inadvertent editing of content was in over 6.1, when a commercial ate into the delivery.
The first surrogate liquor ad was McDowell No 1. Soda, of course.
The first commercial to be truncated due to the editing was the TVS Apache commercial.
Six of the first eight bundaries hit Hutch signage, with Pepsi host to the other two.

Yeah, I like Trivial Pursuit

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Ultimate Guide to who will win the ICC World Cup

Since I read all the papers, watch all the TV channels and visit all the web sites, I thought I’d make life simple for the readers and present a distillation of all the expert opinions so that you can go straight to your bookie and clean up.
For example, I can now state with authority that the winner will be Australia. Or India. Or New Zealand. Or Sri Lanka. Or South Africa. Or England. Or the West Indies.
I can also state with confidence that the Man of the Series will be Sachin Tendulkar. Or Adam Gilchrist. Or Muthiah Muralitharan. Or Brian Lara. Or Ricky Ponting. Or Shivnaraine Chanderpaul. Or Kevin Pietersen. Or Graeme Smith. Or Jacob Oram. Or Stephen Fleming.

Now, armed with this knowledge, make a beeline for Ladbrokes or whatever. And when you win big, remember: I told you so.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Have event, have editorial, have advertising

The past month – and the next – are easy times for editorial teams, considering the number of “calendered” events. Marketers, too, could benefit, if they anticipated the events. My take, as published in Hindustan Times, here.
And the visual, a brilliant April Fool’s Day release, which was destroyed in the layout in HT, reproduced here for relevance.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Clarity on Front Page Solus

This, so that everyone understands what Front Page Solus means.
If you can’t figure out why I’m taking the trouble to illustrate FPS, read this. Tried a wikipedia search – came up with zip on "Front Page Solus", or, indeed, on "solus"., however, says it is “By oneself; alone.”

Times of India’s Front Page Dupleix

There’s new jargon that will creep into the media buyer’s handbook: the Front Page Dupleix.
I open the paper this morning, and the front page looks a little weird – almost like I’m looking at a person with a funny growth on his forehead.

I refocus and figure out why. There are TWO ads on the bottom half of the paper.
And I’d bet many a beer to say that the Canon ad has a release order that says Front Page Solus where the position is mentioned.

And I thought solus meant all alone, only one.

The survivor who survived

CNN IBN has a round up the stories that the channel will track during the day – and one of them is a follow up of the Indonesian plane crash.
What makes the story so exclusive is the fact that it will come from “one of the survivors who survived...”
No other channel could get such an incredible source.
Where does it go from here? Another story from a survivor who was a victim? Or a victim who survived?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I want to divorce my mobile service provider

When I was a kid, I loved Aesop’s fables. And I learnt a lot from them (I do not necessarily apply what I learnt, though).
I’m a lazy learner. I can’t handle brilliantly written management books without illustrations. Give me a case study, and I’ll chomp up the principles that the author intended the reader to absorb in a jiffy.
And I visited Kathy Sierra’s blog after ages, and I felt like a kid again. She’s the Aesop that people like me need so that we better understand what’s right and wrong with issues such as the one I link to -- the customer: company relationship.
Too many companies, she says, are like bad marriages. We all know what bad marriages are like (even if you’re not in one). Therefore, understanding why companies are like bad marriages is a breeze the way Sierra writes it.
What I loved about this post is that there are so many companies in India that could learn from this. The service industry is exploding, and most of the “service” providers love you only during the brief period that they’re out to win you; after that, they couldn’t care a **** for you.
If you’re a sufferer of such a bad marriage, send the Customer Relationship Manager a link. Not to this post, to Sierra’s.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Print and the budget: no reason to exist

The Economic Times advertises that their print run on March 1 is double their normal weekday print run, due, obviously, to the budget coverage.
Every other paper (pink or otherwise) consumes precious newsprint in trying to outdo the others with their budget coverage.
Yesterday, I blogged about the lack of other news in the newspapers and on TV, and the infuriation seemed to be obvious.
In calmness, last night, I understood why I was so piqued.
Because all the news in the newspapers on March 1 was stale. I’d watched the budget on TV, the comments on TV, the debates on TV, I’d read the budget speech on the net, seen comments on the net, and so on.

What could the paper give me that I didn’t already possess?

Is this the beginning of the end of the Budget special newspapers?

I think it is. We’ll know next year.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Yesterday, what did murderers, rapists and politicians do?

Every year, the Union Budget is presented on February 28. The news television channels are full of nothing but the budget on that day and the next. On March 1, all the newspapers have little else except budget related news.
And it makes me wonder: what happens to news on other happenings?
Is the news not made at all?
Do murderers not murder, and politicians not misbehave, children not fall into wells, worms not find their way into chocolate, pesticides not adulterate the colas, onion prices not go up, farmers not commit suicide, courts not pass judgement....
....or is it that they all do happen, and these stories are consigned to the dustbins of history?