Two days ago, while link hopping on my 2005 Macbook that’s starting to give up on its first love, I stumbled upon the movie trailer of ‘One Day’. As the movie voice dramatically narrated the ebb and flow of a forty year old almost non-existent relationship between Dexter & Emma, I clung on to the…
What is this? Klout & Involver have partnered to offer a new medium for brands to publish “gated” content to their fans and followers. Brands can set gates that are defined by Klout scores, a measurement of a user’s social media influence….
The following is an expurgated version of the presentation I made last Friday, April 29th, 2011, at the Brandcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University to the Brandcenter Masters students, undergraduate VCU advertising students, faculty and local professionals. While I spoke about my past and…
“When you’re thinking about the totality of an organization, an organization doesn’t just communicate through advertising but through its environments, through its products, and through its behaviors.”—Wally Olins (via paulisakson)
Let me start by saying I think this company is truly remarkable, and that their product is impecable. The user interface for iOS devices is outstanding, and I recently read an article in a magazine about them as “One of the Most Admired Start Ups.” With that being said, as quick as you grow, you…
Facebook has made my generation painfully self-aware, to different degrees and to different effects. We wrote the book on online self-presentation and speak the language fluently. On your profile, you have some Chekov, Pynchon, Franzen, and some Sartre for good measure. TMZ? Probably not. Lots and lots of pictures of yourself, many of which involve you pouting your lips and/or accidentally being caught in a photo in your PJ’s (read booty shorts and tank top) with comments from people like “gorge!” or “damn girl.” Culturally aware? Check. Your status update is: “New Animal Collective—get it.”
In then end it all just seems like a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing.
The worst part is I’m guilty too. In the process of writing this article I realized that I still had bands, movies, and books listed in my “Info” section, information I had provided when I first created my profile and probably updated only few times since then. I am embarrassed that I even had any of that up there in the first place, but give me some slack—I was 18 then, about to start college, new to the whole Facebook game and not yet completely jaded by it. I have since deleted all of this stuff from my profile, and it feels good. I don’t want to play into the whole social signifiers game.
Is Facebook to blame for all of this oversharing and posturing, or is it the people who use it? Obviously it’s both. It’s human nature to want to connect and share and have interactions with others, and yes, Facebook is a way of doing this, it’s just not the best way. It’s easy to get caught up in the constant stream of different people’s junk. Do I keep my Facebook tab open on my laptop? Yes.
A quick bite at a nearby Pizza Hut sounded like a great way to end a tiring day. The restaurant was clean, relatively empty and well staffed to take care of us. We waited outside as she set the table for us and in about a minute we were ushered in to our table. “Plus points for service, cleanliness and attention to details”, I thought. As I neared our table, I felt an itch in my ears. I checked for flies or mosquitoes, but soon realized it was the loud music inside the restaurant. It was not the loudness of the music that bothered my ears, it was Backstreet Boys!
I’ve been away from home for a while and I brushed away the Pizza Hut experience as a one off, odd situation. I was wrong. This was happening everywhere. At retail stores like Pantaloons, Shoppers Stop, Marks & Spencer and Coffee Shops like Barista and Café Coffee Day. ‘Rhythm Devine’ by Enrique Iglesias, really? Is that what ‘pop’ music is today? Or are we stuck in the 90’s? I don’t wish to take away the credibility of these artists. It is not their fault that they sell, or rather, sold millions of records. They were the only ones who played on the radio in the 90’s and they deserve credit for their work. But even Britney Spears has evolved, from the ‘Hit Me Baby’ days to ‘Womanizer’.
Bollywood is a big influence in India. No, Bollywood is synonymous to India in the pop culture world. I would even give in to the idea of playing contemporary Hindi music at these stores. Or even an old Kishore or Rafi number at a store like Fab India. If you want to cater to the masses by playing popular music, Bollywood music would do it for you. It works for an MTV or Channel V, doesn’t it? The Kailash Khers, Sonu Nigams and Shreya Ghosals deserve much more than those one minute song teasers on these music channels.
In talking to a few folks about this, I hear opinions that have got to do with copyrights and money. If there was one thing I realized after coming back to India is that in the past 5 years, the youth have earned much more than they could have ever imagined, and they have the kind of disposable income these retail stores need to survive. Survive they did, in fact, they have flourished. Spending 100 Rupees at a coffee shop does not actually spell out recession. So if they are making money, why not invest some of it to update their jukeboxes and digital playlists to keep the crowd grooving as they sip their hot cappuccino.
There was a time in India, not too long ago, when you went to a fancy Indian Restaurant (like Khyber, Mumbai) – you could always hear the wonderful Kenny G saxophone. Blame it on ignorance, limited resources, tight budgets or just the pure association of ‘fine Indian dining’ with the sound of a saxophone, it got a little monotonous too. There is a fine line between keeping something exclusive and classic, but when mass retail gets into that space, it surely feels like a miss fit.
Don’t make Enrique Iglesias the Kenny G of fine dining. They both deserve some rest. Give Black Eyed Peas a chance.
"To perfect things, speed is a unifying force," the race-car driver Michael Schumacher has said. "To imperfect things, speed is a destructive force." No company is perfect, nor is any individual.
What happens when we look closely at the rate at which we do things today? John Freeman argues that we need to slow down, not only to save ourselves but to save the beauty of living this short life in this planet by experiencing the details of every single act of our doing. I don’t remember the last time I picked up a pen and wrote more than 10 words at once. I have managed to ignore the naturality of the act of writing. I agree to a great deal with what he writes in his article, we need to slow down.
Read the WSJ article titled “Not So Fast” by John Freeman here.