Spice Mobile: Connection fails!

The long battery life promise has already been taken away. And the creatives are weak, very forced, leaving one a little perplexed about the promise 

Spice Mobile has decided to jump onto the ‘long battery life’ platform. There’s such a huge, huge clutter in the mobile space, confused marketers have to keep searching under their hats for some promising new rabbit they can latch on to. Else, there’s really nothing left to say to the consumers. And even on the battery life promise, they are a tad late. Zen Mobile just took that away.

So, I guess in order to get some amount of noticeability, they have signed up Bollywood struggler Sonam Kapoor as brand ambassador. Before I get to the creative itself, a related point: I have always wondered why these small actors get such fat endorsement deals even before they’ve done something noteworthy in their careers. Is it the idealess marketers’ failing, or are the Bollywood obsessed consumers at fault? Beats me, really.

Anyway, there are two commercials currently on air. In one, Kapoor is seen enjoying a movie on her cell phone. One twit, who happens to be passing by, excitedly blurts out the ‘suspense’ to her. The voice over says: “Pesh hai Spice phone big battery ke saath. Ab picture dekhiye bina rukaawat ke. Well, almost.” Er, not really sure how the long battery life is established since she’s still watching the film. Maybe I missed something out here. In the other film, the actress is onceagain seen watching a horror film—this time on a train. And gets startled when her phone rings. And, as you can imagine, it turns out to be the usual suspect: the telemarketer.

Extremely weak communication. There are two big problems with the creative work, aside from of course, the fact that the battery life plank has already been taken. And both have to do with the link.

Unlike Zen Mobile, whose creatives clearly established long battery life with the situations depicted, in this case the link is tenuous. And very forced. So one is left a little perplexed on the promise.

Secondly, because the idea lacks a punch, and the platform is old, the branding becomes very weak. So there’s no clear link established on what is being said and the brand in question, Spice Mobile. Viewers will totally fail to recall the brand, and no, young Sonam Kapoor isn’t going to be able to save the day.

In short, the key communication connections have failed. Hopefully that’s not the case with the phone itself.


SEBI bars four cos, promoters from participating in stock market operations

Mumbai: Market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Thursday barred four companies and their respective promoters from trading on the bourses for allegedly indulging in unfair trading practices, reports PTI.

Murli Industries, Ackruti City, Welspun Gujarat Stahl Rohren and Brushman India have been restrained by the regulator from trading on the stock exchanges.

In an order, SEBI said, “Murli Industries Ltd, Ackruti City, Welspun Gujarat Stahl Rohren Ltd and Brushman India and their respective promoters are directed to cease and desist from carrying out the activities... prima facie in contravention of the securities laws.”

SEBI has also barred one Sanjay Dangi and his group firms from dealing with any kind of securities. This ban has been imposed on charges of share price manipulation.

According to the order, preliminary investigations showed a “well laid down strategy planned by promoters of the company (Murli Industries) along with Sanjay Dangi to manipulate the share price of the company before the issuance of the foreign currency cumulative bonds (FCCBs).”

Meanwhile, realty firm Ackruti City's MD Vimal Shah said the company follows fair business practices and respects the law of the land.

“We are taking the legal advice to challenge the order with appropriate authorities,” Mr Shah said.


Dashrath Patel: Leonardo with a revolutionary cause

Dashrath Patel, who helped set up the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, died after a brief illness on Wednesday. He was 83

It’s hard to describe Dashrath Patel in words. He was like a fragrance that lingers in your memory long after you have been in its vicinity. He was a revolutionary with nuclear energy emanating from his imagination. His enthusiasm for life betrayed childlike freshness that could never be suppressed by the structure of an organisation or the dictates of administrators. His innate creativity found its expression in a wide variety of media he explored—exhibition design, photography, painting, and above all his abstract line compositions, which in my mind placed him equal to Paul Klee.

In fact, it was Dashrath who first introduced me to Paul Klee’s definition of a line, “Taking a dot for a walk”. That was Dashrath’s style of bringing alive most profound concepts with illustrations, quotes and narratives that were both inspiring and memorable. I can cite so many of his quotable quotes. One of the most memorable is about himself. “I am illiterate and speak broken English fluently,” Dashrath said, when talking about the lack of a structured education and his imperfect English. His narratives had a lot more impact on us, the students of the National Institute of Design (NID), than any profound philosophers or teachers who had undergone formal training in any field.

Dashrath was one of the co-founders of NID. He was the first radical, politically-minded designer I met. The only other person from the creative field who has had a comparable impact on my personal philosophy of design and life was Kamladevi Chattopadhyay who, through her close association with India’s freedom-fighters and political fraternity, brought focus on the role of rural artisans in India’s development. I remember visiting “Skills”, a project founded by Dashrath, Chandralekha, Sadanand Menon and a group of artists and designers in Madras during the exploratory stage of my thesis at NID. I was searching for inspiration to select a topic with a social cause and I could only think of Dashrath who would align me with such a cause and a sense of purpose for my design project.

At that time I vividly remember that “Skills” was being persecuted by the then MGR administration for conceptualising a poster with the image of a policeman bearing medals of honor, each carrying an inscription, “Rape”, “Murder” and “Robbery”.  I walked away from a weeklong stay with my friends in Madras with a renewed sense of commitment to design for change. I ended up doing a project on design for solid waste management and selected Ishwarbhai Patel, of Safai Vidyalaya, as my guide. Ishwarbhai is known for pursuing Gandhi’s experiments in low-cost sustainable toilets.

Dashrath left NID while I was still a student. We had a mutual admiration for each other which was never expressed, but was clear in how we treated each other. He empathized with me because I was a student at NID during the days when then prime minster Indira Gandhi had put both my parents in prison. I admired him for his non-conformist zeal. He betrayed the creativity of Leonardo da Vinci with a revolutionary bent of mind. Dashrath’s life has taught me one most important thing: “Never let any established system constrain your imagination and pursuit of what you believe in. If you can dream it you can make it happen.”


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