The over-the-top craziness of the new ad totally hijacks the product, which is reduced to being a mere prop, instead of being the central character. That’s an advertising crime
Luggage brand VIP has come up with a completely bizarre commercial. Guess they are following that age-old theory of 'let's just do anything to get noticed'.
The ad features an airport, with many passengers queuing up to check-in their VIP bags. Suddenly, an announcer dishes out strange instructions on the public address system. She orders that only those passengers who can do the salsa will get window seats. One early bird dude breaks into the dance, with his VIP bag for company. Others join in too.
Then, for the aisle seats, she announces that they will only go to passengers who can push their bags with one finger. And all the VIP owners are able to do so easily. She then says only those who can split their legs will be personally fed by the air hostesses. Some molesters, oops, passengers, immediately part their legs. Before you tear your hair out wondering what's this comedy show all about, the announcer (not the airport one!) declares: 'Journeys can be crazy. VIP makes them easy. Happy journey.'
Yes, yes, I can see what the VIP chaps are trying to do. And I know this after repeated exposures to the ad, my mouth wide open all the while. In all this madness, there's a visual message. That VIP's 360 wheeling bags allow you to maneuver your bags without too much effort. But here's a big problem: The over-the-top craziness of the ad totally hijacks the product, which is reduced to being a mere prop, instead of being the central character in the communication. That's an advertising crime.
The best ideas are those where the brand drives the creative idea and story, and isn't relegated to the background. We remain mystified by the madness of the situation, we get lost in the antics of the passengers, and therefore we hardly notice the product feature. In short, good laughs for everyone (especially the makers of the ad who must have had a rollicking time shooting this one), except the brand manager of VIP.
What is needed is interesting, relevant, product-centric ads for VIP. Here's a suggestion, though I usually don't give them without payment! Perhaps, they should create a commercial where a desi VIP (very important person) is slipped into the aircraft way beyond the last minute, and he/she effortlessly glides in with VIP's 360 wheels. As the rest of the cattle class junta is left fretting and fuming. Brand connection in place, product feature in place, and a much cheaper commercial too!
Silver has risen to an all-time high, immediate delivery prices are up 5.4% at $49.79/ounce, surpassing the previous high of $49.45 in 1980. But as global analysts predict, this rally may not sustain—and a correction could be on the cards
There is a very interesting theory in financial markets called as 'The Bigger Fool' theory. It says that there are times when the only reason 'X' buys an asset class is because X believes that there is a fool (Y) who is a bigger fool than X, who will buy the same asset from X at a price which is higher than what X has already paid for.
The second person buying the asset also feels the same, so will be the case with the third person and so on... and the price of the asset keeps increasing. However, when the asset reaches its peak price, the fool (the biggest one of them all) holding the asset can no longer find a fool bigger than himself. So he eventually sells to someone who is slightly wiser than himself-and thus the price eventually crashes, leaving the ones who bought at the peak price depressed for ever.
At current levels, silver is one of the biggest examples of this bigger fool theory in live action. Over the past one year, the price of silver, a (relatively) poor cousin of gold, has glittered way beyond anyone's expectation, rising up by over 145%. It has become one of the best performing asset classes in the world, beating every possible resistance level which market pundits could chart.
The so called commodity 'experts' appear on TV and give their short/long term target for silver, the same way they predicted the target for crude oil when it was $140 in mid-2008 (targets were $200 by December 2008).
This also reminds me of the 'target levels' for the Sensex which were predicted in January 2008. The index was expected to touch 25,000 by the year-end.
We all know what happened to these targets. There are fundamental reasons that lead to a rise in silver prices from Rs20,000 levels to around Rs40,000, but after that it's probably the 'greater fool' theory at work.
People have started speculating hugely in the futures market assuming that once JP Morgan comes to unwind its over 3.3 billion ounce short position in silver, it would lead to a short-covering rally. JP Morgan's position is over 1/3rd of the world's known silver deposits (or four times the annual mined supply of silver in the world).
At a price of Rs71,800/kg, there are many who are cursing themselves for not entering the great silver bull run at Rs40,000, Rs50,000 or even at Rs65,000 and are planning to enter now so that they can get rid of the sorry feeling that they are now experiencing for having missed out on this amazing money-minting opportunity.
This sorry feeling which results in individuals chasing any asset class for not wanting to miss the bus is precisely what creates a bubble. It's the same feeling which the masses had when the Sensex was at 21,000 in January 2008, or when crude was at $140/barrel in July 2008 or during the period of the US housing bubble or the dotcom bubble... or even the tulip bubble which occurred in Holland some 370 years back.
So I strongly believe that the upside potential for silver is limited. It can go to Rs75,000 or even Rs80,000/kg. However at that level, I am sure that no one will sell, hoping for a further rise and will eventually end up holding the contracts of the metal at some beaten-down levels.
Retail investors should avoid chasing silver, especially in the futures market, since a correction in prices is long overdue. Top commodity investor Jim Rogers holds the view that a correction in silver is required, for it to sustain on its long-term trajectory. He has been quoted as saying: "I am worried about silver. If silver continues to go up like it has been over the past 2 or 3 weeks, yes, then it would get to triple digits this year. And then we'll have to worry. It's not parabolic yet. I hope something stops it going up in the foreseeable future and we have a correction. There's never one in history that hasn't popped.''
The biggest reason for the crash in the US housing bubble, or the crude bubble or the dotcom bubble or any other financial bubble in history is the realisation that prices would rise forever and can never correct. Once this realisation sets in (as is happening in silver) one can believe that the bubble is at its peak and a fall is inevitable.
The man who was often referred to as the CEO of Pune, may have brought much glamour to Maharashtra’s cultural capital, but he didn’t do much to relieve the problems of common Puneites
The first time I had a glimpse of Suresh Kalmadi and his simple and sweet wife Meera on a public stage was in the mid-1970s when they hosted a live programme of Usha Uthup in, if I remember right, at the Sub-Area Grounds. I was a teenager in college then and all of us had gone to see and hear the charismatic pop star whose metallic voice was a rage in those days. I remember the crowd was huge. The other association with Mr Kalmadi was the Poona Coffee House opposite the Deccan Gymkhana bus stand that we patronised on Sunday evenings when dinner would not be served in our hostel mess.
During those days, the surname 'Kalmadi' was associated more with Dr Shamrao Kalmadi, his father, who was well known as a Good Samaritan, in the role of a doctor and community man. He established the Karnataka High School, by literally going door-to-door for donations. His humility and social conscientiousness captured the hearts of many.
It is said that Dr Shamrao was not too happy when Suresh left his career in the Indian Air Force and plunged into politics. In fact, when Mr Kalmadi's house was raided by income-tax authorities many years back, his father was most embarrassed and believed that his son was on the wrong path. No prizes for guessing what he would have thought of the recent CBI action now!
Suresh Kalmadi surged ahead in his career in politics and there was no looking back after he became member of the Rajya Sabha in 1982, until the Commonwealth Games scandal halted (whether this is permanent, or temporary time will tell) his otherwise smooth-sailing political race. He has an impressive record of over a decade in the Rajya Sabha and then was elected to the Lok Sabha from Pune thrice.
Though Suresh Kalmadi is synonymous with Pune, at the national and international level in politics and sports, it is ironical that he is perceived as having little rapport with the common man or the woes of Puneites. When Pune was ridden with pot-holes that threatened the lives and limbs of citizens and they raised a hue and cry about it, he said that the media ought not to highlight such negative views about Pune that would scare away investors, instead of promising to rectify the corrupt road construction system and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)-contractor nexus. Though he doled out money for the roads from the funds available to him as a member of Parliament, the common Puneite did not see him as being sympathetic to their cause.
Recently, while swine flu rocked Pune (the city was stamped as the swine flu capital of the country), Mr Kalmadi was occupied with his responsibilities as president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) came in a bit late to air his concern over the situation.
Public transport, the prime inconvenience of Puneites, has been in a mess; his Pune Vyaspeeth (the forum he established to tackle issues concerning Pune) took up the issue, but it did not reflect at the ground level. He ruled the PMC for many years as the local Congress chief, but the civic body had a laid-back attitude and was always mired in cases of financial misappropriation.
One of the few exceptions where Mr Kalmadi got his act together for the benefit of the common Puneite was on the issue of protecting the hills of Pune. Thanks to his firm stance against the proposal of allowing construction on the hills, the PMC passed the Green DP for the 23 merged villages of Pune, and the state government has had a tough time trying to undo the step taken by the PMC.
Paradoxically, despite not being the common man's man, Mr Kalmadi is synonymous with Pune, sometimes even called its CEO. To many, Mr Kalmadi is a politician of the elite, an impeccable organiser of mega sports and cultural events. Personally, he comes across as a friendly, amiable person, but his mask as a politician somehow belies these traits.
He enhanced the status of Pune by hosting the Pune International Marathon which completed 25 years this year; held the National Games in the city in the mid-1990s; and the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2009 (the curtain-raiser for the 2010 Commonwealth Games). However, to common Puneites, this has not been reflected in any sort of change in the sports culture of the city, and even access to facilities at Chhatrapati Shivaji Stadium at Balewadi comes at a high price. Yet, they have been compassionate towards him. Puneites showed their appreciation for the work done during the 2009 youth games by attending the event in thousands, even if some went only to have a look at the new dream destination for sports. Then they re-elected him to Parliament in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
The Pune Festival, mooted by Mr Kalmadi, was a star-studded cultural extravaganza in the first few years after it was launched in the 1990s. The country's leading maestros of music and the performing arts, as well as Bollywood stars, swooped down on Pune, and his abilities as a brilliant organiser came to the fore again. But the Pune Festival has lost its sheen in recent years, as the primary objective to attract foreign tourists on the occasion of the historic, traditional 10-day Ganesh Festival has come a cropper. Although he denies this, and insists that the Pune Festival is for locals too.
So, has Mr Kalmadi lost account of accountability and credibility over the years? No doubt, there are other bigger players in the mega Commonwealth Games scam, but the fact remains that he was the face of the Games management and he will have to bear the merits and the demerits too. Besides, he will have to also answer many uncomfortable questions about the questionable public expenditure and lack of expenditure details with regard to the Commonwealth Youth Games, the Pune International Marathon and now the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF). RTI documents have revealed that public money has been spent, but no, or haphazard, details are available of the same.
The last big and glittering party he held in Pune was a few months back, when the IPL Pune team, now called Pune Warriors, was born, and Subroto Roy was the prime guest. No doubt, Mr Kalmadi brought glamour to Pune now and then, but now the clamour to prove his credibility is increasing from Puneites. Has he lost ground now?
(This article first appeared in Intelligent Pune on 31 December 2010. Vinita Deshmukh is a senior editor, author and convener of Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She can be reached at [email protected])