Humour in real life

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Humour in real life

She writes to make people laugh but beneath her humour lies social commentary. Pink Lemonade catches up with Itisha Peerbhoy to discover more about her latest book Half Love Half Arranged and writing mantra.

  1. Tell us about Half Love Half Arranged.
    Half Love Half Arranged is a funny take on Indian society and how people pressure women for marriage. It is a reflection of crazy relatives and friendships.
  2. When and why did you first think of writing this book?
    The activity began a few years ago following an argument with my former boss and friend who said men wrote better love stories. We challenged each other to write a short story. I set out to write a book that was uplifting, relatable, and aspirational. I began writing and it turned into a novel. However, my friend is yet to pen his (laughs).
  3. What was the thought behind calling it Half Love Half Arranged?
    I realised women have a problem admitting to their arranged marriages. The general perception is that an arranged marriage is old-fashioned. They usually call it ‘part love, part arranged’ and that triggered the name.
  4. How much of the book is influenced by real-life incidents?
    It’s all real. The incidents reflect the Delhi mindset I saw during my vacations. In contrast to Mumbai where I grew up, girls in Delhi are constantly evaluated. Fat, dark, and short girls are given unsolicited advice by one and all to compromise and settle for unsuitable grooms.
  5. Is the book female-centric?
    Not at all. But the pink colour on its cover seems to give that impression. In fact, I have more men writing to me to say how much they enjoyed reading it. It’s a book that will appeal to anybody who enjoys a good laugh.
  6. You are also a business storyteller. Is fiction writing different?
    There are supposedly only four kinds of stories to tell. In the case of business storytelling and fiction writing, the technicalities are the same. They use insight and search for pain points to convey their messages through distinct voices. In both approaches, you need to be empathetic and close to your subject. While they deal with different kinds of facts, their techniques are the same. Like fiction, business storytelling is also full of drama – what with cut-throat competition and dissatisfied customers.
  7. What are your storytelling tips?
    Find a distinct voice, be true, and don’t follow a genre because it’s popular. Reflect reality as you see it. Don’t be afraid to get into details – the big picture is overrated.
  8. What next?
    World domination (laughs). I am working on two more novels and they should be out next year. You can look forward to a lot of humour. I have realized that nothing is so big that it can’t be laughed off.

Infographics crisp and clear communication

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Brands that are winning at Instagram

Instagram is today one of the most popular social networking sites, especially with the youth. The social platform’s ability to connect with customers through pictorial storytelling is a prized tool for marketers.

Here are some brands doing extremely well on this platform.

Starbucks

This coffee vendor is definitely the brand making the most of its Instagram account.  Starbucks aims to be seen as a friendly coffee shop that happens to have a few other branches rather than just another large corporate chain. With its Instagram account largely user-generated, it shows two things matter to Starbucks: the coffee and its customers.

Billboard

Billboard, like many publications, started out in print. It is now growing to merge with the age of real-time content updates. Billboard uses Instagram to promote its pages as well as give real-time updates of its interactions with celebrities. Instagram allows Billboard to reveal its latest featured individuals in casual and candid photographs, making it easier for the audience to connect.

Sharpie

Sharpie’s focus on artistic freedom and expression makes it one of the most successful brands on Instagram. Many of its Instagram images don’t feature the markers themselves, but rather their ink as applied to the canvas. A large part of the content is user-generated, making Sharpie one of the most successful players on Instagram.

Nike

You’ll never see a Nike post with just products. This sneaker giant’s Instagram is filled with stunning landscape shots and people using their merchandise in their environments. Nike PHOTOiD has been one of the most successful campaigns on Instagram. It gave fans the opportunity to design their own shoes and choose backgrounds to go with them.  The result: an overflow of user-generated content.

A picture is worth a thousand words and Instragram speaks volumes.

Ad-d sensitivity to your brand

Do you remember Amul Macho’s ‘Yeh toh bada toing hain’? The TV commercial had done enough damage before it was banned. After all, what purpose did it serve showing a woman wash a man’s undergarment and feeling aroused about it? The ad makers clearly goofed by demeaning women. Thankfully, there is an increasing clamour against stereotyping or objectification of women. And the recent spate of women-centric ads are cases in point.

Be it Cadbury Bournvita’s ‘Tayyari Jeet Ki’, Tupperware’s ‘She can you can’, or Havells Fan’s ‘Hawa Badlegi’, these ads clearly hold on to the changing face of Indian society. The first shows a mother lead by example and groom her child to succeed. The second is about a small-town woman taking pride in her career. And the third is a heartwarming portrayal of a man taking on his wife’s last name. The three ads are among the winners of the fifth edition of Laadli Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity.

While trying to romance women, many ads fail to draw the line between stereotyping and celebration. That women go gaga over shopping, they are bad at directions, or they love to gossip are now old wine in new bottles. Men can be all that women are and more. Brands need to be relevant to changing times by showing greater consciousness and sensitivity.

Today’s woman has taken major strides to make a mark for herself in the outside world. She is fully aware of her surroundings and takes her own decisions. She can no longer be shown confined to only the kitchen and home, playing passive or docile roles. She also won’t take kindly to her depiction as a sex object and will definitely question the need for skimpily dressed women to market cars or plunging necklines for selling pens. It is a society’s collective responsibility to change the perception of women. In that direction, marketers, advertisers and the media can play a major role in not just reflecting the positive changes taking place around us but also in shaping healthy attitudes and behaviours.

Focus on her being bold and beautiful. She’s more than worth it.

Amul touches the chord with India, yet again

Amul has to sell. Its dream is to enter every home in India. That’s the brand side of the story. What consumers get along the way are not just Amul products — which they may or may not like — but also heart-warming ads and commercials, which are surely lapped up by one and all. The latest to hit the spot is a video titled ‘Har Ghar Amul Ghar’ which endearingly drives home an urban truth — role reversal and Generation Z.

Amul products quietly work their magic into the human psyche through this infomercial which portrays the morning scene at the house of a young couple and their school-going kid. The little boy —  fed well on Amul goodies — is shown to be healthy, independent, intelligent, sensitive, and confident. The ad leaves a deep impact on the audience and Amul, yet again, succeeds in selling a dream.

While positioning itself as a brand, Amul has rarely failed to align itself with the nation’s aspirations and developments — whether social, political, or economical. And it does so innovatively.

The 3.19-minute film touches the consumer in more ways than one, just as the brand’s rural series with their unforgettable and hummable ‘Mero gaam kaatha paarey’. If the previous infomercials hailed women empowerment in villages, ‘Har Ghar Amul Ghar’ raises a toast to young India.

The brand has been reinventing itself only to reiterate what it has been saying since decades —  from ‘Taste of India’ to ‘Amul Doodh Peeta Hain India’, and now ‘Har Ghar Amul Ghar’, its marketing strategy is undoubtedly to get India internalise Amul. If the Amul Girl with her witty taglines is a way to bare the brand’s conscientious side, the latest film makes another smart attempt in that direction. Go watch.

Here it comes — Social advertising at its best!

Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does! A message that really hits home. One that doesn’t promote an organization’s products but instead introduces a concept to the viewer, pulls at their emotional chords, and leaves them thinking. This is the power of effective social advertising that Dove (no surprises there!) has leveraged with their new campaign Onslaught, which targets the astronomically impossible standards set by beauty industry’s on the perfect woman. All this campaign had to do was tell us something we already know. A nudge, if you must, that puts a whole lot of simple truths into perspective.
This is a new trend we are seeing in the industry. Taking social issues and integrating them into the vision of the organization. This campaign shows the influence branding can have on us. Negative or positive. Every time you go to a store, go for a walk, or are simply reading the papers with your morning cup of tea, you are exposed to thousands of brands which have an overwhelming effect on you subconsciously. This makes it important for all of us to study what our brand says to the audience.
Dove was very clever in the way they downplayed the beauty industry, while being a part of it (for the most part) themselves. But of course Dove knows that every woman is beautiful — with or without make-up. They set themselves apart from an industry which is famous for defining beauty by creating their own definition — a smart move that seems to be hitting the right spots!

Our take home includes a powerful, moving message, which makes us think how much of an impact good advertising has an our minds, an insight into how we need to treat our brands, and of course food for thought the next time we step into a cosmetic store.

When you’re given sour lemons… make lemonade

That’s exactly what Gândul, a daily Romanian newspaper, did when sour news spread that Britain was planning an anti-immigration campaign in Romania and Bulgaria. The campaign would be called – ‘You won’t like it here’.

If you were told you weren’t welcome somewhere, the first and sometimes only reaction would be seeing red. The loud and proud amongst us would call this unwelcoming party names and the stupidly brave might even resort to toilet-papering their front yard. But the really smart ones would respond with a very cheeky and successful ad campaign! Say hello to Gândul’s ‘We may not like Britain, but you’ll love Romania. WHY DON’T YOU COME OVER?’

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The campaign’s ads were placed on Facebook. Further making it a campaign of the people, Romanians on Facebook were urged to submit their own headlines. They could also offer their couches for the arriving British travelers and Romanian companies could offer their vacant jobs. The end result, you ask?

 The campaign increased the newspaper’s readership by 30% and most importantly, it made the British media regret its past discrimination and made the British Government cancel its ridiculous campaign. This brainchild of Romania’s GMP Advertising went on to win a Gold Award at AdStars! And the accolades continue to pour in even today.

 The campaign is mainly based on British stereotypes – the Royal Family, fish n’ chips, the tube, the weather, beer, and really, really high rent! The copy-only campaign cleverly turns these stereotypes on their head and without being overtly insulting, it positions Romania as the better place to be in. Presented as simple red and blue posters with the copy written in white (the colours of Britian) the copy reads as facts. Thereby reminding the readers that the Romanians didn’t have to employ theatrics to sell a very simple idea – the British will love Romania! And so do we!

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