Monthly Archives: September 2010

India’s Pride Common Wealth Games 2010

The collapsed footbridge in New Delhi

With just 12 days to go for the Games, a new foot over-bridge near the main venue of the Games, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, collapsed last evening, injuring 23 laborers, five of them critically.

The Games were meant to instill a sense of pride in Delhi, but many fed-up citizens are threatening to leave the city or take no part in the event.

The deadline for Delhi to be Games-ready was initially 31 March. After several extensions – first to 30 June, then to 31 July, then 31 August – it is now end-September.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit  said it would be the best the world has seen. But she has made a joke of our country.” With time fast running out, Mrs Dixit is seeking divine intervention. “It appears that Lord Indhra [the rain god] is unhappy with us,” she said at the weekend.

“I will appeal to him to bring some sunshine. If the rain stops and sun comes out, we will be able to complete the work by 10-15 September. Otherwise we will have to extend the deadline. “By the grace of god, we will be able to finish everything by 3 October.” If that does not happen, Delhi and India could be facing major embarrassment.

When one in three Indians lives below the poverty line and 40% of the hungry live in India, when 46% of India’s children and 55% of women are malnourished, does spending billions of dollars on a 12-day sports event build national pride or is it a matter of national shame? Are we really ready for such a show biz now?! Its a shame show rather a game show…

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Talking Advertisement – Volkswagen and TOI

Today morning, when readers of The Times of India and The Hindu opened the newspaper, they were in for a surprise.

The supplement of the main paper carried a ‘talking’ advertisement of Volkswagen, which plays a recorded voice when a reader opens the page.
It came as a surprise to many and soon Twitter and Facebook were full of comments, from awe at something so “innovative” to despair at a “lame” attempt.

While it reminded some of the musical greeting cards by Archies — a craze in India in the early years of this decade, others felt the commercial ridiculed the experience of reading a newspaper.

But, whatever feedback the advertisers and the newspaper get from readers, it surely signifies a new era in Indian advertising — one in which companies have realised India’s potential as a lucrative fast-growth story, leading them to innovate and lavishly spend on advertising.

The emerging Indian middle-class is fast turning into a bunch of brand-conscious individuals, and having realised that, companies are opening up their wallets.

Now with the financial crisis mostly behind us, people can hope to see more innovation in advertising, as companies look for newer ways to lure consumers.

The question though is whether Indians will welcome such convergence of media, especially in advertising.

As noted humorist Anand Ramachandran wrote on his Twitter account, “Did TOI really think that their readers are so dumb, they can’t read? A print ad with a voice-over that won’t shut up? Where’s my hammer?”

Though sometimes I feel, people will remember the media innovations much more than the brand!

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