Monday, April 17, 2006

Ad(d) On !

While we watch our favourite serials / soaps / sport / news on TV, we tend to switch channels during breaks... when they show commercials. But, have we ever wondered what goes into making those commercials ? Why are they made ? Why do companies spend millions of rupees to get them to the audiences ???

Let's take a sneak peak into the world of advertising ! Advertising, today, is a very effective medium to woo public. Historical trends have shown that companies see accelerated sales growth with advertisements that have been effective. But, as a film-maker, how do I know whether my ad will be effective or not ? That depends on only one thing : Understanding your audiences ! If a film-maker has understood his target audience, 99% of the times, he will make a successful advertisement ! And believe me... this is not so easy !

Creating advertisements requires consistency. Consistency in the representation of ideas, consistency in presentation, and consistency in the product itself ! The idea may be very very good, but if not well presented, it will never get what it deserves ! Similarly, good presentation also has to be accompanied with new and innovative ideas ! And that is the essence of advertising.

Now let's talk about 3 of my favourite ads (which i have seen on TV in the past one week)...
I'll rate them on the following parameters : innovation, audience reach, presentation, concept, simplicity and relevance.

And they are (in no particular order of preference) :

Hutch has always impressed me with their advertising campaigns. The magical way in which it has communicated the change from Orange to Pink has been worth witnessing ! Hutch has always maintained the theme of its logo (which is its hallmark !), in every form of communication - Whether its just advertisements, or their corporate office, bills, employee uniforms, just about everything ! Hat's off Hutch ! Great advertising !

SBI Credit Cards
Just saw an advertisements about SBI Credit Cards on TV... It depicted a scene wherein a hotel owner promises his clients "central heating", "running hot water", etc. But when he goes to his room, the owner and his helper raise a "heater" towards the ceiling, marking that as a "central heating system", the helper is running with a bucket of hot water, marking that as a "running hot water" advantage :) The ad then says that "Don't believe in whatever you hear". And that's SBI Credit Cards for you :)

This one is probably my clear favourite ! Airtel always tried to bond emotionally with its audiences. Most of it's advertisements are in black n white, which add to the emotional feeling. The last ad which I saw depicts the strength of human emotions. Where 2 words ("Quit India") can throw away the British empire, two (the victory symbol) can stop a war, a billion candles can bring peace, a finger can break a billion hearts (Sachin getting out), Prayer can intill hope.... Every scene depicting the strength of emotions ! And hence the tagline... "Express yourself !". That's Airtel for you guys... Majestic, Dynamic, simply classic !

Friday, April 14, 2006

Films français !

Who says that French films are meant for French audiences ??? A small, little tweak and voila ! Ready for Indian audiences :) Well, that's exactly what happened at Fun Republic (a mutliplex), Ahmedabad a few days back...

There was a French Film Festival held there from March 31 - April 6, 2006. It was organized by Alliance Francaise, a body which promotes the French language throughout India. It was indeed very well organized, with audiences increasing in number as the days went on ! On the last day, there was not even a single empty seat in the audi.

Seven films were scheduled for the 8'o clock show every evening (one film on each day). All of these were essentially animation films with English sub-titles (so that poor souls like me could understand what was going on on-screen) !! And I can tell you.. these movies were very, very good pieces of animation !

Following are the names of the movies screened... (one of them has slipped out of my mind) !

Le roi et l'oiseau de raillerie
The King and the mocking bird

Kirikou et la sorcière
Kirikou and the sorceress

Le chien, le général et les oiseaux
The Dog, the General and the birds

Pleuvoir des chats et des grenouilles
Raining Cats and Frogs

Les triplettes de Belleville
The triplets of Belleville

L'île de MOR noir
The Island of Black Mor

Even though I don't understand much(!) of French, these movies were much better than a Rs. 100-crore hindi movie :) And the animations were excellent - I can say that because I come from a designing background...

I ended up watching 5 of these movies... One with my family, one with friends, a couple with my sis, and one ALONE ! (Yes, I enjoyed the movie alone too) :) One thing different about these movies was that almost all of them had a mix of humans and animals as characters (or protagonists) - All of them animated of course. They tried to portray how can man and nature gel with each other, and make this world a much better place to live in.

All the movies were were innocent in the treatment of stories / plots, and in the way the characters were portrayed. They were very well paced, and kept the audience glued at all times... There was no point in the movie when the audience would have felt confused or even away from the core story... And the most important thing was that every movie had a social message conveyed at the end... Which is lacking in movies today !

All in all, a brilliant experience... Atleast these movies left a message for me... "Learn French. It'll help !" :)

I Salute You !

How many of us have heard about the recent Meerut blasts ??? Maybe quite a few... And how many of us have heard about two individuals named Javed and Puja ??? Maybe not a lot of us !

Javed, who does not belong to Meerut, was there to meet a friend. His friend had a stall in the mela, the same mela which was glutted down by the fire... And Javed was there with his friend at the stall. With only 2 exit gates @ the mela (against the minimum prescribed norm of 4), Javed managed to get out and escape the fire. But, when the 18 year old turned back to look, he could not believe his eyes. He turns back, and sees women and children trying to evade the fire, trying to search for the exit gates, trying to escape the clutches of death ! And he could not hold himself. Not once did he worry about his own life, but rushed back in to save those children, who were helplessly fighting the fires. He managed to save the lives of atleast 10 people single-handedly ! His own life was the last thing on his mind. He suffered multiple injuries (very severe ones), and was admitted to the Safdarjung hospital, New Delhi. And just yesterday, he was declared dead ! Partly because of his injuries, but partly because of the negligence of the doctors ! What would you call this ? A very clear case of a very very courageous act - which we would rarely get to see in today's world ! Javed - I take this moment to salute you, and extend my support to your family, who should be proud to have a son like you, someone who has made his country proud, someone who has shown that humanity is not dead, someone who has given a lot of people a reason to live. Thank you, Javed !

Puja, a resident of Meerut, is another great individual who deserves accolades. During the escapade, she was never inside the mela ! But when she came to know about the fire breakout, she was just outside the premises. In some time, she got to know that there were not enough exits, and that people were searching for paths to break out of the fire ! So, not caring about her own safety, she went ahead and tore the sheet covering a part of the pandal. This ensured that another make-shift exit gate was created for several people ! And that saved a lot of lives. But due to the intensity of the fire, she has suffered multiple injuries, and is recovering in a hospital in Meerut. I would like to wish her on her heroic deed, and pray that she get well very soon. Thank you, Puja. That was indeed very brave !

Life is a mix of twists and turns, as they say. You never know what is gonna come next. But, it is because of people like these, that life seems so beautiful. Thank you guys, for reinstating the fact that life is much more than just living for yourself ! India stands to salute you today !

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Is a B-School all about placements ?

B-Schools (or Business Schools) seem to be the latest buzzword these days ! You'll see people rushing off to do their so called "MBAs" after any Bachelor's degree you can imagine - B.A., B.Com., B.Sc., B.E., B.Tech., B.Pharm., B.B.A., M.B.B.S. ! But this, essentially, is the beauty of a Business Degree (or an M.B.A.).

Most of the top institutions in India, who offer an M.B.A. degree, try to have a mix of people from all backgrounds. These students come from all over the country, from diverse cultures, some with work experience and others, without. So, if a student like me chooses to do an M.B.A., he's not only doing it for an academic advantage, but also because he will get to interact with the best of the lot, with people from various backgrounds, cultures, and geographies... And will try to gain a lot out of it.

The prime aim of an MBA however, seems to be changing these days. A large percentage of students pursue an MBA because they want decent placements ! Whether he is a fresher, who needs a good job to start off his career with, or whether he is a candidate with prior work experience, who wants to get a much higher raise in life in terms of his salary !

I don't blame people for looking for good placements at the end of the day. I mean, you've earned that all-so-important seat in your school... So, of course you deserve an equally decent placement. But does that mean you will spend 2 years of your crucial time behind it ? Does that mean you will slog your ass out because you want to get into that particular company at the end of two years ? Does that mean that you have only come to do an MBA because THAT particular company comes to your campus ??? Naah !

I did my MBA from MDI, Gurgaon... And can easily say that more than 80% of my colleagues had come there ONLY for placements (This includes freshers and work-ex guys) ! That was one thing that disappointed me big time ! During placements (and even a long long time before that), you would see people sitting in the library, and reading... Reading what ??? Reading stuff that companies would look at during interviews... Reading stuff that companies would question them on... Reading stuff that they didn't want to know... but what the company wanted them to know !

Is that what I did my MBA for ??? Was that my sole purpose of earning a Business Degree from a prestigious institution ??? Was I there for placements along ? I don't think so... I was there to meet people... I was there to be a part of the generation that would lead India in the coming years... I was there to make friends... I was there to develop contacts... I was there to interact with like-minded individuals who would think beyond the obvious... But did I get that ??? No.... Definitely NO ! All I got was a large bunch of individuals, who could only think one way. The most famous question on campus was "Does this company come for placements ?" ! Oh ! Gimme a break !

I am not trying to say that people should not take part in the placement process, or they should not be looking for a job after an MBA... I am not trying to say that one should get into entrepreneurship and leave apart placements just because you have the fire in you... What I am trying to convey is that while you are young and enthusiastic, while you are in an "unlearn and learn" phase in your life, while you get a chance to interact with people (who are probably one of the best lots you can ever hope to get at one place), make the most of it ! Don't be too narrow minded to only aim for placements from Day One... There's a lot more to life than just that ! There's a lot more to enjoy in life, than just crave for placements alone !

Recently, when a couple of IIM-A grads (from the 2004-06 batch) decided to opt out of the placement process, and chose to start their own ventures, a few qualified MBAs commented that if they anyways wanted to get into entrepreneurship, why the hell did they waste 2 precious seats @ the IIMs ? My only answer to that is : They did not go there to get placed. They went there to learn. To interact with people. And to create a vision for the future. And I think they have done that beautifully well... Hats off to them !

I hope that the situation improves in the years to follow... I hope that students who decide to do their MBA look beyond what an MBA degree can offer... There's much more to an MBA than just placements guys ! I hope that when i meet some fresh MBA graduate after 10 years, and when I ask him, "Why did you do your MBA ? And what have you gained out of it ?", I hope I get a different answer than what I get from most people now !

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Convocation Pictures !

Getting nostalgic as I write this one...

The convocation for the batch of 2004-06 (Yes... That's my batch !) took place on the morning of 4th March, 2006. Was undoubtedly the most beautiful day in my life... When i put on the black robe, with a yellow scarf around the neck, and the ever-so-special graduation hat !

Have tried to capture the moments of the event on my personal website... I invite all of you to witness the occasion !

The link :

For all those who do visit this one, please remember to sign in the guestbook... Would be great to get back in touch with you :)

Hail MDI !

A fresh start...

Started blogging in early 2005... But somehow, could not continue the trend due to involvement in a lot of other activities !

Now that I sit at home, and ponder about what to do next... There's just one thought that comes to my mind ! BloGgiNg :) I promise to be a much more active blogger this time around - I feel it's a brilliant way to put your thoughts across the world... What you think... What you feel... What you experience !

So, here I am, with a fresh start ! Post no. 1, with lots n lots to follow :)

Cheerios !