Archive for April, 2009

Ads are for customers, dumbo!

Godrej is running a Ad for its Eon series of Air Conditioners with the tag line “Designed by Curiosity” – good tagline, right timing (it is summer in India) but well, wonder why the ad makes the customers appear like fools…? It shows various households and various customers sitting in offices, homes etc all sweating and puffing in the heat because their air conditioner is still wrapped up…(again, the theme is good) but then the ad goes on to ask – why buy an air conditioner and not use it? Well, this is the catch line…but it fails to drive home the point – why are the people unable to use the existing air conditioners? (probably because of power cuts!) and why will they be able to use the Godrej air conditioners?

I fail to understand the ad…it sort of either blames the customer (if you take it in one way) or it makes them appear foolish or helpless (if you look at it the other way)..either way is not too cool for a brand that is looking to re-brand itself in the “aspiring” and “consumption” oriented families of today as a cool brand to associate with!

I think a better catch line, would have been – why buy an air conditioner and yet melt in the heat or something…any comments?

Compare that with LG Air Conditioners ad – which has the tag line “Tomorrow is waiting” ….it shows people peacefully falling asleep in different contexts in a room powered by LG air conditioner in the sound belief that they need to enjoy the ambience and coolness now and deal with everything else later..I kind of like this ad – it makes the customer feel secured and comforted and of course “cool”! 🙂

My Chinese Impressions – Part 1

Now that my China stint is winding down, I think I can think more clearly about my experiences. This is the first in series of many to come of my Chinese impressions and adventures in China – so keep watching this space for more…

My first impressions when I landed in Shanghai, early last year, were the following:

1. Something that looks like the US, strikes you as being very modern and cosmo on the front, but really is not….look at the crowds bustling about, in the subway or otherwise, look at the people peddling the stolen goods on the main streets, look at the bleary look on people’s eyes which shows they are overworked and tired, you would know immediately that it is not, its a community struggling to establish it’s identity. Trying to learn the best from the west, yet trying to keep a tight reign on the minds of it’s people, hide the worst from the visitors and project the best, the Government is visibly taking a lot of pains to go through the motions of freedom and apperances of liberty, but is it inching anywhere closer to be that? Just wondering…

2. People generally are kinder to foreigners – not too much cheating going on with them. I guess they have been drilled to be conscious of the image that a foreigner sees of the country and takes away with him, so they are careful, or maybe its part of the culture to be good to them…but a culture which was closed to foreign cultures in the near history (memory of a few generations), which when is opened to different culture’s how does it react? (Food for thought, here…) I guess Shanghai has weared off in its reaction because of years of incoming foreigners and moving to the inner provinces will give me a better glimpse of how they really treat foreigners….though, i do get bewildered glances from people even in Shanghai, not too many Indians on the street as it is…if you can speak good English and you look different than Chinese, you are assumed to be from the US!

3. People smoke everywhere from hotel rooms and lobbies to restaurants and roads and just about anywhere you can imagine, there are no restrictions and any place could be thick and smoke filled…I don’t know how long it will take to register that SMOKING IS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH!!! As I was writing this, now that I think about it, I did not see many women light up vs. men – wondery why? Are there any cultural taboos? Or have i been looking at the wrong places

4. People dont speak English and get embarrased that they cannot and hence they don’t, which is kind of a vicious cycle. Speaking and understanding English (even the Chinese version of it!) is a sure ticket into highly paid jobs, interfacing with MNCs as an interpreter to the CEO position and foreigners as travel guides to high end hotel managers….

More to come…

missing career front end – part 2 (job seekers)

Talking about the next set of issues currently in job seeking.

Now I know which job I want do and have a shortlist of companies that I want to work for, but what kind of career progression can I expect from the job role in a company? What about cross-functional roles, will I be able to gain exposure at more than what I start doing or will I be pigeon-holed? What is this company culture like, will I really like it there? What if I get bored on the job after a few years or want to do something different, what are my exit options? What have other people in this space done a few years after starting out in this role?

When do people think about higher studies in this career path? What kind of higher degrees are they getting? Does it really help them grow in the career path faster?

Do the campus company presentations cover the ground in so much detail – that is just a preview to the investment that you need to make with your career choice, just like the cover page of a mutual fund, it is up to you to dig deeper, go further and look for the answers you need before you take the plunge.

Where do you seek this information currently? Is there a good website which helps you get the career insights from people who have gone ahead in the career paths of your choice? What about the emerging career paths, where do you find information about these? Do share your opinion, I’m all ears….

missing career front end – part 1 (job seekers)

I spent a long time, after I started working, thinking about what to type into the search box at Naukri, Monster, HotJobs (take your pick!) and when I finally typed it into the box, I realized that I didn’t match the requirements (My aspirations differed from my experience).

In short, I have realized that the two pieces (of the many out there!) that are kind of missing in the job search platform are a) what is out there not just right now, but historically or in the near past in my industry/field of interest ? b) what is it that I can be good at and enjoy doing? or to turn it on its head and ask a) what is it that I love doing? b) what is out there that exactly or kind of comes close to what I love for me?

The latter part of the question goes something like this, now if I kind of know what I want to do and it is entirely different from what I did previously – how do I go about enabling that transition? And as most people are thinking, I’m willing to take the risk, I’m willing to put in the money, how do I know what is out there, whether I will really like it, will I fit in, what are the returns I can expect, is it worth giving up what I have now (however bad that maybe!), are there others who have gone this way and done this before?

All this and more…needs solutions. Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this and what you think can be done…

India Conferencing

I have been looking all over the internet to find a free phone based conference/live call recording software which would have local (India-based) access numbers…but unable to find anything suitable. Ideally, I was looking at something like blogtalkradio or talkshoe, but alas!

If anyone knows of any – kindly pass it across….will appreciate the same!

The Altered Bingo Ad

Bingo (which is a snack brand of ITC’s) recently launched their cream & onion international flavor in an attempt to go global (?) or maybe, just cater to the “videshi” is good Indian mentality?. They have been running an advertisement to promote this flavor specifically that had a line towards the end which said “Apna Bingo Vilayat Mein Bhi Milta Hai?” meaning our “Bingo is available abroad too?” .

This was kind of jarring because it meant in a way that Bingo as a product couldn’t be available globally which went against the exact intentions of the launch, I guess. I was wondering for the past few weeks every time I saw that ad why someone would promote an international flavor product and give it such a negative implication at such a heavy price (of the ad, of course!). And today, to my surprise and relief, they retained the entire ad (which is a nice desi one, by the way) and changed that one line to, “Yeh To Humare Gaav Mein Bhi Milta Hai” meaning “This is available in my village too”. Now, I thought that was a nice modification to the ad – conveyed the meaning perfectly well. Now, product does not feel out of place in the ad

Kudos to the advertising team and the Bingo’s marketing team for being on their feet about this.

An interesting market trivia which proves the prowess of the Bingo Strategy: Bingo shot to 16 percent all-India market share within six months of launch. Ref here:

This was a long time coming…

Here I’m about 6 years after the blogging revolution began, taking my first baby steps into it. When I thought about what my first blog should be about, I thought what better to write than how I got here and how it happened to be now!

In 2003, one fine July morning, I was thinking about topics to write about for my freelancing stint with Metro Plus. While browsing I came across the concept of a “Web Log” or “Blog” and wanted to explore it further. When I approached the local The Hindu office with my “brilliant idea”, I was met with a surprised look and politely asked to select topics that were locally relevant…of course, they were “right”, then!

Of course, I did not to write about it and stayed confused about the implications of a blog for quite sometime. I guess I was resisting change to begin with, which evolved into informed neglect later (I have been wanting to start blogging since 2006!). But here, I’m now…

In more ways than one, a blog has been a social revolution and given a right to public opinion to so many people that no other public platform has never done before and as it stands for who you are over a period of time, it becomes your digital signature, your digital persona – so better late than never, so here I’m, to join the party…and here to stay.

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