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Movie Marketing: Drona

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...

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Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves!

I sometimes wonder what would my reading world have been without P. G. Wodehouse :-)? I somehow can’t seem to be ever bored of his marvelous pieces. Just finished off “Stiff Upper Lips, Jeeves” by Wodehouse yesterday and I think its one of the best of Wodehouse which I would have read ever. Infact I read a Wodehouse after a long time and as usual it was full of brit style humor and a very-very interesting read. Throughout the book, not even once you get turned off and instead of feeling monotonous about Wodehouse, the book just leaves you wanting more and more of him :-), so much so that I’ve already decided to buy another one of him during my next book shopping :-)

The story is also of Bertman Wooster (as is the case with most of the Wodehouse’s) who hates his Uncle Watsyn but somehow lands at his place Totleigh Towers to sort out certain nuances of his life. And in his noble effort to play the raisonneur, how he ends up messing his own life. It’s a funny read to go through the complications and impediments of Bertie and his interactions with Jeeves. As earlier I won’t like to divulge the exact details of the story in the benefit of those who want to read this book, but I can tell you very confidently that if you like reading good humor, you will surely love this book. And this is a very short read as in it’s hardly a 200 page book, so you can quickly finish it even between your tight schedule and work life. To summarize, "Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves" is an example of Wodehouse at his best! It’s a definite must for all Wodehouse fans and for those who have not read any Wodehouse till now I think it’s a must must & must as humor like Wodehouse is very rare to find these days.

BTW, I also read some other very good books mainly Indian Fiction and Business Books reecently, but guess will leave my comments about those for some other day. Well, daily traveling in Bangalore traffic and out of city tours have atleast one advantage – you get time to read more :-). So, more traffic jams mean more books and more tours also mean more books. I’m now off to this new book which I bought from Mumbai airport other day– an Indian Story written by an American author. Hope this turns out to be good too!

Image Makeover: Indian Postal Service

Like many other Govt. organization, even Indian Post was badly in need of an image makeover. Definitely it looks like a new journey for Indian Post. But is it really a new journey? Read More...

Social Networking Sites more popular than Porn Sites???

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

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Balika Vadhu : Finally there is something to watch on TV

Ah, after a long time managed to reach home today early at sharp 8 pm, not bad considering that it was Monday today :-) and the first thing which I did was switch on Colors Channel on television. Now TV and me! Quite unlikely, but yeah I did so happily and was glad that finally I would get to catch on “Balika Vadhu” on its normal time today otherwise either I will have to catch it in late night show or on Saturdays when they repeat the whole week story at one stretch. Isn’t it sounding strange that I am talking of catching up on some television soap? Well its definitely sounding strange to me atleast!!!!!!

I have been planning to express my thoughts about this particular television soap since long, but somehow never managed to do so. I think after a loooong time there is some program on television which has got me hooked on to TV again, its Balika Vadhu which airs on Colors channel from Mon-Fri at 8 pm. Well, I hardly get to see it at its normal time but this serial is so damn addictive that I wait to catch up on its late night repeat telecast. This soap is about a very different but real life theme, its about child-marriage and this issue has been portrayed in such a sensitive way that it just leaves you spell-bound as a viewer. The main protagonist Anandi is an eight year old girl who has been married to almost equal aged Jagdish and the soap shows Anandi’s transition from a child to a bahu in such a poignant way that it just stirs and shakes you from deep within. The innocence of Anandi just makes you wonder how these child marriages must be affecting lives of so many girls like Anandi. All the characters have done a wonderful job and they all look so real, be it the role of Anandi played by Avika Gaur or the role of Dadisa played by Surekha Sikri, honestly speaking Surekha Sikri has done an amazingly authentic role so much so that sometimes you feel like hitting the screen after seeing her. Infact today when I was watching the serial I get this SMS from one of my friends who was also watching today’s episode saying she feels like smashing dadisa right now :-). See, I'm not the only one who feels like this :-)

So, its not only me rather many of my friends and colleagues as well who have got hooked onto this serial and trust me this list includes some guys as well :-). This serial has definitely converted lots on non-TV watchers into TV watchers again! Well, you need to watch it to agree to my this strong statement. No wonder this serial has managed to score such a high TRP of 4.22 in just 3 months only leaving lots of nonsensical saas bahu operas behind. I only hope it remains as engaging and gripping as it is now and not turn into yet another television trash in times to come.

Weekend with “The Last Lear” and “50 first dates”

Why do weekends end so soooon :-(??? Well, another weekend just went by but nonetheless it was a relaxed and lazy weekend for me, something which I was desperately longing for since last so many days. Just spent time reading book, watching movies and ah cooking some of mine and hubby’s favorite dishes – mint chicken curry and baked fish. The kind of foodie we both are, weekends are generally spent with some good food. Watched two very good movies as well – “The Last Lear” and “50 First Dates” and I just loved both these movies. Here is my take on these movies and I’m sure these will strike a cord with all those who like watching good movies

The Last Lear: I think this is one of the best movies of Amitabh Bachchan I would have ever seen and Preity has never acted better than this. Again as I say I wont go into details of the story much as I want all of you to watch this movie J. In short, Amitabh plays the role of reclusive yet passionate theater artist whose life is all about Shakespeare and his plays but because of some reasons he backed out of his dream role of King Lear and never went back to stage again. Arjun Rampal who is a young generation director decides to make a film on fading talent and he offers this magnificent role of a joker to Amitabh Bachchan. Amitabh in his endeavor to give his best takes a very emotional decision and ends up risking his life into a paralytic situation. I just loved the ending scene of the movie where Amitabh even his memory is lost, is able to recall those very captive words of his master, Shakespeare! Though Rituparno Ghosh has given some wonderful masterpieces to Indian Cinema but I think this is one of his best directorial works ever. Every actor in this movie has outshone his / her previous performances, be it Shefali Shah, Divya Dutta or Arjun Rampal. One may find the pace of the movie bit slow but I think that is very much required by the story. I can summarize this whole movie experience in just two words – INTENSE & BRILLIANT and a must watch for all those who are open towards some serious cinema viewing, but in case you are looking for a light hearted movie then I don’t think this would suit your taste, rather watch movie like 50 first dates of a DVD at home :-)

50 First Dates: Well, this movie got released in 2004 only but somehow never got the chance to watch the same, watched it today on a DVD and found it to be a very sweet movie. “50 first dates” is a romantic comedy having Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore as the lead actors. It’s a story of a guy who never gets hooked on to one guy and finally when he falls in love truly with this girl, then he realizes that the girl suffers from a brain injury and hence has a short term memory problem. Determined that he is for his love, he finally he manages to convince the girl and after a series of incidences finally they get settled happily in married life. A very very sweet romantic movie which touches your heart at the end J. In case you have also missed out on this movie like me, please do watch it, I’m sure most of the people are gonna like this movie for sure :-).

Hmmm time to log off and hit the sack now, afterall its Monday morning tomorrow and another hectic week ahead :-(! Interesting Example of Viral Marketing

One of my friends forwarded me the link which is a campaign for helping Bihar Flood Victims. Its an initiative started by and the conceptualization and design is done by Quasar – an interactive online agency. This site asks you to fill answer for some simple questions and for each correct answer sponsors would donate Torches, Candles, Milk powder, Match Boxes, Chlorine Tablets, Nylon Ropes, Tarpaulin Sheets and Biscuits to Bihar Flood Victims. Sponsors name and logo is mentioned in the right hand side of each question and some of the sponsors observed by me were Godrej, Chevrolet and Cadence. For each correct answer you get to know what you have donated to help the Bihar Flood Victims. The more people answer the questions, the more donations go to flood victims.

Initially I had some doubt on the authenticity of this campaign and hence I directly asked it from one of my business associates who works for Quasar and he confirmed that this is very much a real campaign and the donations are being given by the sponsors to Bihar Flood Victims. The site has this message displayed on top – “The more people play this game, the more help goes to flood victims. So
click here to invite your friends. My first reaction as a user after submitting the answers was to send this to all my friends and acquaintances. Me and many of my friends have donated money and clothes to victims as per our means and resources but when I sent this link to them not only did they answer the questions themselves but most of them have forwarded this link to all in their contact list. When I put this link in my status message in all chat engines, almost 50% of my contacts in my list pinged me and asked, “what is this link all about”. A very very effective viral marketing example I must say! This definitely has the power to encourage individuals to pass on this message to others and hence has the potential for exponential growth and influence. And the best part is that it immediately connects to you and sending it to others is very spontaneous and intuitive. I liked this concept a lot and I think Quasar has done a wonderful job as far as conceptualization is concerned. Its really good to see such innovative viral campaigns not only for product promotions but for serious social causes like helping flood victims etc.

BigB’s blog statistics - Bigadda or BigBadda?

I had written earlier about BigB blogging on 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:

  • Unique visitors since April08 - 1,05,0,520
  • Unique visitor for Sept 08 - 37,509
  • Average number of visits per day - 16,000 +
  • Total number of visits since April08 - 2,37,0,000
  • Total page views since April - 1,14,00,000
  • Average page views per day - 100,000

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.

Aamir in Tata Sky Ad

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.

Again - Now its Delhi serial blasts!

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, 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!

Rock On ROCKS!!

I had seen this movie first weekend itself but somehow never got the time to post this one, was caught up in too many things L…Well, if I have to summarize this movie in one word, I will just say it ROCKS! Yeah, Rock On truly rocks and after a long long time I think such a movie has come in Bollywood which I feel like watching many times, otherwise there are very few movies which I feel like watching twice.

I know most of you would have seen this movie by now but still I would not like to divulge the story for the benefit of those who are going to watch it soon and trust me its one movie which you should NOT miss out at any cost! The name “ROCK ON” surely gives the impression that it might be one of those yippee kind of movie meant only for teenagers but this is a movie with which anyone can relate to, be it of any age group or any sex J. It’s not only about Rock or Music rather it is about living your dreams. It’s a story of four friends (Farhaan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Luke Kenny and Purab Kohli) who are very passionate about music but how their life transforms and how they have to compromise with their dreams to adjust in the practical life and how their same passion unites them again at a later stage in their life. This movie reminds you of your good old bindaas student days where every one has got big dreams and passions and how with time and reality of life, practicality takes precedence over passion and career plus money takes primacy over innocent dreams. I’m sure most of us could relate to some or other situation like this :)

As far as other aspects of movies are concerned, I will just say great! Abhishek Kapoor as a director and all the actors have done an amazing job – I have never seen Arjun Rampal better than this, infact I couldn’t believe his acting talent, one can’t do more realistic role of a stressed out wife as done by Shahana Goswami who played the wife of Arjun Rampal, she was just great, its very difficult to imagine VJs like Purab and Luke doing such sensitive role, they were awesome, Koel Puri had a small role but very noteworthy. And now coming down to two important characters who debuted from this movie – Prachi Desai and Farhaan Akhtar; I remember how I used to hate that ever crying face of Bani played by Prachi Desai which my mom used to watch…arghhhh but I can’t write how much I liked her in this movie as a wife of Farhaan Akhtar, though she had not much to speak but her eyes and expressions were enough to let you believe her acting talent and potential. And for Farhaan, I don’t have any words left I think…this man is simply superb! How can a single person be such great director, producer, actor as well as singer!!! He is a powerhouse of talent and just outstanding! Hats off to him and his stupendous performance both as actor as well as singer. Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy and Lyrics by Javedji are as always one of the best. I am so much in love with the songs of this movie that they have broken all the records as far as frequency of song played in my iTune is concerned J.

This movie is one the must watch’s from bollywood and I would recommend it to everyone. It just tells you very beautifully that life without dream and passion is nothing.

Hi-tech Ganpati!

Just came back from an official trip to Mumbai last week and what a nostalgia it was to be in Mumbai after all these years during Ganpati Festival. Mumbai was full of music, dance, colors, vibrancy and fun! I anyways love festivals and ganpati festival of Mumbai, oh wow!!! The merriment and feelings are just unexplainable in words. After work, every day I went for Ganpati puja at night to the nearby pandals. While the divinity remains the same but like many other things, even Ganapti Festival has undergone sea change in all these years. Well, every festival is getting commercialized but Ganpati is not only commercialized in Mumbai rather has gone completely high-tech too . Marketing and tech suaveness of these events just left me amazed. Here are some of the interesting incidences which I observed in Mumbai:
  • No more those yellow or pink pamphlets with black ink which were printed for puja and arti schedule. The residents of the colony where I was staying have received interesting html mailer invites with schedules and details. Not only that, even reminder emails are being sent for the key events.

  • Even a localized pandal like that of the colony was quite jazzy and full of sponsorship banners. Ah quite interesting banners and standees having interesting ganpati messages followed by promotional offers and almost all of them starting with “this ganpati bring home XYZ…”. Noticeable one was the ending messages after the arti songs in the CD which was also in the tone of arti song only (in hindi), “for success and prosperity, start your day with ganpati aradhana and mantras, buy now and avail N% discounts. Offer valid till ABC sept’08”

  • Move out in the city and there is not even a single brand who is not giving you Ganpati wishes including my company :P. Every other hoarding, bus shelter, bus back and posters are full of Ganapti messages followed by promotional messages establishing the connect between the festival and the need to buy that ABC product. Looks like today’s consumer needs to buy everything on this earth to have an auspicious and prosperous ganapti.

  • But the best was the “bhagwaan aye bluteooth se” promotion of Cycle Brand Agarbatti. They have converted six bus shelters and a hoarding in Mumbai into mini-pandals, decorated with cut-outs of the Ganpati idol and audio tracks of aartis being played twice a day. The brand’s incense sticks are also being burnt from 8 am to 9 pm. Not only that, they have made the bus shelters Bluetooth enabled wherein user can download ganpati related wallpapers, ringtones, videos, audio tracks etc. Very innovative and creative OOH promo strategy from Mudra I must say. Have a look on this interesting pic:

  • Like every year even this year the talk of the town was “Lalbaug Cha Raja” who is one of the most popular Ganesh idols of Mumbai. But unlike earlier years, this year Raja was discussed for very different reasons. Lalbaugh Cha Raja turned 75 year this year and for the first time in its 75-year history, Raja’s massive marquee have been insured for a whopping Rs.26.5 million (nearly $600,000). According to Sunil Joshi, president of the Lalbaugcha Raja organisers, the insurance cover has been taken in view of security considerations for the devotees - comprising people from all over the state, foreign tourists, VVIPs, top industrialists and Bollywood personalities. The Ganesh pandal - as the marquees are known, its decorations and lighting have been erected over the past two months at a cost of nearly Rs.26.5 million. In case of any mishap, this will be fully covered by the insurance company as per its usual terms and condition. Rs. 26.5 million for a Pandal, quite an insurance amount by any parameter :O! (Source of this figure: DNA dated 3rd Sept08)

Bhagwaan coming through bluetooth and emails and getting the pandal insured for the safety of his bhaktas! Isn’t that interesting :D?

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