Archive for February, 2011

Advertising is about striking the right note on those chords of brain that most often are in sync with heart. When this happens, a need is generated and brain directs to buy, be it a product or a service or an idea. Indian advertising too follows this rule but here age old advertising trends are still thriving along with the latest and innovative trends.

Advertising started with the need to sell and word of mouth advertising was the oldest mode to advertise. With the advent of social media it again has become a focal point of advertising. Social media has also altered the trend of one way flow of information to interactive sessions where consumers have become a part of the process. So instead of being force-feeding advertisements, users are now getting empowered to choose.

Internet has revolutionized the advertisement world. It has introduced international trends and made them more acceptable especially in urban centres. Also, it is one of the most cost effective ways to advertise. Though internet accessibility is increasing in India but vast percentage of population is not yet exposed to it. Newer technologies have shifted focus from mass promotions to target marketing. Use of plastic money provides information on spending habits of consumers. Internet helps in tracking individuals’ interests. Opinion polls, television rating techniques and audience profiling leads to specific targeting of niche customers. This precision marketing is cost-effective and consumer is getting proactively involved due to importance given to his feedbacks.

Today we don’t like giving a single minute from our time to advertisements whenever we have choice to do so. We surf channels while watching television or listening to radio. We don’t waste time in opening unwanted emails. “Do not call registry” has given us option to stay away from telemarketers. But that doesn’t mean that people don’t like advertisements. With increasing spending power and more available options advertisement industry has much to provide. They simply have to remain on their toes to constantly satiate consumers’ changing sensibilities and sensitivities. Embedded ads during programs, some of which are woven in stories itself is one such example of changing times. Shorter, smarter, and wittier advertisements, which are believable and specific are replacing exaggerayted advertisements. But nothing could replace jingles from Indian ads! Occasion based advertisements have been introduced in big way for which new occasions are created and older ones are reinvented. When we were kids we used to celebrate Republic Day and Independence Day but we never had merchandisers to come up with so many products to sell. Dhanteras and Akshaya Tritiya are well utilized by marketeers. Present generation is more aware of these festivals than previous one and no one is complaining! Mother’s Day; Father’s Day; Daughter’s Day and all such days were never heard of few years back. Even days to put across social messages are included in this long list and advertised on vast scale. If we put cynicism aside for a while and separate consumerism from this, it has reintroduced celebrations in our lives.

With changing time there are noticeable cultural changes in our advertisements. Not all of theses changes are progressive. Advertisements are commoditizing every emotion and confusing young minds that fail to segregate information. Kids are more often targeted these days for all kinds of products, which reflect changing social scenario. Kids are not only influencing spending patterns but are getting more demanding with increased consumerism. Everyone is confused on what they really need. Some insurance companies still portrays that insurance is needed for son’s education and daughter’s marriage and nobody notices. Though not all ads projects our society but few such ads make us see the real picture of ourself. We still have miles to go before we can actually say that ours is a progressive society. Instead of reacting when a female sitting judge of Supreme Court listed her daughter’s marriage as liability, we need to convey right message constantly. There are undoubtedly many barriers which have been broken in recent times. Gender divide has softened in our advertisements. Though traditions haven’t lost their place but new values too are welcomed. Here special mention to Government advertisements is very important. These ads have most of the times struck the balanced note in conveying their messages in convincing manner without getting overzealous tones.

In India television; radio; newspapers; pamphlets and billboards are still a good bet. Viral marketing and direct mailers too are registering their presence. Youth may choose newer modes and there could be a rural-urban divide, but majority population in India still look for traditional modes of advertisements. Not just billboards but advertisements on walls while travelling on highways is a common sight. Along with all these exists our good old bhopu i.e. loudspeaker, which city dwellers do not miss but they play important role in many canvassing in rural areas.

Whether it is celebrity who is promoting or a mere mortal, Indians want value for their money. Some of them might have learnt to spend without analysis but majority of them want ads to convey whether the product is worth their attention. Serve them well and reap the rewards.


Past year has witnessed so many scams that it has lost its news worthiness. Corruption has become a topic of gossip these days. Very few people gets outraged by this widespread menace, unless, it strikes them personally. Corruption is there since long back. The only difference is that today it has been exposed in every sphere and we no longer can keep our eyes shut. But most disturbing part of this revelation is that everybody is assuming that they aren’t part of the system and others are blamed for disastrous proportion of corruption. Cynicism can not totally be done away with but along with that don’t we need self-introspection? How long carrying on with blame game solves the problem? Isn’t the time to stand for honesty yet arrived?

There were scams before Harshad Mehta took the centre-stage. This scam took figures of bungled liquidity to thousands of crores, a figure that was unheard of prior to this episode. People were shocked and soon this shock transformed into awe for this biggest scam-monger of Indian history. When Harshad Mehta did it many people were impressed and dubbed him a clever man who could take Government machineries and regulatory authorities for a ride. That was 1990s. Telgis and Ketan Parekhs followed and Lalu Yadav was cherished for his media histrionics after fodder scam. We talked at lengths about them but weren’t outraged yet. Such things used to come to surface far and in between and we could easily ignore them. Smaller scales have mostly failed to catch our attention.

A little dishonesty was acceptable and cited as a necessity for survival in this practical world. But standard definition of “little” was missing and the scales of this measurement kept changing with time, space and increasing temptations. Corruption became a norm and what we are witnessing today is manifestation of the same dishonesty that was always prevailing and was increasing in its proportion.

Then came Satyam scam which exposed corruption in corporate sector. Commonwealth Games; 2G scam; IPL fiasco followed in quick succession and uncovered the nexus between Public and Private Enterprises and also took Sports World in its stride. Year 2010 has turned into year of scam and 2011 is continuing with the same. Our Judiciary started getting blemished. Media was no longer a vigilant eye for public. When these watchdogs were falling from there respected positions no body was wondering. We all got used to it. Corruption was considered a domain of few sections but today it has breached all such boundaries. No section of our society, no part of our administration remained untouched. Collectively or individually, we all fall in one or the other category of system that is corrupt.

Being exposed isn’t something to be proud of. But rather than being ashamed or dejected we can look for ways to better ourself. Exposure of corruption has also exposed the hardship that an honest person faces in such scenario. It’s the time to replace cynicism with corrective measures. In fact these exposures have given opportunity to honest and honesty to raise their voice, the voice that has been strangulated many times. Whistleblowers have paid with their life or were constantly harassed for exposing wrong-doings. They favoured us and made us aware of real picture. Now is the time when one needs to decide that if this awareness must be used to discuss it just to fill our spare time or one must stand up for building an honest nation.

I hand over little goodies to my child’s school bus driver/conductor and convince myself that I am doing it out of generosity. That bus waits if my kid is little late but refuses to do so for other kids.

If my gesture was out of generosity, why does this generosity is showered only for those who can favour me? What my child will learn from this?

He’ll see no harm in bribing as it’ll be an act to seek favours for him and this is what he has learnt since childhood.

When somebody else does similar things and we are disfavoured, we complain of CORRUPTION.

P.S.:- There are very little things that provides base of our next generation. Children learn what we practice. Mould your actions according to what kind of future generation you wish to see.

Revolution of Self

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Honesty

Most of us can recall the story even today. But most of us can only recall its words, forgetting its essence even while narrating it to kids.

Today our dishonesty has made us untrustworthy and we still wonder why there is so much of mistrust around. The shepherd boy did it for fun; we do it for various other reasons. Before teaching our children we need to learn the lessons of honesty ourself.

The whole present generation needs a change, a “Revolution of Self” to have a better generation ahead.