2020 was a year of global solidarity thanks to Corona. We were bonded in isolation, pain and confusion.

2021 has been a story of recovery. That would be in most countries except India.

Within India, there are two major story arcs that color the imagination. One is of utter horror and disappointment in the government in general, Modi in particular, and the other is a series of rebuttals against anything that might dent the great leader’s righteous armor.

There are other stories of denial and idiocy that are quintessentially Indian like — Villagers jump into river in UP’s Barabanki to…

An emerging thought among some (a microscopic sliver of uppercrust) Indians is that it’s “inappropriate” to conduct the IPL right now.

More than one person I know, have actively chosen to stop watching it because it simply “feels morally wrong to engage in frivolity” while the nation suffers.

Here’s Adam Gilchrist asking this question — with some concern and not pre-judgment, open to the idea that there are two possibilities — inappropriate vs. important distraction:

What are Indian ads supposed to do? Besides bring IPL into our homes so we watch this event-blitz for free? (IPL Edition)

The Four Horsemen of the Indian Adpocalypse

I’m an industry insider — advertising and research. I’ve worked in this space for 26 years, loved ads since TVs landed on Indian shores and I’m not sure anymore what Indian ads are expected to achieve.

What brand books, ad schools and idealistic or iconic ad gurus will teach you is that it’s about building worlds, firing imagination, feeding dreams etc. It is all about the feels.

Reality Hits

Consumers generally let ad pleas wash over them like…

In the book “Disappearing Daughters,” Gita Aravamudan tells the story of female feticide in India. She reveals that two factors “predicted” greater acceptance of daughters in an Indian home. Not education or money. It was Working mothers or Keralite homes. None of this means that all working women or all Keralite homes are daughter-loving emancipated havens. The data just tags these two fields as predictors of more positive outcomes for female fetuses.

Being able to recognize these markers are how Buzzfeed quizzes work and you can see if you’re more of a Slytherin or less of a Phoebe. They’re not…

260 million views. That’s what Jerusalema had racked up by December 2020. It was a musical antidote to a pandemic year that saw people coming together and celebrating a time that didn’t warrant happiness. The musical vision of Master KG, the soul-stirring, resonant, genderless voice of Nomcebo Zikode, the Angolan dancers ‘Fenomenos do Semba’ performing a flawless version of “eating and dancing while living not fancy” told kids, clergymen and cops everywhere they could be part of something special. …

The BigBasket vs. dailybasket fight has landed in court.

Out in the wild interwebs where anyone can weigh in — the defendant, dailybasket, has now positioned itself as a blameless david (lowercase) being crushed under the mega-Pascal pressure of BigBasket, a massive Goliath.

In a brilliant/petty, defensive move — and to gain public sympathy, dailybasket has a site called “bbisabully” that details how unfair this is because evidently, the two brands are vastly different. The logo, the apps, the interface — each of it laid out side by side for “impartial observers” (in quotes because people rarely are impartial, we…

Paava Kadhaigal Review

Jaby Koay is a YouTuber who’s known for his reaction videos. For some reason, he reviews a giga-load of Indian content. In his reaction video to the trailer of Paava Kadhaigal (Stories of Sin, Netflix Anthology), it’s quickly clear that he’s able to grasp the core values and intent of the series to the same extent that he can pronounce the title of the movie. Which is not at all — and that is completely understandable.

He tries to compare lack of acceptance of inter-caste love to homosexuality and talks about how the latter is an “uphill…

What our Movies say about us

Soorarai Pottru (Praise the Brave) is one of the more recent Tamil movies by Sudha Kongara with Suriya playing the lead. It was released OTT on Amazon Prime and has largely received positive reviews. Most people praise the acting by Suriya and Aparna Balamurali, the upbeat energy the movie has and I guess at some level the relief that it isn’t outright terrible, which a lot of much hyped movies tend to be.

It’s presumably the story of Captain Gopinath’s struggle and vision to launch Air Deccan, the first low cost carrier in India, at a time when we hadn’t…

What’s really true about the Tanishq ad — hurtful & offensive or sweet & affirming? Are those really the questions we should ask to understand what’s going on here?

In Zhang Yimou’s 2002 film, Hero, we see the story of an attempted assassination through multiple perspectives. The key assassin, the King who is the target, other assassins etc each take turns to tell the same story. …

The Fallacy of “Creating” Needs

In what may feel like a Peter Jackson hangover, Viral Impact is a Trilogy. Episode2: The Existential Treadmill is covered in Part 1 which defines what this is and why it matters. It gives context to what’s shaping where people are at today and how that would affect them as consumers.

Episode 2, Part 2 explores what Consumer (Human) Needs really are.


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