Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Steve Jobs eases pressure on advertising sales teams

As anyone who has more than two release orders in his (or her) career selling time and/or space will tell you, success depends only so much on TRPs and NRS figures -- relationships between the buyer and the seller play a significant role.
And these relationships are nurtured at every opportunity, through that wonderful Indian tradition of gifting.

And this is the end of June, and Diwali looms large, and marketing geniuses at media houses are struggling with solutions to the question: what do we give decision makers this Diwali?

And Steve Jobs answers: an iPhone, you twits.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wet-nesdays at Seijo and the Soul Dish

I wasn’t there for the first Advertising and Media night on Wednesday, but I know some who were. Everything on the house for the inaugural night, but from next week on you get zip, except the guarantee that the place will be teeming with People Like Us.
And that’s not a bad crowd, advertising and media types.
For those who don’t know where it is: Waterfield Road, Bandra. See you there one of these Wednesdays.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Indian ad agencies: fear of the web

We’ve given rise to the phrase “Bangalored”, thanks to the skills and abilities of India’s IT professionals. The IT sector probably does business with over 80% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list. A number of IT companies are listed on Nasdaq. Silicon Valley has any number of dollar millionaires with their roots (and parents and grandparents) in India.

And at Cannes, only one Indian entry makes it to the Cyber Lions shortlist.

With an explosion in the number of Internet users, why is it that Indian advertising agencies are so incredibly unenthusiastic when it comes to designing communication targeting the webizens?
Fear? Fear caused by the losses of those advertising agencies that dabbled in Web 1.0? If the fear is not overcome, India will continue to be a laggard when it comes to Cyber Lions.

And there’s a parallel somewhere in history. When every agency worth talking about launched an events division. And lost money. And the failure froze their brains. Instead of figuring out what went wrong and correcting mistakes, they threw the baby out with the bathwater – and got out of the events area. Today, Omnicom and WPP are talking to all major event management companies in attempts to buy them out – at valuations that will make many an event management entrepreneur take up golf.

Watch this space two years from now. When every small Internet design shop gets an offer from the biggest advertising agencies in the world. And many a web designer will consider golf, too.

Monday, June 18, 2007

When the scissors and glue go wrong

It’s happened, at some time or the other, to all of us: a disaster caused by cut-and-paste.

This one, on ibnlive.com, is a howler beyond the normal.
One of the 1993 blasts accused dies in hospital, and ibnlive duly reports on the incident. I reproduce two paragraphs from the story:

"Gangster Ejaz Pathan, prime accused in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case Ejaz Pathan died at J J hospital in Mumbai on Friday.
One-time associate of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim, Pathan died of a clot in his brain."

That’s obviously new copy, and forget the erroneous and redundant insertion of Ejaz Pathan before the word “died”. That’s a howler, too, but not too bad.

At the bottom of the SAME story, a cut-and-paste job:

"Pathan, extradited from Dubai four years ago, suffered from a blood clot in his brain and will undergo surgery on June 26. The government has sanctioned Rs 2.5 lakh for the operation, the court was informed on Thursday."

So, according to the cut-and-paste devil, the unfortunate dead man will undergo surgery ten days from now.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I felt the earth move on a jet plane

Last night, I was on 9W 354 from New Delhi to Mumbai.

The mandatory announcements are made, and we taxi towards the runway, ready for take off.

The cabin lights are switched off, and piped music pipes up.

It's Carole King, and I love the song.

"I feel the earth move under my feet; I feel the sky tumblin' down; I feel my heart start to tremblin'", she sings.

Now you know why certain operations, including the selection of music for in-flight listening, should never be outsourced.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Knowledge Management at Percept

Harindra Singh, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Percept Holdings, has been detained by the authorities in Dubai on charges of possession of Ecstasy. The following extract from a Gulf News report on developments:

There is however no confirmation of a drug or the amount found in the case of Singh by the police or a spokesperson from Percept.
In a statement issued to Gulf News by a Percept spokesperson in Dubai, no further details can be revealed on Singh's arrest as the matter is sub judice. The spokesperson however said a lawyer has been appointed to deal with the case.

He said: "It is an unfortunate incident, but we at Percept have full confidence in the investigations that are being carried out by the authorities in Dubai. We have known Singh for a long time both professionally as well as personally."

So the Percept spokesperson knows Singh for a long time both professionally and personally? So he (or she) should. Singh is his (or her) boss, isn’t he?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Why I’m not saving the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal’s pride of place as one of the wonders of the world is under threat because of people like me. I haven’t voted for it to be included in the new, improved, list of wonders. Millions of Indians need to vote to keep the Taj hanging in there, and now people are getting upset with my irresponsibility.

On CNN IBN, India’s Joint Secretary , Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Leena Nandan exhorts me to vote: "There is time, so vote for the Taj and your vote is going to be the deciding factor. So each of us needs to think that way and that will really bring a momentum to the efforts of so many people."
Continues the CNN IBN report: “Among the few celebrities who have pitched in is AR Rahman, who has composed a song for the India Unites campaign to vote for the Taj Mahal, but that's not enough.”
Says lawyer and conservationist MC Mehta, "The apathy on the part of the Government of India and the state government is visible when you see that the Agra city itself is stinking today."

All I have to do is to SMS “TAJ” to a short code number. But I won’t.

Because the fine print in the ads in something like 4pt size tells me that premium rates apply.
And we have India’s Joint Secretary urging you to send a premium priced message, you have AR Rahman doing so, and you have a conservationist doing so. All making you feel guilty as sin that you haven’t done your little bit.
When you mugs out there have voted to save the Taj, do ponder on this for a moment: who’s raking in the moolah?
The larger worry is the Government supporting what, surely, is private enterprise.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Black is beautiful – and saves energy

Simple idea. Brilliant timing. The next time you need to undertake some “research”, avoid going to Google. Go, instead, to Google’s environment conscious sibling, Blackle.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Now, football kicks cricket for a six in India

I’m not the only one keeping tabs on the waning popularity of cricket and the rising demand for football.
NDTV has sought visitors' opinions on the issue through their website.
As of this moment, more than 60% of 3700 visitors felt football was gaining ground. To see updated numbers, click here.

Google stymied by India

How do I search for the Gurjar demonstrations in Rajasthan when various media products spell the tribe Gurjar, Gurjjar and Gujjar?
I need three searches to get all the references.
Similarly, we have Kolkata and Calcutta, Bangalore , Bengaluru and Bengalooru. And so on.
What I would love is for Google to prompt me when I search for, say, Gurjar: “Would you like a simultaneous search for Gurjjar and Gujjar as well?”
The problem is that this can be done only by a human intervention, and not by some algorithm.
Any ideas, anyone?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Empty seats in sport = cricket

I've written about this before.
The problem with cricket, as evidenced by the collapse of the World Cup after India got knocked out early, is that there are not enough viewers outside of India.
Viewers who receive brand messages and buy products and services.
And there are not enough fans. Fanatics with undying loyalty to the team -- which will cause them to buy products that the team's sponsors manufacture.
And if cricket continues in its current form, brand money will look at other sports.
The following, an extract from an article in The Sun on last night's friendly between England and Brazil, is most telling:
"Terry had called on the fans to help make the new Wembley a fortress.
But the prawn sandwich brigade will have to get their act together for the important qualifiers later in the year.
When the second half began, there were swathes of empty seats behind the dugouts, as the corporate crew tucked into their champers and finger food. This will not do. What do they think this is? Test match cricket?"

How the mighty have fallen. This is how one talks about cricket in England.

And on another note, what a superb headline in The Sun, drawing attention to David Beckham's return to International football and his role in the 1-1 draw:

"It's Beck to the future", screams the banner.