Monday, February 18, 2008

Chinese, Japanese, Battameez.......oh God!

Obviously the dad loves his son. So what does he do when he comes home from a trip? Buys him a cool mobile ofcourse! And from then on things go downhill for the daddy dearest cause the son is lost in the world of wireless fantasy with a myriad things to do. Its a good story to build an ad around. Unfortunately, the ad had something else in the offing. They wanted to show that the dad is constantly battling the mobile, vying for the attention of his son. And how do they show this? By having the head of the dad in a suitcase, which constantly peeps out to reach out to his and then finally just pops out to fall at his feet, which he conveniently chooses to ignore.

I just could not believe that this was a Moto ad. I have always had a high regard for them. Their positioning is always very distinct. Classy, stylish, contemporary and young. The 'Hello Moto' at the end of the ads are just perfect, like a fab dessert to finish off a nice dinner. And this positioning has been consistent across all Moto ads. The Razr ad where the room folds into a mobile, the one where the girl with the tight pants slips the Moto into her back pocket, the couple fighting in the tube, the Moto Music with Abhishek. All suave, all classy. But why in the name of the lord this new one? Yeah, I understand this is a phone for the young and for the masses. Not a very upmarket model which will sell only by thousands. All fine with the targeting and positioning. But the communication!!??

We had a presentation from Motorola in college. The head of marketing or thereabouts had come down to explain the philosophy of Moto and the opportunities that were available to join them. And he was quite expecting this question to pop up. His blanket statement was that "Hey as long as my ads are creating a buzz, positive or negative, I am home."

This is where I don't agree to his logic. Ads should be positively reinforcing the brand identity. Even if it is a new product, like in this case, targeting a whole new segment of customers, the message should be positive. Agreed that a Mika pulling over Rakhi Sawant to land a full blown kiss will do wonders for her career, that a 'Balbir Pasha ko AIDS hoga kya?' would work to bring the message out to the public, but I am not so sure the same logic would hold true to products. No viewer would be thrilled to see a head popping out in a ad. Its disgusting to see such things. I recall India Today long ago had carried a front page picture of a Taliban soldier carrying a chopped off head by the hair. Most of the readers wrote in very strongly to the editor condemning display of such gory scenes. The main issue, of people being treated like animals and butchered by the minute was not talked about. The style of information dissemination became more important than the information itself.

So, when the marketing manger talks about not caring about the direction of the buzz being created, it shows a certain levels of marketing immaturity from the company. The effectiveness of an ad campaign is measured by multiplying the 'reach, frequency and impact' of the ads. And this is where to measure marketing impact, the quality of impact should be considered as an additional dimension along with the force of the impact. How are the sales patterns changing after such a campaign? What would be the relative difference in numbers when the ad had a positive buzz and when it had a negative buzz? Do the Digen Vermas add to the brand equity or the dropping heads do? I am sure that the Lowes, the McCann Ericssons, the Ogilvies and the Leos of the world have more intelligent things to say about this, but I think its something worth mulling over for marketers around the world.

Whats your take?

Friday, February 08, 2008


This is a crap blog. If you are looking to gain something out of this stop right here. I am just writing this cause I am in a state of mind which does not fall into any particular category. These random electric impulses in my head need a conductor with low ohmic values. Ah that is where my blog comes into play. But i don't like calling it my blog. It doesn't have a personal touch. So at this defining moment of web history, I, Sandeep Cashyap, all of five feet ten inches and eighty kilos of flesh and bone, in the august presence of this IBM R 52 laptop dub thee my blog, as Linda. No its not a sexist thing to call her by a female name. Its just that I like the name Linda. If you have a problem with Linda, you can take a hike.

I am sitting in this class, International Marketing I think. This prof looks like the villain in the Power puff girls. But i think he looks like a stork. I have this tendency to map everyone I meet to an animal he or she resembles the closest. What I think about you? Ha! You shall never know. Its a secret I shall take to my grave. But I think I wont have a grave. Damn. Where will this secret go? Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Some wise man said. So are thoughts matter? Or should I ask do thoughts matter? And it matters to whom. You? Me ? Linda? I am bored of this line of thought! Its not taking this post anywhere. I don't like it when my thoughts go nowhere. That is when I feel I should go somewhere else, then my thoughts would also go somewhere right? Damn! this is sad logic.

The top two three players in the liquor industry are being debated upon. I have no clue what is happening. Can you believe I am sitting in the first bench and doing this? I am a bad student Linda. Forgive me for i know not what I am doing. But does anybody? Only Jesus did. But he ended up on a cross anyway. I agree with you Chester Bennington. In the end it doesn't even matter.

Now its moved over to pricing. Ah! Four Ps i think. Whatever. Its always a choice to listen in class or write a blog. You take the blue pill and you will wake up in your bed, like nothing happened. You take the red pill and I shall show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Life is just a summation of all the choices we have made till now. Isnt it Linda? I chose to create you and chose to call you Linda. QED. But what about the choices that are beyond our control or understanding and yet affect us. Life is a bitch.

Its channel alignment now. No one in class knows that it is. The prof is amazed at our ignorance. Here we are future building blocks of this nation (or maybe other nations) and unsure of the tools and concepts that are going to build it. whatever! We can learn. Life is long.

I feel like going on a trek right now. I like mountains. They are just there, as real as they can get. And the higher you go, a calming sense of peace pervades through body. The silence becomes very palpable. When you can hear every thump of your heart, hear your lungs creaking working overtime, your thoughts resounding in the quiet of the moment, it helps you understand who you are. I have been on many treks. But I don't know who I am. Its a process. its slow. Its complex. But I have hope. If you want to know more about yourself, just wear a good pair of boots and head to that nearest mountain.

I know all this doesn't make sense to you. I don't care. It does to me, and Linda sometimes. I have recycled my brain dung. My contribution to Greenpeace. Now back to the class. Vulnerability analysis has to do with specific points possibly going wrong. What is the difference between needs and wants? Can wants over a period of time mature into needs? What is.........

Monday, January 21, 2008

Run Mumbai Run

I have seen Marine drive in Mumbai at various points in time. Early morning 4 AM when there are none but stray dogs, beat cops or the incorrigible insomniacs; the middle of the afternoon, with the hot Mumbai sun beating down on the sticky necks; the pleasant evenings with the cool sea breeze flowing though your hair; late nights with the neon lights courting the curving road....but never had I seen it like yesterday morning! It was madness, it was chaos, it was magical! There were a million people, running, walking, laughing, cheering, singing and having a ball. Never in my life have I seen so much energy at a single instance. I loved the Mumbai marathon!

Ofcourse Dream a Dream ( was there. The fifty member gang were all geared up in bright yellow shirts symbolizing the chirpy mood of the morning. The whole reason I ran the marathon was for Dream a Dream to begin with. I had heard of how marathons world over are used as a channel to spread awareness, drive home messages important to the world and obviously generate charity. Having been involved with DaD for over three years now, I was wondering how I could contribute to them staying here in Mumbai now. And there was no better opportunity than the marathon. So I set myself a humble target of raising 5000 bucks for DaD and registered myself with GiveIndia, the official charity partner for the Mumbai marathon. Little did i know that I would be hit with this wave of goodwill from friends, family, professors and a whole motley bunch of people. It is a quiet reassurance to know that there are many who are concerned about those who were not equally blessed with good fortune like us. I collected a whopping 15333 bucks, more than three times my original target.

Some wise man said "Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach him to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime". Dream a Dream believes not in providing basic necessities but developing life skills among the underprivileged kids and helping them integrate better with the mainstream society. In other words teaching them how to fish. :)

I bow to the indomitable spirit of Mumbai and to all the fantastic people like you who make this world a better place to live in! I am feeling so light today.