Friday, September 26, 2014

Booked and Hooked

Who is a creative person? - well, anyone who can think is creative.

Think about it - every profession be it a banker, an analyst, a stock broker, an investment banker, a doctor, a cop, a pilot, a chef, a writer, a marketer - each one of these professionals have numerous tasks and issues they are faced with daily. The answers are not really inscribed in stone anywhere. They are forced to pull up all of their mental faculties and literally look for answers blowing in the wind. The solutions are more often than not, new and out of the box - that calls for the art of creative thinking.

These inspirations mostly arise from something , someplace, some sense that we have seen, felt, touched, watched, read, experienced somewhere sometime. It's pretty random actually and fascinating, how the brain pulls up  these fleeting moments suddenly and cause flashes that help us string theories together and voila come up with an innovative fix!

For me, personally, books have been a huge influence in my daily work. They keep me energized, active and alive. When I am stumped for an idea and my mind draws a blank, I often just shut everything out and read. It brings equilibrium to my mind and calibrates it to a clean slate on which I can start painting once more.

So, here is a mish mash of some of the books that have been great companions over the years:

1.     Sigmund Freud – The Interpretation of Dreams
2.     Mary Higgins Clark – All Around the Town
3.     Amish Tripathi – The Immortals of Meluha
4.     Arthur Conan Doyle – Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
5.     Jane Austin – Pride and Prejudice
6.     J.D. Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye
7.     Roald Dahl – The Complete Short Stories
8.     Jeffery Archer – Kane and Abel
9.     Anurag Mathur – The Inscrutable Americans
10. Robert Louis Stevenson – The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
11. Mario Puzo – The Godfather
12. Dan Brown – Digital Fortress
13. Enid Blyton – The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat
14. Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist
15. Ernesto Guevara – The Motorcycle Diaries
16. Robin Sharma – The Monk who sold his Ferrari
17. Malcolm Gladwell – The Tipping Point
18. D&AD - The Copy Book
19. Alan Fletcher - The Art of looking sideways
20. David Ogilvy - Ogilvy on Advertising
21.  George Martin - The Song of Fire and Ice

Reading is indeed the raison d'etre! Have a great weekend folks!

Wake up Spidermen and Spiderwomen!

I tend to keep going back to the bare basics - Maslow's Pyramid.

Compare it to the life of any consumer, everyone is trying to go up, to premiumise, to upgrade, to go a notch further, to travel an extra mile - just a little more. Remember, the first chapter in Economics which spoke about human wants, needs and desires being unending and constant and thereby continuous.

As marketers and advertisers, we feed off this need - we term it as "problem" and offer "solutions" through our excellent range of products and services. We are all guilty as charged. Can the community be blamed for this? No, not at all, it is the chicken and egg story - we don't know if someone asked for it or did someone offer it first? Nonetheless this giving and taking cycle continues for aeons now.

This is not a lecture to downgrade our community but more a prophecy to be more mindful of the fact that we have a lot of power thrust upon us. Like Spiderman said, with great power  come great responsibility. Lets use our power to create brilliant products which will really help the consumers and fulfill their dreams. Lets craft communication that is so amazing that we will be proud to show it to our great grand kids in the future. Let every word and key visual we put out there leave a little mark of greatness in the minds of the consumers.

We are blessed to be in an amazing and creatively fulfilling profession, let's give back to the world what it has given to us - the gift to use our talents to do good work. To quote Jonathan Mildenhall, ex Sr.VP Coca Cola Worldwide and my marketing guru "Let's do work that matters"

Jonathan Mildenhall, Cannes 2013

Watch this space for more - coming soon, Cannes diaries : My little notes from attending the festival as a Young Lion for 3 years in a row since 2012. I wish to share my squiggles with all of you.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fashionista Diaries

Often have I wondered about the life of a supermodel, what it must feel like to walk down the ramp and be a runway success!

I have had people ask me what is the purpose of a fashion show? How does it help? what larger purpose does it serve?

A fashion show is the coming together of a lot of creative minds. It is a concoction that involves, stylists, designers, hair dressers, aestheticians, choreographers, event planners, and a great fashion brand that lends its name to the whole show.

It's a lot of hardwork, that showcases established and noveau designers collection or pret line as it is called.

It's a win win situation for all involved. It helps creating equity for all the stakeholders.

You may ask how does it benefit brands and more importantly consumers?

Well, it sets trends, it sets the mood, it sets the theme for the season. Premium brands will use this as inspiration to unveil their product or service range.

Consumers stand to benefit from the latest trends. It puts them on par with the global hot shots and ups their imagery a few notches.

Do I hear you saying, its all make believe, that it is fake? On the surface it may seem so - but scratch the surface and you will realise that this is what defines life, its always a wave/ trend that keeps surfacing in a very cyclical manner. Happiness, Sadness, Craze, Daze, Madness, Soberness - life trends, so why not borrow a leaf into the world of fashion and brands?

A single fashion week, defines hair styles, skin looks, attire statements, the "in" colour, the trending themes - it's amazing how much good it serves.

This is an ode to all the fashionistas out there! Being fashionable is always in and will never go out of style!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Brand Illusions

We live in a make believe world.

A world, which we are constantly trying to run away from. Then, we start creating things, people, events in our lives. A lot of it is simply a figment of our wild imaginations.

That's why fairy tales appeal to us as little children. Then, as we grow up we start idolising stars - singers, performers, movie artistes. Their world seems so bright and colourful. Almost picture perfect.

How many of us can honestly say we haven't dreamt that we are stars ourselves, stepping out of a chauffeur driver limo, getting on the red carpet while the papparzi goes shutterbug crazy.

We watch holiday home, good cholesterol oil ads and imagine that perfect family for ourselves.

We watch skin care communication with perfect diva like skin and imagination runs havoc. Ditto with lovely hair care ads.

A luxury car ad blows your mind away. You imagine yourself at the driver's seat steering that baby through plush terrain. You feel like Richie Rich - in your head.

You have a sip of that energy drink with your imaginary mouth, cut to next instant you are hitting imaginary sixes and fours and winning the Olympics!

Have you ever sashayed down the ramp with your camera ready skin and autograph worthy hair, whilst your dream man is waiting backstage on a white horse to whisk you away to a place where there are angels falling from the sky and unicorns breezily running around?

Yes, you have created all of these worlds, lives and moments a zillion times over and you will continue to do so. You were meant to.

That's what makes communication so powerful. It fuels your imagination, literally. It's very important therefore as brand custodians that we do it with a great sense of responsibility and integrity.

Brands afterall are the realities of mass, masstige or premium illusions:)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Idiot box couch potato tales

Scene 1 - girl in shorts hanging from a high rise building trying to escape the fire.
Cut to the knight in shining armour(read Salman Khan) checking her out from below the building
Cut to him quickly scaling up the building spiderman like in his Relaxo chappals
And lo and behold! the damsel in distress is rescued

I can't go to the other equally ridiculous scenes on or I will gag.So, I shall stop.

But this got me thinking for sure - Is the consumer so foolish? Are these marketeers mocking at us or are they giving us a good laugh in our otherwise humdrum existence?

Are they being condescending or are they evangelist doing some yeoman service?

I am confused. Opinions welcome...the floor is open!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Love the music of the new Usha sewing machines commercial. Really Indian classical and soothing to the ears. It's a nice simple ad, no frills and makes a point subtley about its presence.

Can't say the same about the Prestige ad though. Its an exact replica of the Futura ad. Maybe an attempt to reiterate its leadership in the category. But, as market leader shouldn't you be setting a trend and not following it? And even if you do observe and follow, atleast do it differently!

The new Docomo 3G introduction ad is not great shakes, I mean its feel good and stuff but I particularly did like in this piece of commercial was the last slot when the guy finds the needle in the haystack.That thought is profound and amazing.

Speaking of 3G, yesterday's Times of India carried an article with a headline that stated that the 3G rates were going to be 66p/sec. I was very curious and wondered how it could be that expensive and quickly delved into the write-up, only to realise that it was 0.66p/sec and not 66p/sec. Times of India needs to seriously realise the tremendous faith people have placed on its shoulders as a bearer of true news and the least they could do is have their desk team proof read and copy check the headlines for starters! Ofcourse, if this was done deliberately in order to grab eyeballs...I am sorry, but I am just plain let down.

Tried the application facebook yesterday and thought it was good fun! Loved the whole call centre scenario happening in the background. Really interesting and interactive.

Looking forward to more innovation and ice breaking thoughts!


A brand manager's fantasy come true.

Barrack Hussein Obama. The most powerful man in the world at the moment. 44th President of the United States.

The power comes from the title itself. Strong.Commanding.Forceful.

But, what about brand Obama? The charisma, the charm.

The Obama campaign is a genius in marketing excellence. It makes for one of the most interesting case studies.

The planning, the execution - all so perfect. Short term tactics, long term strategies - ingenious.

Despite all the odds being against him - being black, Muslim middle name, Kenyan- everything that Americans hate. They still chose him. This success can only be attributed to the brilliant marketing campaign.

What I liked especially was the superb market segmentation and targeting. That was so spot on. Huge thumbs up for using the digital medium and viral so constructively for the cause.

It paid off rich dividends and the rest as they say is history. Joy to Obamania.