Monday, March 31, 2008
Katty mailed me the above pic. She landed on google.co.uk during Earth Hour and couldn't resist taking a screenshot for me :)
Anyways, Blackle has been around for a year now. It was conceptualized after a blogger claimed that if the Google homepage had a black background, 750 Megawatt-hours a year of energy would be saved every year!
However, Google says:
"We don't do this permanently - because it saves no energy; modern displays use the same amount of power regardless of what they display"
Please leave a comment if you have a take on it! (cos' I don't have one!)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
A Google search threw up the above results along with rather interesting 'adwords' ads.
Was reading Nauru seeks to regain lost fortunes on BBC today and couldn't help but laugh at the idiots who work on the adwords ads for Monster and Timesjobs!
An excerpt from the BBC article reads:
"We find ourselves in a big hole," concedes newly-elected president and former weight-lifting champion, Marcus Stephen. "We're doing our best to climb out of it. It won't be like in our heyday, but at least we'll be comfortable."
The Island Nation is obviously struggling to employ its locals. However Monster's ad (unintentionally) paints a rather pretty picture about the job market!
Noticed what the Monster ad says? :
'Jobs in Nauru: Huge demand for pros in abroad'
Monster/ Timesjobs' pathetic adwords strategy: Whenever a user searches for a Country on Google, they get at least one of Monster/ Timesjob's ads among the Sponsored Links!
Well, at least if the ads were copy tested, we could have forgiven the copywriters/ adword pros, right?
Thursday, March 20, 2008
"I was very disappointed as I lost the race at the first corner because another driver came in like a kamikaze into my car," Fisichella said. (via Rediff)
Well, Mr. Mallya, an F1 team that has no Indians on it and is called "Force India" deserves nothing but a 'flying start'!
Force India, Mumbai Indians.. Who the hell names these teams?????
This is Force India's team composition:
The 'only bit of India' I see in there is Mr. Mallya's money!!!
Or take Mumbai Indians:
Did you notice that the team comprises of 3 Sri Lankans and 3 South Africans too, Mr. Mukesh 'I wear my pants above my chest' Ambani?
Wikipedia even says 'The choice of the name Mumbai "Indians" for a regional competition is widely regarded as a blunder"
If only all the rich people in this world were blessed with a little more common sense; to recruit employees who have more common sense than themselves!!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
His vision, soon proved, revolutionised the communications and broadcasting industry. (via BBC)
(Did you notice his T-shirt? He definitely had a great sense of humor!)
A great man indeed!
I remember coming across his name in my Lonely Planet (Sri Lanka):
Around Tissamaharama, Kirinda was used as a land base by Sir Arthur C Clarke's party when diving for the Great Basses wreck
A passionate scuba-diver, he set up the Arthur C. Clarke Diving School at Hikkaduwa.
If you haven't checked out The Arthur C Clarke Foundation already, please do.
Take a look at the pics below:
This book was one among the many from his collection that were donated to the British Council's Library in Colombo.
( Katty was the lucky one to borrow this particular book. I still remember her screaming:"Shek! Come and take a look at this. It's really coooool!" )
I'd wanted to post these on Sir Arthur's last birthday and I completely blew it. It's a pity I have to post 'em when he is no more.
Here's the chief highlight from that story:
Referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh, Prince Philip exclaimed: "It looks as if it was put in by an Indian"
Well, I'm Indian (red/ brown/ whatever) and I take offense to that comment, Your Royal 'Henpecked' Highness!
Earlier today, I stepped into my Time Machine and transported myself right back to the 1930's to hunt down Prince Philip's parents, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and his Princess.
I presented them a copy of 'Duke of Hazard: The Wit and Wisdom of Prince Philip', a bottle of Arrack and a 'gift'.
After reading through the book, they were moved to tears and embarrassed of their their son's intelligence.
The bottle of Arrack came in handy. The Royal couple drowned their sorrows with it. In a state of drunken bliss, they even offered to adopt me; an offer that I politely refused in exchange for a quotable quote.
So, here you go:
(No prizes for guessing what the 'gift' was! :P)
Wait, there's more!
I also shared the following nugget with them:
"In Tanna (Vanuatu) is the Prince Philip Movement, which reveres the United Kingdom's Prince Philip. Villagers of the Yaohnanen tribe believed in an ancient story about the pale-skinned son of a mountain spirit venturing across the seas to look for a powerful woman to marry. Prince Philip, having visited the island with his new wife Queen Elizabeth, fitted the description exactly and is therefore revered and even held as a god around the isle of Tanna"
Needless to say, the Royal Couple were ROTFL!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Never thought that the Indian Caste System could inspire Chinese Lingerie manufacturers! :)
Say 'Hello!' to Guangdong Brahmin Underwear Co., Ltd.
Their Company Profile says:
"We are one of the reputable manufacturers in Chinese underwear field. Our head office is located in Guangzhou City. We are dedicated in producing regular underwear and sexy underwear, including bras, bikinis, panties, g-strings, babydolls, teddies, girdles, club wears, corsets, garter belts, shapers, sleepwear/nightwear, home wears, pajamas, swimwear, thermal wears and other relevant items"
If you're keen on checking them out, click here
And don't blame me if the 'Made in China' stuff (somehow!) contains excessive levels of lead :
"Cellphone charms and zipper pulls made in China and sold in dollar stores across Canada have been found to contain high levels of lead, Health Canada said in an advisory issued Thursday.
The items are dangerous to children if they suck, chew or swallow parts of the products, the federal agency said. Dollarama stores are voluntarily recalling the products from the marketplace"
Think a zillion times before using your teeth to tear that lingerie off her, dude/ dudette! :P
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Well, if you haven't, DON'T!
(But if you still wanna go ahead and give it a shot, make sure you take one step at a time and run faster than Asafa Powell!)
A couple of years ago, I remember checking out three Indian Malls that have the dubious distinction of switching off their escalators during non-peak hours. A brilliant, cost-effective, Indian way of saving electricity.
Now, little did I expect the newer Malls to embrace 'Sensor Switch' technology.
"The Sensor Switch — placed at the starting end of the escalator, the Sensor Switch will automatically start the escalator if a person is near the entry point. After some time, if no person is detected, the escalator will automatically stop"
In India, I'm used to faucets, hand driers and flush tanks with sensors. But, an escalator with sensors was something I really didn't see coming my way! :P
Yep! So one fine afternoon at a Store, I conveniently assumed that the escalator next to me was switched off and started running up.
Mid-way, the escalator decided to surprise me!
And being the smart ass (not!) that I am, I decided to beat it. Well, I almost did...only the landing sucked!
I'm still alive, ok? :P
Click on the image to understand the ad before you read on.
This ad is a perfect example for me to make my point on why Creatives should keep away from commenting on Strategy:
1. The 'Brief' is pure fiction.
Clients almost always look at tangibles when briefing the Agency.
'Communicate the hip, bold and attractive attitude to 18 to 25 year olds, specifically males' is something only the agency can come up with!
It's a force-fit. A classic scam where the idea came first and the brief was put together later.
2. The Target Audience is identified wrongly
18 to 25 year olds in most parts of the world have very little purchase power. So there's no chance this initiative translated into any sales with that demographic.
I'm positive that the ones who buy the car are 'Young at heart' 26-35 year olds.
3. There is no 'Strategy'
'We decided to surprise the target audience and catch their eye with a message in a code only the core target would decipher'
It doesn't take a lot for people who don't belong to your target audience to decipher a visual cue like a dropped panty with their own interpretations!
4. There is no Insight
Deep-rooted Cultural Insight: "In Dominican Republic, 'Bajapanty' or 'Panty Dropper' is widely used in regards to cars so hot they make the girls drop their panties"
Now that is not an Insight. That's an expression.
An insight is an underlying truth that emerges from a lot of research and understanding of relationships.
Taking an expression and re-creating it visually is the laziest form of advertising ever!
In the US they exclaim "P@#$y Magnets" for smokin' hot wheels! (Watch Borat if you want to see Sacha Baron Cohen mock Americans on that one!)
But they don't go around pasting kittens on cars, right???
5. The Execution sucks
One needs to scratch the surface and challenge themselves to pull off a stunner.
e.g: Placing oddly shaped, old-fashioned knickers on other cars with a message saying "You deserve better. Buy a Swift!"
Or posters like this all over town:
Friday, March 14, 2008
But the sound sucked!!!!
On an evening when the stage was set for the heavy weight metal acts to blow our freaking minds away, the sound set-up was an awful let down!
Still wondering how the opening Indian acts got a better deal than the headliners on the sound front!
Anyway, walked into 'Rock in India' around 5 pm to be welcomed by Thermal and a Quarter's set. I wasn't paying much attention to them. So, no comments there!
Millenium followed them. With Vernon on vocals, Roberto Narian on drums and Allwyn on guitars, they really could have kept up to the crowd's expectations. A metal act covering The Clash? Nah! Bad move!
Pentagram was up next and boy, do they suck or what? I hum 'Voice' all the time but watching Pentagram live just woke up me to the upsetting fact that they are so bloody pansy! Watching a band playing two power chords over recorded music is really not going to go down well with any Rock aficionado's expectations!
Machine Head came in next on the main stage. I've never listened to any Machine Head tracks before but they were impressive with their tight stage act. Only wish Rob Flynn (the vocalist) could say something more than just growling "BANGALORE" 30 times!
Megadeth appeared on stage amidst chants of "Megaa Death! Megaa Death!" and completely owned! Playing stuff from their new album, they peppered their set list with "Symphony of Destruction" and "Holy Wars" to everyone's delight. Mustaine was at his charismatic best and had ample support from his mates on stage. Good S#&*!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
This is really old news:
According to Italian researchers, women who eat chocolate regularly have a better sex life than those who deny themselves the treat. Those consuming the sugary snack had the highest levels of desire, arousal and satisfaction from sex.
Their study found: “Women who have a daily intake of chocolate showed higher levels of desire than women who did not have this habit. Chocolate can have a positive physiological impact on a woman’s sexuality.”
But, guess who used that little insight to come up with an interesting ad?:
White guy turns into a Dark chocolate! Hmmm... Does that suggest women still prefer the 'tall, dark and handsome' kind?
R.I.P Shah Rukh 'Fair & Handsome' Khan! :P
Oh! And, ever wondered how Michael Jackson feels about all this??? I think he should have asked his plastic surgeon for reversible skin : Dark today/ White tomo | White today/ Dark tomo :)
(Thanks for leading me to the vid, Katty! You rock! :) )
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
In the cacophony of cricket celebrations last week, my display message read something to the effect of: "And the gullible Indians are celebrating some pansy cricketing moments!"
As expected, a handful of friends asked me why I hate cricket.
I didn't always despise cricket.
I grew up dreaming to be a decent cricketer.
I enrolled in a Cricket Academy when I was 15, only to be bluntly informed: "You are too old to start at a coaching camp"
For what was offered at the camp, Coaching was a misnomer.
On Day 1, they divided us into two different groups: the newies and the 'Seniors' (old-timers).
The Seniors had a dedicated coach and the rest of us had to fend for ourselves. A couple of newies whose dads knew the coaches, managed to break into the 'Senior' side. Needlessly to say, the camp was an absolute waste of time and money for us newies.
Somewhere towards the end of the camp, one of the coaches spotted my 'faulty' action and 'corrected' it. For someone who could spin the ball with ease with the existing action, I was insisted to switch to a 3 finger technique, an action that restricted my abilities.
Switching to that action pretty much signaled the doom of my cricketing dream. I pleaded with the coach to allow me to bowl with a 2-finger/wrist action, only in vain.
Suddenly, I was the coach's punching bag. He would stop nothing short of using a microphone to embarrass me in front of the others: "You! Bowl with three-finger action I say!"
School Cricket wasn't any better. There again, the Captain/ Vice-Captain's sidekicks made up the playing eleven.
Cricket ended up being an excuse to get away from the mind-numbing integration/ differentiation lessons at school. In fact, I was dubiously blessed with the opportunity to be the 12th man/ official scorer for team, which by no means was better than attending the dreaded math classes.
Anyway, what really killed my love for cricket was the match fixing/ betting fiasco.
One by one, a whole bunch of cricketers I admired, bit the dust: Ajay Jadeja, Azharuddin, Hansie Cronje...
The last name indeed came as a brutal shock to all cricket lovers!
Hansie Cronje was on of the most charismatic, dedicated players to have graced cricket. And to think, this true gentleman would compromise his principles for a little more money, made me wonder what lesser cricketers are capable of!
I was bitter. I felt betrayed, misled and foolish for being owned by a 'game' that was very obviously not a Gentleman's Game anymore.
Meanwhile, I looked around and I saw people flocking to TV screens to catch the next Big Match. In the breaks, they consumed colas by the gallon because some lazy-ass marketers decided to use Cricketers to sell calories. When they realized colas would spoil their teeth, they ran to whitening toothpastes endorsed by the same cricketers.
I could go on and on. But you get my point!
Indian Cricket is no more a sport.
It's a random but lethal mash-up of ruthless marketing, politics, capitalism, cricket, ulterior motives and an unacceptable degradation of Indians as mere boneheaded consumers!
Here's an excerpt from the article that prompted me to go ahead and let it all out:
Indian cricket is a cultural institution created over many decades by cricketers and cricket-lovers. It’s only because of their efforts that the BCCI and the new IPL franchise owners have a product and a market to exploit. Like so many other social activities and public spaces, cricket is being commodifed, and ordinary cricket fans should pause before joining the celebrations.
I rest my case!
(P.S: Ashish, thanks for the Post Title)
Monday, March 10, 2008
Here's what the graffiti on the autorickshaw read:
Beware of Two Wheelers who do zic- zak driving.
Fools overtake from the left.
The latter was strategically placed on the left! :P
Couldn't help but keep to the autorickshaw's right side :)
Found this pic on a random google search:
The text reads:
For passengers of this autorickshaw, the following facilities are free: cold water, newspaper and phone!
Friday, March 07, 2008
Radhakant Bajpai (left) had this to say about his claim to fame: "Making it to Guinness World Records is indeed a special occasion for me and my family. God has been very kind to me"
Indeed! Even your barbers were awfully kind to you!
Dudes, I'll never lend you my headphones. Is that freaking clear?
Yea? Do you hear me?
Z-world is a Colombo based Viral Marketing agency.
Well, Mates @ Z-World, when you're spamming 10,000 people, at least get your editing right!
And yea, it won't be long before you get pulled up for stuff like this:
For Heaven's sake, don't forget that you are sending out those mails to vulnerable teenagers too!
On another front, I really wonder how Clients feel about sharing space on an emailer where 'smoking up' is encouraged. Brand Managers, do you really want your Brand to be seen in bad company?
And btw Z, the numbers on your site don't add up!!
How else do you explain this, eh??? :
Email Database Profile
Universe - 9800
India – 4600 addresses
Singapore – 3200 addresses
Malaysia – 10,000 addresses
UAE – 4800 addresses
Saudi Arabia – 3600 addresses
UK – 6200 - addresses
USA – 14,800 addresses
Australia – 11,600 addresses
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Location: Client's office
Me: "Hi! You are from _______ (my ad agency) rite?"
Copywriter: "Hmpf!" (And, turns her head the other way!)
Me (embarrassed and wondering "Did she think that I'm some random guy hitting on her?) : "I joined the Agency yesterday"
Copywriter: "Hmpf!" (And, stares at the ceiling!)
Me (now wondering "Ohoh! Maybe I should've told her my name straightaway!") : "Abhishek" (with right hand stretched out anticipating a handshake)
Copywriter: "Hmpf!" (And, walks away pretending to be busy!)
Here's some wisdom for you, Copywriter:
I see myself capable of arrogance and brutality... That's a fierce thing, to discover within yourself that which you despise the most in others.
Situation 2: Email requesting Donation of Books to children studying in Sri Lankan's war- torn North
Background: I sent the email to 250 people. I think only 2 acted upon it!
But what was annoying was an arrogant reply from one of them. This is how the email began: "Hello Stranger..."
I'm not going to copy paste the entire mail here. I know you get the drift.
I have a simple reply to people like him. "If you can't donate, STFU!"
I agree I might have spammed him. But, I spammed him with good will. It was with the optimistic belief that it will better the lives of a few unfortunate kids whom even I personally don't know!
Situation 3: Email to 10 Indian Planners who blog
An excerpt from the email:
"Hi there. You are receiving this mail cos' I've come across your blog (or your posts on someone else's blog :) ) in the recent past. Right now, for wannabe planners like me, the only way to network with practising planners is to search for their blogs. Was thinking it might be a great move to start 'The Indian Planning Collective' on Facebook. Whatsay?"
And guess who replied?
The Planning Heads of two leading agencies!!!! :) :) :)
(And they had kind words for me too!)
Anyway, my point is that not even one junior Planner replied!!!
I mailed the same bunch of people once again yesterday informing them about the vacancy for an Art Director, hoping that they could recommend their friends.
And this is the reply I got from one of the junior Planners: "Please can you remove me from your mailing list!!!!!!!"
And to think this is the same woman who put up her email address on a popular Planner's blog with this ad:
"Just over a year old in India, XYZ is a young, funky and charged up agency- looking for planners to join our Delhi and Bombay offices, working on a range of accounts.
Perks include cinnamon lattes, eclectic music collections & lots of laughs"
Lots of laughs indeed!
This is for you, Ms. Young, Funky, Charged-up Planner:
Stupidity combined with arrogance and a huge ego will get you a long way.
Take a look at what this Doc advises you to avoid:
Chinese foods – agino moto or Chinese salt is bad for hair ???????
Colas, Coke, Pepsi, soft drinks & all kinds of Juice ???????????
Strictly NO SMOKING (Eh! Didn't he say 'List of foods to avoid'????)
(In case you're wondering how I land up at these sites, please credit these finds to the nature of my job. I've gotta keep looking for stuff like this, you know!)
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
An Account Director (AD) with puffy eyes and a plastic smile, walks in to clock her time.
To greet her at the door, is her grumpy Creative Director (CD) friend, who is busy attending to a grave nicotine addiction.
CD: "Hey AD. Wazzzza??"
AD: "CD!!!! Haaaang on! I've gotta sign in first!"
Now the CD and AD find something interesting to discuss: SEX (What else!)
AD: "Oooh! Sex is fun! Women who think chocolates are better have no clue about what they are missing out!"
CD: "Eugh! Whatever!"
AD: "Sex is FUN!"
CD: "Sex is WORK!"
AD: "What nonsense! Sex is not work. It's FUN"
CD (puff! puff! nicotine puff!) : "It's WORK"
Three cigarettes later, the argument rages on inconclusively.
The Creative Director gets an IDEA (Boing!)
He summons a weary looking Account Executive (AE) to settle this argument for good.
AD: "AE!!!!! You have no work to do? Have you called the client? Have you raised the estimates? Have you cleaned my table? Have you followed up the outstanding payments? Uh Uh?"
AE (petrified): "Ah.. eh.. umm.. yea...Client called.. asked where you are.. told her you were at a yoga class!"
AD (pulling at her hair): "Duh! You told the Client that? Argh! What an idiot you are! Argh!"
CD (concerned) : "AE, listen, fancy a puff?"
AE (unsure): "No Thanks"
CD: "Yoga? Hell! What's this about?"
AD: "Shut up!"
CD: "Ok AE, Listen! We are trying to settle an argument here! We need your expert opinion, dude!"
AD (rolling her eyes): "Yea right! AE's opinion!"
CD: "Dude! Your AD says Sex is Fun. I say it's Work. What is your take on it?"
AE (deep in thought): "Umm.. I guess it is FUN. I have to agree with the AD. Cos' if it was Work, I would be doing it for her!"
Monday, March 03, 2008
Keith Macdonald, from Washington, Tyne and Wear has been branded a "Reckless Romeo" after it emerged that all his children are by different women.
As he is unemployed he does not support his children financially, but Mr Macdonald says he has no plans to father any more children.He said: "My mum's not happy about all these kids. She tells me to pack it in and keep it in my trousers." (via BBC)
On behalf of the ad world, here's a little something for you, Mr. Reckless Romeo:
Holy cow! That indeed should be a matter of grave concern to Britian, right?
Now, take a look at India's poverty:
Around 26 percent of India's population lives below the poverty line (BPL), which is defined as 12 rupees per day. (link)
12 rupees a day = Rs. 4380 a year = £55 a year!!!!!!!!!!!!
I did a little reading up on Wikipedia about Poverty in India and this is what it said:
In 1830, India accounted for 17.6% of global industrial production against Britain's 9.5%. But by 1900, India's share was down to 1.7% against Britain's 18.5%.
Jawaharlal Nehru noted, "A significant fact which stands out is that those parts of India which have been longest under British rule are the poorest today."
Woah! I really hope this is shaking up some of the 19th Century Britishers in their graves!
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Personally, that was a pleasant and reassuring sign that my work was speaking well for me.
Two days ago, I was surprised to receive an email from Prateek Srivastava (Group President- South @ O&M) inviting me to lunch with Shelly Lazarus and Miles Young!
Please allow me to introduce these highly decorated Advertising Professionals:
Shelly Lazarus, CEO & Chairperson of O&M Worldwide is a charismatic Ogilvy-ian with more than 35 years of Ogilvy Experience under her belt. She was recently featured on Fortune's annual Most Powerful Women in the World list.
Miles Young, Chairman of O&M Asia/Pacific, is a highly respected authority in the Advertising field. His career spans Lintas (now LOWE), Allen Brady & Marsh and O&M, which he joined in 1983.
Now coming back to the email, Prateek's invitation was a pleasant surprise, because the accompanying text read:
In case you are wondering why you have been chosen for this lunch, the answer is that you've been chosen as the "Young Tigers" for 2008. This is a programme in which we select some of our younger people to work on important projects on issues/opportunities that are of interest to Ogilvy.
Besides going through the recipients' list (15 of us) to ensure that I hadn't received the email accidentally; I also pinched myself a couple of times before asking Ashish to look at the email and confirm I wasn't dreaming all this up :)