Category Archives: Advert/Marketing/PR

Campaigns that catch my eye, emerging ideas and thinking patterns that make me want to be a part of the show.

A celestial race and the power of myth

I came across a fascinating tale from Hindu mythology which I must share.

Ganesha, the divine scribe, had a warlord brother, Kartikeya. Being very proud of his physical prowess, he challenged Ganesha to a 3-lap race around the world. Kartikeya leapt onto his peacock and  hurtled across the continents, mountains, and oceans at a furious pace, summoning all his celestial power. He flew around once, twice, while Ganesha lounged about, munching on his favorite sweetmeats.

Just before Kartikeya returned from his final lap, Ganesha stood up, folded his hands in reverence, and circled his parents, three times.  And when his brother returned, Ganesha greeted him with  “I won.”

In response to Kartikeya’s ire and disbelief, Ganesha calmly countered by saying “You went around THE world. I went around MY world. What matters more?”

THE world is objective, logical, driven by fact.

MY world is subjective, emotional, driven by perception.

Business is the interaction between the behavior of the market and the organization. If the organization’s behavior makes the market happy then the market will reward it. But this requires the organization to understand the consumer’s belief system, and consistently empathize with it.

Post wholly inspired by the incredible Devdutt. Watch him mesmerize TED here.

Paranormally Phenomenonal

Paranormally Phenomenonal

Paranormal-activity-poster I was lucky enough to catch Paranormal Activity last night. The movie is hands-down the scariest thing I’ve ever seen- go watch it, it’s genius. Shot in under a week and with amateur actors, the film explores the most primal cause of fear- a lack of understanding of what’s going on.

The preview is composed almost entirely of reaction shots of people watching the movie. Spookily brilliant, it creates an empathy with the freaked out folks and compels you to join them in the experience.

You come home and as soon as you’re over the initial terror (which is a while), you can’t wait to get out there and discuss and share feelings.

Marketing and the macabre, made my day 🙂

199 Insights from Seth Godin’s Blog

sethbust199 Seth Godin Gems

I’ve compiled a collection of 199 of Seth Godin’s most relevant, insightful and inspirational posts. A must-read for anyone into: Marketing, Idea creation/transmission, The Magic of Respect, Business, Social Media, Human Relationships

Read, digest, and prosper.

Social Creativity

1219704815716BK at Toronto’s Cap C was cool enough to share his ideas on how new media is inspiring mass creativity. My take below.


Do You Feel Me? Social Creativity & ‘Virtual’ Mirror Neurons

Two questions important to the evolution of social creativity.

1)  What makes real-life interactions so compelling?

ConversationDaniel Goleman (Author of Emotional Intelligence): “During a conversation, mirror neurons in our brain replicate what’s going on in the other’s brain. When having a moment of real rapport- our physiology’s (heart rate, BPs, etc) connect. It’s almost like two birds dancing together.”

When this happens, there’s no need to ponder, reflect, worry about   offending someone, the conversation just ‘flows’. Creativity and joy multiply.

2) Can this neurological calibration happen even when two people are only connected  online?

That’s our job to find out, but what’s clear is that enriching the online experience by providing the right platforms, tools, and license to go wild IS transforming what’s being created.


somaSynesthesia is a fascinating condition in which inputs to one sensory pathway - such as music or shapes - produce sensations in a different sensory modality. As technology used in social media evolves, it might just become possible to achieve a temporary synesthesia. Through purely an online interaction, there might come about a way to gauge tone, excitement, etc, similar to the way we do in face-to-face communication. This would mean the birth of ‘virtual mirror neurons’, and enable a virtual connection between people that is as rich as a real one.

matrix1 Probability and timeframe? Slim & distant. Implications for creativity? Infinite & thrilling.

Brand Parkour: Managing brands in an urban & digital hyperspace

parkour-al-tairYesterday, I was re-playing the surreal Assassin’s Creed , a RPG in which the central character’s movement is based upon the principles of Parkour.

What’s that? A traceur, or practioner from Parkour North America breaks it down:

“Parkour is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body. In a lot of ways, parkour is a means of reclaiming what it means to be a human being. It teaches us to move using the natural methods that we should have learned from infancy. It teaches us to touch the world and interact with it, instead of being sheltered by it.”

parkour-1It got me thinking…don’t brands aspire to the same skillset? They seek integration into the consumer’s life- always looking to dodge competition, scurry into the consumer’s imagination, and seamlessly navigate the dynamic environment that is the consumer’s mind.

Brands do want in, certainly, but it might work both ways.  Gen Y consumers may actually be calling out to their preferred brands, as per this week’s AdAge:

“Talk of restricting behavioral-targeting practices is heavy in the air these days. But what if Generation Y — the first demographic to grow up totally immersed in the digital life — actually wants to be behaviorally targeted by marketers? Forrester Research’s Emily Riley made a strong case for this idea. She even suggests the creation of a web portal that would enable Gen Y-ers to post their wants in an organized manner — so appropriate marketers could more efficiently respond to them.”

Social networking is accelerating this trend. Facebook recently recalibrated its marketing machine; brand pages will now move from segregated areas of Facebook to within users’ social graphs, giving the brands greater conspicuity and continuous consumer interaction.

"City challenge"

While this may leave sinister brandcrafters rubbing their palms in anticipation, it would do them good to remember another principle of Parkour:

“Because individual movements could vary so greatly by the situation, it is better to consider Parkour as defined by the intention instead of the movements themselves. If the intention is to get somewhere using the most effective movements with the least loss of momentum, then it could be considered Parkour.”

Ah, the heart of the matter, brand intent. Increased exposure combined with insider consumer information has endowed brands with sizable power. How they wield this power will make all the difference to their long-run viability. If the brand intent is driven by customer value-creation and backed up by momentum-conserving campaigns that choose clarity over loudness, that’s true Brand Parkour- an art that strengthens brand identity, customer loyalty, and all the rewards that go along with them.

parkour-lessonBrand Parkour- sign up for your first lesson today!

Wisdom in a box

Sport, music, dance. These are-all process driven activities; quote every existing statistic, recognize every sonata, memorize every salsa sequence…but until you kick, shoot, grapple, dive, strum, beat, play, jive, step- you aren’t a sportsman, a musician, or a dancer. It’s helpful to think of wisdom along the same lines; raw intelligence and scholarship are only two of the steps towards Solomon.


*Big ups to Dr. John Vervaeke, University of Toronto, CogSci, for this framework

Wisdom is largely process-driven, composed of the  5 INs:

  1. Intelligence: Processing power, speed & efficiency. Note that this intelligence is the only mechanical and capacity-driven component of wisdom.
  2. Insight: The ability to effectively formulate ill-defined problems (e.g. how can I be successful at work?), which compose of the majority of life’s problems.
  3. Integration: The ability to size up, prioritize and create background/foreground relationships, focus scattered bits and pieces into an intricate whole.
  4. Intuition: Procedural expertise that results from implicit learning, very stimulus-bound…the ability to ‘get’ the complex interaction between variables
  5. Induction: Involves discovering/understanding what is important/valuable to you…a sort of self-reflective insight

These 5 INs are guided and monitored by the 3 METAs:

  1. Metacognition: Awareness of our cognitive processes
  2. Metasystemic reasoning: Now craftily copyrighted as “Integrative Thinking” by the Rotman School, this involves using the ‘opposable mind’- the ability to synergize seemingly contradictory beliefs and make them work
  3. Metamotivation: Motivation by higher needs, such as truth, spirituality, etc.

Becoming ‘wise’ involves all the above aspects, plus practising mindfulness to gain new perceptions, souped-up neural circuitry, and altered consciousness.


Flaccid Brands: The Coolidge effect


The Coolidge effect is a biological phenomenon whereby males display a greater libido and rate of sexual performance given the introduction of new sexually receptive females. That is, although the male will not be physically able to re-mate with the current female, ‘things’ will start to happen if another female saunters in.

I wonder if this relates to our experiences with brands as well. We are unable to respond to copycat products, clichéd slogans, flaccid campaigns…There’s just no go.

Consumers need novelty. So brandcrafters, instead of spouting nonsense about ‘redefining luxury’ and ‘timeless elegance’, let’s make the brand come alive through a comprehensive brand experience. Scrap those repetitive TV commercials and instead promote vivid in-store simulations. Try crowdsourcing your product design to gain inspiration from your target market. And if all else fails, throw two tennis superstars on the helipad of a seven-star hotel and get clicking.

Raise the stakes, and you will raise the responses. In all senses.

Quixotic Creativity: Dubai’s icon

Dubai Tennis Burj

A blog I love recently talked about the concept of quixotic creativity, a kind of thinking that requires imagination, stubbornness and cojones in equal measure.

Quixotic creativity requires the idea to be big. Not the raising-eyebrow sort, but the kind that requires tearing it off altogether. It needs to be mad, in order to evoke a definite reaction. For Dubai, it needed to be the Burj-Al-Arab.

Dubai already had quite a reputation. It’s the fastest growing city on earth, has the swankiest hotels and the sleekest cars. But that, in the end, is simply money. What it didn’t have before the Burj was that signature element, that trademark visual that was quintessentially Dubai and could be identified instantly, globally.

The audacity. Not a mere five-star hotel, but a self-proclaimed seven. A restaurant with great white sharks in the aquarium. And so on… The return on investment for the project is rumoured to be a 100 years, but what’s important is that it gave Dubai its iconic visual.


Then they took it one step further. They grabbed two tennis superstars, Agassi and Federer, and flew them over for a game. They also talked Tiger Woods into a little tee-off. All on the hotel’s helipad, the helipad.

tiger-woods-burj3tennis fed

Shock and awe.

Amul: The butter, the raconteur: Best of ’08/09

Amul- the legendary Indian butter, has continued to churn out some amazing ads that capture the zeitgeist, from the Beijing Olympics to the US Presidential Inauguration. To see some of their earlier work and understand their brand philosophy, check out my last post on Amul.

So here we go, with the best of 08/09…