Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Logo showgo #19: 6/10

Really good graphic design. Love the way the inner 'B' is slightly off-centre. It's what separates the logo from the ordinary.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The retro cool of Bata

I'm sold on Bata. Why so? Because the stamp of individuality that Nike likes to attest to itself has gone. When everyone wants to be individual, nobody remains so. The mysterious appeal of Bata lies in the return of retro that we're witnessing and will continue to see in the years to come. The marketeers at Bata will do well to make a note of it and start pumping a little more money to take advantage of this trend. More than any other brand of footwear, the classic Bata brand is best positioned to take advantage of retromania.

Thank God for Planners

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Memoirs of a Geisha - A triumph of execution

No matter what you think of originality, somebody else has already thought of it. And that's why, in this day and age, execution is just as important, if not more important, an idea than the idea itself. Proof of this is the film I watched last night. In terms of the story, it was just as melodramatic and formulaic as, say a film like Umrao Jaan. It's the breathtaking execution that make both films stand out. Advertising practitioners would do well to make a note of it. Oddly enough, Umrao Jaan didn't go on to win as many international accolades as Memoirs of a Geisha did. Hmm.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Things we buy #12: Eco-friendly bra/shopping bags

Trust the Japanese to come up with the most innovative weirdities society will ever get to know. What is it about the Japanese mind that makes them come up with such twisted wonders?

Skill Bill #6: Use people

If you don't know how to use people without making them feel like they are being used you're not likely to succeed in advertising, and in life. The key to being more productive lies in your ability to multiply resources. In my opinion, this is what makes the Internet special: It multiplies.

Skill Bill #5: Board games

Nothing like board games to make the mind go places the body cannot. Here's one that I chanced upon via a post from Blaiq. Sounds fascinating. All this to say if you want to keep your mind curious, engaging and alive, play board games.

Lazy people

What is it about us that stops us from making that anonymous call? We'll make anonymous calls for all kinds of stupid things but we have to be cajoled, coaxed and pursuaded to make this kind of anonymous call? Crazy people. Great film.

Arthur aur les Minimoys

I think what this movie needed was some good English writing. The formula for successful animated films in English is wisecracks and smart writing to go with good animation. This film has some outstanding animation but some very banal dialogue writing. I suspect it lost some of its verve and sparkle when translated from French to English. In some ways, this film reminds me of the problems we face in advertising when writing for multilingual audiences.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Logo showgo #13: 6/10

Advertising dystopia

The film's best jokes—and Idiocracy is a very joke-dense film—trace the steady and inexorable crassification of the cultural landscape into a future where the Fuddrucker's hamburger chain has become "Buttf***er's" and Starbucks offers hand jobs along with its lattes. Nike's slogan is "Don't Do a Thing" and Carl's Jr.'s is "F**k You, I'm Eating." Slot machines in hospital waiting rooms promise a shot at free health care, and language has devolved into a mixture of "hillbilly, Valley Girl, inner-city slang, and various grunts."

Skill Bill #4: Mint words

A good way to practice lateral thinking, and cultivate it, is to spend a little time, every day, trying to come up with one new word. It's easier than you think. All you need is a bit of discipline. On second thoughts, it's harder than I thought.

The perils of overthinking

Skill Bill #3: Life matters

Don't work like your life depended on it. Advertising is too dependent on too many people to let your life depend on it. If you happen to be in a position where you can work as a lone ranger, then put your life and soul into it. Only then.

A tag late

I got tagged into doing this after I did it. Ah well, I'll just tag along. Again. Thanks for the tag.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Logo showgo #12: 7/10

Thank You for Smoking

Proof that you've got to be really smart to be in advertising. And really dumb to buy advertising. Great movie. Sooper soundtrack.

Skill Bill #2: General Gyan

If you want to be in advertising, be in advertising. And not in Client Servicing, Creative, Planning or Media Planning. Advertising is for a special kind of generalist.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Skill Bill #1: Google nuts

Most of the time people don't know things because they don't know where to look for them. Everything you need is out there. Learn how to find what you are looking for faster, and you'll do much more with what you find. Learn how to Google better. Every morning, come into work and play around for 15 minutes with different search word combinations on the world's best oracle. You'll be amazed at the kind of things that will get thrown up by your searches. Good fun. And good for your career too.

Logo showgo #11: 7/10

Raisin' California

The California Raisins made more money from merchandising sales than California farmers made selling real raisins - the very product the animated Raisins were designed to promote. Hmm.

Logo showgo #10: 6/10

Picture start #13

Don't think ads. Think smart.

Google topped the list of most popular brands in the UK despite spending spending just £1.4m on advertising last year, most of it online. See how this compares with the bloated ad spends of the lower-ranked brands.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Things we buy #11: Mimobots and other Popgadgets

Got to this when I was surfing for mimobots, which is another cool thing more and more of us will buy. Here you go. Good buys.

Advertising clever

In a very interesting and clever piece of advestigative journalism, Advertising Age has picked the 'Consumer' as the 'Agency of the Year'. Clever choice. And the biggest problem with most advertising creatives around the world - trying to be clever for their own good.

Forgive, don't forget.

Suggesting bad creative is the only way clients remember that they're creative too.

How not to do advertising

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Advertising love II

Advertising love

The thing about advertising, it's a lot like love. It always falls short of expectations. And now that you know this, go forth and fall in love with advertising. It's the only way to enjoy it. And its contradictions. Sounds so fucking wise, doesn't it? It's not. It's reality.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Judgement way

Always judge a product by its advertising. If the ad is intelligently conceived, you can be fairly certain that so will be the product.

Blogger v/s Typepad

It's interesting that blogger didn't feel the need to add a descriptor to its logo while typepad did. Any thoughts on why would be...well, interesting. If you had to launch a blogging service, would you add a qualifier to support the name/logo?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Mucous magic

Brand building is all about getting people to buy into a school of thinking. Good marketing starts with the search for a good brand name for an evolving school of thought. Example: Mont Blanc is not just a brand name. It's a school of thought. An Oscar is not just an award show. It's a school of thought. Apple is not a computer. It's a school of thought. If you had to look for a brand name for an Acting Academy that teaches budding actors the fine art of the kind of Oscar grovelling people pass off for acting, you could do worse than 'The Mucous School of Film Acting: the theory that great emotion is best telegraphed by failing to wipe away one's snot while weeping abjectly'. Introduced to me by Dana Stevens, film critic for

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Shooting from the hipness

When Demetri starts promoting Windows Vista, Demetri becomes unhip. So why have I mentioned this Heisenbergian phenomenon here? To illustrate the point that no matter what your brand is or wants to be, if it is associated with something that's not your brand the less powerful brand will change. What's interesting is that Dimitri didn't change perceptions about Vista. Windows is so powerful, that it changed Demetri. Much like Victoria's Secret changed Bob Dylan. More interesting music on how some brands/people are immune to the Heisenbergian principle.

Research queues

Bet you didn't know this about research. Then again, most people in advertising don't know research. Unfortunately.

A question of thought

The folks over at Edge have an interesting question worth thinking about. And what am I most optimistic about? Well, Marketing. (Spoken like a true cynic.) So...what are you most optimistic about?

The Free will not

I think I have written about this earlier, but I feel compelled to write about it again. The thing is, one of the most emailed articles on the NYT site is a take on whether we are masters of intention or are we just deciders in retrospect? What? Okay, let's try that again. There's an article I'm going to point you, my non-existent audience, to which talks about whether we have the right to choose or are we simply compelled to make the choices we make?

If it is the latter state of affairs, what's the point of all this marketing and advertising? If you ask me...and of course no one did...but in the unlikely event of someone going through the trouble to ask me, I'll say you decide. The question is can you? (Requires free membership registration.)

As Einstein paraphrased it, “a human can very well do what he wants, but cannot will what he wants.”

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Pomo marketing: Shopping entertainment

Selfridges nearly went out of business (as so many department stores have done) in the 1990s. But it reinvented itself by dismissing the order, formality and stillness of the old stores. Every brand was given its head and allowed to do what it wanted. Uniforms are out, as is standard decor, shelving and presentation. There is no hierarchy of goods; watches compete with perfume, luggage with high fashion, cafés with fast food. Shows, action and stunts break up the day. Selfridges calls it “shopping entertainment”. So successful is it that two years ago a panel of style gurus voted it Britain's “coolest brand”.

The Media landscape: 2007

Logo showgo #8: 7/10

Monday, January 01, 2007


If you don't know what that means, is that a problem with the brand name or the fact that the communication hasn't bothered to tell you what that means? 'Ahlan' means 'welcome' in Arabic and is the brand name for a 'tourist sim card' from Etisalat; a brand name that the client now wants to change because people don't know what 'Ahlan' means. In which case, shouldn't the solution be to communicate what the word means? Oh no, what the client wants is a brand new name. More accurately, it's what their branding agency wants. Why? Because it believes Etisalat needs to get away from Arabic brand names for their products.

Question: If you are the largest telecom provider in the Arabian world why would you want to get away from a brand name that welcomes tourists in your language? If I were to launch a similar package in India, I'd most certainly call it 'Namaste'.

Cases in point #8: India

In my trips around the world and the blogosphere, I've discovered that the thing people find most interesting about my country, India, is the fact that it is so different from any other place in the world. Isn't it odd then that the thing most Indians want is for their country to be like every other country in the world? If we want to build brand India, we must stick to our core competency and exploit it. Our niche is the fact that we're different. Let's not let globalisation destroy that. Al and Laura Ries would approve.

What bad Account Planners sound like

Words don't come easy

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