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Showing posts from 2014

The Worst Time to Be a Kid in India

Dear Kids,

There was a simpler time for parents and kids in India, when a fond ritual was followed every day. Early in the morning Mothers would leave milk to boil, while trying to wake up resistant, drooling, sleepy kids. After dragging their bums to the dining table, moms would attempt to give the kids a healthy start to the day with milk. To camouflage the unpalatable stench of freshly heated milk, mothers would mix something chocolaty in it. Children would gulp down the glass and that was it.

Sigh...Apparently it's no longer enough for the milk to taste good; Over time the chocolaty thingies have morphed into agents of good, promising an unhealthy dose of competitive streak, making the world of kids closer to a rat race than it already is. This is grave warning for you - here are those terrifying commercials currently on air. For the sake of your future, if you see your parents watching these accidentally on TV, change the channel immediately!

First on the list is Complan (#K…

Celeb Secrets Revealed - India's most famous plastic surgery

It was a day in the year 2500 BC - A fine evening worthy of merriment. However on this day, one man was unusually perturbed. He entered a relatively desolate lane of his town and stepped into a murky looking store. The board read "A-1 Clinic".

"I wanted to enquire about your plastic surgery services."

The surgeon observed that the man enquring was peculiar - his eyes a bit hazy, and some overdose of Ponds Dream Talc. There were some odd tattoos and skull accessories, but nothing too different from his usual clientele.

"Well we do a whole range of services - transplants, nose jobs, plumping. And it'll all be very discreet.... Is this about your blue neck? We can touch up and get rid of that right away".

"Thanks. The blue neck happened after crazy night I had with my head banging mountain boys. But that's not why I am here."

"Oh. So how can I help?"

"This is actually for my teenage son. What's your expertise i…

Mangalyaan: A Guide to countering Mangal Dosh via Lord Hanuman

#Mangalyaan was a great success , thanks to the countless hours spent by the ISRO scientists who made this happen. Reports state that they prayed to Lord Balaji (Source). To hedge their risks some of them might have also prayed to Lord Hanuman to counter Mangal Dosh (Mars ill-effect) . This Hanuman prayer for protection from Mars may have helped the team enter the orbit of Mars; the jury is out on that one. Speaking of Hanuman, in the recent past there was a bizarre incident regarding an Aadhaar UID which captured people's interest briefly. Let’s talk about that. If you suspect that this #mangalyaan introduction was just a thinly veiled segue to my dated post, you are right…

A few weeks ago we learnt that an Aadhar Card was issued for Lord Hanuman with a legitimate 12 digit ID (news link) The police eventually figured out that this regressive action was conceived by a progressive person named Vikas. His intentions for applying for a fake God ID were not malicious – but rather ste…

The Battle for the Online Indian Consumer - Part 1

India boasts of big numbers. As of March 2013, India has 160 million internet users, and 86 million active users of mobile internet. The potential however is much bigger, with 430 million internet enabled mobile devices. Facebook, the poster child for India mobile usage, gets 30% of its new users via mobile registration, and 30% of its users are mobile only internet users.
Multiple businesses are actively pursuing this opportunity in 2014. In the first 5 months, we have seen campaigns from 6 separate websites - a significant portion of the campaigns are focused solely on mobile usage. Let's try and understand the intent behind each campaign and assess their effectiveness. 
Note: The business objectives and campaign effectiveness mentioned below are based on own opinion and do not include any official inputs.
Key drivers of ecommerce business are broadly the factors below.  1. Product assortment - what the business offers within its declared universe 2. Experience - the usage journ…

A Review of Indian Election Inspired Advertising

It's election season in India for the past few months and the topic has dominated online and offline discussions. And when elections are the central activity / attention of the nation, as a marketeer for FMCG brands, it's quite tempting to plan creatives around the topic during the season. Over late 2013 and 2014, we have seen at least 11 Indian brands which have developed dedicated commercials around the election theme. The categories have been quite diverse from noodles to electrical wires, telecom to vests. Given the marketing investment backing these campaigns, let's try to answer the obvious question: When does it make sense to plan an election themed advertising for your brand?
The role of advertising is to 1) Get a brand noticed and 2) Refresh and improve brand association using distinctive cues. This grows brand mental salience for the consumer and hopefully then grows market share! (source). In addition to the usual advertising principles (where we assess the cre…

Crying babies - A Guide to New Fathers for Efficient Crisis Resolution

Mothers (in India or any other country) have some weird feeling called motherly instinct to guide them around their infants. Unfortunately millions of us new fathers struggle with our respective babies. The only strong feelings we have resulted in a baby. And while we coasted along with the pregnancy, we are quite prone to being declared useless in handling crises related to our progeny.

Here's a handy flowchart designed for efficient, structured resolution of the situation. Patent pending.

South India References in Recent Pop Culture

Note: This article is a commentary on recent use of South Indian themes and characters in Pop Culture. Pop Culture refers to inclusion in Hindi content both Bollywood and advertising which delivers it to a larger part of India
Bollywood gave South Indian culture its first major appearance in the movie Padosan from 1968 with the iconic song Ek Chaturwith Mehmood and his classical rendition.

It was a crude and memorable stereotype and defined ‘South Indian’ for a few decades.The 90s witnessed a steady flow of dubbed South Indian films into Bollywood, but did not really translate into any lasting impact apart from Rahman! (hypothesis). Rajinikanth continued to rule Tamil cinema from 80s while Bollywood lovers were largely oblivious to his existence and grandeur. Kamala Hasan, SPB participated in Bollywood across 80s and 90s - but did not bring along any cultural additions to Bollywood. 
Then came along Shahrukh Khan, who since 2007 has regularly referenced Rajini or his symbols in multip…

India's Tryst with Change

If we comb through all the households in India, and dig out the 2s, 5s, 10s and 50s, we may be able to arrive at a potential rationale. But for the longest time for unknown reasons, there has been an apparent crisis of change in India. And no I don’t mean change in the RaGa ‘system’ sense :) I am referring to loose change (or ‘chhuta’).
In general, we Indians collectively have a (justified) level of distrust for transactions.  And one manifestation of this is in the barter of loose change. The scale has changed over time (from Rs 1s to Rs10 or Rs50s now), but the premise remains the same – ‘I don’t have change with me. You please provide the requisite change to complete the transaction’. Lack of change leads to friction in every transaction – leading to delays (modern retail), stress (toll booths), arguments (autos) and embarrassment (airlines). This can be distilled into this simple cycle:

Cycle of distrust: Nobody wants to let go of their change!
This behavious is something chronic and…