Indian Railways: Off the track!

This commercial bores you — not only is the idea expected, the treatment dull and off-putting, it also fails on that one thing it is supposed to hinge on: emotion

Close on the heels of a brilliant advert by Kerala Tourism, in comes an utterly boring one from Indian Railways. In fact, before I come to the creative itself, let me state that it's a crying shame that the organisation is promoting itself. When the product itself sucks badly.

Dirty toilets, used blankets, corruption in the booking system, cockroaches and rats in the bogies, the sordid list goes on. Doesn't simple marketing logic suggest that you need to first get your product right, and then attempt to hawk it? Isn't this a case of putting the cart before the horse? Or, in this case, putting the stinking bogies before the ancient engine?

Well, probably aware of their many screw-ups, the Indian Railways bosses have taken leave of logic, and are trying to use an emotional route to win back lost passengers.

And what the ad agency has done is totally predictable. It's the first thought that would strike a trainee copywriter. (By the way, the ad industry is rife with allegations that the ad is a direct lift from a Hong Kong Trains commercial, and yup, they're sensationally similar!)

They have tried to re-create yesteryear actor Ashok Kumar's legendary song, 'Rail gaadichhuk chhuk chhuk'. And instead of children running together like a moving train, adult men from all walks of life and from different communities (why not them women?) are shown performing the gig. As they form a human chain and run around the streets and homes and rooftops. Much to the amusement of onlookers.

Here's what I suspect will happen: Many award juries will honour this commercial. With this justification: 'Wow, how nicely they've simplified the story of a large, complex organisation like the Indian Railways!"

Well, simplicity in communications is all very fine. But at the end of the day, an ad must also be surprising and entertaining, right? This particular commercial bores you. Not only is the idea expected, the treatment dull and off-putting, it also fails on that one thing it hinges on: emotion. The TV commercial leaves you cold and indifferent.

What a waste of time, money and Mamata didi's energies! Really wish the Indian Railways staffers would rather have invested all of that in giving us trains we would enjoy boarding. And travelling in. Rather than feeling anxious right through the yatra about rodents, dirty toilets and food that makes you want to retch. And they don't even bother to provide barf bags. Aaargh!




7 years ago



7 years ago

Such commercials are made for awareness of the public at large and more for BRAND building.
Indian Railways needs neither.
When they can't even fulfill the existig demand of seats / bearths, where is the need to advertise for the Railways as a brand.
It must be a silly idea from some one in Central Office who must be interested in obliging some agency at government's expenses

Govt may not make RBI governor FSDC's vice-chairman

New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor may not be made the vice-chairman of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC), as was done in the case of the recently set up joint committee to sort out turf war between financial sector regulators, reports PTI quoting official sources.

Drawing parallel with the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) in the US, the sources maintained that the proposed FSDC in India will not breach the autonomy of the regulators, a concern which has been voiced by the RBI.

They, however, said that the RBI may not have elevated status in the FSDC, unlike the recently created joint mechanism between the finance ministry and the financial sector regulators to sort out issues relating to the turf wars between them.

When asked specifically as to whether the RBI governor will be the vice-chairman in the proposed council, the sources said they "do not think so".

Citing FSOC, set up in the US in July this year, they said it was headed by the secretary of treasury and financial sector regulators are its members.

Similarly, FSDC in India will be headed by the finance minister, while financial sector regulators will be its members, they added.

They said, however, that the autonomy of regulators will in no way be breached by FSDC, as is the case at FSOC, adding that the idea of setting up FSDC here was not taken straight from the US.

Recently, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had said, "Without prejudice to the autonomy of regulators, this council (FSDC) could undertake macro prudential supervision of the economy, including the functioning of large financial conglomerates, and address inter-regulatory coordination issues."

The sources said, meanwhile, the regulators are created by Acts of Parliament and have their respective domain. It is the finance minister who is answerable to Parliament and not RBI or other financial regulators, they added.

When asked about the need of FSDC when the government has already created a joint mechanism to tackle turf wars between the financial sector regulators, the sources said the proposed body will in fact prevent such conflicts from happening.

After market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and insurance watchdog Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) locked horns over the regulation of Unit Linked Insurance Products (ULIPs) earlier this year, the government tabled a bill in Parliament to set up a joint mechanism to resolve such disputes. The Securities and Insurance Laws (Amendment) and Validation Bill, was passed by Parliament in the Monsoon session.

However, to pacify the RBI, the government made the central bank governor the vice-chairman of the joint mechanism, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. RBI had expressed reservations over the joint mechanism as well as the proposed council.

Meanwhile, the sources said FSOC was set up in the US under Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, after the lessons learnt from the global financial crisis that unveiled in 2008.

The US body is a collaborative body that brings together the expertise of the federal financial regulators, and insurance expert appointed by the president and state regulators.

Similarly, in India, the FSDC will have financial sector regulators as members and if the crisis like sub-prime occurs again, the body will chalk out ways to tackle its spread to India, the sources said.

Besides, they added, the FSDC will prevent occurrence of conflicts (between financial sector regulators).

It will also look at next stage of reforms in the financial sector, considered the engine of growth in times to come, they added.

Meanwhile, RBI governor D Subbarao had said in Hyderabad recently that it has a role greater than merely containing inflation, a comment that indicated that the central bank also had a task of maintaining financial stability, the purpose for which the FSDC is being set up.

Besides, in its annual report on 2009-10, RBI had said, "During the Parliamentary debate on the Bill, the government gave an assurance that the scope of the proposed Bill will be restricted to jurisdictional disputes on regulation. In operationalising the arrangement envisaged under the Bill, it is important to ensure that the autonomy of the regulators is not compromised, either in fact or in perception."

The finance minister had said recently in New York that FSDC would be set up soon.


Vedanta Group not to hike open offer price

Mumbai: The Vedanta Group today ruled out increasing the open offer price to minority shareholders of Cairn India, saying its current offer was "lucrative," reports PTI.

"There is no question (of increasing the open offer price). The price is final and that is a very lucrative offer," Vedanta group chairman Anil Agarwal told reporters here.

Vedanta Resources is buying 40%-51% stake from Cairn Energy Plc and its subsidiary Sesa Goa has filed papers for an open offer for an additional 20% stake.

Sesa Goa is offering a price of Rs355 per share, Rs50 less than what Vedanta is paying Cairn Energy for the majority stake. Whereas, the group is offering Cairn India's parent Cairn Energy Rs405 a share, which includes a fee for not competing with it in India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan for the next three years.

"Non-compete fee (of Rs50 per share) is very important for us because we do not want Cairn Energy Plc to work in our areas," Mr Agarwal said.

Sesa Goa's open offer was to have opened today, but has been delayed due to lack of approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

On the proposed open offer, Mr Agarwal said SEBI has been asking "normal questions" on the $9.6 billion deal with Cairn Energy Plc and Vedanta is replying to them.

He said SEBI normally gives approval in 45-60 days and he expects the approval to come "in a few days."


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