Shaadi.com goes below the belt

If you don’t read the text, the ad will feel like one of an escort agency. Maybe they have figured it out, that playing on sexual angle is more profitable for the facebook age group.

Another thing to be noted here is that they are using dating as a way to marriage. The copy says “meet local singles” which is more congruent to dating. Picture via Lalit.

Jaagore – The morality loophole

The ‘Jaagore‘ campaign started just before the parliamentary elections. They started with the ‘cast your vote’ idea, aiming people who did not care enough to vote. As an idea it was good, as ‘voting’ was the new politically hip and correct thing to do. With these ideas they also brought the product along, the tata tea. Seemingly as the tea refreshes everyone out of their morning sleepiness, this campaign would go on to wake up every adult to his moral duty.
The trick with these kind of campaigns is that you don’t want to be too eager to push your product. It should seem that you are in it just to spread the message. Like the IBM smart planet ads, where they showcase their work which is doing good for the planet. Here the association is also direct, someone uses their product, they are doing something good for the planet. Recently I saw this ad, which asks people not to bribe officials to get their work done.

The message in itself is good. Good in a way like everyone thinks of getting up early and being healthy, wealthy and wise. But for a moment let us consider that everyone will wake up from their sleep and not give bribes again. Their is a moral loophole I see in here. Someone pays money in a bribe and in return gets his work done faster. And by saying “Khilana Bandh pilana Shuru”, they want people to consume more of their tea. By this they did accidentally implied that, be it any message their main reason for showing these ads is to increase their tea sale. Isn’t that immoral?

The hot saasu Maa?

She’s not saasu maa (mother in law) yet. But it is close enough, or what else would you call a guy’s girlfriend’s mom? I have been observing how media’s portrayal of Indian sexuality is changing with time. I had written about the indian maid before. Now it is the turn of the saas (mother in law) and the saali (sister in law), in the Vjazz mobile and the Wildstone deodorant ad .

The point to be noticed here is that the ‘jija-sali‘ thing has been popular in Indian culture for quite some time. Sali aadhi gharwali or sister in law is half wife, has been used a zillion times, even in films. But this is one of the few times where the highlight is on the sexual nature of the relation. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this the first case of portraying sexual interest between mother in law and the guy, in Indian media. The key points to notice here are:

  • aunty’s husband is away on a tour, and she’s so lonely
  • with the guy’s antics aunty is surely enamored
  • when aunty’s daughter finds them in such a situation, she gets nervous…Is it because of guilt?

Maybe a post on eroding traditional values is in order.

What marketers can learn from Lord Ganesha!

Lord Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati devi. He goes by other names like Vinayaka and Vighneshwara.


If we look in the etymology of the name “Ganesha”, it is formed by Gana + Eesh, where Eesh is short for Eeshwar, which means Lord. So Ganesha means lord of Gana. Gana means body of attendants, here referring to the huge retinue of Lord Shiva. And remarkably the Ganas are also known as Bhutagana, because Shiva is the only god anybody can go to. So all the rejects of the society get attracted to the matted hair and smoking dope god. Quoted from wikipedia,

the gana or bhutagana are attendants of Shiva that reside in chthonic and liminal locations such as cemeteries and charnel grounds.

In fact it is not long when Lord Ganesha was seen as Vighneshwara. Which means lord of obstacles. And he was seen as the god who creates obstacles if not pleased. So if you don’t appease him before any endeavor he might as well create obstacles. Which in time changed to the feeling that he protects you from obstacles. Quoted from new world encyclopedia,

As the “Lord of Obstacles,” Ganesha is responsible for creating obstructions of both a material and spiritual order. It is he who places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked. Thus, Ganesha is thought to be the gatekeeper of shrines, and he is said to corrupt all those who are unworthy of entering such holy places by further deluding their minds with desires. [96] Ganesha can also remove obstacles for his devotees just as easily. Ganesha’s diametrically opposed functions as both obstacle-creator and obstacle-destroyer are vital to his character, giving it significant depth as he is venerable for both negative and a positive reasons.

This change in emphasis from creator of obstacles to protector from obstacles is accompanied by change in iconography. This is a painting from the 15th century, notice the number of weapons, and the fierce expression :

What can the marketer learn from this? That a brand identity can be changed, and in fact to exactly something diametrically opposite. How many marketers in today’s economy can claim to have achieved such a feat?

I can go on to other lessons you can get from Lord Ganesh, like the fact that the Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations in India was engineered so that, quoted from wiki

Lokamanya Tilak visualized the cultural importance of this deity and popularised Ganesha Chaturthi as a National Festival “to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins and find an appropriate context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them” in his nationalistic strivings against the British in Maharashtra.

Do you see any parallel between this and the many Days the greeting card companies have started promoting, from Mother’s day, Daughter’s day, Father’s day, and so on?

Corn flakes and poha

Ever heard of Kelloggs corn flakes? Sure you have and might be having it every morning for breakfast. After some initial marketing faux pas, it has slowly crept into the indian kitchen. For me it is an ideal example of how marketing can be used to push anything to anyone. Because indians have long used the humble rice flakes or poha as it is called, in breakfasts and snacks.

photo courtesy - http://flickr.com/photos/thebusybrain/2910289363/  and http://flickr.com/photos/ampersandyslexia/3245688281/
photo courtesy - http://flickr.com/photos/thebusybrain/2910289363/ and http://flickr.com/photos/ampersandyslexia/3245688281/

What I wonder is why no one has thought of promoting poha as a breakfast option. Off course with glitzy packaging and marketing. Chocalate coated poha? Tuti – Fruti poha? Why not.

Haldiram’s are you listening?

Is the boss around?

Came across this job site – called workosaur.com. It’s USP being, it has the most 7 figure salary jobs. Good but no great shakes. Another job site I thought.

But then I saw a link on the top corner which said, “Boss is Around? Look Busy”. When clicked lead to a page full of graphs and charts.

This minor thing made me look again at the site. It tells me that this is a startup where people love their work. That they understand their niche audience. So it tells me to take them seriously. Kudos for the sense of humor.
Earlier posts on sense of humor:here

Usable fruits

I was having a watermelon yesterday, when this thought came into mind. A seedless watermelon would be so nice. No fussing around with the seeds. No fumbling with the tongue to get the seeds out.

Then found out on the net that there is indeed such a watermelon. Surely all of you have eaten seedless grapes. I guess 99% commerical grapes are seedless. So I guess due to their user friendly nature these seedless fruits would qualify for “usable fruits”, wouldn’t they?

A little more research gave me this:

All of the above techniques for seedless propagation have one serious flaw: they lead to a decline in biodiversity. Because they involve essentially making carbon copies of one plant, if an agricultural disease which targets that plant evolves, it can spell big trouble. Many famous cultivars of seedless fruit, for example, are grown all over the world, and these stocks could be extremely vulnerable to disease or pests. The decrease in biodiversity is also bad for the species in general, as the more diverse a species is, the more likely it is to survive, as a general rule. read more here.

So I guess there’s nothing called a free lunch. On one hand these are useful to the customers. On the other hand very vulnerable to disease. Which explains the need for industrial pesticides. And how these pesticides find their way into our bodies.

Are their any other examples where usability has a really bad side effect?

AIDS and the razor blade industry

Just back from the barber. While he was working on my hair, with massages in between, between bouts of sleep this thought came into mind. And this I have been seeing for around 2 years. Whenever they have to use the razor they’ll make you see that they are removing the old blade and throwing it in a container, which would have a pile of these used blades. The idea behind this is that they want the customer to know that he is using a brand new blade for him. So AIDS awareness has been good I think.
But what becomes a side effect is that each blade gets used only once.
Which means:

  • a blade doesn’t have to have a long life
  • and that it has to be the cheapest possible
  • So the market dynamics for the razor blade companies whose main customers where the barbers would have changed in the last 2-3 years.

    PirateBay

    People love them not just for the torrents, but for their attitude as well. There are a vast number of other torrent trackers around, but Piratebay makes news most often. On their home page their is a link called Legal Threats on which they post the legal notices/emails they get. This one was really funny, in reply to an email from Linotype. They have composed the entire email with different pirated fonts of Linotype.

    Based in Sweden they have somehow bypassed the copyright laws till now. Piratebay’s legal advisor Viborg claims. “Until the law is changed so that it is clear that the trackers are illegal, or until the Swedish Supreme Court rules that current Swedish copyright law actually outlaws trackers, we’ll continue our activities. Relentlessly,”

    Whatever their legal stand maybe, I love the way they use the anarchist dissension to grow more popular.