Follow Your Heart. Lead Your Mind. You'll find a window everywhere.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Get a home. Not just heights. : Realty communication case study.

India is a different and a very difficult country. Because of its population – ever increasing.

In an Indian society, Maslow's hierarchy of needs gets applied rather with a bottoms-up approach – where morality, spirituality, etc. are trained to people first than providing them with the basics like food, water, etc.

As a result, people in this nation in general, who have the power to think, talk, and act, are more concerned about iPads or iPhones than things like malnutrition, employment, etc.

For the reason obvious, this reflects on and in almost everyone's attitude whoever wants to define or redefine success. And that too, irrespective of his socio-economic condition.

Here success means not an overall growth, but an individual rise in order to gain a height in lifestyle.

To complement this lifestyle, house plays a pivotal role. And not just a house that could be termed as home, but an own house that will ensure one gets the height in social status.

It's inconsequential whether such status matters at all or not, but it's imperative to have that, at least to support the realty business in the name of infrastructural development and GDP growth.

More so, as the greater the populace the greater the need for a house. Ideally an own house.

But again, if everyone starts to get an own house, it's a problem. Because then the rental or lease business of houses will take a beating. Thus, the realty business is evolved in such a way, so that a section of people - called HIG - can have a number of houses; a section - called MIG - can have more than one house; and a section - called LIG - can somehow have one house or no house.

Owing to this, it's seen, in fact close-group research has revealed, for the HIG, a house is more of a signature statement; for the MIG, a house is an asset; and for the LIG, a house is a peaceful and most secure shelter, a lifeline, a home in true sense.

It's only the LIG, who actually feels being at home while being at home i.e. at an own house.

However, an insight shows, based on a social report, the LIG somewhat feels awkward or even gets ashamed sometimes - given the height of their house, which connotes the social status or success. That leads them often to think and do something unrealistic bringing more woes to their agony to build properties.

On the basis of that, when a cooperative society gets in touch with me, which is planning to develop a township away from the city of joy - Kolkata, I tried to do something simple. Yet realistic, addressing the core problem, so as to give the LIG not just a house but also a home which is grounded on reality and more than a piece of realty.

I prepared a poster – (the idea layout is shown in the attached pic) – and ask them to start the campaign with this. Displaying it at national banks, post-offices, railway stations, train compartments, fish and vegetable markets, bus-stands, tea-stalls, public toilets, and on autos and rickshaws. Of course at strategic locations where the posters will be visible more than getting torn.

Thereafter, a press campaign in Bengali newspapers, and a TVC for Bengali channels might be crafted.

Though I've shared the idea in English, but the communication will take place in Bengali mostly.

The client has liked the concept and my payment has been made too. ;)

Now let's see, how far they can extend their liking, riding on this idea, employing their own agency.

Finally, your honest and analytical feedback (read criticism) on the idea is most welcome!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Advertising is not a profession. It's HAPPINESS!

1996. The scorching sun was ruthless while sending heat waves to toast lives. Especially to roast someone who had completed his engineering but didn’t accept any job from the campus interview because he wanted to be a copy writer.

The guy had no knowledge in advertising. All he could afford to speak in English were Yes, No, Thanks. His writing was worse than pathetic, and most importantly he also knew it for a fact.

His mom was in her deathbed, suffering from cancer. His dad got retired six years back. And he was not on talking terms with his beloved elder bro who was dead against advertising. He had no friend. No philosopher. No guide.

Money was more than precious to him. In fact, more precious than his life.

One day, he saw a classified ad in the newspaper that a small, almost unknown ad agency was looking for a copy writer. And it was holding a walk-in for that.

His eyes popped out. As if a wolf found the address of a poultry. Excitement compounded with nervousness - exactly what he felt, immediately.

The agency was at Chandni Chowk – a far away place from his place at Santoshpur. Never mind, as Robert Frost had already written ‘Miles to go before I sleep’. And since there was no sleep even at night, so miles could definitely be travelled. Well, rather smilingly!

But only Rs. 10/- was in the wallet! No worries, since Robert Frost had already told what got to be done before a sleep.

The address was there in the ad but no direction. Hence at least a phone was needed to be made from the neighbourhood PCO. Meant turning Rs 10/- into Rs. 8/- was inevitable.

The receptionist took more time than expected to complete her sentences. Resulting, Rs. 6/- only in the wallet was ready to decide world’s best copy writer in making’s fate.

3.00 PM was the scheduled time for the interview. It was already 10.30 AM when he finished the call.

A rough calculation was made by him soon, and he realised if he would start walking around 12.00 o’clock – after all it was a walk-in, you see – he could reach in time.

He reached the agency by 2.45, somehow saving his shirt from being recognised as a snot rag serving a sneezing Yeti, clenching his handmade mock work-portfolio in a bag as tightly as possible to his chest.

The interview had begun and ended, and he understood he was rejected.

What next? ‘Miles to go (in the reverse direction) before I sleep’.

It might have been okay, had the sun read Robert Frost too. But, as it didn’t, it was making even ‘an inch to go’ impossible for the rejected (and dejected) copy writer.

Anyway, Chandni Chowk is close to Lalbazar, hence, there was every possibility that he would be picked up off the pavement if seen sitting there thanks to his good-look and handsomeness.

So no choice but going… miles again.

The dehydration was getting him undone sooner, and the wallet was carrying only Rs. 2/- then, as he dared to eat out four biscuits at Rs. 4/- on his way back.

Up to Camac Street, Robert Frost was a good company, motivation, and inspiration until Stephen Hawing appeared suddenly to offer him some rest in a black hole in front of Shantineketan Building.

Bar, as you know, nobody loves to see anyone’s taking rest, a tea vendor got perturbed unlike other gentlemen out there. So he sprinkled water on an unconscious face and wiped the blood stench off a bleeding nose and a pair of badly hurt lips.

(Dropping yourself with a thud on road on your face is not a good idea – take a note of it).

Anyway, not only did the vendor sprinkle water but also offered a glass of milk with sugar. And that too, knowing fully well that he won’t be paid for anything. In addition, the vendor also shelled out Rs. 10/- to help the destiny’s child reach home safely. For a change, by a bus.


His mom passed away. He got his first job. With a remarkable salary of Rs 300/- per month. Giving a tough competition to the office bearer who used to draw Rs. 500/-.

He got his first month’s salary. Bought sweets of Rs. 50/- and went to Camac Street. Met that tea-vendor after 2 months, hugged him and handed over the box of sweets.

Both made an instant connection and started to talk for over an hour. Their discussion ranged from an elite God to the pinned Hawai chappals.

Later on, perhaps this insight helped the two lines: Elite mane Solid and Shahor Theke Gayen, Holir Rongey Rongin Sobai Elite Hawai Paye – coined by the copy writer for Elite Hawais to get his footholds in the market.

First in Kolkata, and gradually across India and beyond the national boundary.

Just the reason, that copy writer has never left his love: advertising, has never left pavements, and has never denounced the good effects of gratitude to be a man of struggles beyond mere bank balance, frivolous designation and so-called success.

And for everything, he’s VERY HAPPY, now!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Know, how to let advertising and communications save a life.

A boy used to come to me often to know the nitty-gritty of advertising while he was doing his stint with a small agency at Kolkata as a copy writer.

He was a chain smoker, and would find it really difficult to negotiate things with me as smoking was never allowed at my place.

His intention always happened to be to convince me that without smoking ideas wouldn’t click as against my belief that an idea doesn’t need any dopes from outside but only inner substance i.e. commonsense based on observation, absorption and application.

Later on he shifted to Mumbai, and very recently I came to know that he’s been suffering from lung cancer at a last stage. The medical report suggested that his ‘great habit of smoking to think big’ was the root cause of his present situation.

I felt bad, but never for a second turned sympathetic towards him, as whoever prefers to commit suicide for no apparent reason as such, I love to see that person dead.

In fact, the early it happens the best it is.

Nonetheless, this incident pushed me to do something, at least to convey a message to teenagers who also delve into the notion, may be, that smoking helps ideation and creativity.

Which is why, I compromised on a good night’s sleep and created this ambient piece of communications – (as showing in the photograph below) – with a hope to save minimum one life from going astray to be ended within an ashtray, eventually, prematurely.

I sincerely wish if HT City or Mumbai Times, or MTV, or Reebok, or Airtel, or Pepsi, or any other Brand that appeals to the Youth could use this humble creation of mine, or anything else in line with that, to help young guns understand what is what, as part of its CSR programs beyond balance sheets for a change.

And don’t worry, for that, no Brand has to pay me anything, because to me the life of a teenager is much more important than earning a few quick bucks, or winning an award.

Just the reason, I’m appealing to each one of you, unless it’s impossible, please try to create an environment where everyone can live long, happily, healthily, and peacefully, and to do that, exploit your power of ad and communications to the maximum.

This world needs you to think, talk, open up, and speak out more and more than just sulk, crib, brood, complain, nag, or maintain a dignified silence for some selfish bliss.

I beg, it’s one life, so let’s live as long as possible, together.

Life needs advertising and communications; hence let’s add life to that. Let’s JUST DO IT.