New Year Wishes!
Wish all my friends and blog readers a very happy and prosperous new year!
Here’s to the outgoing year, 2008:
Here’s to 2009:
I’m sure like me all of you would also have got your inboxes flooded with new year wishes. More than personal messages, it’s in fact all sorts of marketing campaigns from different services wishing new year and announcing some or other new year offer. Ah speak of that over-abuse of email marketing channel in India!!! Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...
I have sort of become a very regular listener of Radio One because of it being the only Bollywood fm channel in Bangalore as of now and of late I have been hearing this “Let’s pool in’ campaign quite a lot on this channel. It’s a public service initiative launched by Radio One in association with Commute Easy and Bangalore Traffic Police to address the traffic woes of the city. Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...
Well, it’s no less than a movie! Like some real-life Hollywood thriller or some Bollywood action flick. But very unfortunately this time it’s not fiction or reel, rather it is TRUE & REAL. And I always thought pirates coming down through sea by hijacking some ship or boat and then entering a city, running like crazy in the mid of main markets and streets with guns up in their hand and shoulder bag full of explosives, open gun firing, capturing the main buildings on gun point, hostages caught inside those buildings day and night, police fighting with goondas, firing, continuous rattling of AK 47, sudden blasts of granades, heavy smoke and fire in the air, good cops dying in such battles and masses losing their lives like that can happen only in either Johny Depp / Sunny Deol movies or in those pirates stories which we used to read as kids! The realization that it can happen in real life and somewhere so close to us in Mumbai and that its going on for more than 26 hours now is heart wrenching, terrifying and so shocking!!! It’s frightening to realize that these pics are not of any Bollywood set rather these are true stills of our very famous Taj hotel in Mumbai:
This film titled “Aaj Ka Arjun” is showing today’s generation Arjun who is hassled but manages to get everything done at one click of arrow. Till end they don’t show the source where his arrows are targeted and from where he is managing to get everything done. The film ends with Arjun and his whole family targeting the same source and the source is Sulkeha. Quite a catchy way of showing everything happening at a click :-). Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...
I think I will end with Dostana and will leave Closer for my next post later.
Watched Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion last night and in one word I can say that it was CAPTIVATING! Right from start to end I was totally hooked onto the movie. Not that the story was unpredictable or plot was not known…of course it was a Madhur Bhanadarkar’s movie on Fashion world and so I had expected it to be like this but still there was something about the movie which kept me totally engaged. It looked realistic and different.
To start with, I think Kangana was outstanding and Priyanka was awesome! This has to be Priyanka’s best performance till date. The story is of Meghna Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) from Chandigarh who comes to Mumbai with a dream of becoming a supermodel. In all the glitter and glamour of fashion world she encounters the ruthless realities of life. The movie revolves around her journey and her struggle to make it big, how she meets and deals with Shonali (Kangana) who is a very successful showstopper and her competitor, her relationship with Janet (Mugdha Godse) who is also a struggling model with very clear priorities but settles for something quite weird in life, Manav (Arzan) who is also a new-comer and shares a strong bond with Meghna and Sarin (Arbaz Khan) who is the owner of Panache the most sought after brand for super models. No further details of the story in the interest of those who want to see the movie J. Each and every actor has delivered such a strong performance but Kittu Gidwani definitely deserves a special mention. She was too good and yeah she looked as ravishing as ever. Madhur Bhandarkar has done a great job in some of the scenes like the wardrobe malfunctioning one and the fiasco after that, Priyanka’s self-realization in front of mirror after she comes back from that shady hotel or Kangana’s reaction in rehab center. Songs were average but some of the background scores were very good. Madhur Bhandarkar has once again proved it that he knows what he is delivering. To me as I said the movie looked real, absolutely real.
Overall, I loved the movie and I would recommend it to everybody who would like to watch something different. Though the theme is serious but it’s not a heavy movie, it has its masala scenes and light moments as well. From my side it’s thumbs up to this yet another powerful presentation by Bhandarkar.
Other Details of the movie:
I’m back to Bangalore and back to blogging :-). Ah, I was off from blogging for more than two weeks now…well LOADS of work at office, new marketing initiatives and alliances to deal with, coupled with frequent travelling! To add to that maid on unplanned leave for more than ten days now :-(. Life was frenzied and yeah it was one of those periods when you feel – oh hell, work life is so damn demanding in a start-up! But why start-ups, I think these days work life is full of pressure and demands for most of us in this downturn period. Everybody is speaking of lay-offs, pink slips, leave without pay and salary cuts! Everyone is trying hard to put in his or her best to survive the giant known as layoff! In fact wherever you go the common topic of discussion remains the same. I met this interesting elderly gentleman on my flight back to Bangalore last night, he is having his own company in Seattle and he shared some interesting statistics regarding layoffs. Whatever I can remember, I am sharing those here:
It was a good insightful discussion but well it was scary, really scary. Nobody knows exactly when this situation will improve…everybody is just predicting and praying!
Well to start with, I think critics have been too critical of this movie unnecessarily; it’s not that bad and I found it to be an average watchable, at least better than some of the real disasters which I watched recently like “Bachna Ae Haseeno” or “Ugly Aur Pagli”. Let me tell you one very important thing about this movie – in case you are like me who just can’t stand the sight of Salman Khan even for few minutes and have avoided this movie as all promos of the movie were full of “Bang Bang” song and other garish dance movements of Mr. Khan then I have a happy news for you…this movie is hardly having Salman anywhere. Salman and Katrina play the role of preface part of the book i.e., Salman the part of Chetan Bhagat and Katrina the part of that mysterious girl whom Chetan meets in a train, only difference being that instead of train the whole plot is shifted to a helipad waiting area. The story is of 6 call center employees - their professional struggles in life, their personal relationships, their frustration and that one call from God which changes their life forever. Yes, a call from God! Won’t write the story in detail in the interest of those who want to watch this movie but overall it’s an exact adaption of the book. In fact while I was reading that book, then only I had found the story to be bit bollywoodish. Overall the movie was not that terrible but yes, the movie definitely went weak in two important areas – 1. Star Cast, 2. Climax. Not that one needs big names to make a movie hit but the very fact that all actors had given a very mediocre performance including Gul makes the overall impact quite weak. Infact I like Gul a lot and after watching movies like Dor and Manorama six feet under, one definitely expects a lot more from an actor of Gul’s caliber. And as far as climax is concerned, I think the movie really went wrong in that. I was definitely prepared for an unrealistic presence of God as I had read the book but somehow the way it was shown was not that impressive. I think they showed it too fast without much emotion or depth! It fails to cast that impact of some life-changing moment. Music of the film was not of my taste though I think the songs are doing good in the market. On the whole I would say it’s a one-time watchable movie if you are not looking for some very quality stuff or some movie with depth.
Though I must say one thing, I don’t agree with all the media bashing of Chetan Bhagat, infact I really appreciated the effort of Chetan Bhagat after watching this movie. I think he has done his job well atleast as far as the dialogue part is concerned. Also considering this was his first effort in Bollywood, I think he did an ok job. At least the man is having the guts to try out different things and the effort is not as awful as it is being criticized in media esp. when this year we have enough examples of duds coming out from some of the biggest names of the industry. From my side it’s a thumbs up for Chetan Bhagat’s effort and an average rating of 2.5 in 5 for the movie with a hope that Chetan will come out with a better book (I had loved Five Point Someone, hope he writes something as interesting as that again) and maybe a better movie next time.
I posted this on Saturday on Marketing Chit-Chat
"Joining the league of hosting official online communities for Indian movies / reality shows is now MySpace India. Social networking site MySpace will be hosting the official community of Star Plus dance reality Show, Nach Baliye – 4. Read More..."
I had been planning to post this since morning but somehow didn’t get the time to do it but finally I’m able to complete it now. This is for “Blog Action Day 2008” on Poverty
Last week while coming back from office, I was waiting at one of the auto stands when I observed this little child trying to study in a very dim light placed near the ironing stall. His father irons clothes on that stall and since it is just adjacent to that auto stand, so I get to notice it quite often. While I was waiting I overheard the conversation of the child with his father where he was asking for money to buy 5 notebooks and his father was saying why can’t he write everything in one notebook only and why 5? That little guy kept on insisting that he needs 5 as his teacher has asked him to use different notebooks for different subjects and also his old notebook is almost over but his father very irritatingly told that he doesn’t have spare money to support the tantrums of his school. With so much of difficulty he is able to manage the fees of his school and now these rules and regulations! I wasn’t able to decipher much as they were speaking in mixed language (Hyderabadi Hindi) but all I could see was the disappointed face of that child at the end of their conversation. Unable to hold myself any further, I asked that boy, “how much money do you need”? The boy got conscious and replied in good English “no thanks madam, I don’t need it”. I insisted again but the child didn’t agree, finally I said, “ok don’t take money, let me buy the notebooks for you from this nearby shop”…initially he hesitated but then he agreed! We went to this small stationery shop where I asked the shopkeeper to give 5 notebooks, I asked the boy if he needs anything else, he very politely said no. I asked the shopkeeper to include a pen also in the list and the bill came to Rs.90. Well, 90 bucks is hardly anything for most us considering our day to day expenses but the gleam in his eyes and the gratitude with which he thanked me is something which I can’t explain in words. Honestly speaking I felt good and the small child made me feel as if I’ve done something important in life.
Did I do it for charity? My answer will be clear cut no. Did I do it thinking he was a poor man in need of money? My answer will be again no. Well, then why did I do it? Simply because the child was in need of money for something as important as education! And I have much respect for that child whom I have often noticed to concentrate on his studies even in such adverse conditions and who has got this spark to learn and do something. The first thought which came to my mind was if his father would have been educated enough then may be his life would not have been the same. And tomorrow if this child will not be educated maybe his son will also end up in the same rut like his. Yes, EDUCATION which is the first step towards eradication of poverty. I generally don’t support begging habits & it was not the question of money here and but the fact that the child was trying to get educated. I know my one day of such small contribution can’t guarantee that the child will get to continue his education in future as well but at least for that day his education needs were fulfilled. Quite a few of us do not do even our little bit, thinking what can such small contributions do or how can such small amount help in larger issues! But well even though it’s a clichéd statement still it’s true that little drops make a large ocean. Here are some of the steps which I think most of us can take in our normal day to day life to fight with something as serious as poverty.
On this “Blog Action Day” when I stand for the cause of Poverty, I urge all my readers to at least do their bit. One of the biggest reasons for poverty is illiteracy, so scan your environment and support the needy to get educated! Education will definitely help in eradicating poverty to a large extent and remember “no contribution is a small contribution”.
I somehow knew that this is going to come the moment I saw Jet-KF alliance news on Monday late night. Though both the spokespersons kept on insisting that this alliance would be in the benefit of consumers and industry but the first thing which came to my mind was – alliance and that too joint operation deal, well looks like they are definitely now gonna trim down their team size. And here we go, my apprehension turned out to be true when I read today’s TOI with headline “Jet Air lays off 850 flight attendants”! As per TOI dated 15th Oct’08 - The tremors brought about by the worst downturn yet in the airline industry were felt on Tuesday itself, hours before the first Jet Airways flight of the day took off. Said a crew member, "About three and a half hours before a flight, the office transport reaches your home to pick you up. In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, hundreds of cabin crew members in Mumbai who were rostered for early morning flights waited in their uniforms to be picked up." When the worried flight attendants called up the airline dispatch office, they were told they had been de-rostered till further notice.
If TOI is to be believed then what a sudden and scary layoff!!! It’s quite frightening to read the newspaper headlines these days, either there are news of terrorist attacks or there are news of bankruptcy and lay-offs. What started few weeks back as a small economic recession has now become a global downturn of all times. As per analysts, this downturn is far worse than dot com doom and infact first of its kind in last 80 years. Lay-offs started with IT and financial sector but is now engulfing every other industry – be it aviation, retail or hospitality. So, many people have lost their jobs and god knows how many of them would be having car loan, house loan, personal loan or this-that kind of loan with monthly EMIs hanging like a sword over their head and in this tough time of recession it’s really unpredictable if they will get any other job immediately! The worse is that most of us in today’s fast generation never believed in the power of saving and deposits. In the generation of high disposable income almost all the money have been disposed! It scares you when you listen to the experience of lay-off from somebody close to you, it scares you when you listen that some of your very well-settled friends with quality degrees and high paying jobs in US based MNCs have been asked to leave for India over night. It scares you to realize that he is left with no cash to support his needs and it scares you to realize that many of them are depressed to the extent that they intend to give in to the pressure of life. Well to be honest, my intention is not to scare anyone rather express my realistic feelings regarding this issue. And it’s not too late for all of us to be cautious and take some basic steps to deal with this bad time (of course to whatever extent it is possible…). Here are some of my thoughts which I think we can take in person to be prepared for the bad days:
I know the situation in India is not that bad as of now as compared to US but no one knows if it can happen in India as well. It really hits you hard when you realize that such lay-offs have happened with your close friends and god forbid, it can happen to you too. So, be cautious, work hard to be in top list in your company and save smart for those darker days.
Aside: This is my first post in the series of “after-effects of downturn”, I have some other observations as well as concerns which I will post in my subsequent series. I was speaking to one of my ex-colleagues who and her husband have been laid off from very reputed companies in US. Talking to her really disturbed me a lot! They are coming back to India next week and I pray that they get a job in India soon as even they have a family and those intimidating EMIs to cater to!
Well, if I have to describe this ad in one word, I will say it’s BIG, it gives the impression of being big, being colossal. What an irony, isn’t it? BigTV kept on insisting “Ho toh BIG ho” through different creatives and through different properties…but the imagery of being big got very subtly and beautifully established by Airtel with just one television commercial featuring 10 popular celebrities! And the interesting noticeable point was that the celebrities are not used as endorsers rather they are shown as representative of different properties of the product. Read More...
Link to my full post: http://marketingchitchat.wordpress.com/2008/10/13/airtel-digital-tv-ad/
So, my confusion was genuine enough and I was not puzzled unnecessarily … I was observing this ad on television showcasing a big Red Sofa and “See you at home” with small fonts mentioning “coming to your home on 9th Oct” but looks like they revealed their product on 8th itself as suddenly on 8th I saw the same Red Sofa with “See you at home with 32 cinema halls” or “See you at home with digital picture and sound” kind of promotion from BigTV. First reaction – ah another one from BigTV but then immediately one thought crossed my mind – why are they doing teaser campaigns again when they have already launched the product with that hopeless “Ho toh BIG ho campaign”! Read More...
Recently while doing some grocery shopping in one of the retail stores, I glanced on TINKLE digest which was kept on the billing counter itself…and well, as usual I couldn’t refrain myself from buying it (Pssst…Shhh with a hidden face I am accepting that though I’m in my late 20s but I still can’t resist comics like Archies, Tintin, Tinkle etc… :P). Anyways, the comic was as interesting as ever but something which caught my immediate attention was the back cover page of the book. The page was heavily promoting online shopping of Tinkle comics as well as e-comics and contest on their website www.amarchitrkatha.com . Hmmm, looks like they have also revamped their website now and that’s why aggressively promoting their e-content. Read More...
Link to my full post: http://marketingchitchat.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/changing-with-times-amar-chitra-katha/
Warned by last night’s food and service experience, next day we decided to venture out for breakfast to nearby areas and oh we landed up in Club Mahindra’s property which was hardly a kilometer away from our hotel. What a lovely place it was! Adorned with French architecture, the property boasts of amazing landscapes and décor. Breakfast was awesome and service guys were really hospitable. After a good cup of tea and sandwiches we left with an intention to come back again for buffet dinner. Next targets were Pagoda Point, Lady’s Seat, Gent’s Seat and Children’s Seat. These places were good but not well maintained, lots of dirt and litter here and there :-( and because of hot climate, we decided to quickly move to our next destination - The Servarayan Temple which is situated on top of Servarayan hill. Temple is inside a small cave and the surrounding areas were fabulous with a very pleasant climate – Don’t miss this place at all and try to go there in the evening to enjoy the sunset and lovely weather. The day ended with a scenic drive back to hotel and some fun n frolic in our same old cottage balconies. Next day, it was time to return back to Bangalore – but no our holiday was not over yet as we had decided for a stop over at Hogenakkal Falls which was enroute to Bangalore.
About Yercaud: Yercaud is a small hill station situated amidst the Shervaoyan Hills in the Eastern Ghats, close to the town of Salem in Tamil Nadu. It is at an altitude of 1,500 metres from mean sea level. Yercaud has been named so because of the lake located at its center - in Tamil "Yeri" means "lake" and "Kaadu" means "forest".
Distance from Bangalore: Approx 230 Kms (we started from HSR Layout)
Driving Route: Bangalore - Electronic City - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Dharmagiri - Salem – Yercaud
Road Condition: Very good as on Oct’08
Climate: Pleasant with bit cold esp. in the morning
Ideal duration of trip: Not more than 2 days
While everybody is trying to do some or other promotions but there are some who start a trend by trying out something hat ke. Joining the bandwagon of bit hat ke promotion now is the upcoming movie Drona. Read More...
Link to my full post: http://marketingchitchat.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/movie-marketing-drona/
Prima facie it looks like a good news, isn’t it? Atleast parents of growing kids and admin guys in corporates can heave a sigh of relief to read this…Read More
I had written earlier about BigB blogging on www.bigadda.com and initially I had read some of his posts as well but then in due course of time I stopped visiting his blog. But today I dropped into his blog again mainly because of some noise in media about his recent posts and oh the look and feel has changed completely from what it used to be during its initial days but nevertheless this new look is quite impressive! And the first quote by Harivansh Rai Bachchan is as always soooo good! But what caught my attention was the fact the current post is of day 151 and almost everyday there is atleast one post posted on that blog. Wow, this is really regular and good! As I said in my earlier post if it is BigB genuinely writing these posts then it is praiseworthy. Even if he is narrating and some content writer from BigAdda is writing it on his behalf then too I think its commendable, though because of so much of personal touch I am forced to think that its BigB who is writing all these posts. What caught my next attention was the post of day 140 which mentions the traffic of his blog since April’08, here is a snapshot of some of the important figures available on his blog:
For once I think Bigadda has not hyped up this figure much. Considering the number of comments which any post is receiving on this blog (on an average each post receives somewhere between 700-1000 comments), I am sure 16000+ daily visitors is sort of a real figure. And 11.4 million pageviews is a very striking figure considering its hardly a six month old blog. Not many websites also achieve this kind of figures in such a short span. Good for Bigadda, atleast they have one differentiator now which can bring more traffic to their website. Otherwise there was hardly anything on their website (apart from those “lets catch up” ads on which they wasted few crores to get some one time visitors, LOL :)) which can make anyone visit their site again. With a 16,000+ daily visitor count, I am sure BigB’s blog is contributing to a major % of their daily traffic. Infact recently bigadda has changed their UI, considering the % contribution and the fact that this is Bigadda’s only strong point, I am wondering if apart from UI, Bigadda should be have gone for a re-branding exercise as well and changed it to BigBadda :)
Overall very remarkable statistics considering its just a blog, but afterall its BigB’s blog.
I had written earlier in July about Jhingala’s counter strategy and now that Aamir’s ad is out, I have a mixed reaction. Not that I didn’t like the same but at the same time it’s not something which made me say wow! The ad as we have seen features Aamir Khan in a half man half woman (ardhnarishwar) role. Here is a short description of the ad & the video from youtube:
Aamir plays the role of a Punjabi bride AND groom who are fighting over which satellite connection to have? Bride says if he will not get the SKY connection for her, she will go back to her house in London. They fight over TATA or SKY and then dramatically groom says, its India where Tata and Sky are already married to each other and hence by having TATA SKY the consumer not only gets the world class technology from SKY but also reliability and best service from TATA.
Well, as a consumer I think it has definitely caught my attention but I think it has its plus and minuses.
Message: I think the message is clear and emphasizes the strength of brand very clearly. I’m sure not many people were aware that TATA SKY is a 80:20 joint venture between Tata Sons and BSkyB, a Rupert Murdoch company and this ad very subtly conveys this message thereby accentuating the tech supremacy of the product.
Creative Idea: Hmmm, for this I do have a mixed reaction…Am wondering if there could have been any better creative idea for this campaign. Well, starting was sort of ok but I didn’t like the cheesy bollywoodish style ending of the same and the ending line which sounded something like “jo family dekhe Tata Sky saath who rahe hamesha saath saath”! Ummm knowing the excellent creative ideas which Rediffusion DY&R comes up with, I think it could have been bettered up.
Execution elements: I think this was brilliant! Whatever the creative idea was Aamir has lived upto it beautifully. Once again you can’t resist from praising Aamir’s acting and performance in this half man half woman role. BTW I think he is looking quite cute as Punjabi bride, LOL :D. The ad definitely has got a recall value because of its execution and presentation style.
The ad is making noise all across, now its time to wait and watch if this brand campaign boosts up the figures of Tata Sky as against DishTV whose last campaign (SRK announcing Set Top Box Free!) was pure n pure sales promo campaign.
Being a Saturday today, I was just sitting lazily with my evening cup of tea and planning to watch this new DVD which I got yesterday. Suddenly my phone rang and it was my mom on other side speaking in an absolutely panicked voice, “beta did you see news, serial blasts in Delhi and that too one in Barakhamba road and I can’t get through Kishu’s phone, have you checked if Kishu and Pintoo are fine?” The only reaction I could give that moment was “Oh again, let me switch the television right-away”. And worried as I switched on television I got further psyched to see one of the venues being shown on the television which was just opposite my brother’s (Kishu) office and even my brother in law’s (Pintoo) office was also hardly few hundred meters away from that building. I started frantically dialing their numbers but as expected they had jammed the phone lines! Finally got through Pintoo’s number after almost 30 mins who informed that both of them are safe though one of them was just few meters away from the venue where one of the blasts took place! I immediately informed my mom and in-laws and thanked god for keeping them safe. But then when they were showing the Barakhamba Road venue, suddenly shivers ran down through my spine after seeing the images of injured and dead bodies being carried by Police, one single thought flashed across my mind – Oh god, it could have been Kishu or Pintoo!
5 blasts have rocked the capital today and as usual these bombs were planted in very prime areas like Connaught Place, Barakhambha Road, Karolbagh, GK. Not only this, more bombs have been defused at some other key places like Regal Cinema and India Gate. Seeing these dead bodies and bloodbath once again in India, I feel so disturbed and terrified like any other normal citizen. I am feeling helpless and insecured and like any other Indian citizen, even I am thinking the same, “Am I safe and when will this all end?” “Varanasi, Lucknow, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, next what?”
Since I was not able to contact my brother and brother in law over phone, I had opened my laptop to see if they are online so that I can get to know of their well-being but as I am watching the news channel I couldn’t resist myself from expressing my feelings and distress. While I am writing NDTV is switched on in front of me where Barkha Dutt is doing a live coverage and the latest count as of now is 20 dead and 92 injured! So, it has become 92 from 6 and 20 from 0 which they said at 7 pm. Hope this count ends here only and hope our leaders do anything else apart from CONDEMNIG THE BLAST! As I am surfing timeofindia.com, I get this picture of Barakhamba Road, I can even see the building of my brother’s office and the same thought again flashes across my mind – Oh god, what if instead of these two poor fellows it would have been Kishu or Pintoo! Thank god for keeping them safe and god please give courage and will-power to these two guys to cope up with such disaster!