Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Absolut is nothing short of a legend, both the vodka and the ad campaigns. People in the Ad industry swear by it. Absolut’s campaigns have been ranked among the top ten in the twentieth century by the Advertising Age magazine, winning hundreds of awards, and have also been honoured in the American Marketing Association's Hall of Fame.

The brand’s courtship with the ad agency TBWA in New York ignited a spark of creativity which is still burning intensely even after 25 years.

ABSOLUT PERFECTION was the first ad that was released in 1980, and ever since their product centric advertisement recognised a new standard in creativity. Their Campaign is based on the local nuances and flavour of a country.
In India however, the brand hasn’t witnessed its true potential whether through on-ground activities and promotions.

Taking off on India’s top three passions - Bollywood, Cricket and Politics amongst others here are a few idea starters. I agree the execution is rather hurried (half an hour) but I like the thought.

Indians Love the Star power. The industry is attributed to wealth generaeration in the country.

Cricket in India is a religion. We dicuss cricket in great detail and a lot of our emotions are attached with the game.

This is my personal favourite. Politics, its our lifeline and this ad mocks the corruption that prevails
Courtesy: Amrita Sarkar

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

People Leave People

I once read a very interesting article somewhere which said ‘People leave managers not companies’. I couldn’t agree more.

Companies constantly strive to keep people turnover low through pay raises, perks and training, when in the end turnover is usually a bad boss issue. A bad boss is the worst of workplace stressors. It directly impacts the productivity and enthusiasm of his team. The consequences could be severe when you loose the best talent at higher levels.

Advertising, or for that matter the media industry itself, is constantly starved of talent. One pet complaint for most employees is that they are poor pay masters. This means they attract little or no talent and they make no efforts to retain the existing ones. To top it up, they do not have any employer friendly HR policies to boast of.

It’s my passion (ok I am an enthu cutlet) that keeps me in this industry. Loosing a Management Trainee would hardly leave a dent. I was contemplating a change in job ever since my boss recruited a new manager.

A couple of months back my boss told me a Mr J was joining us. He told me he was moving on to bigger projects and that I would no longer be reporting to him on a day to day bases. To say I was disturbed would be an understatement, the floor had crumbled under my feet.

After the initial teething period for both of us (for me because I was reluctant to welcome a new person on board) I clued Mr J on work, brought him on to the same page as the rest of the team and welcomed him to our organization by introducing him to the rest of the company. My soon to be ex boss clearly identified our distinct purviews of work so that we would take onus of our work and not pass the buck to the other.

As a management trainee it was amply clear to me I was to coordinate the back end and handle all the operational work (it is a grind no fresher is exempted from) while Mr J was to handle client facing. We were a weird duo and it was soon evident to me I was right in being apprehensive.

Right from the first day, he simply refused to take onus or initiative on any projects leaving me accountable for both our duties. I could never go to him with some grief for he would always say it was my look out and refuse to help me.

I was reaching the brink with late nights, material deadlines, artworks and just about anything was my look out. I was dreading each day, all my enthusiasm dried up, deadlines slacked, client complaints was pouring in with a renewed vigor and each time I would be pulled up and told the same thing. The last day of my career was fast approaching, either I was going to put in my papers or I was going to get thrown out.

I was angry and let down because my boss didn’t inspire me to work, didn’t make work fun for anyone and lacked the passion and drive for creativity. I seriously registered on to every possible job portal. I would shamelessly look for jobs while at work!

Eventually Mr J quit and his replacement was brought in almost immediately, a woman! Well it just took her less than 5 minutes to win my respect (not because she was a woman, I am not a sexist). She came in at a time when a wrong artwork had been printed and client had sent a howler. I seemed to be a major cause for it. I was sure this was the final blow, I had received a hundred warnings already. She came in, sorted half our problems, and I didn’t loose my job! I made an effort to spruce up and bring back the old tautness in meeting timelines. We make a great team. She put enthusiasm back in my work and made me change my mind about quitting.

The author said, ‘Beyond a point, an employee's primary need has less to do with money, and more to do with how he's treated and how valued he feels. Much of this depends directly on the immediate manager.’

Most of the senior management is too busy traveling the world, signing new deals, and raking in revenues, little do they realize that deep within an organization that otherwise does all the right things, one man could be driving its best people away!

Monday, November 06, 2006


I am mighty pissed, not because I worked till past midnight tonight, but because the world today has forgotten what chivalry is all about. I for one believe in equality of the sexes, I oppose separate queues for women at a ticket reservation counter, I am against gender bias of any form except probably in a Mumbai local train (and everyone knows why).

I am pissed because it was late and this particular colleague of mine didn’t offer to drop me home. I stormed out of office thinking, “what an insensitive being, how un-chivalrous of him”. After all the cussing (in my head of course), I began to think. My house is just five minutes away from office, why was I throwing such a fit and getting all agitated over nothing. That colleague of mine has been anything but un-chivalrous.

Most women have some distorted meaning of the word chivalry, for them it’s this preferential treatment that they have been subjected too.

I don’t need men opening doors or pulling up chairs for me, neither do I want them to drop me home after working till late, but just like every other woman in India I am a hypocrite and I admit I love it when they do all that. I am a big sucker for this preferential treatment that I have been subjected to – tax benefits, shorter queues, lesser crowds, opening doors, holding my chair and millions of other small benefits that I have taken for granted, so much so that I think it’s my birth right.

It has been ingrained so deeply into us that, any accidents on the road we seek to attribute it to the women-are-bad-drivers phenomenon. It allows any woman to walk away scot-free, after having run over any animal / person / thing, without bearing damages (that’s why I am so kicked about driving).

The world has witnessed many waves of feminism that has not just empowered women but has spoilt them as well. How am I ever going to grow up if the men folk flatter me by feeling me up in a public train or if a financial institution honors me with a free credit card? When can I tell myself the world is truly unbiased towards both sexes, for wherever I go there are special fast track queues for women or the woman’s double-discount-dhamaka plasters on every store?

Holding doors or bags etc. are such archaic definitions of chivalry. For me chivalry is in the heart. It’s in the manner of speech. You just know the man is chivalrous when he treats you with respect, he never addresses you condescendingly and his remarks are not derogatory.

When I turn around at my doorway after a long dinner to catch that final smile and wave before he drives off, I know he is truly chivalrous.
Sometimes I think I will make an effort to be this spoilt brat, its totally worth it.