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Doomed to fail


Let’s face the truth. We all are doomed to fail. All the efforts that we put in towards what we call success in life, are nothing but efforts to delay the inevitable.

Let’s take an example. Example of life. Will death be considered our failure to live? If so, then since our birth till we die, all our efforts for a better health and life are nothing but efforts to delay the failure.

Business for example. Every business has a cycle. The ups and downs. A trajectory that almost always spirals downward. The attempts are made to stop the trajectory from flatlining.

Brands constantly reinvent themselves and make themselves relevant to new consumers so that they don’t disappear into oblivion.

Business and brands have a role to play hence they must keep on doing what they are supposed to do. What matters to me is life and living.

In our effort to delay the inevitable, we focus so much on all the effort that is required, we stop living. We are more bothered about death and afterlife that we don’t even realise we are putting this life to waste. What is the point of living to be 100? What are we going to achieve? If anything, we are putting pressure on the eco system and thereby whole lot of other people who have to work even harder to go on living.

Same thing with relationships. We all want our relationships to succeed. To end a relationship is to accept that it has failed. Hence we focus very hard on making it work. We don’t realise that the spontaneity that existed at the beginning, we have killed it by making an effort to make it work.

But I guess that is how we are wired by the social construct. We are not supposed to FAIL. The education system, the professional life… they all instil in is the stigmas of failure and we carry that into our personal life too.

This post is totally random and stems from something I read about failure.

Be interesting


That’s the objective of every communication.

Being interesting is not about what you think is interesting but knowing the other person’s point of view to know what is interesting for that person.

Holds true in our business too. If what we create is not interesting enough, consumers will blindspot you.

It is also important to constantly keep track to know if you have stopped being interesting. Requires a lot of introspection.

Never take it at face value if someone tells you that you are not interesting or rather not interesting anymore. Is it you who has stopped being interesting or has the entity found something or someone more interesting.

Be interesting is when the association starts. Continuing to be interesting is to hold on to that position long term.

People are flirtatious today. As people and as consumers. Holding there attention for long required us to be on the ball… all the time. Requires a very dispassionate view of yourself. Also requires insight into the other entity.

Most relationships fail… whether it is between two individuals or the brand and consumer when we take the eye of the ball and it rattles the cage of your helmet.

In cricket, you can stand up again and face the next ball with renewed focus but not in life.

So be interesting… all the time!

Dad Bod!


So I have cancelled my Gym membership.

Had Chole Bhature for breakfast.

Lunch should be curry from Kareem’s (more oil than curry)

Few beers and fried fish to round off the day

Finally I don’t have to worry about the little paunch that I have (ok so I think it is LITTLE).

Going by the articles I have read about Dad Bods, I fit in so well to that description of Dad Bod – “A nice balance between beer gut and working out” So I can stop spending money on gym and all the trappings which come with it.

Ok just kidding.. am not gonna do any of that. As always the internet frenzy has latched on to another topic. Not driven by any brand (as yet or maybe after the discussion reaches a certain point, a brand will be revealed as the one who engineered the discussion), Dad Bod is a perfect male version of “the real woman” ïnner beauty”etc etc. which some brands keep talking about. If women don’t have to keep themselves lean (am saying lean and not thin), they don’t have to put on make up to look good and everything that showcases the inner beauty is more important, then why can’t men have the same thing. Why shave, why look lean and fit like the models in various commercials. After all that is not the real man.

Real man is sprawled on the couch, beer  in hand, chips on the table and glued to sports channel. So the real woman should not have a problem with the real man 😛

So let’s celebrate the real man.. The Dad Bod!

Will stay away from all the stuff that was said about how women actually fall more for the dad bods… it is like a deo saying spray it on and watch the angels fall.. a myth

Anything is possible


Don Draper of Mad Men works on Madison Avenue
Don Draper of Mad Men works on Madison Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Two quotes from Don Draper of Mad Men to start this post and to make a point:

 

“People want to be told what to do so badly that they will listen to anyone”

 

“What you call love was invented by guys like me… to sell nylons”

 

The more I see of the advertising today, am increasingly getting convinced that agencies (and the client) and still living their lives in the Madison Avenue of the 60’s. You can sell anything as long as you play on the fear or insecurity of the people. Or play on their lack of self belief…

 

When growing up, there are brands that tell you how you can be more intelligent than the rest… taller than the rest… sharper than the rest.. (wonder what happens if theoretically everyone was to consume these brands! how will the comparison happen??)

 

As you grow older, there are writing instruments that tell you how you can write the perfect paper in double-quick time etc.

 

And then the fun starts… If you had not consumed the stuff that would make you intelligent and taller and sharper while growing up.. do not lose hope… There is a chewing gum I think which will make the big idea pop up in your head… there is a carbonated drink… gulp it down and you are ready to conquer all your fears… A cola which makes you do crazy stunts… And now the latest Josh Cola – Pepsi Atom! Seriously… if one were to consume all of this… why worry if at birth your IQ was bordering around stupid!

 

And not to forget.. all the deos (my pet peeve) who can get the girls fawning over you… or if only you can learn the art of picking up a fallen book (remember to wear Raymonds)… attracting the girls is a breeze…

 

And things don’t end there.. If for some reason you did not take care of your skin while you were young… there are miracles waiting for you beyond the 30… Forever young they will keep you…

 

Of course I have been part of this profession for more than 20 years but some of the stuff I see now.. makes me question what we do… A decade and half back… Pepsi used to be fun.. as my advertising guru used to say… the communication was a surrogate for actual consumption of the drink… there was a an irreverence about it because after all.. cola or any carbonated drink is completely irreverent.. don’t get philosophical…

 

Same thing with alcohol advertising – Johnny Walker keep walking or Teacher’s achievement awards or many such initiatives… seriously? And yeah.. that reminds me.. this weekend Bacardi Breezer had a fun-filled evening for the families in our complex… The problem with that… Kids were taking part in all the fun… and 12/13 year olds talking about how they wish they could have a breezer! Way to go Bacardi… catch them young

 

But enough… advertising will not change because consumers and their insecurities wont and as long as there are enough insecure people on this planet…

 

 

 

Men matter


So there are these two commercial messages that have caught my eyes n ears.

First one is iciciprulife’s new campaign ‘bande achche hain’. Ok so it’s an insurance ad and all about responsibilities that men are supposed to have. But beautifully done. And in current times when men are getting battered for the ills in the society, it focuses on many things men do and they dont look for acknowledgment. Things they do but are never seen or noticed. One situation in thr commercial – wife shaking her head and picking up stuff that husband has dropped.. Expression is like how many times I have told you! She bends and gets up.. Without realising that their was a drawer open n it would have hit her head but the husband had shut it. Or the situation where instinctively the man always walks on the side of traffic while walking on the road.. I guess for our gender these things come instinctively. Also our manufacturing defects like lack of emotions or doing our own things. But somehow.. Because the defects are visible, they tend to get noticed and we as men dont go ahead and try to show things we do.

The next is the radio spot for Sikka realtor in greater noida.. Ok ok so we all take realty ads with a pinch of salt. But the radio spot is about a guy talking about the sacrifices his dad made so that he could grow and prosper. Poignant and full of emotions that we all can connect with about our dads or we as dads. And sorry Archies and hallmark and all the commercial establishments.. We dont need a father’s day to acknowledge the sacrifices our dads made.. As a dad, it comes naturally…

If you live in Delhi and drive, do catch the radio spot and of course the iciciprulife’s commercial.

The age of mediocrity


Mediocrity has become all-pervasive. Is it the signs of time or is it just in my head but I look around and see it everywhere… especially in my profession… not that I have done anything outstanding in the last one and half-year that I have moved back to advertising but hey… I can’t be faulted for that!

Consumer… insights… compelling communication… these don’t matter anymore. It is all about “I have this product… it has just great features and I know that all I need to do is communicate them and people will just line up to buy into what I am selling”. This is not an actual quote but it is the mindset that is driving the communication.

“Designed for Humans” says the tagline of Samsung Galaxy S III… eh what?? Are they trying to say that other phones are for animals? including Galaxy Note and Galaxy S II!

Saw this commercial for Rin the other day… all these women.. with nothing better to do.. gathering up by the hundreds to hear Kaajol talk about yellow fighter (I think it was called that)… So what women is this brand talking to? Seems like this is the only concern women have in their lives… white shirt. It’s a different matter that in today’s office environment, I hardly ever see a white shirt! even my kids don’t have white shirt as part of school uniform!

And of course… the less said about all the deo commercials.. the better…

Vodafone crap during the IPL… Maruti Ertiga commercial full of age old cliches… or the TVS Apache commercial with a tagline – “Scarily fast”.

The consumer, I don’t think is even bothered with the communication anymore… they probably follow the buzz on the web… read reviews… be part of forums and make their choices because those times when the commercial break used to be more entertaining than the program itself are gone…

I could go on and on… but no point to it… self-absorbed is what brands have become and to boost the topline and bottomline, agencies are also churning out stuff that gets the billing…. After all… for the awards, they anyways create scam stuff…

Idiotic Contraceptive Promotion


It is extremely stupid and downright hilarious. The latest deal on naaptol.com

Durex FlavorGreen Apple

Product Code: 950427

Durex FlavorGreen Apple Contents: Durex Flavors 10s pack X 2 with Green Apple 10s pack X 2

Offer Details: Free Pregnancy test Card worth MRP Rs.50/-

Price: ` 400

I knew some day condoms would be available to buy online but this promo seriously takes the cake!

I mean seriously!! a pregnancy test card with condoms?? says a lot about instilling confidence in the mind of the consumer about how safe the product really is! Wonder how Durex agreed to this promotion…

 


So yet another in a series of communication by liquor brands trying hard to connect with the

audience by saying something thought-provoking and profond (supposedly). And seriously, do the liquor brands really believe that this surrogate crap will make the people feel that the brand is not about drinking yourself silly, but about a social consciousness or whatever.

Johnny Walker – Keep Walking

Seagram’s Royal Stag – Make it Large
and Now Smirnoff  – I Choose to be a Hero

the underlying message to all the communication is consume me and I will consume you.

You can make it Large if you have Royal Stag. And a sports person endorsed the brand?? And the Indian Cricket team Captain also endorses another liquor brand. And now this –  I choose to be a hero by having Smirnoff.


Surrogate is fine if it stays in the fun area or something ridiculous as mineral water or glasses and stuff. But I do not think they have any business propagating any kind of philosophy… specially to the young (as all communication seems to reflect, except perhaps Johnny Walker).

Automobile Communication – It is all so easy and so shallow


So youth is the new consumer for every possible category including the automobiles. All the new compact cars that are being launched are supposedly addressing this new consumer.

Toyota Liva TVC had ticked all the boxes as far as communication to the youth is concerned. Of course the communication left many confused – was it a commercial for a car or for a mobile phone with a host of apps.

And the latest from Hyundai Eon. Must have been one very complicated brief and then even more complicated creative thinking to come up with the big idea to address youth – We got to have a song with kickass lyrics which address the mindset of youth (I want it now). Then take the car for a spin and have people admire it (traditional stuff when it comes to automobile or bikes communication – seen it so many times in past couple of decades… Hero Honda or rather Hero Motocorp was a master at it). Now comes the most crucial piece.. which would have been laboured over by the planning, servicing and the client – The “kind” of people and situations to connote youth. And we have an award-winning commercial which so connects with the youth.

Seriously?

Somehow all the brands… whether it is Hyundai Eon or Toyota Live (I wont include Honda Brio in this because I could not understand the commercial) or Nokia think that the youth of today is extremely shallow. In my past posts I have written enough about it  but still when i see commercials like the one under discussion… it gets me here again..

I have a very young team working with me whose average age is probably 23/24. I look at them and then I look at all these TVCs and it makes me wonder… is this bunch of young an exception or all the brands are getting it wrong. This young crowd is materialistic.. sure.. but the fact is that they are working and are very committed at what they do (probably lot more than me at their age). It is the money that they earn by working hard and smart is the money that is then spent on gadgets and all the accessories. And they want the best.. because they can afford the best and the communication under discussion is sheer wall paper for them.

The breath of fresh air is the commercial for BPTP ( a real estate company in Delhi/NCR). Unfortunately (and they missed a trick here) it is not available on youtube so I can’t give the link. But readers who live in Delhi/NCR would have seen it playing in mulitplexes. Will briefly describe it.

A working girl comes home for holiday. Her grandmother exhorts her to settle down (In India it means get married) because she is 26 now. The girl takes out her phone and tells her granny she has settled and should she show the photographs. There is a shocked look on granny’s face… her parents too (that she got married and didn’t even tell them). But what she shows are the interiors of a house that she has bought! The granny.. not to be outdone.. says that she meant marriage and the girl turns around and says “For security? Oh there is a watchmen for the complex!”

To my mind they have completely done it! broken so many stereotypes in one communication – 26-year-old buying a house and that too a girl (age and gender). Where typically most real estate communication does not address either. And then to top it all… the age-old notion that is set for girls in this country about marriage.

Tackily executed (sure looks very low-budget handy cam kind of commercial) but great on idea.

There is another one and I cant remember if it is Chevrolet Beat or Spark but it is on air currently about a woman doctor who suddenly realizes that it is Raksha Bandhan and drives over to tie rakhi to her brother… again breaks the stereotype of automobile advertising – car driving around for no reason at all (mostly by guys).

I think most brands need to go back to the drawing board and let go of shallow thinking if they really want to communicate and be part of young people’s lives.

Some links to view:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgAFK95qlm4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTH01RVAfy0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xih8sVbI9ww

Being young is not as easy as it looks


Hell! of course no! and it took Nokia so many years to realize this!! And when they finally did… hmm are they really connecting with the youth with communication full of stereotypes (or the imagery that strategy planner and creative thought is the perfect imagery that will get the youth flocking back to the brand). The youth have moved on and the brands don’t need to tell them that it is not easy (specially in the tripe way). Have already written about how tough it is to be young so wont get into it.

But brands… specially a brand like Nokia don’t need to be shallow… dig deeper… only then you can connect with the young..

Check the link.. which Nokia thinks will link them with the youth

http://www.afaqs.com/advertising/creative_showcase/index.html?id=30449&media=TV&type=Indian

Check out the link below when Nokia used to rock and was deeply connected with the changing youth and their engagement with their handset

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHz-vgxWJ04