Monday, December 31, 2007

Adios 2007

unawatuna. the gang. arrack. fireworks. moonlit nite. low tide. cool breeze. katty. breakfast at 12 pm at unawatuna bay hotel. bus ride back to colombo with dinesh and TJ. playstation parties at dinesh's place. loads of FIFA. trinco trip. heaven. movies with katty on borrowed laptops. hanging out with chithika and adnaan. coffee with vaani. infection alert at lowe. creative mantra. blue water hotel. 'johann the funeral parlor heir' for a roomie. beef burger that goes cold waiting for johann to wake up. guess who finally devours it. more trips around sri lanka. trainees start heading back home. broken fan. unbearable heat. annoying mongoose on the roof. creepy voyeurs. x-force. hill country trip with dinesh and ralph. discussing life at 2000 m above sea level over a few lion beers. scene at transasia. more movies with katty. tomi leaves for finland. returns with heavy metal, meat and loads of cheese. fifa. occasional games of risk. hanging out with katty. tuk tuk rides with tomi and katty. lonely long walks to board the 122 back home. creative discussions with dilshara. arugam bay trip. 16 hours on the bus. mambo. soaking in the sun, sand and the sea with katty. magic. crocodile rock. splendid views. a drink or two with the boys. katty's crazy farewell party. one croatian, one indian, one chinese and one sri lankan holed up in a beauty parlor discussing a tattoo. dinner at curry leaves. an emotional good bye. wrapping up the sri lanka story. not easy. but 'what to do!'. bangalore. lovely folks. anand. everyone's the same. lovable as ever. the city is absolute chaos. madness. miami ad school. hopes first built then shattered. ogilvy action thanks to sabith and iq. good break. great expectations. still waiting for magic. gifting folks. bass playing. fifa. endless indo-croatian chats. i miss sri lanka.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rebel Yell

Found RATM's Renegades while leafing through my old album liner notes:



Now, why didn't I remember this earlier .....when I was in Sri Lanka?

Being in an industry that keeps talking about "is your ad youtubable?" and "does your campaign have viral potential?"; I can't help but be inspired by a seven year old album cover that promotes the easiest and most effective form of 'viral social protest'.

I made my own protest notes too:



Just have to figure out a way to inspire people in Sri Lanka to write such messages.

Consider the possibility of one of these landing in the hands of a suicide bomber who is on his way to a mission. Don't you think (if the message is hard hitting) he'll think twice before going ahead?

I know you're thinking I am a ridiculous dreamer. But can you discount the fact that these notes might just about manage to change a few attitudes?

Mull over it!

Or better still, if you're reading this from Sri Lanka, make your own little protest notes now.

Zack's Back!

F#$% you, I won't do what you tell me!
F#$% you, I won't do what you tell me!


Now before you judge me or the content of this blog, allow me to introduce Zack de la Rocha, an extraordinary mix of an energetic frontman and a political activist.

RATM's music still takes me back in time and reminds me of umpteen instances when I sat around perfecting mind numbing engineering drawings.

All that frustration was so dreadful that the only hope I really had of getting through alive was with my modest collection of RATM tracks.

Now picture "F#$% you, I won't do what you tell me!" with distorted guitars and a tight drum n bass accompaniment. That's what I call Therapy.....for frustrated souls!

It motivated me to turn in to a rebel that very few people can relate to. Thank heavens I discovered RATM's music when I needed it the most.

Well, the good news is Zack is back with the other RATM members after a hiatus.

It's a pity I can't catch them live any time soon!

20Q

Stumbled upon this site while carrying out my routine research.

The site basically asks a player to think of something and then asks a series of questions before guessing what's on the player's mind.

You reckon it ain't for real?

Well! Give it a shot right now and prepare to fall off your seat in shock.

I thought of a musician and bang on the 17th question, 20Q asks me "Are you thinking of Michael "Flea" Balzary"?

Hell yea!!!!

I must've exclaimed my surprise with the choicest expletives known to mankind.

Anyway, in case you fall in love with the site, there's more: a 20Q ball.

Check it out in (funnnyyyyyy!) action here:


Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Goooood Morning!

Read about Awake recently.

According to the website:

"Awake is a a fresh tasting caffeinated citrus juice perfect for the morning that will help you rise and shine brighter"

Interesting.

Maybe I should keep one right next to my Alarm Clock :D

Monday, December 10, 2007

Shek it up!

Duuuuuuude!

Shek just made a guest appearance on South Park (thanks to Katty)

Katty's turned into a die-hard SP fan in no time. It's scary!

Here's a couple of links she found:

Alllll the episodes: http://www.southparkzone.com/

SP-ize yourself: http://www.sp-studio.de/

Thanks again, Miss :*

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Dreamin'


Hopes crushed,

She treads an unfamiliar territory.

Her tears dried,
She questions her raison d'ĂȘtre.

Her innocence robbed,
She suspects everyone's motives.

Blisters on her bare feet,
And the beast on her case,
She prays for an end to this misery!

- Shek

Came across the above graffiti in four different locations in Ulsoor, Bangalore (Pic courtesy: Ashish)

Ulsoor is a locality that is home to a significant Tamil population.

There's a whole lot of Tamils in India and around the world who support the concept of Eelam. I'm not an authority to comment on the need for such a state. However having lived and traveled around Sri Lanka for 1.5 years, I only hope the war will end sooner than later.

The SL economy is crumbling, defence spends are at an all time high and the country has a long way to go...the war has turned a promising island into a chaotic mess.

I have no sides to take. I only hope that there will be a peaceful solution soon and that all hostilities will end.

I can't wait for that perfect photo-op when Tamil and Sinhala kids will walk hand-in-hand on Sri Lanka's sun-kissed beaches. And sitting at a distance, watching them will be the cheerful parents...

I'm keeping my camera on stand-by...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ideas for Unicef Brief - Planning For Good, Bangalore



The PFG deck (containing ideas from 23 chapters worldwide) went online yesterday and can be found here






Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sex Sells?

The Pirellis and the Lavazzas and the Kingfishers will be released soon.

Also taking the walls by storm will be the calendar from Cofanifunebri, an Italian coffin manufacturer! (thanks copyranter)

Shown below are some stills from the calendar:



Now what really beats me is the strategy (if any!) behind the whole initiative. Well, if word-of-mouth is what they were looking for, they are bang on!

What were these guys thinking when they decided to blow up money on the calendar?

And since when did scantily clad models start endorsing coffins???

I made a lame attempt at deciphering the message on the visuals. And here's what came up:
  1. Model: "It was so hot inside, I took off all my clothes and came out?"
  2. Model (Yama in disguise?): "Come with me...."
  3. Model: "I'm so gorgeous. You better drop dead NOW!"

Anyway, did you even notice that they use rosewood to manufacture those coffins? :D

If you're keen on checking out what the company website has on offer; I warn you it's morbid stuff!

I mean who on earth wants to buy a watch that says "time is short" and has a little coffin on it?

The English on the site is pretty spectacular too. Click on About Us on their website and this is what you get:

The agenzy boast a particular experience for wath concerns the realization of funeral object.

The choice of hard wood the refines carving and the originaly of decorations are the demostration of it.

Its owners, simple men of good will and talent have given, throught the years, the opportunity to reach the fame of great prestige that new has become the symbol of the company.

Good Lord! I hope the coffins don't suck.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

R.I.P IP?

At an ad agency, one of the criteria while submitting an acceptance letter states: "The agency holds rights to all work created by you"

This would only make one think that agencies have a fool-proof way of ensuring their work doesn't make it's way out when employees quit.

It's one thing to walk out with one's own creative portfolio and something else altogether to walk out with powerpoint presentations and excel sheets (made by others) at an agency!

When I was leaving my first job, I requested the IT guy to burn copies of stuff I had worked on. I have never looked at those since. I just wanted those copies cos' those projects meant a lot to me. When I'm old and ailing, I'll probably look at those presentations and relive those first days at work!

What came across as rather careless was the fact that the IT guy didn't even care what I was taking away. I could have walked away with sensitive information if I wanted to!

That brings me to someone whom I met recently. This person who holds a senior designation at a leading agency, relies extensively on the back-up from a previous agency. Work is basically about instructing juniors to tweak those presentations. In some cases, tweaking involves nothing more than changing the templates!

Who is to blame here?

The previous agency for being careless enough to have employees walking out with Intellectual Property?

Or this individual who obviously does not understand the seriousness of IP 'theft'?

Butts we don't appreciate...

Conversation # 01: Timeline 2001 A.D

Dude1: "Shek, Let's go for a smoke!"

Me: "Go ahead, mate! I don't smoke!"

Dude1: "Oh! Come on! I'm not gonna fall for that one. You don't look like the type who doesn't smoke!"

Conversation #02: Timeline 2007 A.D

Dude2: "Let's go across the road and buy some cigarettes!"

Me: "Nah! You go ahead. Look at the traffic..it's a mess, man!"

Dude2: "You gave up smoking or what?"
__________________________________________________________________________________

The truth of that matter is I've never ever taken a puff...Never! Just never saw why I should!

What were all those classes in high school for? And all those statutory warning messages on packs? They definitely were conveying something I should pay heed to.
__________________________________________________________________

On the topic of statutory warning messages, chanced upon this article: Scary pictures to help you quit smoking

The article says: Buying cigarettes (in India) may not be a pleasant experience from December 1 as grim pictures of cancerous tumors or an ailing infant will be printed on the packet of your favorite brand.

"Pictures definitely have an impact. Pictorial warnings will not only remind the user of the dangers (to him) but also to those around him or her, such as friends and family. Children, for example, can become a very strong pressure group by encouraging their parents to give up tobacco," Ramadoss said.

Countries that have introduced pictorial warnings include Canada, Brazil and Australia.




Over 250 million people in India use tobacco products like gutka, cigarettes and beedis. Tobacco kills at least 1 million people in the country every year, says the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Graphic health warnings in Canada led to a 3 per cent drop in smoking.

With 250 million tobacco consumers in India, a similar percentage drop would mean six million users less.
________________________________________________________________

That also means there will be 30, 000 people who'll live!

Ain't that fabulous?

I also subscribe to what the minister says about pressure groups who can influence smokers to kick the habit. Maybe not immediately, but over a period of time they definitely can.

Moreover, there's a lot of concern about cigarettes being sold outside schools/ colleges. This move can dissuade the adolescents who feel tempted to try the dreaded 'drug'.

I have my own little doubts about how much a chain smoker would care about the warning signs though. The writing is on the wall. He/ She knows it. The end is nearer than they think it is. I can only hope they have their insurance in place.

Anyway, visual imagery works and I know it from personal experience.

As an 8 year old, I remember waiting outside a pub while my uncle picked up a crate of beer. In the 5 minutes or so that I waited inside the car, at least two people walked out (inebriated) making complete fools of themselves.

Is it any surprise that alcohol doesn't excite me?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It's time to put up a fight



It's World AIDS Day today.

There's a whole lot of noise in the form of ads, press features and candle-light installations.

But how aware really is the Indian society when it comes to HIV/ AIDS? And why are we such hypocrites when it comes to discussing anything sex-related?
__________________________________________________________________

Story # 01 (found in a leading daily's Crime News section, 2 years ago):

A woman's dead body found near Ulsoor Lake.

The Police is of the opinion that she was murdered late last night.

"It is uncertain why she was near the Lake at that hour. However, we found condoms in her pocket and believe that she was a prostitute soliciting customers"

Story # 02: found in a back-issue of RAVE:

The police arrest youngsters from a Rave party in Pune. A college girl found carrying condoms in her bag is slapped by a lady cop. Later on, a senior cop displays the condoms to the Press to make his 'point'.
__________________________________________________________________

Since when is carrying condoms in one's wallet an ISSUE?

We are talking about cops here. Aren't they the ones who are supposed to heaving a sigh of relief for 'finding' condoms? It's rather appalling to note that they jump to conclusions and make such a mockery out of a non-issue.
_________________________________________________________________

Story # 03: At a leading hospital my Dad worked in

Nurse: "Sir, the patient in room # 04 is an AIDS patient. I don't want to have anything to do with him. Please give me another room/ ward to attend to"
_________________________________________________________________


I've never heard of a nurse who got infected with the virus by taking care of an AIDS patient!

Think 'Nurse' and we conjure up images of women who dedicate their lives to health care. But the reality can be a lot more distorted!
__________________________________________________________________

It's time we started professing 'one voice' when it comes to such sensitive issues, There's 2-3 million people living with AIDS in India. There's a lot to be done.

The least our real life protagonists (from the stories mentioned above) can do is to STFU!

Catch-22

Good Ad/ Bad Ad



Landed up on youtube to check out the above video after reading this article.

Neat! Hats off to the team behind the ad. It's got a fresh, international look that actually makes you wonder if the ad's Indian at all. My friends abroad refuse to believe that the ad runs in India. They think its too racy for our screens!

Anyway, with a brilliant video for a bait, it's only obvious that most viewers will land up at Leelounge. And guess what's in store for you there. These ads:





NOT FOR THE MASSES????

It's rather obvious that women with wafer-thin figures only can fit into those jeans. Then, why on earth would the sanest (!) of ad folks create this piece of communication?

I hope the client/ agency is ducking for cover now!