Death of the brand!!!


This article is a direct outcome of the countless meetings where clients and agency have swiftly killed many ideas for the sake of building a great ‘brand’:

‘This is not my brand!’

‘Where is the brand consistency?’

‘But what is the tone of the brand?’

‘We have to define the personality of the brand.’

‘Who is the brand’s TG?’

Tell you what, the brand is dead.

There used to be a time when a brand was a cultural entity, created by a handful of people across client and advertising offices. The physique was defined, values were defined, personality traits were defined along with all other things that are put on brand identity charts in powerpoint presentations (this is the precise moment when ‘death by powerpoint’ was coined). They were defined and then they were broadcasted.…
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When woods whistle…pancakes sizzle


There is a discomfort in crowning W-O-M as a marketing tool (if it’s word of mouth, it needs no formulaic initiative right!!). But it is a necessary truth for any marketer. It is genuine. It can be contagious. And it can create good vibes for the brand more often than not. But W-O-M is meant to be subtle. Not choreographed. Then how does one ensure the right message gets whispered from ear to ear.

Look at the times when it has been attributed a bad name. The nefarious MMS clips & dirty pictures. The scandalous truths about celebrities & brands, takes new dimensions when it gets passed around. Then there are the good W-O-M examples: Like joke mails and the very irritating ‘blessings on the condition that you forward, else you will lose your…
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Optimistic Storytelling


Well what could’ve prompted this title? All advertising is optimistic about the manufacturers’ product or consumer’s future right? At the end of the day it plugs a need gap, sometimes gives an average product a second chance, makes bald people buy hair fortifying shampoo and so on. Of course most advertising is full of bubbling optimism. But there are a few that catch your eye and well just make you feel like you are reading a news article through rose tinted glasses.

This video came from a colleague (thanks An Roy) & triggered me really. I couldn’t resist sharing how simply they have woven the burst of happiness that comes from glugging a Coca Cola, into  something endearing. It is merely another perspective. lighter, more evocative…and countering a very palpable and aggressive daily bombardment…
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When will women truly come of age?


How I wish women said this poem aloud as they waltzed through life. But the title above is the reality, especially in Indian advertising. And that coming from a woman, i.e. I, me, myself. says a lot. Not about me, but the scores of learning that I’ve gathered from so many women chat ups across India. Big towns, small towns, metros, urban corners of cities, suburbs… Of course women have progressed in leaps & bounds. If you slot them in the ‘being independent’ & gaining confidence’ arena, there is tangible difference for the world to see.

But when it comes to comfortably co-existing & even flaunting their feminine power, the stereotypes play truant all the time. Why is femininity always depicted as the docile or then belligerent or then vampish or then independent woman…
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Ads that made you go hee haw ho ho: 2001-2010


There is nothing like humor to beat a tired day…actually just any day. Light, wicked, stupid or then belly shaking, a good joke is worth relishing. Some brands have created fuzzy spaces by doing just that. And you will be surprised at how high-value brands have pulled it off with much ease.

I’ve seen that the most recalled ads in India are often the ones that tickle. I have so enjoyed the political satire too, that some TV channels proudly flaunt. In a way they boldly do what we so oft want to do, publicly. Well, brides select grooms faster if they have a sense of humor. The Laughter challenge has created tons of Johnny Levers…and smileys have some amazing ‘humor takes’.

So as the year, rather decade comes to an end, here’s looking…
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Is your creative brief tuned to creating brand wealth?


Pompous as it may sound, the start of any creative brief must state the business objective. If it doesn’t, junk it this very minute. Because it is the one point in the working of a communication company, where the business, strategic & creative disciplines meet on a common ground. And toppling the very reasons these silos were created I’d say that without due diligence done & respect given to the marketing ambition, these disciplines have no reason to exist.

As an extended arm of the marketing team and possibly as the truest custodian of the brand, communication partners need to re-consider their approach to the brand building process. All too often collaboration in its truest sense is missing. Which means inspiring market traction,  cannot be the problem of one or two disciplines but all owners…
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Who will endorse the endorser?


Hey there. Am back after a hiatus I know and I must admit that this break was so totally worth it. It does refresh you and your thoughts. And let’s you discover at leisure, a lot of new things to nibble on. Today I have one such nibbler that should tickle you too. ‘Who will endorse the endorser’, comes from flipping sides. It’s just me with a consumer hat on…out and out.

Did the title intrigue you? Did I hear you ask why? It’s pertinent really given the stage we have reached with Indian advertising. Today product vanity, as displayed by the ‘R.T.B’ (reason to believe) or then its ‘Support’, often creates anthropomorphic subjects external to the product & brand itself to prove a point. Sounds complicated? For long the very reason to buy…
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When brands get festive


More than the fireworks, I have been hearing the sound of cash registers jingling over the last couple of weeks. The fervour was palpable in the last two days. For all the mini fests that happen through the year, by far Diwali evokes the highest excitement pan India where disproportionate money is spent on changing many things over. I love discounts of any kind…price offs, freebies, special offers with surprise gifts etc. And I am overwhelmed by the choice every Diwali.

What’s fun in the midst of all of this are the many brands that wish customers with very creative expressions of their Diwali gift. Over the years I have seen activity multiply during this period. Sales peak and so do the working hours. The mad scramble though is often in decoding what to…
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Mommy loves best when brands stoke the maternal instinct


A few months ago I heard an endearing story from a male friend, that obviously got me all soppy and even seemed to get to him, in a maternal sort of way. It was a story of two pigeons nesting on his balcony ledge. One of them as differentiated by the shade of its wings spent plenty of time cushioning the eggs…that was mamma pigeon. Then there was daddy pigeon hovering about & replacing mamma when she took her turn gathering food.

The day my friend discovered them, he tried to shoo away the one in the nest (mamma pigeon). With dog/cat sounds, a blunt stick creating ominous sounds on the wall, scaring it by moving close etc…mamma wouldn’t budge. Fearlessly she sat on her eggs guarding it with the fierceness of a tigress.…
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When ‘Woman Empowerment’ became the next big thing!


How many of us have seen a surge of brands celebrating the woman in the recent past? Offering her benefits, personal attention and promotions that make the average male customer feel deprived. Simply recognizing that women disproportionately lead buying decisions. So from a few brands that were anyway woman-centric, a slew of brands & concepts have emerged that elevate the woman’s status.

Now of course there are misogynists who believe that if women demand equality, then there is no need to lift them from any ‘down in the dumps’ status. Perhaps they were the same voices of dissent against the “Women’s Reservation Bill’ too. Honestly the feminists who can stand up to men on an equal footing, are niche. However, entirely new armies of women who believe in liberation are emerging. And many have…
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