Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lunar Eclipse 2011

Lunar Eclipse viewed in Lahore. This is the  second & the last lunar eclipse of the year. Got a bit late so this is not a great capture.

Cadbury Perk - Gorillafication

So when you thought the ‘rista scenes’ were limited to the TVCs of tea brands, the chocolate world steps in too. Generally one gets to see good ads when it comes to Cadbury but this new Perk ad is just plain irritating. It gets worse when one compares it to the advert of Dairy Milk, which is good enough. This comparison leads one to the realization that the quality of the TVCs & other advertisement mediums are directly proportional to the price of the product. From a business point of you this makes pure sense.

However, the thing that does not make sense & should not make sense is the lack of innovative ideas to promote one’s products that are allocated comparatively lower budgets. Though I don’t know what & how the budget allocations are done at Cadbury, the outright thoughtless TVC for perk brought me to this budget discrimination aspect as an observer.

This also gives a hint on the fact that the advertising agency & the company behind the product(s) are not working on the same page, something that is one of the main reasons for our industry’s mediocre output. It is one thing when the work is being done for a ‘saith sahib’ who in most of the cases not going to be interested in ideas but will be happy with the copied material that is fixated in his mind, but if similar results are seen with Cadbury & its likes then the situation gets really frustrating. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Balance between Words & Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words.

I for one am an adherent believer of this statement. However, there are some limitations to it as well & the conflict erupts when a picture is used to overpower the strength of the written word. This I feel is happening a lot more these days. It feels that the attention span of people is reducing by the day, something that for me does not really indicate the result of a higher evolution. 

A few days back, while discussing ideas for how to get maximum traffic for the Pakistan Sustainability Network, a fact that came across was that a simple random picture of a spoon got around three hundred hits & if any of our blog posts get these many hits we might just hit the roof ourselves. (And NO, we don’t do boring stuff). This episode instantly took me back to Gary Shteyngart’s novel ‘Super Sad True Love Story’. A story portraying the future ultra technology oriented world, where the main character Lenny Abramov, is being looked down because he reads real books & has a ‘wall of books’ in his apartment; instead of just streaming the stuff & covering the main points. In one of the chapters when he is on a flight & opens his book, the passenger sitting next to him tells him that the book has an awful smell!!!

Not really a bright picture.

The point is not to state as to which way of expression is better because there are things which can’t be compared & this is one such point, where comparison is pointless. The concentration point is the loss of balance. Skimming through material can work at times but for in-depth understanding one needs to get in detail. There is no alternative to this. A lot of misrepresentation results because people don’t bother to go below the surface and discover the details and then analyze them. All this requires proper attention span and concentration. In this age of technology, to ensure that this advancement is used for proper progress, people need to return to a balanced position, only then we can move from the complaining stage to solving the problems stage. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Desensitizing Ourselves

The word desensitized is something that we come across quite frequently these days. This word rose to its share of fame along with the rise in terrorist attacks in our country. However, I feel that now we use it like we use a number of other things to throw away responsibility from our shoulders. Things around us are getting from bad to worse and all we end up with is ‘ doesn't matter, we have been desensitized by now’.

What does this even mean?

We are in a state of desensitized mindset as long as other people are at the receiving end. When the circle tightens around our own necks, then there is no desensitized effect, it’s all active action and a need to respond. Double faced or Hypocrisy are the two most decent words I can think of for all this. 

Being able to laugh at yourself is a good thing BUT not everything is supposed to be used as a joke. Unfortunately, this is exactly what a number of people are doing. Some are of the opinion that this is just an extension of our desensitization. Again I don’t share this view point. I think that people who think that creating and mass-forwarding sms jokes, emails etc is not funny or your way of coping with the stress. It just shows that people are mentally sick and in need of psychiatric help.

The sad part is that this problem is no longer limited to a few people. The number of people involved in this is increasing and it is just reflective of our society’s mental state.

If we want to look at a better future and not just simply talk about it then we need to cure the way to think. This is the base from which we need to start. For this change, we don’t need any political party or figure to come forward. We will have to bring this change on our own. People on the upper side of the hierarchy will only change once the base of the pyramid changes itself.   

This piece was originally written for Jaag TV at

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Generally speaking it is supposed to be the educated class of our country from which to get the hope to hold onto optimism when things are hitting new levels of low every day. Lack of education is what we put at the base of almost everything that is wrong with our homeland. A fact that is absolutely true.

The question however, is what to do of the educated class that refuses to show the traits that are supposed to distinguish them from the other group? This band of ‘parhe likhe jahil’ seem to be on the rise, at least as far as I am concerned. (Maybe I am not moving in the right circles! Anyways)

On Monday, a 23 year old Shams Alam murdered 19 year old Samar Wasti, a student of Kinnaird College and then committed suicide on the spot. He wanted to marry her and as a reaction to the refusal from her and her family he took her life as well as his own. The rest of the details we all know, thanks to our media who is running on the motto of ‘show it all’.

It was the reaction of people that made me smash my head in the wall. Not the reaction of the people in generally who we know are going to point their fingers at the girl even before they get to know what happened. I am talking about the reaction of our educated section of the society and frankly there was no difference in their opinion and that of an uneducated person. Don’t mention the degrees and you would not be able to tell the two apart. No wonder one of our politicians is of the view ‘Degree tu degree hoti ha, asli ho ya jali’ (A degree is just a degree, real or fake).

Some of the top comments were:

Ø  The fact that the boy committed suicide proves that the girl was responsible.
Ø  Girls these days are very good at manipulating the boys.
Ø  Boys don’t go to this extent if they are not provoked by the girls.
Ø  Girls hook up then when they can’t keep it from their families back out which results in such incidents.

To sum it all up, it was the girl’s fault she got killed and it was her fault YET AGAIN that the boy committed suicide. Seriously, WTF!

The fact that the girl’s father told the media that he knew the boy was bothering his daughter and had told him to back off. The fact that she was on the phone with her father telling him that he was harassing her and most of all the fact, that Samar’s father heard the shots that took her life on the phone were ignored by these people is simply mind boggling to put it in a polite manner.

Not to ignore the fact that this moral brigade is usually led by women themselves. Mothers, who nurture the basic thought process of their children and therefore, making sure that this bug is implanted in their grey matter.   

If our educated class thinks like this, then we are surely on a speedy trip to hell as a society.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lawrence Gardens/Bagh-e-Jinnah

Lahore is known as the 'city of gardens' & Lawrence Gardens now known as Bagh-e-Jinnah is one of the great offerings of the city. The famous Quaid-e-Azam library is also located inside this garden. Following are some of the snapshots from the place.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Subtle is not our Style

Subtle is clearly not our style, especially when it comes to advertising and marketing. On one side one does feel good that marketers are looking at other available options as well and not just sticking to the comfort zone of traditional marketing. However, the low quality of the work and ideas squeeze all the positive feeling from you.  

Television shows and movies are a very good medium for promoting one’s product. People follow celebrities and in their following they do get influenced by what they get to see in the TV programs and movies.

Having said that, the Pakistani advertisers need to be reminded that this fan following does not mean that people are stupid and can’t identify a deliberate attempt of marketing. The most recent example of this is Nokia’s latest dual sim phone. ‘Bulbulay’ a comedy drama was used for the promotion and the actors were made to state lines which described the features of the phone in such a blank manner, that in a better world they would not even qualify to work in a commercial. Then the same show was used for a similar kind of promotion for one of the Q-mobile sets.

This is not the only example of bad marketing of this sort. I don’t remember the name of the show but we got to see the actors eating Amore ice cream and before it was served there was this similar monotone delivery of misfit dialogues.

I did suggest that marketers watch The Big Bang Theory, to get some inspiration as to how these shows can be used for the promotion of a product. The cool and subtle manner in which Dell laptops and other gadgets get promoted, without making the show lose its credibility as labeling it as a commercial front.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The small thoughts

There are incidents and moments in one’s life that spontaneously make you think about matters that usually never cross your mind. These thought provoking incidents don’t need to be big in magnitude. In fact it is the small things that touch the cord more often.

Few days back I too had a similar experience and the idea of human beings & their general attitude of arrogance struck me. The subconscious feeling that humans are superior and all powerful make us the arrogant brats that we are. However, this though is so hollow in reality and it doesn’t take something very serious to burst this bubble.

A small external infection at my lower back had completely left me torpid. For a week I was trapped in one posture and that was to lie down on my stomach. So even when I tried to kill my boredom with reading, I ended up cramping my neck which was not pretty, with my entire body hurting dude to stiffness and exhaustion. 
The point of this post is not to detail out as to how I spent my last week, but to share the conclusion. Instead of staying in the bubble of arrogance and considering it a part of our nature, we should be actually looking at the other side of our nature, which is quite humble and wants good for everyone.

It is the power of the human minds that differentiates them from animals; unfortunately we see that humans have used this ability to be the cruelest animal to walk on the face of earth.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

ecoWarriors by Pakistan Sustainability Network

Pakistan Sustainability Network (PSN) has launched a new idea on its website. The idea is to celebrate individuals & organizations that are working for sustainability and environment in our country. A column will be posted about that individual or organization on the PSN website ( ). There will be a new profile column every week so that maximum number of ecoWarriors can be given space and their work & achievements be highlighted through this forum. Following is the link for the first column that was published.

p.s If you know of any such individual or organization feel free to contact me or anyone at PSN  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pepsi needs to move on!

We all have had our share of ‘kis ne kaha tha pepsi pe panch rupee kam kar do’. This campaign was launched during last year’s Ramzan. For me personally the TVC wasn’t that great an idea. However, the sms frenzy that followed I believe worked out for the campaign. As the Urdu saying goes ‘Badnam hongay per nam tu hoga’.

This phrase sums up what all that sms frenzy did for the last year’s Ramzan campaign. Like all things Pakistani, we stretched the use of this electronic media to the point that it became unbearable. While discussing the campaign in one of my marketing lectures as an undergrad student, my professor suggested that there might be a genius behind the campaign, who intended that the TVC initiates all the sms and other social media hype.

That could surly be the case. However, after seeing the Ramzan TVC for this year I don’t think there is anyone slightly genius behind the campaign. ‘Kis ne kaha tha pepsi 65 ki kar do?’ My guess is that the person or team behind this campaign though that it will generate the same kind of response, but why didn’t anyone point out that this was going to be a remote possibility. Anyone with the slightest common sense could have seen through this.

People get bored quite easily and this stand especially true for ad campaigns. There was no aspect of the last year’s campaign which made the customers nostalgic and surly this year’s campaign just showed that the people behind it had run out of ideas.