Category Archives: Advertising

The Ambassador and the car #replug

Ambassador from HM

My take on Ambassador was revived once I read this article from Firstpost, and here we go with down memory lane! The following is a blogpost I did in 2005!

While I was driving down the office these cars today caught my attention at the traffic signals. Well I am talking about the white Amby with a siren decorated atop and a sunshade to complement. And the usual red board with golden letters whatever…Commissioner, Judge, Mayor….. So today two such cars caught my imagination.

Here are some facts, Since its inception these cars have been used as the official cars except under very strange circumstances. There are a real show of power especially white ambassador cars and has been in use even now as a the car of the politically powerful. Every farmer makes Ambassador their first car.

With so much to styling and the aerodynamics in car design, Amby has always stood its mite being the same car for almost over thirty years. No major design changes have happened in the car and it keeps going strong. Of course you should not take it face to face with todays cars in terms of sales but I believe it had had its enduring value as a car and more to do with politics. It will be sometime before these cars can be replaced. Just imagine if Laloo Prasad Yadav or anybody comes in a Merc, it will be a real contradiction.

As for safety, this car is the favorite, they even had a campaign running how reliable these cars are since the army is using them out there in the borders and other terrains.

Probably ask Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, he would vouch for the safety of the Amby. Analyst say no other car would have made it through if not for Amby during a grenade attack on the Ex-CM.

Ask some of the best people in tinsel town. they use an Amby, The southern superstars, Rajinikanth and Mamootty still own an Amby and Rajinikath is supposed to be really driving it around.

And abroad there is a Car Rental company in UK which runs only Amby and you wont get it cheap, you got to pay more to go in these cars. Japan also imported these cars for their sturdy ‘design’.

And come to choosing colors, I am reminded of Ford who said ‘any color is fine with me as long as they are black’, but then as for Amby any color is fine as long as it is white.

It rules the roost atleast for a topic like this. And to remind you this year Amby celebrates the fiftieth year in being of service to this nation. Long journey ahead and you could always take your bet on an Amby. It is an enigma on Indian roads, which will last for a lifetime.

Senthilkumar Rajappan

(This is a #replug and was posted at http://o3.indiatimes.com/provokingthoughts/archive/2005/09/01/238886.aspx on Sep 01, 2005 )

ad:tech New Delhi announces Master Class – assess and increase your organisation’s digital fitness

New Delhi, 21 January 2013: As excitement builds for the third India edition of the world’s #1 digital marketing event, ad:tech New Delhi 2013, the event promises to offer oodles of networking opportunities coupled with fresh insights and new learning for experienced and novice digital professionals alike. Being organized by NetworkPlay in partnership with dmg::events, the event will feature one entire day of hardcore, on-hands learning sessions during the pre-conference master class on February 20.

Says Rammohan Sundaram, event chairman for ad:tech New Delhi 2013, “Brand leadership has never been more vulnerable – digital empowers start-ups to grow and become overnight stars and to compete with global biggies at a blink. The challenge today is to find the right consumer and make the right offer at the right time through the right channel, and you are a winner if you can do that effectively, no matter whether you are big or small. With digital being the centerpiece of the entire ecosystem, rapid innovation means you need to keep learning and discovering constantly to stay relevant. We introduced Master Classes for the first time last year and received an overwhelming response and very good feedback from participants. I still vividly remember how the full day was oversubscribed and we had to put extra seats to manage the overflow. We’re happy to be partnering again with iProspect Communicate2 to bring yet another dedicated learning session where you can expect not just to skim the surface but simplify fancy jargons and seek answers to the most intriguing how’s, when’s and why’s in digital. An organization’s growth is defined today by its digital fitness, and the Master Class is like the dose of DHA in your dietary supplement.”

Vivek Bhargava, Managing Director, iProspect Communicate2, the knowledge partner for the Master Class, says, “Digital is no longer limited to the confines of the marketing function, but has today become an all-pervasive catalyst and multiplier to achieve organizational goals. Increasingly, search engines are emerging as the database of intent and social media as database of action. Organic search is fast evolving where the world is moving from just optimizing websites to optimizing their entire web presence. Content creation is now seen as a means to reduce cost of paid media and drive superior engagements. Whatever you knew till last year may not be as relevant today – and in our busy schedules, it becomes imperative to spare sometime to keep oneself abreast to cope with the volatile dynamics of a digital life. In this action-packed day, delegates will learn to use digital strategies not only to understand consumer behavior but also predict trends and leverage social media listening for better customer service.”

The Master class will focus on seven key sections, each dealing with a particular aspect of achieving a specific business objective. The workshop will include modules on key topics such as Customer Acquisition, Brand Building, Information Dissemination, Cross Selling and Upselling through Community Creation, ORM and Customer Service through Social Media Listening together with using Search and Social Analytics to understand and predict consumer behavior.

The registration fee for Search and Social Master Class at ad:tech New Delhi 2013 is INR 8,999 per person, while a group booking for three people is for INR 23,997. However, as an advance booking offer, delegates can register for the Master Class for just INR 6,999 per person and INR 17,997 per group of three till January 31. Details of this and other packages are available on the registration page for ad:tech New Delhi 2013.

For the first time, ad:tech New Delhi 2013 will feature an all-women keynote. The last 2 editions had over 3000 professionals from the digital media, marketing and technology domains come together to network, share and learn. ad:tech New Delhi 2013 promises to be bigger and bolder than ever, and will feature a conference, exhibition, innovation zone, workshops, and special networking events.

My reply to Firstpost.com article on Narain!

Here’s my answer to the article titled So Narain, why are you in Formula One?

Dear Ashish,

I couldn’t stop myself from replying to this, most of the readers have already made their views felt. I am sorry I dont know how much you know F1 or for that matter, the financials and how it all works.

If you know how Narain performed on the A1 GP or even the F3 alongside Button, you would have stopped yourself from continuing to trash.

Yes the 107% rule did forbid the team from participating, but you have to know the reasons behind this. The teams at the top for want of running a few seconds faster on a lap spend almost 10 x the money this lower rung teams spend. They get the best of the R&D to support them while these lower rung teams help the wannabe drivers to test and help themselves establish.

Unfortunately there are only 24 drivers today and to be a part of that it makes it absolutely a great achievement. Look at the grid before you write, 6 champions and a whole lot of veterans and then you got to look at the teams. By your logic teams like Williams and even Renault would have to hang up their boots and look for alternatives.

Sportsmen go through some ups and downs but just because you have been out of a race you dont need to take a stand like this.

I dont understand your logic with respect to Pedro de La Rosa, why do you think Narain is inferior to Pedro? Narain hasnt had the luxury of even having 2 full season under his belt. You would not have known why he had to drop put last time? or he had a chance to drive a Minardi long time back.

Or take the case of Adrian Sutil, where is he now after so long a stint with the Force India now Sahara Force India, chances are Narain could have done a better job, its all in the long drives that you do.

And for all those asking why Narain couldn’t make it better than his team mate, let me tell you probably he is/was only one of the driver who had to drive, do the sponsorship bit and do everything on his own unlike the counterparts he has had in other countries. And sometimes even have to read such articles.

The paddock knows Narain for his drive albeit a wild driver with instincts that are fully of those a race driver. But see how Jenson Button was an unsung hero for over 150 GP starts and now he is celebrated. I am sure none of the British Journos would have derided Button after say just one full season and a part season after long.

The most laughable part you have mentioned is about the advertisement. Unfortunately drivers of the low rung teams dont have the luxury of pocketing the money. Especially when we should raise 5 crore to a million in Indian Rupees, while its just a million for others in the world and it helps if you are in Europe to do a Euro transaction.

Nobody has ever told him he is Micheal Schumacher that is a ROFL statement you have made to make you unworthy of what you are writing. Comparing Schumi’ years of experience and just a season needs some humorous instinct.

As for the tag line, the fastest Indian in the world, it was given by the British Press and I still think no one has taken it away from him at least as of now. If there are people who shall do it then of course he can claim that title to be his but that doesn’t change the facts.

Wrong comparisons does more damage than really making critical insights, please back up with what you are writing. Its easy to key in because you hold a view but also be sure that if its held to a mirror you should be able to stand to it.

It is also a matter of jumping the gun, especially in F1 the cars are never equal and the treatment too is never equal even within a team. WIth such a background it would have made better if you had called for Narain in Sahara Force India than this since its Kingfisher’s advertising expense which runs the team in a way.

And if you think you can win races with HRT then I can see you comparing Maruti 800 and a Honda Civic. Only parameter Maruti wins is the price.

My last request to FP please refrain from these style of reporting or ideations, it does no one any good.

Lessons and learnings from ad:tech New Delhi Part – 3

The day 2 at ad:tech was another day of learning and also involved great discussions on Social Commerce and presentations on metrics with special reference to Social Media. There was a track on Spotlight, one on Mobile marketing and ofcourse on Search too.

The first keynote of the day was that of Pete Blackshaw, Global Head of Digital Marketing and Social Media, Nestle.

Prior to his being on stage, we were treated to a wonderful walk through of the last day’s events and learnings and even a look at the exhibition area by our Brad Berens who incidentally has become a rage for his special Good Morning New Delhi! Some of the Twitteratii felt he was giving our very own Vidya Balan of Lage Raho Munnabhai a run for her money – viz her Good Morning Mumbai!

As Pete started the sheer statistics of Maggi being sold than 1.2 Billion packs became quite a rage, I saw that was unintended but when it was compared to Indian population as a number it was in the news. He also unveiled what Nestle was doing differently with regards to the digital and how corporate communication is also being run under digital it makes for interesting take out. As he rolled out his ideas on Small is the new big in digital marketing, he also made it a point to reiterate that basics still matter in digital and social.

The Digital and social media strategy at Nestle is based on excellence in listening, engaging and inspiring. Moreover he also said that Nestle plans its digital strategy on the local scale and makes it a success. The strength has been that of decentralizing the digital marketing programme and it has been able to deliver excellent results across.

They call it Brand Building the Nestle Way – BBNW.

As the screens are getting smaller or say our screens are shrinking, we need to think harder about simplifying our messaging and serving the consumer. He also said the whole process got to be social by design. It had to be 24/7 sense and respond a tactical way to be engaging a consumer.

When the screens get smaller it is also a big challenge to get the attention span to yourself. He shared one of the most important point on a successful mobile phone application – it has to provide rich content, excellent service and consumer focus. His keynote brought back some of the boring basics to be taken seriously, and more so because in digital its the basics which still matter.

In one of the game changing context he said ‘Think about a way to take your big ideas on other media to digital. Digital strategy for any brand should not be isolated.”

As he concluded he was on target when he said ‘shrink, serve and simplify, and yes its great time to be in Marketing’. I am sure everyone out there seconded this statement and yes Pete made a lasting impression to kick start the days’s proceedings in a way that was unique to Pete and the brand Nestle.

The next speaker was Satyan Gajwani, Director, New Media, The Times Group with his keynote on the evolution of content, commerce and entertainment in the digital world.

He took us on a journey of how the Times Group was instrumental in identifying the consumer connect and of late has been having a great effort fructify with Gaana.com being a part of FB apps. He also said that now everything has to go social it has to be inherent by design and we cannot have two different stand alone strategies even when its content. With the social media becoming all pervasive, any initiative in digital has to be Social by design and cannot be a plug-in anymore.

It was true that inspite of low internet speeds videos still command a large chunk of the broadband traffic. This was very true of cricket videos being closely followed during important matches – especially IPL.

IPL he said will have a greater impact this year because it will have a lot of engaging features.

Satyan also unveiled the new initiative of TIL in BoxTV.com an answer to Hulu in India. He said that Indians have a penchant for watching online videos and it is only increasing day by day. If we can get them socially engaged with the same, it will be a great way to go futuristic.

He also said that there was a relook in the ecommerce part of the service offering and it could even make people sit up and take notice in the days to come. A visually seamless and thought provoking presentation from Satyan, and the day has had its perfect start.

The session on Mobile marketing gave real insights on how they need to actually see the fit in the first place, apart from SMS to making it an engaging platform. The marketers needed more of innovative solutions to engage and also how we could make it happen with different screens and the need to have a solution cut across the platforms.

In the next presentation session we were treated to extensive use of mobile application on retail and in-store and extended location based advertising using mobile.

So the mobile with its ever increasing penetration especially with smart phones or even with blue tooth connectivity can make a lot of difference while being on the move or sometimes being in store. Lot of retail brands have experienced successful engagement opportunities with some of the service providers with blue tooth and some have used Augmentative Reality to awesome effect and results.

Days are not far when shopping will be socially relevant and will be happening on the move may be time targeted to the core so as to make it absolutely engaging experience. You could be asked for a choice to order from a menu as you pass by a restaurant around noon! Chances are, if you updated you are ‘hungry’ you could get a call from one of those people delivering pizza near you!

During the Spotlight session, we saw how Angels are making their contribution in a fast growing internet economy if I may say so, and their contributions in terms of engaging with the startups has raised the high stakes game to better VC funding for the companies.

That will change the complexion of the game in terms of more angels coming in and making it easier for VCs to identify and support such ventures.

We also had a discussion on B2B marketing strategies and we saw how B2B brands are leveraging the internet and making successful contributions to the marketing plan. The targeting capabilities are making it easier for the B2B marketers to use the power of internet and deliver value in terms of leads sometimes build brands among the most important users.

The afternoon sessions on Social and Search was a mix of wonderful panel discussion and a presentation session.

The Social going commerce or Social commerce in the times of Facebook and twitter and now the coming of Pinterest will surely make it easy for brands to sell. The interesting part is that the shopping has also gone social in a way to make for an interesting ideal context wherein the influencers are friends and sometimes friends of friends.

The last word on whether we would love to do shopping on Facebook has not been said as yet and I think we will wait here in India to see if the global leads will confirm the users would love to keep shopping social but not entirely do shopping on Facebook.

The social media metrics getting an upper hand with the engagement being given importance was the key take way during the presentation on Social media metrics and measurement. Likes on a brand page do not translate to engagement or social talking in real sense. So if a brand x can garner 1000 likes and has over 900 talking about it then the ration of engagement is far higher than having 10000 likes and 10 people talking about it. Ofcourse the metrics is also looking at how positive and negative the influences have been in the social media which are now Facebook, twitter, discussion forums etc.

On the other side of Search we could see that even search is going social, simply because we find lot of people in the social side of the internet.

We saw how a decision like buying a car from a search would eventually become social with so many Facebook comments to twitter updates to reviews will make it more social in the days to come, though of course the starting point would have been search.

A very busy day for conferencing with loads of take away value to implement and experiment.

The final part of the day was the penultimate Keynote from Microsoft by Richard Dunmall, VP, Global Accounts & Agencies, Microsoft Advertising, finally to be followed by Kent Wertime of O & M Japan.

Richard took us on a journey of exploring the future of storytelling. Story telling as I see it will not be interesting unless it engages the user and most importantly how they can make the right connect for the brands to see it.

With Kinect and other gaming technology it has become all pervasive to be a part of everyone’s lives and we could see all the technology waiting to tell us stories of ourselves and the brand in the days to come. He extensively spoke about how everyone’s a storyteller and how digital is enabling them to do that. The future is digitally connected with humans and interacting things being the message and the message if I am put it that way.

The best is the human endeavour of touch and feel is getting translated to a mass technology and it will change the way we interact in the near future making human experience all the more important.

It ‘s all about you and how that is going to be the central point around which we have to make all our stories happen with the right people, at the right time and at the right place.

We also had a glimpse of what Kinect could do to engage brands and most importantly the possibilities are endless.

The closing Keynote of ad:tech New Delhi was by Kent Wertime, President and Representative Director & Chief Operating Officer, Ogilvy & Mather (Japan) K. K. & Ogilvy Asia Pacific

He took us on why this is the age of digital and the marketing will be called digimarketing in the days to come and what’s in store for the future.

Simply put the marketing has shifted from the brands being the center to consumers being in the center of the communication. Content will be the key again and it will possibly the most important part for any brand to connect with its consumers.

You cannot discard social since it will be at the center again. How we value data will also make it important for the brands to engage and how well can we mine them to use for the predictive models to tracking personal habits will be the key.

Its also about managing the consumer trust, making us go back in time on the basic premise that trust is essential in any communication.

Those were absolutely wonderful way to put across some of the most important points to ponder when we think digital is all about so many creative ways and engagement, but the basics remains the same. Those are all abstract forms for example in trust and engagement being one and another after effect.

A class of a presentation from an industry veteran brought the curtains down on what was absolutely engaging event for the digital marketers in the country and what ad:tech across the world is all about.

So will see you all next ad:tech soon in March 2013 and before that don’t forget ad:tech Bangalore makes a debut in September…

R Senthilkumar

This is the third of the 3 part article which appeared in imediaconnection.in you can see the original article here.

Lessons and learnings at ad:tech New Delhi 2012 – Part 2

The day One at ad:tech was the most anticipated one with the keynote by Shiv Singh, Global Head of Digital, Pepsico Beverages. The day started off with the customary inaugural with lamp being lit, followed by welcome remarks by Susan Mac Dermid, President of Digital Marketing Division dmg :: Events and Rammohan Sundaram, CEO & Founder Networkplay.

Mr. Suresh Reddy, Chairman & CEO of Ybrant Digital, (the Platinum Sponsor of the event) also spoke on this occasion. It was delightful to hear him say how some year back Indian brands have looked at ad:tech as a mere participant especially Ybrant and today have come a long way to sponsor one such event in India in all glory. Almost summarises the way digital will be in the near future. India will have a role to play with its ever increasing internet population which is engaging heavily on the net via mobile.

Mr. Shiv Singh took us on a journey of Real Time marketing on digital platform especially with the combination of Facebook and Twitter which has redefined the way brands have started talking to its consumers.

He took an example of how a tweet by Lady Gaga can be a great marketing tool which incidentally reaches over 16 million followers online. Now the way marketers have to plug in their brand communication is with the relevance of what is happening online and probably react or recreate a magic of the brand riding on some of the updates on Facebook and twitter. To me it looked as if those days of pitching in for a client and making a strategic analysis and presenting them are all going to be pre historic in this digital age. How well can we make use of social media in a sense that makes brands the center of conversation across the platforms will be a challenge that has to be met head on.

So Real Time marketing involves realtime insights, response, co-creating content, distribution and engagement. It calls for a multi tasking environment for brands to succeed in this age of digital, and when you say digital its not just the internet but even involves the television and also even the packaging and distribution. The biggest challenge he feels is not technology but the data we can gather on consumer behavior especially the data that focus on consumer preference, his location, style etc probably all the four Ps now will have to be spoken of in terms of the consumer instead of the product and brand, where he is and how he is engaging will probably be the in-thing for brands to associate with.

Most important weave social through all things and this will be the rule than an example in the coming days. And no campaign can be stand alone but will have platforms where all the brand associations will be shared and will be made into an engaging way forward for the brand.

Measurement is and will be an integral part of all these initiatives. And when we say measure, we clearly know where the engagement is from. He also spoke on Location based marketing and mobile marketing becoming the key in all future campaigns.

An absolutely engaging presentation with an eye on the future especially coming from a hip and trendy brand like Pepsi which thrives being connected to the young and happening audience.

Next was the keynote presentation by Arvind Rajan, MD – APAC & Japan, Linkedin. For us at Networkplay, its been a brand without which we would not have scaled the heights we are in today. LI gave enough insights into what is in store for the brands in terms of talking to a select and affluent set of audience.

Its no more about just jobs, its how the brands can make use of the professional network and place themselves in a position to get more followers for the brands. He also dwelt at length how brand pages on LinkedIn can be a one stop destination to handle its communication to the discerning followers on how its making itself more relevant professionally. It is also again the most important way to engage in real-time. The brands could use a number of tools to generate responses and also engage with them positively and he also cited a lot of examples where brands have exploited the professional networking to great effect.

To summarise, data is at the heart of any social network. It will be in brands interest to mine the data and engage with the consumer effectively and of course the time will be of essence.

An absolutely fantastic start to a great day, with two wonderful keynotes and the ball set rolling for the panels and presentations to come. The Marketing Masters, the Innovation track were planned in the afternoon before the final Keynote of the day.

The track on Brand Strategy looked at two different issues at hand – 1.How to leverage digital and 2. How the brands are now becoming publishers.

The Brand side on the panel was looking forward to spending more on digital and invariably has budgets which are now really numbers to reckon with brand marketers promising to hike it up if the publishers came with real metrics and engagement solutions. It was a cracker of a panel with brands and publishers and technology enablers giving their take on how to leverage digital to the max.

The second panel looked at how brands are telling stories with their own content. The final word on content story has not been said as yet. And when you have Coca Cola and MTV in the same panel it will be a session to watch out for. So today apart from mainstream publishers its also the brands which are creating content to a large extent and how! As much as a brand would love to talk about itself today it has become imperative to turn to the earned media to play the content owner in a way they have never done before.

The Marketing Masters had some of the most wonderful brands present their cases in digital and how they had been able to connect and engage in variety of platforms and end up adding to the bottomline. There were cases of interest from Kotak Mahindra Bank, to IBM to Ford which incidentally launched their Ford Fiesta entirely on digital. Also we had Nokia and dealsandyou making it a great set of presentations at the Marketing Masters. Interesting as it may seem the brands gave clear insights on how they have started thinking in digital right from the word go, while yesteryears the digital was an extension of the offline campaigns. It was very good news and most importantly the way forward for the betterment of the ecosystem.

The Innovation track also had presentations in three sets viz., on how technology can increase engagement with users and on how brands can gamify their brand experiences. It also had a session on how video is driving user engagement and advertiser engagement. Clear take away for brands to indulge in technology and games and the next biggest inventory available as yet the video.

The day ended with the third Keynote and the final one for the day by Gian Fulgoni, Chairman and Co-Founder, comScore.

Gian had everyone listening to his magic of numbers and also unveiled some of the most important learning from digital especially with reference to the Indian Internet ecosystem.

Some of the notable points during his keynote included:

US was no longer the centre of the online universe. In 2011, US internet population versus the Rest of the World internet population was a 13 percent vs. 87 percent

Asia continues significant growth in the size of internet audience. Growth has slowed in North America and the European growth is mostly driven by Russia.

Indian internet users are much younger than global average. 75 percent of audience is under 35 years compared to 52 percent of the world and 55 percent of the region and India’s internet usage is relatively low compared to similarly sized countries

Young people drive internet consumption in India today, suggesting future overall usage will rise dramatically. India’s heaviest internet users are in the age group of 26 to 34 years.

He also made it a point to see things beyond just clicks and may be that will be a mindset that will revolutionise the industry

Great insights and makes it all the more interesting because India was central to all these data points. For me personally the way he presented for once I started to love the numbers. Probably the way the masters have a way with words.

A great day of learning at ad:tech New Delhi ended with a wonderful keynote.

R Senthilkumar

This is the second of the 3 part article which appeared in imediaconnection.in you can see the original article here.

Lessons and learnings at ad:tech New Delhi 2012 – Part 1

ad:tech New Delhi had changed the context for the digital fraternity in India with its first edition last year in April 2011. It still has the reminiscences of the keynotes of Babs Rangaiah of Unilever to David Fischer of FB to Sav of Digitas UK. It had left an indelible imagery on what is in store for the future. Continuing the trend and increasing the learning curve, the second edition of ad:tech New Delhi started with a Master Class on day zero on Search and Social.

The Master Class was organized in association with the Knowledge partner Communicate 2. The Master Class with 7 sessions gave a deep understanding on Search and Social and how it can be applied in real time and enriched the participants with enough practical knowledge to try them on their own.

Here’s a round up of the days learning’s…

Search is indispensable at every move for the brand to be present when they are being searched for even if not directly. It would also make great for brands to be present as content providers in times of searches so that they engage with the prospect or a consumer online in the way they choose to.

Content has become the King and the Queen, that remains the uncontested statement with all the brands and publishers looking to make content the center of all their communication. It goes without saying if we have content then of course there is rise in engagement. One of the best use of content was the Google adwords FAQ page. That according to me is a master stroke by the people who do what they talk, or walk the talk.

Its not just our website these days, there are many manifestations of the brand communication which is today spread across the spectrum with search and social integrated, the search apart, we have Facebook, twitter, Google Pages etc. How often have we devised a strategy to be in line with the brand communicates across the platforms across every point of communication. It is most important for brands to sync all these together in a way that consumers get a feel of the brand and engage constructively for raising their brand equity.

Reputation management has become very important in the literal sense because of online social platforms, and listening on Social media will be imperative because the net id going to have a wider impact than ever before. We have also seen some of the brands being online and how the listening has not exactly been the way it should be. Going forward there will be a lot of traction in terms of customer experience management online especially the social media. For sure an angry customer today has only this to do update his status with a tag to the brand experience good or bad.

One of the most important unveiling infact was that of YouTube presentation wherein the content owner can own his right and YouTube will search for any usage of the content across the network. This is done by a video search and I think the algorithm searches the video in parts and lists if there are videos that are similar. This is an ideal situation where in the piracy will be checked and of course the content creators get their due with respect to their work and monetize the same in due course.

Ofcourse the video is going to be big and in a way will lead the brands to own content than ever before. Collaborative effort will be in the making like that of Coke Studios by MTV.

Thanks to the knowledge partner Communicate 2 for their handling of the session and a great kick start to the ad:tech New Delhi 2012.

R Senthilkumar

This is the first part of the 3 part article which appeared in imediaconnection.in, you can see the original article here

Going digital and staying ahead of times…

So that’s billed as a big fight! Infact one of the twitterati that I follow named it as bitch fight. One TVC and three months later another series to give it back in their own words or say giving a taste of their own medicine.

Well I am talking about the big fight between The Hindu and the Times of India with their TVCs, you can see all the The Hindu videos here  & TOI here which have created quite a debate and a following in traditional lines that Hindu reader normally does, take sides and also the TOI reader snaring / laughing off at the portrayal.

Now coming back to why I chose to write on this, well I have been a regular reader of the Hindu ever since I got subscribed  to it say from 1991 or so till the last one year before I came to Delhi. My association with the Hindu has been diverse, a reader, an advertiser – I managed the PSG’s advertising wing then also as a PR when with Narain Karthikeyan I did the rounds for editorial. But my association remains the best as a reader that’s when you get to enjoy all the best the Hindu has to offer.

I read with interest this article which appeared in Forbes blog. Very interesting take on why the ad in question from TOI actually woke up the Hindu. To a great extent, it is true and in fact my being in Delhi has changed the readership routine to Times of India for obvious reasons. I still get a hang of the Hindu online everyday even tweeting some interesting takes on my home town on and off. But to keep up the smell of the coffee I just buy a copy of the Hindu from Saket bookstall on Saturdays and Sundays during my walk.

The Delhi edition or rather the one printed at Allahabad or Mohali is very thin – less number of pages, but you get the Sunday Magazine and the usual Saturday stuff.

My early remembrances of the Hindu include the Saturday Sports special, which I started missing it when they stopped it altogether. They also did away with the last page sports reporting which was my favorite page. I reckon all the tennis reporting these days would not come close to the way they did without the internet and stuff we have today. But today is another different story. Then there was this change of design and all that which made news without dateline and it was fun reading those days when you could actually find same news items twice in the news paper or sometimes churned out the very next day.

And yes it has been a long way and editorially though I wouldn’t approve of it quite a few times, we would necessarily brag about the way its written; that immaculate English and the vocabulary that it imparts, it sheer brilliance and that what the stuff is made of at the Hindu. No doubt they refer the Hindu as a paper of study for the civil services.

Now you know all the questions that were asked were actually a part of the UPSC exams. It had caught the imagination of the ad industry and the people who read the Hindu, but my only hunch is will anyone from the TOI brandwagon jump the ship. True the south doesn’t celebrate the Bollywood or any of the Kollywood or Tollywood or Mollywood in the way the English dailies up north do it. There are no gossip columns there.  There are a number of vernacular magazines which bridge the gap.

I think I am seeing a different newspaper in the Hindu in the sense they are also going commercial and also thinking about marketing, not that they were lame about it. I still think the Sportstar ads by Lintas were one of the best ever.  But now it’s the time to be heard loud and may be this reaction. So welcome aboard the tough seas, the Hindu.

I will be missing the point if I don’t talk about the ads. The ads are well shot and are cute in fact, that’s a ridiculous comment you may say but what do you do when you know that lip sync is so obvious. Isn’t that the cute part. I should also be proud of the fact that I cracked almost 100% in all the ads. Now where is my big prize? Jokes apart it was trying to sell a bit of intellectual pursuit which is fine in a way but would the hurt guy (one mocked at) bite the bullet. They are a happy lot anyways!  But they were entertaining for sure… Well that’s my personal take! It was nice seeing The Hindu take an aggressive stand though will have to wait for the business part of the subscriptions.

A look at the celebrity followers in India especially on twitter will give the reason why Page 3 exists so much than all pages, it’s actually the 10 pages of Page 3 news articles which they call it the city times. You could also blame it on twitter and @Srbachchan for letting the world know that Ash was pregnant on twitter.

Anyways this should be good for the TV Channels, who are making money out of Newspaper fights.

On the other hand it is also noteworthy that they made a viral out of the ads they did. I got to know of the TOI ad after this hit back by The Hindu. That was the best part and it was on my timeline so many times both on FB and twitter. That perhaps is a lesson for all marketers. My take out of the episode: Digital is here, it is here to stay and grow big, now you get to choose whether you want to stay ahead of times or not.

R Senthilkumar

ad:tech New Delhi 2012: Speakers and participating brands announced

ad:tech New Delhi 2012, the digital marketing, media and advertising event to be held in February, has announced a line-up of its first three panel tracks on Brand Strategy, Performance and Venture Capital.

Sharing his views on the panel discussions announced so far, Rammohan Sundaram, event chairman, ad:tech India and founder, chief executive officer and managing director, Networkplay Media, said, “Panel discussions spur great creative brainstorming and often yield innovative solutions to issues at hand. We have handpicked a roster of industry leaders from India who will add immense value to the ad:tech event brand that matches our global reputation as the world’s leading digital marketing event. We had earlier announced a dazzling preview of some of our keynote speakers from PepsiCo, LinkedIn, comScore, The Times Group and Ogilvy, and will be soon announcing more exciting panels and presentations.”

The ‘Brand Strategy’ track will comprise of two panel discussions featuring speakers from brands including Coca-Cola India, HUL, MAX, LG Electronics India, Google India, Bharti Airtel and MTV India. The first panel discussion in this track will focus on leveraging digital to pushing the industry to invest in ideas. Moderated by Harish Bahl, founder and chairman, Smile Group, this panel will include LK Gupta, chief marketing officer, LG Electronics India, Gaurav Seth, senior vice president, marketing and communications, MAX, and Arun Sharma, vice president, marketing – head, Media and Rural, Bharti Airtel.

With more and more brands doubling up to play the role of publishers, the second panel discussion, moderated by Ravi Kiran, former chief executive officer, South Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group, will explore how branded content can be combined with a killer marketing strategy. Panelists in this session will include Wasim Basir, director, Integrated Marketing Communication, Coca Cola India and South West Asia; Atit Mehta, country media manager, Hindustan Unilever Limited; Nikhil Rungta, country marketing head, Google India; and, Aditya Swamy, executive vice president and business head, MTV India.

Under the track ‘Performance’, the panel session titled, ‘Performance Marketing: Display Matters’ will be moderated by GroupM South Asia’s managing partner, Tushar Vyas, will look at how new display optimisation technologies and next-generation ad exchanges are offering fresh take on display advertising that historically lacked the targeted pricing, placement, and ROI of Search. Insightful views will also be shared by industry stalwarts including Anisha Singh, founder and chief executive officer, mydala.com, Robbie Hills, head of Media Technology – South East Asia and India, Head of Rich Media – Asia Pacific, Google Inc., Gulshan Verma, vice president and country head – India and North America, Komli Media, and Karan Gupta, managing director, Affinity.

The second panel in this track will be themed on ‘Retargeting/Remarketing’ and will feature Siddharth Puri, business head, Tyroo Direct and Gourav Chindlur, co-founder and chief operating officer, Vizury, who will delve into getting the right returns on paid search and SEO through technology with a clear call to action for consumers.

The third track is titled ‘Spotlight’ and features an array of speakers on venture capital. Since digital marketing is still in its early years in India, angel investors play a crucial role in giving the right launch pad to enterprising start-ups. This panel discussion will explore the importance of angels for developing strong businesses that make great venture capital investments. It will showcase views from Alok Mittal, managing director, Canaan India, Samir Kumar, managing director, Inventus, Sarbvir Singh, managing director, Capital18, Vinay Sanghi, promoter and chief executive officer, MXC Solutions and Sateesh Andra, venture partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ).

ad:tech New Delhi – an event for digital marketers

Till last year India’s digital fraternity used to attend ad:tech a global digital marketing event away from India. It is a place for the digital marketing professionals to get a sense of what is happening and how technology is changing and the way brands are positioning themselves with an increasing digital mass audience, but this changed with the 1st edition in New Delhi last April. The event is a brand in itself with a decade of keeping abreast of the changes happening in the technology side of business and marketing and has been in the forefront leading the challenge in the internet and digital industry.

At the inaugural Indian edition, we saw some of the best technology in practice being displayed and some of the innovations showcased on internet and mobile and digital as a whole. India with its ever increasing internet population which at presently an estimated 120 Million active users and fast growing into the largest medium to which advertisers can target their marketing communication. The challenge it proposes is the interactivity and the closeness, in social media front has been a steep learning curve. Brands will have to go social and be in the midst of the mind space with more time spent on the Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. The content has become the king and for brands the first time it has given them an opportunity to own the content as media itself.

The event also brought into light how technologists are turning creative directors with creative and engaging mobile applications and augmented reality making its presence in the traditional domain. A great amount of exposure and learning is in store at ad:tech New Delhi where the best of technology brands and marketing case studies are shared with the audience. Thus making it possible for others in the digital space to embrace the technical knowhow and exploit it to engage with the consumer, be it on social, search or mobile.

It’s a new era where marketing meets technology is the buzzword and ad:tech is poised to take it to the next level in India. Mobile with its penetration and mass reach will also be a challenge for brands to engage effectively. The smart phones which are growing fast with the prices going south and features being loaded by the minute will soon become the most important medium. Mobile applications fondly called apps are changing the way people use their phones from being a simple communication device to an engaging branding console. Getting to make the best use of the technology and the latest in location based services which is making a lot of advancement in making a connect to the user at a particular location making him glocally available for brands to communicate.

So the game is on the most empowered consumer today because of his being connected and  internet being available on multiple platforms the desktop, his laptop, the mobile and the all new internet powered TV. Following him wherever he goes and that too without being seen as intrusive, a marketing miracle which will be a success to replicate.

So, while the reach of the digital has removed the concept of “distance” with a keystroke or a touch, it’s never been more important to physically connect with friends, colleagues, business associates, trade journalists and the growing base of marketing experts that have come to represent ad:tech’s expanding network.

With such a background, ad:tech New Delhi’s 2nd edition in February 2012 will be a platform for all stakeholders to get updated, share, network and do business.

R Senthilkumar

Sporting Moments – F1 Indian Inaugural GP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first Indian Grand Prix had so much in stake for itself. The advertisement or the bad PR of Common Wealth has not been erased from the memory of the public. As the preparations were going on at a racy speed came the Supreme Court order that they move  25% of the ticket sales to a separate bank account till they decided if the sporting event needed a tax cut.

Cut to the party after the successful hosting of the Indian Grand Prix which was attended by the most venerated person Sachin Tendulkar, in a country where Cricket is a religion and God decided to witness the race, it was only fitting that he waived the chequered flag.

One of the most interesting takeaways of this whole exercise is that it has been able to showcase India as a wonderful tourist destination. !ncredible India was bang on as one driver after another went gaga about the Taj, the roads, the food, the pretty Indian women and ofcourse the rickshaw or the tuk-tuk.  Sebastian Vettel has vowed to learn the most important words in Hindi so that he would be able to impress a few charming godess as he put it the next time he is in Delhi.

It opened vistas for a lot of event management people albeit only for the month still it did give rise to hope for better days in the near future. The people who had sold their land in the meanwhile had made a killing and are living a luxurious life thanks to this F1 venture of Jaypee.

The success had its effect and it was not without reason. It was a show case par excellence in terms of private party holding an event of this magnitude. For all of us having to tend to disagree with what government working can be like this event with such mass gathering of over 1 lakh plus apart from the volunteers and the men working around the clock to ensure a great event was like raising hope over something’s that we normally don’t take for granted.

It also underlined that the public private partnerships, thought the government was  not directly involved, can work wonders for the sports. With the unveiling of the track we have already seen Mercedes open a training academy that’s the first here and third after Germany and China. So it would only spur the motorsports fraternity to test waters and make it a global hub.

It was also nice to see two support races in MRF Championship and JK Tyre Asia Series where all the future racers gave a shot to their dreams not withstanding the machinery they had was not that great, but the spirit was there for all to see. The next year the machine will be all the more bigger and better.

It has also opened up the newly christened iSeries on the lines of the IPL, which has already got enough of media attention and has lined up more almost all the franchise as I write this, the reason is very clear – the series has two of its races at Buddh International Circuit.

Also be rest assured that there will be a lot of Karting races happening and you can actually scout for some new venues which will come up in the days to come since that is the basic breeding ground for kids to enter racing early in their life. Force India already ran a One in a Billion in 7 cities and now Red Bull is doing a Kart Fight in 4 cities.

On a large level the economic benefits of this is yet to be realized to its full potential, while the racing weekend can rake in a lot of tourist and makes for a good tourist festival, the motorsports as an industry will only thrive with so many brand getting into the sponsorship arena.

Take the case of Amul, which partnered Sauber for a one off race sponsorship, gives ample scope for the brands to think global starting with such associations. The other brands like Vodafone and Renault already having tasted the success of being a part of F1 circus will increase their spend to better it the next time. But if you ask me the one brand which walked laughing all the way to the branding bank was Airtel. It made a kill with a branding by being the presenting  sponsor – Airtel Indian grand Prix and the rest was history. And I like it when you have two of the most competitive brands in Airtel and Vodafone vying for your  mindspace.

So the race has already got cracking with the calendar for next year. With such economic benefits the brands will only be ready not to miss the ship this time.