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Showing posts from January, 2014

The problem in Amitabh Bachchan's problem with Pepsi

The problem with Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan's admission to dropping Pepsi as an endorser is that it smacks both of irresponsibility and hypocrisy.

Sure, Amitabh may or may not want to endorse brands based on his judgement, but when he singles out the one he dropped, he doesn't just do the brand disservice, but also to the way we form perceptions about brands and their impact on our lives.

A li'l girl may have gotten Amitabh to think, but she sure didn't get him to think well. For starters, should teachers be branding Pepsi as poison? How irresponsible is that? Again, for argument's sake, lets assume teachers in classrooms may want to present Pepsi as unhealthy, but whose responsibility is it to refrain from consuming such unhealthy stuff? It almost seems as if the brand is at fault for consumers doing the consumption act. Meaning the reason why people are unhealthy based on their eating habits shouldn't be blamed on their poor choices, but on brands …

Why my cognitive brain is no match to Brooklyn's firefly eyes

Its never been the same for me with Brooklyn as it was with Jaden. My son's always been the 'stay at a distance from me' kinda kid. Brooklyn's just the opposite. She's the 'I'll fling myself at you for a hug, Appa' kind, and to me that's been such an endearing experience. For me with Brooklyn its all feel, no think, which probably explains why she's missed like crazy!

Some people have the power to make us 'feel' a certain way. Others just get us to think sans any emotion. That's pretty much the way it is with brands too. Most make us thoughtful in a rational way. Meaning we are looking to get the best bargain when we engage with them for a probable purchase. Its a minuscule number of brands that get us to 'feel' a certain way. With these few ones we throw caution to wind, and connect at an emotional level. Which in turn is why we part with our wads of money gladly for them, and without much rational thought.

I am convinced t…

Capitalism is why 'Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA' retails at Amazon

Fred Jerome does the socialists disservice when he advocates living in a socialist state. Consider this. Fred's article at Salon excerpts from a book that sells at Amazon. How ironical. Capitalism be cursed, but socialists must sell the book 'Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA' at a capitalist price at a capitalist retailer to capitalist consumers.

Capitalism is why there are producers who compete. Capitalism is why there are consumers who make buying choices.

Capitalism is why socialist nonsense like 'Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA' retails at a bookstore at a chosen price. Capitalism is why as a consumer I choose not to read nonsense, and so choose not to buy 'Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA'.
The world of Socialism on the other hand is squarely about a loss of free will to be replaced by the will of the state. In the world of books that would mean the authors don't decide what sells, and at what price; and buyers don't decide what they buy,…

55 Million Babies & the deceit of Abortion

What can I say that hasn’t already been said about today?

Yesterday evening, I was sitting in my living room working while watching my sons play. I began to think about what my life would have been without them. How different I would be. How their lives have already made this world a different place since they were born. How much I would hurt if I had chosen abortion.

Then, I thought of the more than 55,000,000 lives that have been taken in the U.S. since 1973, and I became overwhelmed at the tragedy. Tragedy for the babies, their mothers, their fathers, families, and us.

Who is our nation missing? What price is our society paying for the ultimate deceit of abortion?

Today, this 27 year-old is writing to you as a survivor of that decision. The undeniable fact is that nearly a third of my generation is missing. We are missing brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, husbands and wives.

You see, Miss Weddington’s generation got it wrong. In attempting to correct gender inequality in the workplac…

Chris Christie's big fat problem is Voter long term memory

The big fat problem Chris Christie is facing isn't the bad press he's getting from his aides-ordered lane closing on the Washington bridge. The real killer for Christie is that the story will now be burned into the long term memory of American voters. If by a miracle voters do forget (though I think that's an impossibility) there'll be enough of his detractors ensuring there's retrieval of the story from the voter's dormant long term memory, come election time.

Which means Christie can pretty much kiss his White House dream goodbye.

When brands craft communiques, and sustain their propagation via multiple media platforms what they intend at is engineering sales. Smart brands are those that ensure communiques work in a manner where they enter and stay in consumer long term memory. They do this by first eliciting the right perceptions, then teaching consumers, and finally engineering the right attitudes that are sustained via long term communique engagements. St…

Syrupy ad content vs. genuine care in Coke's 'Liquid & Linked' strategy

So much for Coca Cola 'liquid to linked' strategy. The brand intends to barrage Indian consumers with an advertising blitzkrieg. By blitzkrieg I mean, subject us consumers to a syrupy little song about how the world's a great place despite the odd outlying deviancy. Plus there are print ads Coke's putting up with a message of 'optimism, positivity, and happiness'. The latter is so we feel good about 2014, considering 2013 turned out be one soggy miserable year.

I wonder where the 'liquid and linked' is in all these syrupy communiques Coke's heaping on us? Also, I am surprised the brand hasn't still learnt a lesson in being genuine. Going genuine means caring for real, and not subjecting us consumers to Prasoons Joshi's lyric writing capabilities. Caring for real means taking on 'real issues' that resonate with people, and that which Coca Cola as brand can associate with. Take for example the current communication campaign by the Ind…

Why an asinine 'Dhoom 3' and a starkly real 'Drishyam' makes money

How can an asinine movie like 'Dhoom 3' make the money its made? You can't answer that question until you ask another. Why are audiences in Kerala flocking to 'Drishyam'?

The answers to these questions don't bring to the surface what may seem like a contradiction simply because the co-existence of opposite impulses must by default be assumed as being part of human nature. Such 'non-contradictory contradictions' are best seen and understood when we turn consumers.

Parking our brains at the door so we can live a fantasy is what we do when we step in to a 'Dhoom 3'. Keeping our real selves intact is how we approach 'Drishyam'. Now it is possible some audiences take more to asinine fantasy where others crave reality, but combinatory-contradictory impulses by default exist within all of us.

The lesson here for marketers is they mustn't mis-assume people are led only by a particular impulse. For example, its easily assumed the middle clas…

My favorite Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh

Sure, under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the Indian economy has slowed down, but please don't tell me he was the weakest PM ever! Really? Weakest?

Just so I know, please tell me who were these earlier 'strong' Prime Ministers who transformed India into this glorious paradise? Or who are these men or women in politics who've rendered selfless service to the citizenry? Don't be fooled! What you see as economic miracles is actually crony capitalism flourishing! And if it isn't crony capitalism that's being touted as an achievement, it is socialism.

Tell you truth, that's the choice we have as citizens today. Either you can vote for socialism or crony capitalism. Take your pick.

To me, Dr. Manmohan Singh is the best we can ever have. A decent man in a sea of indecency, an honest man in the company of crooks, a learned man making his way through a whirlpool of illiteracy. A humble man finding his place amongst pompous idiots.

That Manmohan Singh lost the o…

Why the AAP broom must bloom in India

Despite its socialist leanings, AAP is India's best bet for the moment. Its the only party that looks at elected representatives as public servants. Every other party that has ruled India in whole or part has lorded over the citizenry. Every other party's elected representatives lived like kings with the people functioning as their vassals.

AAP promises a change to that. Which will be why every other party will try and pull it down.

Talking heads on TV including 'senior' journalists, throwbacks and hand in glove to the feudal ear in India think AAP is arrogant in its ways. I'd prefer AAP's arrogance over the shrewd destructive hypocrisy of the rest of the parties.

What I hope for AAP is that it recognizes the value of fostering free markets in India. The only chance we have at real progress that translates into prosperity, if not a decent standard of living for all lies in building and furthering free markets. In some strange way, my gut tells me AAP is moving…

The Real and Fake in 2014, and as always!

Brooklyn's got two kinds of cries. One's real, out of genuine pain, the other's a put on, aimed at getting to a goal. If Brooklyn's hurt physically (if she's had a fall) or when we scold her, she lets out a tearful cry out of 'real' pain. Then there are times when she fakes it, like when she wants us to scold her brother, she'll pretend Jaden has hurt her and as proof belt out a cry that isn't tearful plus sounds suspect.

Over time its gotten easier for us to figure Brooklyn's cries, and so our response to her wails have gotten smarter. When its real, we comfort, when its a put on, we at times ignore, and other times call her bluff.

Brooklyn and her cries mirror the way all of us live our lives. Part of what we live is real, the rest is a big fat fake. The real happens when we can't help it, the fake gets through when there's a goal we want to get to. At home much of the stuff that get's played out is real. When we step out our fake…