Sunday, April 11, 2010

Boobs Without Borders


Read this damn interesting piece by Dianne Sharma-Winter.

Please Infect Me!



Smiling is infectious;
you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling, too.
I passed around the corner and
someone saw my grin
When he smiled I realized I'd
passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile and
then I realized its worth,
A single smile, just like mine,
could travel round the earth.
So if you feel a smile begin,
don't try to contain it,
Let's start an epidemic, quick,
and get the world infected!

-- The Speaking Tree, April 11, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Taala (The Lock)


Some times, some things affect you in a way you would have never thought of. And they occur out of sheer randomness -- out of the blue! That's exactly how I came across this beautiful poem, pasted inside a bus in Mumbai, in Sept'08. I couldn't help but jot it down. Read on.
--

ताला

आती है गौरय्या
और दरवाज़े के लटकते ताले पर
मारती है ठोर

कुत्ता आता है
खोलने की कोशिश में
ताबड़-तोड़ पटकता है पांव

दौड़ती हुई आती है गाय
और ज़ोर-ज़ोर से हंकरने लगती है

सोच नहीं पाता है डाकिया
किसको दे वह चिट्ठी
ताला
कई दिनों से लटका है यहाँ

पुरबईया और पछुआ हवा के झोंके
हिला नहीं पाते हैं ताले को
कितना भारी हो गया है
यह ताला

कितना अखरता है एक व्यक्ति का न होना

-- कुमार वीरेन्द्र

Monday, March 29, 2010

Amrut Fusion

Amrut Fusion Single Malt whisky -- This made-in-Bangalore single malt was crowned the third finest whisky in the world by renowned British whisky writer Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible 2010, six years after it was launched at The Pot Still, a popular bar in Glasgow, Scotland, the mecca of whisky makers. It began retailing in India last month.

Single malt whisky makes up the premium end of the global whisky market, like Cognac in brandy. Single malt is distinguished as whisky made from barley and processed at a single distillery as opposed to the more mass-market, blended whiskies—such as Johnnie Walker and Chivas Regal—which are a mix of different types of whiskies often made from varied grains.

Amrut moved ahead of the times in the 1980s. Unlike its peers, who turned molasses into whisky, Amrut started procuring barley from farmers in Punjab and Rajasthan, in addition to molasses. This gave it a headstart in studying barley; 20 years of trial and error followed before the first single malt whisky hit the shelves in 2004. Uniquely, Amrut Fusion combines barley grown in Punjab with imported Scottish peated barley. The two barleys are mashed, fermented with yeast, distilled in pot stills and matured in carefully chosen oak casks for four years. The two matured malts are fused in measured proportions and married for three months. Peated barley, or malted barley heated by firing peat in a kiln, gives the whisky a much desired, smoky character.

Well, I'd definitely try to lay my hands onto this spectacular Amrit, errr...  Amrut. Read more about it here.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone

A poem, which I like very much, courtesy M R.

--

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

-- W. H. Auden

Sunday, March 28, 2010

And I blog again!

1.5 years! Yes, it's been one and a half years that I last blogged. Well, it's finally time to reboot again. Finally, time to let go of all the laziness, procrastination and general blaah.

Welcome again! Let's begin.


Well, too much has happened over the course of past few months. I shall try to present a quick snapshot.

  • An amazing 7-day trip to Mumbai, discovering the city in all its charm and grandeur.
  • Mumbai blasts
  • Got a new job -- another one of proud occasions of my life
  • Travel
  • Amritsar -- Golden Temple, Wagah border, Jallianwala Bagh, great food
  • Rishikesh/Haridwar -- White water rafting, other adventure sports
  • Lucknow -- A nawaabi experience -- food and the sights
  • Farewell to the togetherness of 2 years with a hope to continue for a lifetime
  • Joining the new job
  • Travel
  • Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Jharia, Noamundi
  • Finally posted to Delhi NCR -- Faridabad
  • Work, job, excitement
  • Many many ups & downs in personal life
  • Tata Crucible Quiz -- Winner, Regional round; National finalist
  • First stay at the Taj Palace Hotel, Colaba, Mumbai
  • Bought my first car
  • Travel
  • Kochi, Thrissur, Alleppey, Bangalore, Goa
  • First international trip -- Dubai

Phew! That's a very very brief summary of what all life has offered me since I last blogged and I'm sure I would have missed out many things.

My only wish is to continue this journey and I look forward to blogging more frequently and with a new zeal. Wish me luck!

P. S. -- Like the first time, this time as well, Maggi played a pivotal role in helping me blog. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moby Dick on a Stick

Whale meat resurfaces on Iceland menus.

Diners at the upscale Lobster House restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland can enjoy familiar appetizers such as lobster bisque or smoked eel. But the hot new starter is minke whale sashimi with wasabi crust and a shot of ginger tea on the side.

"It's traditional food made in a modern way," says chef Ulrich Jahn, who is now perfecting whale ceviche -- raw, thinly carved slices marinated in lime juice, lemon grass and garlic.

The recipes are mouthwatering to Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson, the man on a mission to introduce whale meat to a new generation of prosperous Icelanders.

After a 20-year ban on commercial whaling, Iceland in 2006 resumed limited hunting of minke whale, one of the smallest and most numerous of the main whale species. Mr. Jonsson is the sole landlubber at the country's only licensed whaling company, Hrefnuveidimenn ehf. Marketing is among his many tasks.

However, the marketing for it remains a challenge, especially to the younger generation. Iceland and Japan are among the few countries that still hunt whales amid global opposition.

Read on about this interesting story here.

TATA NEN -- Hottest start-ups



In its search for the most innovative start-ups in India, the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) in association with the Tata group has launched the Tata NEN Hottest Startups awards. In a first of its kind contest, winners will be chosen through a public voting process, rather than a panel of experts. The voting begins today.

Some of the startups include Seventymm, MobiYard, oCricket, Stylus, Lucifer Lights, MobiLearnTV, Rupeetalk, The Loot.

Check out the competition site (www.hotteststartups.in) for more details. on the complete list of nominations, reviewing experts, nominee profiles, and ratings and additional entrepreneurial resources. The site is indeed a well of knowledge and creative ideas, even for the non-participants. I personally like the sections -- Knowledge bank, Bright ideas and Fun Box, among others.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Unique Story Proposition -- the new USP


Advertising works in today's interactive world if it tells interesting stories that resonate with the viewer.
Forget the hard sell. Advertising works in today’s interactive world if it tells interesting stories that resonate with the viewer and don’t bore her even after repeated airings. Still, the ad man as a storyteller is a role rife with dichotomies: is it possible to be a friend of the viewer and also sell to her? Besides, if stories are usually equated with fiction, can they be truthful—without the hyperbole and posturings of being eco-conscious, or socially responsible?
Paul Woolmington, co-founder, Naked Communications, tells me the word storytelling does not mean ad men are creating fiction; instead, it is about how messaging evolves and builds engaging consumers.
Woolmington’s point: Today, brands stand nude in front of the consumer than ever before, requiring changes in the way we communicate. With infinite channel choices and new media, a one dimensional world of push communications has to make way for four-dimensional storytelling where the agency, or the advertiser cedes control of the message to the consumer. These stories need to be rooted in an authentic base and dialogue, but play out in a non-traditional, non-linear way. Thus, marketing moves away from being a mere hawker when consumers are an integral part of the dialogue, he says.
Ad pundits say that the story should be born from the brand’s raison d’etre. There’s a unique story (not selling) proposition (USP), which every piece of communication should cue into, they say. Pepsi’s stories, for instance, are about change. The pundits add that customers, stakeholders, employees, distributors and others should co-write the brand story and take it forward.
The brand’s story need not always be told. It’s usually experienced at each and every point of consumer contact: packaging, retail and service. Genuine product promise and innovation, not advertising, made Bodyshop an iconic brand. Its parallel in the digital world could be Google, recently voted as the most reputed company in America.
More importantly, the brand story must never appear false, or contradictory. Unilever’s Dove tells a great story of real beauty, though online talk that the ads used touch-up artists did cause some dissonance.
A classic story should be built on enduring brand values, but capable of entertaining and surprising—with twists in the tale and space for creative change. I’ve loved the ongoing brand stories of Apple, Nike, Adidas, Fevicol, Matrix, Cadbury…all high on USP.
Above all, a great story should move you enough to open your purse—after unlocking your heart.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fight For Kisses

Well-o-well! You gotta check out this viral, which has climbed up in my personal favourites list. It's a commercial for Wilkinson Quattro Titanium blades, launched in 2007.

Animated brilliantly, it tells about how there's always a fight for the kisses, from the lady in the house, between her baby and her husband. You definitely gotta watch it!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mardaangiri


Well, as one of the takeaways from the Marketing Summit mentioned in the post below, is the newest definition of MBA -- Mard Bachao Andolan. This is a pseudo public service ad featuring Sanjay Dutt, lashing out at metrosexuals and urging the Indian men to be more 'manly'. It is actually a surrogate ad for Haywards 5000 beer.

Haywards 5000 has initiated a Mard Bachao Andolan, whose objective is to rescue Indian men from the jaws of sissy drinks, coloured hair, pomeranian dogs, salsa, cooking Thai food, etc. Good luck to them!




video

Friday, August 29, 2008

I won!!

One of my favourite quotes is:

When was the last time you did something for the first time?


My answer to that would be August 29, 2008. Today, I won a cash prize worth Rs. 10, 000/- for the first time in my life! I have won numerous prizes in quizzing and dumb charades but never a cash prize. I have won all sort of things from a fish bowl to CDs to gift vouchers to blessings but a cash prize had always eluded me somehow. It was a very weird feeling till now when I used to see people -- juniors as well as seniors, walking away with all the moolah. But thankfully, the jinx is broken now.

For those of you who care to know what did I win the prize for ... well, it was the annual Marketing Summit & National Level Paper Writing Contest at IMI, Delhi called Srijan'08. The title of my research paper was "Innovations in Sales & Distribution".

But, jinhe naaz hai voh kahan hain?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

1984 in 1954

Check out these front and back book covers for 1984 on Amazon, posted by David Rolfe.


They are from the 1954 Signet (#S798) paperback edition, and are quite unlike the covers for any other editions that I've seen for Orwell's most well-known novel, which tend toward minimalism, with the numerical title almost always taking up the majority of the space.



In case you can't read the over-the-top text on the back cover (which manages to not mention Winston Smith, Julia, O'Brien, Room 101, Ingsoc, or Oceania), here's what it says:

Which One Will YOU Be In the Year 1984?

There won't be much choice, of course, if this book's predictions turn out to be true. But you'll probably become one of the following four types:

Proletarian--Considered inferior and kept in total ignorance, you'll be fed lies from the Ministry of Truth, eliminated upon signs of promse of ability!

Police Guard--Chosen for lack of intelligence but superior brawn, you'll be suspicious of everyone and be ready to give your life for Big Brother, the leader you've never even seen!

Party Member: Male--Face-less, mind-less, a flesh-and-blood robot with a push-button brain, you're denied love by law, taught hate by the flick of a switch!

Party Member: Female--A member of the Anti-Sex League from birth, your duty will be to smother all human emotion, and your children might not be your husband's!

Unbelievable? You'll feel differently after you've read this best-selling book of forbidden love and terror in a world many of us may live to see!

P. S. -- Note the button on the girl's shirt: 'AntiSex League.' Heh!

Source: Jason

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Positioning paradox

This post deals with the power of simplicity in marketing and explains some important terms in marketing.

The superstars in branding are the ones who have cracked the “positioning paradox”. The positioning paradox says that in branding, the more features you show, the less you are seen. The more details you provide, the more vaguely you communicate. The more directions you give, the harder it is to be located. The higher the number, the lower the value. That’s why it’s called a paradox.

Amateurs are afraid to leave even a single feature or benefit on the table, fearing they’ll lose some corner of the market. So they say everything, and communicate nothing. It’s the “bed of nails” effect in reverse. A bed with a single nail sticking out will penetrate the second you lie down. But a thousand nails can’t penetrate anything. The pressure of each nail is completely diffused by all the others around it.

The positioning paradox is also behind many other axioms. For example, the “least number of words” principle. Generally, the shorter and crisper the expression of the core idea, the greater the impact. Messaging can be shorter and crisper when the idea is singular: ADP—the payroll company; Rolex—the luxury watch; Duracell—the longest-lasting battery, etc.

This is all common sense. But still many companies fail to realize that and deluge its audience with heavy showers of mindless 'extra' information, losing the main message they want to convey. Thus, apt is the conclusion that the simplest message wins.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Evolution of Gmail Chat

Well, it's always good to read about what goes inside the world's biggest facilitator amongst all the Web 2.0 companies -- the inveterate Google. So, here comes the confessions, the insider stories and usable technology ideas, straight from the horse's mouth i.e. the official Google blog. Read here to find out about the evolution of Gmail chat -- how it is a result of very obvious and simple design ideas.