“People like me more than they like you” – Successful Brand

Marketing budgets are allocated in the hands of individuals like you and me. Which means they care more about their image than their brand. You know it’s true because there’s no selflessness in advertising. And sometimes (an astonishingly high number of times, rather) there are no set guidelines, no expectations and no targets either. In those times, there are just moods and tantrums. Because the business is just about looking good.

“You disrespect my authority? We want a six-month review. So what if we had one a month ago? What do you mean there are no alphonso mangoes in December? MAKE.IT.HAPPEN.

But for every 7* of these outbursts, there’s a- “paint me like one of your french girls…”

“Create buzz for my brand”, more specifically is a success metric.
“Our management only sees facebook as a medium for digital marketing.”
“Why do we need to spend money? Why can’t people just talk about our brand?” says an industry veteran while you wipe away the tears from your eyes.

One of the fastest growing industries in the world if not the fastest, the digital medium sells its marketing efficacy on the basis of metrics. Data sets of number of people reached, detailed targeting say what kind of music they like, food they eat, people they judge, which hand do they use to scratch their privates. You know, the important stuff. (Marketing is watching you… ▲)

But the costs are much higher and engagement’s much lower for extremely refined targeting. At this point we still haven’t mentally accommodated the rationale that the particular group might not be interested in the product at all OR the fact that users on social network don’t pour out their heart on the medium as if drinking whiskey with a mate.

Much more open targeting is cheaper and gets engagement from people who no one’s really sure why they engage with what they engage.

(Ever get that random like on an inside joke from someone you didn’t even know was on your list? That’s the kind. Brands love paying for that!)

Targeting to irrelevant audience gets irrelevant reactions leading to the notion of
“The online consumer is not smart. We need to educate.” And the schooling begins, considering the amount of dropouts in the industry, education is a word that stimulates most marketeers. Educating means one or all of the following things: “we can start slow, we can experiment, we can blow their money for sometime without the expectation of an early result, bide time to make something up for their next marketing endeavour.”

Post promotions (running ads on social platforms to reach a specific target audience) are planned in terms of money and not users. In those intimate moments, brand managers don’t ask media planners to promote the post to reach 100,000 active users, they ask them to put Rs. 100,000 on a picture of the brand instead. “It’s really a beautiful picture!”

In an era where number of likes is a personal gratification, the higher the numbers for a brand the better. It doesn’t always matter if those numbers contain people who really care about your product. What matters is the size of the number.

“Mine is bigger than yours” “Oh yeah, mine is bigger than yours during Diwali.
Somewhere in this power(point) struggle, one braveheart squeals out “But mine is more effective.”
The entire room turns around in pin-drop silence. Stares at the brand in the eye, realising they’re friends with AIB.

Waiting for a sound to break the tension an optimist rises, “We won the best-use-of-best-uses-in-the-history-of-firsts-on-any-social-platform-involving-non-android-smartwatches-and-web-banners at the first annual DIZZY judged by Prasun Pande and the Oasis of Optimization. The mic drops while a bamboozled account manager convinces an enraged brand manager that “we’ll win the big one!” What the big one is is beyond anyone’s knowledge or even concern. “As long as it’s bigger than theirs, we better have it!”

*Don’t hold me on those numbers, I’m not too big on them.

Regardless of what you may believe, this isn’t a client-bashing, nor an agency-bashing. While reading this piece if you pictured even a single individual from your work life, you know what I’m talking about. Why am I being so self-explanatory on my own personal blog? I’m job-hunting so things need to be idiot-proof. Even if I’m the idiot in question. Cheers!

“Oh hey are you hiring?”

Everybody wants to hire an artist from reputed design schools with loaded portfolios to work in low-paying jobs where their norm of a brief is thinking out of the box and making memes while staying within guidelines.

Most of the ad gurus who attend, lecture and judge projects of these designers award the most ‘hard-hitting’ concepts. Will those concepts survive in the real world? Forget the client, will an agency approve of it internally? Not likely.

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WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS GUY DO? – The science of professional growth demystified.

‘Fake it till you make it’, is a principle largely followed and largely inspiring. But if faking it leads to making it then what are we even working hard for? This phrase is the feeling of when you see someone undeserving move up the ranks and get better opportunities than better potential candidates.

Still didn’t catch the drift? Keep reading. Continue reading

Why the Airtel #OpenNetwork ads are more counterproductive than annoying.

If you’ve watched TV or even youtube for that matter, there’s a good chance you had the misfortune of watching this ad.

No, wait don’t watch it. The only thing worth watching on that link is the comments of disgruntled viewers and Airtel consumers. Probably the comments are the reason why the video got half the views that it did.

What is this ad?
List of individuals of different age groups, stereotypically annoying  youths asking for transparency in this ‘relationship’. Over-slapstick sardar for racial stereotype. Young mother with baby for emotion, lady with dog because not everyone likes babies, old couple for variety and a hippie-looking boy for good measure… All complaining about how their Airtel network sucks. Continue reading

This wish wasn’t really for you.

Wrote the following for a brand. But a change in brief made it unneeded.
So why not modify it a little and share it with your awesome followers? Happy New Year. Continue reading

When I started a Jobless Journal

The first interview I had given after my graduation was the one that I cracked. The only interview I had given prior to that was a scam-scene during college when I tried to get into a call centre with fake credentials (don’t ask). And I had failed that miserably due to lack of confidence and my inability to speak up during my webcam interview. (again, scam-scenes, let’s not dig into it too much).

So yeah, the first legit interview I applied for, I got in even though I expected otherwise.

So after I had to quit my first job due to a back injury; I worked hard on building my portfolio (and even my back to some extent). And literally I spent a hell of a lot long for preparing and arranging my portfolio which, ad professionals would know is a tedious process. I was looking for an opportunity which had me learning something new, very new. So I started applying in places and the first one I applied to, called me in, took my interview and wanted me to join ASAP.

Yes, there’s a reason why I mention that in the past tense, because I turned it down. This felt very stupid back then knowing the competitiveness in the job market. I had to turn the opportunity down because I needed more time, more rest and wanted to check out more options to know where I stand in the ad industry.

After a long series of disappointments, Continue reading

Life’s a pitch.

Hadn’t been at home for more than a combined 7 hours in 3 days. Because we were working on the biggest pitch of our careers so far. Prior to that the team was strutting like students who think they are prepared before their exams. Yes, think. And just like many of such students we too realised that a lot is pending.

And the strutters became the tiptoers. Continue reading

Social Experiment: Gone right or horribly wrong?

Social media is all about grabbing opportunities or making them. Largely on capitalising, though. See some trend, ride on it. See an opening, bombard it and make it count.

And when you work on a brand that allows humourous content, you’ve hit the motherland. Almost every happening is an opportunity for a punch-line. And whether the punch is graceful or below the belt… It’s bound to hurt someone or the other. Continue reading

Quotient

At least once every lifetime you come across a place, a situation or a circumstance that moulds you. It evolves you into someone you never knew you were.

It’s not a selfish act, neither a charitable one. It’s somewhere in between, yet not even close to either one.

It all begins with a gut instinct, a stroke of luck, a leap of faith… especially when your back’s up against the wall and your feet are up on the edge. You jump into the unknown, hoping it’s better than the mediocre option you had.

You miss a safe opportunity and instead reach to grab one you have absolutely no idea of.

There you come across the person who has the power and control over that tiny little window.

He’s the one who can take a misfit like you through the burrow to wonderland. And not everyone is capable enough. Not everyone’s invited to escape into wonderland. Continue reading

Zip it. Please.

You could hear the voice if you had your iPods on. Cause I could hear it with my iPod on, And I listen to some thrashy (not trashy) music most of the times. I felt if I nearly deafened myself I would be able to ignore their noise and get on with my work.

Why does being a writer have to be so quirky, so visible. Why do people have to see you talk to yourself? Or see you think and come up with something. And if they can see you, why do they have to call you and break your concentration at that exact moment. Why can’t they just ZIP IT?

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