•December 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Often we hear the marketing gurus saying “It’s all in there, You just have to see”. Well, that is the key to finding opportunities and new markets. There are so many innovations and new products and services cropping up from previously unknown persons, avenues and sources from across the world. Its all because the person who brings out the innovation just sees what others oversee. There is a readily available  solution to every practical problem. We just have to spot it.

On a recent business trip to Jakarta , I noticed something that was very interesting and made me think “Oh yes..! Why did not  somebody think of this in India?”. Look at the photo below.


My client’s office was located on the General Sudirman road, Jakarta. It was heavily pouring down one evening, and me, my colleagues and client representatives where waiting in the portico for our car. There where these young kids (looks showed that they are obviously from economically backward families) and few elders standing close to the portico holding an umbrella each. As and when some one comes out of the office building, these guys go across to them offering the umbrella. If you wish to take it, they hand it over to you and walk besides you in the rain, until you reach your destination(usually the nearby bus stop or a parking lot across the block). After you reach that place you can hand over the umbrella and pay them some small amount. My Indonesian friend told me they usually charge anywhere between 2000 IDR to 5000 IDR depending upon the distance.

Now this is not a regular source of income. However, when it rains (as it does half the year in Jakarta), these people make a good sum to serve their daily needs. This would be a very good service to be available in any country or city where it rains heavily and people are willing to pay a little for the service. How many times have you come out of office and wait in the lounge hoping that the rain would stop for you to walk across to the bus stop or reach your car. As they say, the need is there, we only have to see.


Freeconomic browsing… for everyone

•September 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Two years back it was Chris Anderson who spoke about Freeconomics on Google was one of the prominent examples quoted in the web space of doing business the Freeconomic way. Even today every single offering from the Google stable is FREE. Right from their mail service to search engine to GOOG-411 to Picasa. This is understandable given the business model that google follows. But today there is something that google has done…. Guess what… They ‘ve thrown up full page advertisements for one of their FREE products, the browser CHROME. The pic below is their ad that waspublished on today’s Chennai edition of THE HINDU. This I think might be the first ever ad published by Google for their product. And I think this could also be the first ever print ad for a Web browser. (Ppl pls educate me if u know any such ads from the past).  How and from where they account for these marketing costs? Well it’s for you to guess… Guess this is their way of celebrating their 12th Birthday. 🙂 But for now Surfing is fast and its for everyone. 🙂 Happy Chroming..!! But for Microsoft and Internet Explorer, Guess they are still exploring ways to overtake google.

This could be another first... Yet again from Google.

Disruptive technology…….

•June 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Technological innovations have been happening at lightning pace. Today is totally different from yesterday and tomorrow is gonna be completely new. That much is for sure. Time scale for change has come down from a few years to few days in certain fields and even few minutes in certain other fields.

We all must have pleasant memories of the days when we used to buy film rolls from konica / kodak and load them onto the still cameras made by Yashica and co…. 🙂 (Few of us might would have even not had luxury of owning an camera, But I bet you must have watched this and wanted to do it.) Once the cam is loaded, put in the Eveready batteries and start click fotos with utmost care so that you dont run out of the film midway. 36 was a very significant number back then. Used to repeatedly check the number of clicks left to reach the end of the film. You thought tens of of times before clicking something. Having one more film roll was added luxury on most trips leave alone the spare batteries. I used to be scolding from mom for taking pictures of flowers and landscapes without any human subject in the picture. Well she is not to blame. With just 36 pictures to take, any one would want to cover people(family and friends) more than mother nature. 🙂

After clicking the entire roll, you then patiently wait praying to get out the prints with good quality. You never know what it is going to be like until the very minute you recieve your photo prints(after a day). Printed to the dimensions of Maxi size, kept inside a paper pouch along with the negative. I even remember the studio guys offering a 1 litre Fanta or Pepsi bottle free for every two film rolls dveleoped(72 prints). And hey you also get free albums to insert your organise your clicks.

Today with your point and shoot digi cams you can go on clicking hundreds of snaps without having to replace the batteries or the memory card. U can even review the fotos then and there in the 2 to 3 inch LCD screen and delete those clicks you feel are not upto the mark. No film roll hassles, no limit of fotos. My 5 year old cousin can handle the digi cam with utmost ease and shoot lovely fotos.

This past sunday I had been to Trissur, Kerala for my friend’s sis wedding. We happened to get stranded there for one extra day for want of return tickets to Chennai. So we decided to go down to Athirampally falls and Vazhachaal on the next day and then take a bus from Coimbatore to Chennai that night. Look at what I saw there , that too in a Chaya kada run by two elderly people. Felt totally surprised and nostalgic. Hope you all will feel the same.

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O-o-H 2.0 …. Outdoor Advertising refreshed

•January 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

We have seen large banners, colorful flex boards, LED lighted Billboards etc etc where the ad guys put up their brands for the public to see… Here in India We ‘ve seen them adorn top of the sky scrapers, side of the towers, alongside roads and highways, on roof tops around important junctions on the buses and trains even the flights.

Take the famous temple city of Madurai, in southern India. It is, has been and will continue to be a traditional city for ages. After a recent ruling all the ad hoardings across Madurai were removed leaving blank steel skeletons standing tall on the road sides.

However recently a new place to post these outdoor ads have been found in Madurai. Guess what ?! Nothing but the walls of public toilets which I doubt are being built solely for this purpose. 🙂 Check out this foto I clicked at the busy Palanganatham junction where the NH 7 meets the By-pass road.

The one inthe pic above is a newly built public Toilet whose front and side walls are covered with these bright ad boards for a leading Textile shop in the state. Such buildings are being at a few more places across the city and all of them carry the same ad. That’s OOH 2.0… for a city like Madurai.

Box Office Success

•December 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Awe inspiring movie making…; Creativity at its best…; Technological innovation transforming into silver screen magic…; Intriguing way of unveiling the plot and storytelling…; Top notch technicians….; Celluloid beauties and Screen idols…; Personal touch moulding century old story lines into modern-day novelties… This is how I would think of most of the Hollywood Box office successes and their reasons for raking in the millions and made them Historical master pieces worth watching over and over.

The story in Bollywood is a tad different. They thrive on sensationalism, fantasy, demi god heroes, script and lyrics and music to create success and draw the crowd. For decades it has been the family values and tradition that they utilise to define the plot. Very few movies stand apart and have experimented and travelled the Road less travelled. There have been far more people taking these bold decisions off late.

Coming down further south and seeing how Box office success was and is created in Kollywood….

For several years it has always been Hero centric movies in the Kollywood. Right from MKT Bhagavathar, M.G.R, and Rajinikanth to the current crop of heroes, its been all about the hero worshipping the mother’s feet, speaking bold dialogues on the face of the camera, dancing around trees with gorgeous actresses (most of them totally alien to the Tamil language) and pouncing on the bad gang. Again the ones who take the other road are very less here too. But there has been a prominent rise of one particular force in one of the biggest film industries in the world.Sun Pictures released films

That force is nothing but – “Marketing and TV media publicity”. This has been the reason behind several latest successes (in terms of box office collection).  Even though most ofthese films might get only average rating from a traditional film critic, they all have managed to earn decent returns. Sun Pictures with with backing of Sun Network’s array of channels, FM stations, political muscle and marketing acumen has made a string of medium budget movie releases. All have been above average on earnings. The group buys distribution and marketing rights of many Minimum return-guarantee  films and plans the release of all of them on a sequential manner. Targeted, well planned list of trailers get released day after day, building momentum gradually right up to the release day. This is followed by half an hour interactive programmes with the Movie team (Director, Actor, Actress, Producer and comedian) on each of their channels. Dont forget the Audio release, Movie preview, Movie Launch functions aired on a 3 hour time slot. This is what we call Fully Loaded  🙂

This is one aspect of the force. the other aspect is that it has become a blessing in disguise for the movie production houses who find it difficult to market and bring in the needed RoI for their films. This has helped them to recover whatever they have invested with a decent margin and thus encouraging them to produce more movies. It has also helped a lot of new comers get chances to prove their mettle. Overall even though the movies run just because of the marketing genius, this new found success formula has extended the shelf life of medium budget movie makers.

Can the same tactic work out for other products genres too ??!!

Shopping for ad space…. This Diwali…

•September 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

With so much of cricket going around at some place or the other, ICC is finding it hard to finalize the ICC Future Tours Programme. In its path towards making cricket a truly global sport, the planning needs to be done perfectly with equal mix of matches and venues and game formats. With three different formats and so much of cricket, the players have to be at superb fitness levels. The packed fixtures had already had its toll,  like early retirements from international cricket and opting to play in cash rich tourneys like IPL and also repetitive injury to players. However for any cricket buff things are just the way John Abraham puts it “There is so much cricket that life has to wait“.

Given all this and the number of competitive cricket the top team play, do we really need a  bi-annual Champion Trophy .. ??! To be honest, after the thrilling Ahses series, I did not even have interest to follow the one day series between the Aussies and the English. That too a 7 match series that is clearly tilted one way, I rather would prefer catching up with the results later on or even forget it.

For ICC this event is just another way to earn in terms of broadcast rights and sponsorship deals. After fighting past various odds in the form of terrorism and fixtures clash, the current edition which is all set to begin tomorrow. With so many millions invested, ESPN Star which bagged the rights for this edition have gone over board to reach out. Starting with nearly a year long ad campaign to adding the touch of Diwali to the theme its been ‘trying-every-trick-in-the-bag’ kind of effort from them.

[Xtra – two different ad promos for the event one with a host of players from different teams and there is one with only Indian stars in it]

I believe that it is an appreciable and greatly timed move from ESPN Star to come up with a Diwali linked ad for the event. I feel that this ad not aimed at the viewers but cleverly targeted at other companies who have not shown much interest in buying ad time. Wondering why ??!!.. Well with the event coinciding with the festive season, you get a chance to keep flashing your brand to the lakhs and lakhs of people watching the matches which increases the ‘Top-of-mind-recall’ (may not be a drastic increase, but a sure increase). ESPN has hinted out at the marketers to use this opportunity to strike it right with the consumers.

Apart from the question of this tournament being a redundant one or not, the real questions are

1. Will this event command high TRP on the lines of T20 events?   2. Will the brands flashed during the matches see a increased sales volume this festival season?  3. Will the event support the cause of retaining the 50 over format of cricket?

For us Team India supporters, it doesnt matter what format, which venue or which event. We just have two questions in mind to be answered at the end.

1. How convincingly did India beat Pakistan?

2. Did we win the finals and the cup?

All the best Team India, Lets pray that this time around the Safari turns out to be worthy.

Wid Luv,

Indian Cricket Fan

C for… Cat,Christ,Cocaine,Calorie,Chemistry,Congress,Church, C programming language ..??!!

•May 24, 2009 • 1 Comment

The third alphabet, “C” could have stood for so many things so far…… But nowadays I think the word that deserves to get the credit is “Convergence”. My Strategy professor at BIM-Bangalore, the late Dr. V G Ratnam, often used to say that the  Companies that dont have Convergence capabilities will soon die. We have had quite a many discussions on this during our case discussions at BIM. Some recent products and announcements made me believe even more on the importance of convergence.

We can take examples that are as simple as the digicam to the intelligent rocket engines. All the fields have seen at least a small degree of technological convergence happening. The latest trends however are particularly phenomenal in the field of In-home entertainment. We, the consumers are in for a big treat as the companies are fighting it out to be the first to introduce the new technologies. Lets see a few examples of what is in store for the future of “Hometainment – The In Home-Entertainment”.

Recently we saw LG, the Korean giant launch the Scarlet 2.0 series of TV’s that have embedded Bluetooth connectivity. These new range of TV’s can connect to other devices that support Bluetooth 2.0 and thus receive data directly and display them.

Airtel might not be coming out with stunning concepts for its ads these days(Read Zoozoo’s) when compared to Vodafone. But its emphasis on quality digital products and new technology services has not faded. The Airtel Digital TV (Airtel’s DTH service) which now boasts of embedded widgets that range from weather reports to programme reminders has created quite an interest . What more, they are now showcasing “Ordering Pizzas thro’ TV” feature as part of the iTV. This is for certain a “First in India” feature.

Now if you were bowled over after you saw that ad, then I would say you have not seen it all. The software major, Adobe Systems Inc has decided to make use of its competency in the field of Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) technology to reach out to the millions of TV viewers across the globe. In April this year, Adobe has announced the extension of its Flash content platfromto be used in TV’s and the associated Hometainment devices. And to add to the excitement, it seems major players from the technology and media industry including Broadcom, Intel, Comcast, Disney Interactive, Netflix, New York Times Company, NXP Semiconductors, Sigma Designs, STMicroelectronics, Atlantic Records etc have shown interest and positive reactions to Adobe’s move.

Guys, get ready for the next big revolution in entertainment… Could this be Adobe’s best in the field of Hoemtainment equivalent to what Photoshop has been in Photography ? Lets wait and watch… though watching television at home will never be the same again.. 🙂