Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Volkswagon AD

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about the Volkswagen Ad. The media including the advertising fraternity seems to think it has created a lot of attention and considers it a creative landmark.

There have been other reactions as well that as such it is a nuisance, creating pollution (noise, safe disposal etc).

But my issue is that does Volkswagen need to advertise in this fashion. Does the media & content match the product profile?

We all know that Volkswagen is a world class German engineered car. It is quite expensive and positioned at the upper echelon of society. Has the ad campaign not disparaged the sensibilities of this clientele?

Let me tell you of my experience in a similar situation. Quite some back I was a manager in a two wheeler company whose flagship bike was and continues to be a legend by itself. Powers that be in the marketing department decided to do some rural marketing and hired an event management company to do what they called rural marketing.

I went for one such campaign conducted in a rural town close to a pilgrimage centre deep in Tamil Nadu. The propaganda van was parked in a central place and a television set was blaring cinema songs with the dark glasses hero romancing a plump heroine around the proverbial bushes. Then after the song & dance sequence an ad for the product was aired.

With much amusement I was observing the spectators; there were urchins, bored village belles and a motley lot of the great unwashed.

Everyone was happy. The hoi polloi enjoyed the free show, the event managers for the billing and the marketing department of the company for having taken some initiative and undertaking some activity.

However there was a serious dissension from the dealers. They were livid. They were unhappy that this campaign belittled the product. Their contention was that the product is a status symbol in those regions and the owners are a proud lot. This campaign was undermining the product and more important the image.

The same applies for the Volkswagen ad.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Peepli Live

It was with great trepidation that I started watching the movie " Peepli Live". I had read that its a movie by Aamir Khan on farmer's suicides. I thought to myself "thats it !!!" it must be a depressing movie like in the the bad old days of the fiftees and sixties. Scenes of famine, starvation, bankruptcy, pawn brokers hassling farmers and finally farmers committing suicides.

Why bring reality into my bedroom. I preferred watching light hearted comedies, sitcoms, sports etc. I didn't wanna shed tears and remember my own financial woes.

Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised. Aamir did a "Aamir" on us. It was a spoof on all present day movers and shakers. He spoofed the media, politicians, bureaucrats and all the holy cows of the Indian ethos. There were no scenes of heart rending grinding poverty, instead it was a delightful comedy on the rabid media, crass politicians and indifferent bureaucrats. And oh yes the farmers were mere bystanders as the manipulative and conniving milked the situation for all it was worth.

I will not go into the storyline, theme or any philosophical review, I would just like to say that Aamir must be laughing all the way to the bank.

I also read in the newspapers that our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was shown the movie at a special preview privately for him, his family and some special invitees. I suppose they too were worried as how their kin would be portrayed albeit as heartless manipulative Machiavellian politicians, leaving helpless farmers to their unfortunate and inevitable dishonorable hara kiri.

After seeing the movie Iam sure they must be secretly laughing to themselves and the PM thankful that the movie is not going to create any social upheavals.

However my dissenting note is that it has trivialized the tragedy of farmers suicide by making it a farce and finally the story line is a plagarizaton being a clean lift from Frank Capra's 1941 movie called "Meet John Doe". (