Monday, October 31, 2011

Heroes, Friends and Epic Dramas

I cannot believe I haven't written about Airtel's 'Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai' or Hero Moto Corp's 'Hum Mein Hai Hero' yet. What have I been doing? *rolls eyes* But better late than never.

Har Friend Zaroori (HFZ) is a brilliant ad. No, not just because the song is so fucking catchy even when you listen to it in Telugu and can't understand a word. It reflects real life- it's real. I can't quite think of another word to describe it- somehow epic, real, catchy and funny are the only things that come to mind, and really I know I'm not doing it justice. While most people love the kanjoos friend and the restaurant bill ad, my favourite is the F1 ad. Again, not just because one guy is Rohan from K3G, (I can't believe I didn't realise that!) or because the main guy is so charming, but just because it's so... fun. (What is with my vocab?) It makes you want to just go out and be with the people you love, and I think the drastic image change that Airtel is going with- to appeal to the youngsters out there- it's a good idea. A very Blackberry type stark turnaround. I don't know if Airtel has made their shift from JWT to Taproot for good, but I think they should seriously consider it. Taproot just has this way of tapping into our souls and picking themes that are just SO right.

A direct contrast to the fun HFZ campaign is Hero Moto Corp's 'Hum Mein Hai Hero' ad, which has brilliant lyrics and builds on the concept of a hero in every Indian's heart and soul- man, woman or child. It focuses on the struggles we face, and how we triumphantly rise in the end. My favourite one is the little boy, proudly and determinedly playing cricket against the Indian army, after the rest of his friends scamper away because the ball smashes against the army car window. I think that kid is brilliant- the scene where he refuses to give them the bat, and so (endearingly) stubbornly decides to bat- it's epic. I wish I had written it.
It makes me cry. Yes, really it does. (But then again so does Cabury's Diwali Celebrations ad- for the third year in a row) The aggressive ad campaign was designed to increase the public loyalty and inform us that Hero Honda is now just Hero.  It's SO Indian- full tugging at the heartstrings type ad, designed to be melodramatic yet subtle. Again, here too, I love the song- this time though for it's lyrics. The music by A R Rahman is  simply outstanding. Fantastic branding and rebranding on Hero's part. If you need inspiration, to do anything- you should just listen to the song.
(Note to self: Take your own advice, listen to the song and go study!)

Another thing I have to mention here- the new Nokia ad, to combat declining sales because of the growth of Blackberry in India- the ads that feature WhatsApp and Burp apps- brilliant again. I love the way it's been shot and the entire feeling- smooth, sleek, stylish and just so grown up but so graceful, so hazy yet so clear. I love the styling and colours- it's very similar to the Levis 'Go forth' campaign. Whether its the eternal question, 'Where we do we hang out tonight?' or the constant debate 'Green or Red Heels', the ads seem to say that Nokia is one of us, that the brand understands us- the youth.
And just the line- 'being young- is not as easy as it looks' - brilliance. I also particularly like the campaign title- Epic Dramas and the line- Smartphones for Life's Epic Dramas, because epic and drama just happen to be some of my favourite words. I think again, this is an ad, the target audience would really really connect to so they've got it bang on.

I really wish I didn't have to go study at this point, for Market Research that too, but I think passing finals, rather unfortunately is a requirement for a job in Marketing. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wanting Darkness

William Saroyan said, "I do not know what makes a writer but it probably isn't happiness."
And I know that to be largely true. I can write, the words just seem to come, when I'm sad, upset, annoyed, stressed, avoiding things, heartbroken, angry, frustrated.
At that point, it doesn't matter if i'm working on TUCS or drafting a piece on an ad campaign or even ranting like this.
And strangely enough, when I'm happy- I love to revisit my thoughts, I love to edit, but anything I try to write- it lacks soul.
Maybe its because I once read somewhere that when you're happy you want to go out and feel things, you don't want to stay boxed up at home, in a dark corner furiously typing away and generally cursing. You don't want that familiar rush of excitement that fills you when you know you've written a brilliant sentence, because that rush- that's already present in every cell of your body.
You don't want to feel the anxiety you always suffer from when you take a breath to stop and read what you've filled up the page with. You don't want to grumble about how slowly you're typing because the words just seem to be flying out of your head and you're terrified you're going to forget or let go of a precious thought.
You don't want to get mad at yourself, your mind for distracting you.
Writers are broody. Its a moody thing. It makes you dark, grumpy and annoyed. It makes you crib.
When you're happy you want to go out there and fly- and then, you're so reckless that you don't even care, you don't even worry about the fact that you might fall. You want to go out there and sing songs like a musical about the most mundane things- eating toast and drinking a cup of coffee in the morning suddenly becomes so beautiful. And you don't care about who you annoy in the process.
When you're happy, you can't write- you can't pour your soul out on a piece of paper.
So my writers block- is happiness.
And I can't quite decide what I'd like to have. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Too Many Dreams

My finals start this Saturday. Hopefully someone will knock some sense into me and I'll start studying tomorrow. But the thing is, I really don't want to write these finals. Even though I LOVE the subjects. I just wish it was the 12th of November already and they were done. Finished.

And then there are a zillion other things that I want. Somehow I can never quite make up  my mind about what exactly I want- I'm always indecisive. And it gets annoying. As annoying as that stupid butterfly that keeps flitting about or the kid who never quite sits still for a second and you want to cry or snap or kill someone.
I find a new dream to chase every day and while that is brilliant in so many ways, sometimes I wish I could be the kind of person who picked one dream and lived it, and just lived happily. I wish I could be more balanced.. more stable. (More grown up?)

But I'm always in this rush to do more, to do something new.
I wish I knew the purpose of my existence- why am I really here?
Because there are days when all I want to do is write- but I lack the firm resolve that a writer needs- the ability to stop whining and basically shut the hell up and write/report a story as the situation demands. Writer's Block lives with me, and somehow no matter what I do, I can't quite kick him out.
Oh and did I mention I generally write rubbish? Because that's a big problem too.
There are moments when I want to market films (Thank you SRK for a marketing budget of 52 crore rupees for Ra One that has added yet another option in my list. Thanks. Really.)
Then there's always copywriting and the mad mad world of an ad agency- so alluring, yet so suicidal.
Also on my list is brand management, but that would mean working on the company side and not the agency and in my head that's both betrayal and boring- and I'm still confused about this anyway.
Online Marketing is the future- I know that- and I want that but I don't know if I want to specialize in it from the agency side or the company side.
And then there are those days, when I want to give it all up, and go work in sets and props at Prithvi.

Of course I could always resort to picking chits, which is my go-to solution for every decision I can't make, but somehow I don't think that's going to work this time.  And I know no one can take this decision for me- its my life after all- but a little push in the right direction won't hurt. Considering how I have about 6 months to find a job I like at a company I like in a city my parents like. Sigh.

I wish I could be a child again. Or even just 19.
(See, this is what I'm talking about. I started this post with 'I wish I was more grown up and stable' and now.. Sigh.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tired of Technology

Just a couple of days back I had this thought about people and things being so dispensable.
And now I realise (because Blackberry networks have been down for 3 days) that somehow I want to blame technology for making humans dispensable. Because things, oh they are SO not dispensable.
And who wants to talk to a person, when they can just tweet about it and let the world know right? Irony of the matter- I chose to blog about this, instead of actually telling someone in person. It doesn't matter to me if anyone reads this or not, or if someone shares their opinion with me on this or not- all I want, is to just put it out there. But who, who am I talking to right now? Technology came around (it was invented by us humans I know- another excellent example of the greatness of human stupidity) and it changed the entire concept of Communication, which is good in so many ways that I can't even begin to list them here, but is it making us less human?
Because I'm realising that I can live without talking to people, but I can't live without a fully functioning phone. And its the same with so many other people. Which is ridiculous if you think about it. Or maybe that's just me.
Of course I can always defend myself by saying that a phone is technically needed to talk to people and therefore humans aren't dispensable. But then again Facebook and Twitter- they aren't people now, are they?
Because the truth is, I can ignore things that have to be talked about, I can avoid sorting out issues with people even when they really need to be sorted out, I can be okay with plans getting cancelled- But somehow I cannot be okay with BB networks deciding to crash.
Or maybe its because I just expect technology to be super efficient and just about perfect- and humans, we're awesome, but we sure as hell aren't perfect. We all have our eccentricities and that just makes us who we are.
This dependence on technology, I have never approved of, and the last two days are just reminding me of how potentially disastrous this can turn out to be.
I don't know about Global Warming and all of that, but something tells me that Technology will probably be the end of us.
Because if you look at it, Technology is the Villain today- in every sense. (And the heartbreakingly gorgeous knight in shining armour as well.) And the tragic truth of the matter is- we wouldn't want it any other way, simply because we can't imagine our life without it. We can't go back to living like we used to, before it had come around and changed us.
It's this horrible love story- where you fall in love with the wrong person, and you know they will break your heart but there is simply nothing you can do about it because you love them.
And so, slowly begins that process of destruction and annihilation. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Indispensable Much?

If there's anything that I've learnt (and remembered) this year is that you have to fight for happiness.
Yes, I regularly realise that 'time is flying' (It's October already- Where did this year go?! I'm 20- How did that happen?) and I very conveniently forget it too. Too easily for my liking, but then again I'm known for forgetting things. Too often.
I also often am told that these years will never come back and it's a constant struggle after this (more so if you want to work in an ad agency or write) and you'll be at the bottom of the food chain for what feels like forever- but I still can't make myself look forward to a Monday morning. No matter what, I just simply can't. And that is so ridiculous, because the worst thing that a  usual Monday can bring right now is 6 hours of college.
But anyway, coming back to the whole fighting for happiness-
I don't know why I thought that would be so difficult.
(Dear God, Fate, Murphy and everyone else out there- kindly don't remind me how difficult it is. I'm just appreciating how easy you guys are making my life and no, I do not need a reminder!)
I had this notion, this foolish idea in my head that I could only be happy if I had everything I wanted in precisely the way I wanted it.
But as the days do go by, I'm realising that you really don't need so much to be content. Because there will always be something else, around the next corner- the next link that will make you happy.
Just some small random thing- that will just some how make your day.
That will make you forget, and that will make you stronger.
Which is brilliant.
Except I can't help wondering if it makes everyone and everything dispensable?
If it makes our struggle, and our pain, and our 'NOW' so futile..
(I should stop thinking, I know)


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Eat Pray Love

To start off with, firstly, before I say anything else- Wow. To be that honest, about your own life~ Just wow.
Secondly, I was a cynic. One who turned my nose up at the mention of the book, pushing it away as just another self help book meets romance meets life is great book. I thought it would be pretentious and preachy and god knows what not. Clearly this is why you should never judge a book by how popular it is.
Because Eat Pray Love is inspirational. Its funny, its tragic, its real, its everything. Its so human.Its me.
It shows a journey, it guides you but not once does it get preachy which is a fairly impossible thing and hats off to Elizabeth Gilbert for being able to write so openly, so honestly, so heartbreakingly and yet just making it stay with you because not once does it ask you to do any of this.
And even though I always knew I had to fight for happiness, the way this book reinforces that thought is pretty stellar. Whether its the food in Italy and her pursuit of pleasure, or the tale of discovery of both self and God in India, or just the realization of the essence and finding happiness (within herself and not the in arms of a gorgeous man, although she does find him as well) in Bali, this book was just- I'm looking for a word to sum up the experience and I simply can't find it-...
Enough has been said, by everyone who's read it and loved it, and if I could quote the lines from the book I love, I'll probably end up reproducing half the book so I'll end here by saying two things-
Don't watch the movie. It's not a story a movie can ever possibly hope to do justice to. (Not that I've seen it. But really when she's talking about her path to God, her meeting God through meditation, how do they hope to do it justice? How can they hope to show it the way the words do?)
And two- Attraversiamo- Let's cross over.