03 October, 2010

Pay for three, get two.

Marketing messages and ads in general usually try to insult your intelligence. There are washing detergents with magical molecules like ultrons and dirt-punchers which clean and bleach new white shirts into white shirts. There are hair models who have digital enhanced hair which would put Lara Croft and the Tombraider animation gang to shame.There are fairness cream ads (a uniquely Indian proposition) and pimple removal cream ads with women, who after using the cream, get a) married, b) become beauty queens and now with the market research teams capturing the changing aspirations of a nation, c) become wildly successful careerwomen.
IF this is not insulting to women, I am not sure what is. 

You are always saving more and more and getting much more free for improved products, while spending more and getting less. There is always an asterisk at the end of price points.
I write these posts over a couple of days. The CWG 2010 inauguration telecast just got over on TV - I regret not going there. It was great and filled me with pride. To see the entire stadium get up when the Indian team walked in made me well up a little bit. I should have bought more tickets. Instead, I bought only 2 and my father and sister ended up going. They tell me that it was even better inside the stadium. Everyone was happy and the crowd was judicious in their behaviour - cheering Manmohan Singh and Sheila Dixit and booing Kalmadi and ignoring Prince Charles and his wife.

*What if more marketing budgets could be allocated to product research or better distribution arrangements, which would either increase company profitability at the same prices, or maybe even pass some benefits to the consumer.I think that there is a bit of game theory going on here as well. If Firm A is advertising, firm B also has to advertise else is loses out, even if the products are similar. Thats positive ROI at a firm level but it might mean a less than optimal ROI at a market level. At the same time, if I advertise my cola, I am sure I help all the other colas in the market. Therefore, my behaviour and decisions affect the others and there is a global maximum (or two) and local maximums. Hmm.

01 October, 2010

The next generation

This year has been a year of babies. There has been at least one new baby born every month in my circle of friends and close family and this will continue till the end of this year. We end up visiting all those who are in Delhi and try to keep in touch with those in Mumbai or elsewhere.
Every time I see a new baby lying there, in his or her cocoon, surrounded by glowing parents and grandparents, I feel the love such events generate. The parents are relieved at the end of the pregnancy but the overriding emotion is love. And hope. Hope for all the best things in this world for their newborn. In the small hospital rooms where we usually go to, we end up being part of this envelope of love and hope.
I was born in 1979. The world has changed. The ozone hole was creeping into public limelight while the oil shock was slinking out. The Soviets entered Afghanistan and the US was just waking up to its role of arming its proxies to take on the Soviets. India was resettling in with Indira Gandhi at the helm, after a few unsettling years of Emergency (imposed by her) and the subsequent Janata Dal government. 1984 was still in the future. So was MS-DOS and Bill Gates's fortune. Life is definitely better in India for a lot of people than it was in the 70s and the 80s. But there are things which have changed for the worse also I guess.
Everything will change only faster now. Al Gore's documentary  is depressing. So are the flavours of terrorism - homegrown, imported and vigilante. Will our children see a world where the ice caps will be a 'winter thing'?
Or will we manage to put them through wars - wars about water and land if not about religion and energy resources?
I know that a lot of these scenarios are because of watching disaster movies. But what if one of them is right?