Sep 12, 2015

Tree Thoughts

Here are a few tree thoughts.

Trees are far more important than most of us realise. Do your bit for the trees, our future generations depend on us.

Trees are family. Treat them like they are your own.

Feb 3, 2015

What’s a decent age to die?

This question popped into my mind a couple of times in the last few months. I have been having a health issue that caused me a whole lot of worry initially and now causes some amount of discomfort and pain.

After crossing forty many people face some or the other health issue, so why did I have to go and delve into my mortality? Well frankly I can’t pin point a single reason, but I did (wrongly) think at some point of time that I might not make it (being a creative person my imagination tends to go to extremes almost all of the time). That aside even after I was told that my health problem was going to resolve itself in due course, I still thought about it a few times.

So what is a decent age to die?

Is it decent to die before your children are grown up and able to cope with having one less parent?

No. Definitely not.

You’ve got to be there for them for a very good amount of time. How much time seems decent? Well I came to the hazy conclusion that if you live until they are married then it should be decent. This brings to mind soppy Hindi film storylines with the ill mother saying that she would like to see her child married before she dies. Whatever. I thought it nevertheless.

What is a socially decent age to die?
When should you die so that people do not point it out and think you’ve died too young? This depends on what the general social perception about it is, and frankly I don’t care much about this one. So let it hang, it doesn’t deserve any deliberation.

What is a good time to die for your own sake?

Now this was a really tough one. On the one hand by the time you are forty you’ve experienced most of what there is to experience in this material world. The spiritual world of course hasn’t even been scratched, and anyways the spiritual world doesn’t really care about whether you are living on earth or a soul freed from its body cage. Coming back to what is a good age to pop-it for your own sake, of course ‘the length of your natural life’ is a no brainer, but what if it were to be cut down unnaturally? Anything past fifty five seemed to be a good time. Your body is giving indications that it’s time to go, and all the material things are just repeating themselves endlessly. So, it will be good to hang on till that age at least, I guess.

Which brings me to a related question. What will I miss when I die? My family and loved ones for sure. Not much else though. Everything else, deep deep down is actually insubstantial. What really matters is the ones you love and who love you.

The question finally turned around on its head and gave me a simple answer.

Something beyond my physical brain said to me, “Sanjeev, make hay while the sun shines. Spend time with those you love and who love you, spread happiness among them, be happy with and for them, do things that make you and them happy, experience the moment to the fullest. And leave the rest to God.”

So make the most of your time and don’t ever think (I’ve stopped) about what a decent age to die is.

Oct 6, 2014

It’s not creative unless it gels – sorry Mr. Ogilvy!

David Ogilvy had quoted the advertising mantra of Benton & Bowles ‘it’s not creative unless it sells’ in his iconic book on advertising, and it became inseparably associated with him. One of the most ubiquitous advertising quotes, it has valiantly stood the test of time. However, the Internet and Social Media have changed the dynamics that made the world tick in the Mad Men days, when giants like Bill Bernbach and David Ogilvy ruled.

‘Unless it gels’
‘It’s not creative unless it gels’, is just a two letters variation of the original but reflects a deep shift in the way the world communicates today. Gone are the days when an advertising campaign with adequate media budgets was certain to deliver results.

Enter 'unless it gels'.

Jul 30, 2014

How not to judge creative OR death by committee-titis

When you start something new, you learn a great deal by trial and error. You make mistakes and then you figure out the right way or someone teaches you. Sometimes, certain mistakes take longer to spot and correct. One such mistake is the tendency of new marketing executives to judge a creative piece, in pieces.

The tendency is to make sure that everything in the list has been done correctly. They start ticking off the different requirements and parts of the creative and when all ticks are there, they feel that the objective has been met.

What they do not realize is that the whole is much greater than the parts. If you breakdown a creative piece into several parts, you may get all of them right separately, but together everything may not work out very well.

Let’s have a look at what the requirements and parts are that a beginner marketing executive will look out for and tick off.

Well everything is ticked, so let’s have a look at the final creative. Read more...

Jul 12, 2014

Your best creative ideas are 3 absurdly simple steps away

These three steps might appear over-simplistic at first glance, but follow them sincerely and you will bring out your best creative ideas. You’ll have to be totally honest and objective about it all, though.
Step 1
Place. Place. Place.
Find 3-4 outstanding ads (maybe Cannes gold winning pieces or any creative ideas that you really admire from the last 3-4 years) and place them on your soft board. Leave space for another ad in between them.

Jun 11, 2014

FIFA World Cup Match Schedules India Timings - Goooooaaaaaaaaaallll !!

It is in A3 size, if you want a desktop screen saver, just post a comment with your screen resolution and email or drop me a mail at  sanjeev dot saikia at gmail dot com.

Apr 17, 2014

Delhi’s most notorious camouflaged traffic light

It is at a place which appears to be a free left turn, and deeply conscientious traffic policemen hang around just after the turning, waiting to catch anyone who misses the ‘blink and you miss it’ traffic light.

I am talking about the traffic lights on the left turn from Mathura Road, at the Pragati Maidan crossing, when you turn towards the Pragati maidan Gate No. 2, National Science Museum and the Ring Road.

Here’s the route marked on a map:

I had the misfortune of being stopped and fined at that spot myself. As always I took the left from the Matka Peer and drove straight through the free left, but then a traffic policeman fearlessly stepped in front of  my car. I parked the car by the side of the road and asked him what happened. He acted very offended and told me that I had jumped a traffic light. I actually asked him where the traffic lights were, and he pointed them out.

It was obvious that I hadn’t seen the red light but the traffic policeman was hell bent on booking me. My choice was to give him a 30% of fine amount bribe or pay the whole fine. I chose to pay the fine, mainly because I felt cheated by the way the traffic lights were camouflaged and how the traffic policemen hovered there like bribe-hungry vultures.

Several more traffic policemen were lounging around, leaning on their parked motorbikes, looking quite smug, secure in the knowledge that most people will miss the traffic lights and fall straight into their waiting 'bribe-greased' arms.

If you want to avoid giving them money or paying a hefty fine, then take a good look at the photographs that follow.

Here is Gate No. 3 of Pragati Maidan that you will pass on your left:

Here is the petrol pump just before the left turn:

The Matka Peer (not visible) is to the left, in front is the foot overbridge at the turning:

Here we come to the left turn:

Could you spot the ‘blink and you miss it’ traffic light:

More shots of the traffic light:

Just beyond the camouflaged traffic lights:

This is where the traffic policemen like to wait for their unsuspecting quarry:

A little down the road is the Science Museum, and further ahead you will hit the Ring Road.

Here's wishing you safe driving and happy traffic lights spotting.

Apr 10, 2014

Anyone notice the father headbutting the child in the SBI home loan for women ad?

The film is perfectly medicore except for a lively bit of headbutting that the father does with the child right at the end. A shot that should have been a natural scene of a mother and father hugging their child, is more like a race to place your head at the exact right position for the camera, disregarding the fact that you are headbutting your little son in the process.

Also the one tear streaking down the mother's face reminds me of clearly fake tears of masala Bollywood films of the eighties.

Considering the production values are decent, this looks like an oversight that should have been caught at the video editing stage.

Here's the TVC:

Mar 20, 2014

Mar 3, 2014

How to reach Aravalli Biodiversity Park in Vasant Vihar

The route is very simple, however we made the mistake of trying to follow the GPS route shown by Google Maps, and that was our undoing.

We ended up inside a very crowded part of Delhi with a tiny motorable road hemmed in by small shops and closely packed single-room homes, with water buckets, wares, furniture and children spilling over into the path of our car. Hence I thought I should make it easier for you.

I am taking out the crazy up and down, zig-zag, and u-turning we did for 45 minutes while following the GPS directions.

How to reach Aravalli Biodiversity Park, Vasant Vihar:

We approached the Aravalli Biodiversity Park from the Ring Road. First we took a turn at Bhikaji Cama Place towards Safdarjung Enclave/DLTA Courts/IIT. We went down that road till we reached the T-point under the flyover. There we took a right to get on to the Outer Ring Road.

We left the first left and looked for the main road into Vasant Vihar that leads straight to Modern School along the Poorvi Marg.

You will pass this marketplace on your left just before the turning.

This is the sign-board you see the moment you take the right turn.

Feb 8, 2014

Why aren’t there cheap mass produced credit card machines for transacting safely on the Internet?

I am expecting a scathing answer from someone who knows about all this.


However, until I get it I am going to keep asking this simple question. Why aren’t there cheap mass produced credit card machines on which you swipe any one of your credit or debit cards safely, and buy anything you wish to from the Internet? No one needs to know your card details, your pin, you don’t need to type in anything on a website.

Chances of fraud are eliminated as you yourself are swiping the machine.

And you will only need to buy one machine for all of your online purchases. In fact, you may need just one personal credit card machine for your entire life. After all these machines are built for high frequency use over long periods of time, and most people will only use them a few times a week.

One obvious reason may be the cost of technology to connect a personal credit card machine to the payment system of a particular website. However, from my limited understanding of credit card machines, they basically connect over a telephone line to a particular credit card network/bank/financial institution. Which means that every website can have a specific number displayed, where a buyer needs to dial in through his credit card machine, to make a payment.

Sounds so simple, yet there is a major catch somewhere (I have a feeling that it will be an embarrassingly simple answer, as I have always been slightly ‘all things financial’ challenged).

If you have reached here, I am sure you have some theories or better still you have a concrete answer to my question. Please be kind enough to post it in the comments.

Feb 7, 2014

An enormous admirable effort, if only it could be tweaked a bit!

This is an ad for a spray that relieves throat irritation.

Lary Spray Man Ad

The concept is fab, the twist of ‘weak si goli’ (a play of words on the Hindi television ad about the ‘Vicks ki goli’ – translation is ‘the Vicks lozenge’, with ‘weak si goli’ translating to a ‘weak lozenge’) is awesome but I felt that somehow the message got a little lost in the craft.

The part where the gothic opera heightens the effects of the ‘goli’ should have been brought down a couple of notches. It creates a very potent audio burr that takes away from what comes afterwards. The punch line and the greater effectiveness of Lary Spray gets weakened. And a voice over that is indistinct further adds to this. They are saying ‘weak si goli’ so they should say it loud and clear, not half-heartedly hidden away.

This is such a lovely effort, if only it could be tweaked a little bit. The over-dramatization of the effects of the cough lozenge brought down a few notches, the voice over made clearer and the product demo given a teeny weeny bit more space. Of course, as always, this is just my opinion and I could be totally wrong :)

I have become an enormous fan of enormous, the ad agency that made the ad, though!

Jan 24, 2014

What will the final perfect social network be?

The internet is getting faster, we are sharing better, the mobile space is helping us share better. We can stay connected every moment of our lives. The means of staying connected and sharing is getting better and faster.

We started with phone calls, then emails, SMS texts, photographs, then videos, live video chatting through the web and mobile devices, we have iPad facetime, Google glass is here, we can even send smells across mobile phones now, holographic images will soon start getting projected by mobile devices.

It’s all getting better and faster and more real. So where will it end? What will happen when social media, sharing and connecting achieve technological perfection.

Will we achieve ultra-human connectivity? Social connectivity that is going to be much better than the real thing. We won’t need to do anything to connect and share, just let our brains work. We will live connected and share perfectly without needing to actually get our delicate hands soiled.

Jan 9, 2014

Dude, where’s my soul?

Every new generation that comes along is getting more materialistic. As a natural consequence, the world is becoming a colder place.

The bonfires of kind people are getting further and further apart. Not because people are not kind and good anymore, but because kindness and goodness seem to be old fashioned (#kindness needs to trend on twitter). Well, kindness may go out of fashion, materialism may go out of fashion, the internet may go out of fashion, but dudes, the soul will stay.

In this whole shebang of digital, connected, gizmo, smart, apps, brands et al, we are all forgetting our souls, those invisible unknowable entities that speak through our conscience. The young have to remember that they are not here just to make money and buy things, they are here to live happy fulfilling lives (and there’s no real happiness if your soul ain’t happy).

So dude, ask yourself every once in a while, hey where’s my soul?

Jan 2, 2014

I WAS SOOOO WRONG (see highlighted text in this post) - Uruguay’s ‘Arvind Kejriwal’, President José Mujica, has been running the country since 2010. When will India’s Arvind Kejriwal run the country?

Uruguayan President José Mujica, seen in this photograph at the swearing in ceremony of his finance minister, gives away 90% of his $12,000 salary to charitable organisations that help poor people and small entrepreneurs. He has declined to live in the opulent presidential palace or use its staff, and instead lives in a small one-bedroom apartment and drives an old Beetle. He's often called ‘the world's poorest president’.

He cares deeply about economic inequality and even as the president of a major nation, he is making tremendous efforts to lead by example. He has been consistently winning praise from his countrymen and the world for his reform efforts, and has taken bold political decisions like legalising marijuana.

Mujica can be compared to India’s Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party, WAS I WRONG - ARVIND KEJRIWAL IS ATROCIOUS AND PATHETIC - and Mujica has been successfully running the country for three years and is going strong.

Mujica is 78, Arvind Kejriwal is 45. Am I being over optimistic in thinking that if Uruguay can do it, so can India? PHEW WAS I WRONG - GOD SAVE US FROM ARVIND KEJRIWAL!

Dec 27, 2013

687 traits of highly successful people - the ultimate list!

687 unique and overlapping traits of successful people in lists of 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 20, 25, 27 and 30.

Just click on the screenshots to go to the complete list page. Here are all 687 of them, go ahead and start being highly successful this new year, after reading them all:



 13 Characteristics of Successful People.pdf
13 Characteristics of Successful People.pdf



Nov 9, 2013

Guess how many of China's over 3000 TV stations aren't run by the Chinese Government?

The answer is zero.

Every single TV station in China is run by the state and is allowed to only telecast pre-approved and sanitized programmes, films and content.

To give you an idea about what is censored, they have recently asked episodes of  a long-running children's cartoon called 'Pleasant Goat and the Big Big Wolf' to be censored because of violence.

Freedom of speech and seems to be so severely curbed for the Chinese people. One the one hand it is becoming an economic superpower and on the other hand it is inside an impregnable shell that does not allow the Chinese people truly integrate with the rest of the world.

Time for some change I feel. When it will happen, can only be answered by Mr. Wen!

Oct 21, 2013

And you thought a good youtube video that goes viral is just a piece of creative laxation!

Without getting into too much blah blah about creative angst etc. etc. let’s just get down to the facts.

A youtube video about a new product by an unknown company went viral and has resulted in, as per their own website, this:

Our new YouTube video has constipated our shipping system. In one week traffic on our website increased over 13,000% Holy crap, right! We are working day and night, but please give us up to 2 weeks to get your PooPourri shipment out the door. Make sure to order now to get in line!
The Poo Crew

Yes that is right, a 13,000% increase and such incredible sales that they cannot ever hope to keep up.

The video could have been anything, a classic demo video showing comparison between products, a film showing people delighted by the new aromas replacing the bad ones, using a powerful 30% off offer as the selling point, but…. they chose a route that was completely different and unconventional and in a way radical.

I am sure you want to have a look at it. Here it is:

Happy poo pourrieing!

Oct 15, 2013

Vital new business meeting etiquette - #1 You can be late for a meeting by one attosecond, but DEFINITELY CANNOT be late by one yottasecond!

Free images collection
An attosecond is one quintillionth of a second or 0.000000000000000001 seconds.

A yottasecond is 32 quadrillion years or 32,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Try imagining both these units of time. How many attoseconds did it take you to imagine it? Or better still how many yottaseconds did it take you?

And the next time you don’t want to attend a business meeting, just tell them that you might be late by a yottasecond. You would have told them the truth and you won’t have to attend the meeting, at least in this lifetime!