The 90’s style super bowl ad that blah’ed me out.

If you watched the super bowl, you’d see the spectacular site of everything new.

Drones, lights, cutting edge technology ads, political issues, and a few sneak peaks into Stranger things yet to come.

Amidst all of this was a ProClean ad that looked like advertising straight out of the 90’s. From an advertising era perspective, literally regressing 100 years in time.

The marketing nerd in me was enjoying all those creative – awe inspiring ads and Uhhgghh: ProClean. -_- (Even Don Draper would be disappointed, trust me).

For the most part, Bill Nye, the science guy – played the typical mad scientist role that people were apparently suppose to love and get all nostalgic about. Well, that wasn’t me. Neither was I feeling the ebbieess about how we did those ‘magical’ (not) advertising campaigns 20 years ago.

ProClean’s spot was a buzz kill for me. Uninspiring, lame and just so wannabe.

Impact on people’s lives: I’d say negative. 

How Super is the Super Bowl?

super-bowl-patriots-2015How Super is the Super Bowl? Well, super enough for a 1 hour game to last for 4 hours.

That means – loads of ads. Ads that cost $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. That’s 30 seconds of intense eyeballs. 30 seconds of a make or break show. And 30 seconds that cost you a whole lot of $$$$.

Every brand aspires that one day – it will be able to afford to spend those dollars. But is it really all that?

The question is: Do these actually help sell product or create lasting brand awareness?

Bill Coontz from the Dalton Agency has his opinions, and I’d say strong ones. Bill believes the answer is a resounding no, especially considering consumers’ fleeting attention span.

A study by marketing data science company Genesis Media found that 90 percent of consumers aren’t likely to buy something they saw advertised during the Super Bowl. The reason? Brand metrics such as “favorability” or “recall” don’t result in purchases for products featured in Super Bowl ads.

Maybe that’s why Kraft Heinz is spent millions of dollars this year on a single spot that won’t sell one ounce of ketchup. The brand is running a $5 million ad to let us know that they’re giving all 42,000 of their salaried employees Super Bowl Monday off. (A company memo would have been about $4,997,900 cheaper.)

Is it corporate good will or a PR ploy? It doesn’t matter, because it’s generating millions in earned media, and it’s a great example of how brands are thinking differently about creative ideas, tactics and execution.

Are times changing?

It is also a sign of the changing times. For the last few years, the strategic execution of Super Bowl ads has changed from a one-time event on Super Bowl Sunday, to using an ad as a springboard to launch integrated digital and social media campaigns. Research from last year’s Super Bowl suggested that Super Bowl ads in 2016 generated as much as $10M in incremental exposure for advertisers.

Some brands go overboard on concept, like Mercedes-Benz, which last year relocated its N. American headquarters to Atlanta. The venerable luxury car brand hired The Coen Brothers to direct an “Easy Rider” themed Super Bowl spot featuring Peter Fonda. That’s easily an eight-figure budget for an ad that, if the studies are accurate, won’t sell many cars.

What about brand awareness?

So does that mean that Super Bowl ads are all about brand awareness? Not really. A full 75 percent of respondents from the Genesis Media study said they couldn’t remember ads from the previous year.

Advertising technology company Fluent surveyed 1,600 Super Bowl watchers in 2015 to test the effects of five first-time ads, finding that the average “brand lift” – whether viewers could recall advertisers after their first Super Bowl ad – was just 12.7 percent.

That’s not an ROI that many brands can readily justify, and the main reason why the Super Bowl will remain the ultimate arena for the advertising budget haves and have-nots.

The final verdict:

ROI, Product Sales – No

If you integrate the campaign as part of gripping 360 degree, well executed campaign using the super bowl as a spring board – Probably Yes.

Is it the best bang for your buck – I’d say, probably not.

This article was written in collaborate with Bill Coontz from the Dalton Agency. 

Bill brings large agency-management experience to the Dalton Agency.  Bill’s 25 years of advertising experience include work for many domestic and global brands, including United Healthcare, Optum, 3M, Cargill, General Mills, Kraft and Ameriprise. Bill has also served two terms as president of the Advertising and Marketing International Network (AMIN).

That’s not fair. BNB.

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We are sometimes so disconnected from the truth. It’s like almost a shell that we create around ourselves. A bubble where everything is fantastic, beautiful and full of our petty little problems.

‘Solidarité Grands Froids’ (Solidarity in the Great Cold), an organization defending the interests of the homeless launched a website to spread awareness of the day to day reality of homeless people.

It’s an effort to expose and demonstrate a sight that you may not see everyday – to strike a cord of authentic empathy.

I feel uncomfortable about how closely they have ‘ripped’ what AirBnB looks like, but nonetheless – it does convey a powerful message.

Everytime you hit ‘book’ – you donate money to the organisation – a meaningful way of demonstrating the exact cause your money is going towards.


0 or 1: The two kinds of people.

Zomato is like the trip advisor of food. It provides information about restaurants, ratings and recommendations.


In a super witty campaign, they pledge that there are two kinds of people. It’s hyper relatable, funny and true.

Although there is no clear call to action or tag line – it sends a message that no matter what’s your type, Zomato will give you enough information to make the right choice about food. As they say, never have a bad meal.

I’ll share my type too. What’s yours?


Pizza: I’m the one on the left 


Fries: I’m the one of the left



Chocolate: I’m the one on the right. 


Dinner: I’m on the left. 


Metabolism: Let’s not talk about it. I’m cursed.  LOL. 



Girls, Cars & Audis.

Boys = Blue and Girls = Pink. Since childhood, we assume sharp gender roles for boys and girls and any deviation is looked down up.

Hint, Hint: I grew up playing  WWF cards and beyblades.

Girls and Cars can be used in the same sentence – without a negative connotation.

Audi hit it’s top spin when it launched a thought provoking story set in the back stage of a toy store. A Barbie racing F1 drivers in her wonderful Audi. Zip. Zip. Zip.

Boys = Cars? Let’s change that equation. Let’s change the game.



The man who kept runnin’in’ing

My heart always goes out to Kevin Hart.

He’s cool, funny and perfect for Nike.

Nike launched a series of youtube videos about a story of a man who kept running. I love this because it’s something that is catching up so quickly – a series of small clips tied together to make a story.

Most of the times, we just binge watch these multiple clips – but if we ever see a 40 minute youtube video, you can pause the though of # of views, right there.

Kevin Hart introduces Apple Watch Nike+’s features and functionality in a hyper animated way (what else were we expecting? Haha). You go along with him on a journey about survival (fancy much) and running to save himself.

Branding: 4/5

Product Placement: 3/5

Humour and engagement: 10/5





If you were wondering what Mr. Hart was upto?

Well, he was working on his beard. Haha.

Cough it up this 2017

Kick that cigarette butt, really far away.

A pharmacy brand in Sweden, Apotek recreated a realistic effect of a man coughing to remind people of the ills of smoking.

The billboards were plugged with smoke detectors and whenever, you smoke – the man on the billboard coughs.


No more coughing, no more smoking.

I want to break free.

“And oh, the things that keep us steady:

Sometimes they are teddy’s.

Sometimes they are shoes.

That remind you of your moves”

Adidas created a powerful commercial that definitely makes you feel lost for words. The grit in the video didn’t need words to share one simple thing – Never take away something that someone lives, breathes and runs for.

The story is of an old man – perhaps in a care home, lost and sad. There is one thing that he seems to cherish of his younger days – sports. The one companion throughout all those times was a pair of Adidas shoes.

No branding, no spanking new shoes. Just a pair of dirty, old shoes that lightens up his face.

The video leaves it up-to your imagination to piece the story together. But it sure as hell has one ending – running into the wild and breaking free.

It’s snowing in Asia.

The winning formula: Copy + Paste + Localise

Snapchat’s cloned brother – Snow is crystallising 50 million flowing users every month.

How does it work? Well – it’s exactly like Snapchat – expect with a lot more relevant filters: Soju bottles, cats running around in clouds and with motion stickers that will make you crack up.

It’s surely snowing like cray in China, Japan and Korea in just one year. I am a huge Snapchat fan (read: addict) but I would strongly consider moving to Snow just for their Soju stickers.

And come on, do our Snapchat friends really think that we care about using Joker and Bob Marley filters? Asia is tired of being an afterthought. Localise quickly or compete with faster, stronger and more relevant clones.

It’s a frankenstein’s circus out here.

<ends with dramatic music>






No more head eggs

Let’s stop growing eggs on our heads. How many times do we wake up and push through our days with headaches?


Tylenol in Korea did a chicken’ed up commercial with a man walking around with an egg on his head that eventually grows into a fat, heavy chicken.

While the concept might sound strange to you – the video went viral with 10 million views in the first 2 days.

I really loved how they brought in cultural nuances like – men don’t have pills for headaches. However, this leads to horrid days, being ignorant at work and wasting time in meetings.

Kaboom – the light shines on the protagonist and boom! His head-egg bursts. Humorous end to a rather dramatic story.

Have a headache and getting fried? Korean fry chicken it away with Tylenol.

Cause today, I am riding dirty?

New year celebrations are over, but not without celebrating the major new years eve campaign wins.

  1. Either Dri(nk) or Dri(ve) – you choose
  2. Mocking the state of Johnny Walker once he has had way too much to drink.

Today, brands are becoming so much more conscious about the role they play in everyday lives. The alcohol brands have it loud and clear: If you drink, don’t drive.

It’s just not cool bro.





The yawn Christmas video

As much as Christmas is a time for celebration and travel, Honda just slowed my mood down with their new ‘online Christmas sleigh’ where you can watch christmas candy & snow in 360 degrees.

If Honda was about speed, this would have moved a lot faster.

If Honda was about brand character, the surroundings would have been exciting and engaging with snow fights.

If Honda was about technology, this would have been way more sophisticated experience.

But clearly, Honda’s agency is about ‘riding the next big way’ ’cause that’s the cool thing to do.

I’d suggest you don’t watch this video, but I’m purposely posting this before bedtime so we all get some good yawns before hitting the sack.

You owe your beauty sleep to me now, folks!


Instagram’s DJ Got Us Fallin’ In <3 Again

Bacardi did it again. Except this time – they got their Swag on 10x.

Introducing BBDO + Facebook’s Creative shop ‘pure genius’ dish…


  • 1 tablespoon Instagram’s current stories feature
  • 10 ounces of creativity
  • A dash of magic


The Dish:


You tap on Bacardi logo on the left and the right, you can skip back and forth and make your own set.

I love this campaign because it is not only creative and relevant but also highly engaging. Engagement is something brands have struggled with in terms of platforms and placement. Clearly, that is changing now.

Sure enough, ‘Pure Genius’ is everyone’s sweet tooth now.


The catastrophic end to…

There is a new definition of ‘lifeline’.

It’s called data.

Life without the internet is clearly no life at all., a newly launched virtual telco made people’s heart beat stop when they cut out the ending of some super funny viral videos because ‘Data limit exceeded’.

It’s so simple, but it surely made me hit their website and consider switching to them.

A Coke for Christmas

Giving is a sentiment that should be most associated with the holiday season.

It’s good to always be reminded what Christmas is really all about and Coke did it in it’s super small, cute way – a boy going around the neighbourhood giving people a bottle of Coke.

Santa Claus got a gift too. I wonder why no one thinks about him?

Apple’s painful commercial.

Rarely, do I use the harsh word – ‘painful’ to describe a commercial.

But this one was so dragged that every additional second seemed like a ‘light’ year away. (To get the pun, watch the video below)


“Hey siri, what happened to Apple’s inspiring commercials?”

“Sorry, I didn’t get that”

Well, clearly.

xx typed on a mac book xx



Facebook’s Fake News? -_-

First of all, let’s cut people some slack.

People are upset after the elections. I get it. But that doesn’t mean that we put the ‘closest possible target’ in the line of fire.

There are numerous accusations that Facebook promoted fake news and that played a part in the US elections results. (Seriously?)

Let’s get the basics straight – Facebook is not a media company. It’s a tech company – that connects all kinds of publishers to the audience that is most interested in consuming that content. (Read: level playing field)

How does the Facebook algorithm work? Well, the algorithm shows you content that your friends are sharing that you are most likely to engage with. So if you dislike a certain political party, you will either see negative news about that party or positive news about the party you support. It’s really as logical as that.

I just don’t understand how Facebook landed in this line of fire? And for no fault, at all?

Sure, there are things that can be improved –

  1. Hiring journalists to vet through the news feed
  2. Adding a feature to switch off personalised content
  3. Or even – segmenting friends based on their affinity to create a basket of opinions

Fancy stuff. Well, sounds great.

But here is a reality check:

We read what we read, because we make a choice. The onus is on us to make informed decisions based on information we gather from multiple sources and our relative weightage of the authenticity of those sources. If we can’t be cognisant of multiple sources of media, to make our own choices – then well, well. Let’s stop blaming media, and start blaming ourselves.

And for god’s sake – Stop reading the Onion. It makes my eyes tear up.


SOTP Texting & Drivin’

Texting and driving is a complete NO, NO.

Yet, so many people are obsessed with the new ping on i-message. Who could it possibly be? :smirks:

Mitsubishi came up with a smart way to convey the message – spelling errors because you can’t focus while driving.

Moral of the story: Don’t endanger lives. Let’s all SOTP texting while driving.


The free store.

Once upon a time,

There was a store – where everything was simply FREE.

Take what you want, the store said.



No one could manage to take anything.


Everything was stuck with Fevicol – the #1 adhesive solution.

So, everyone lived happily ever after? Well, you decide.

The end.






Get in anywhere, like really



Brands sharing their opinions about political issues is entering choppy waters. Some ride the waves and emerge victorious, some sink into a crushing PR Tsunami.

The swimmer: 

Durex – keeping it casual, witty and open to interpretation. Taking the reality and teasing it, just a little bit.

The sinker: 

New Balance – Senior Execs (LeBretton) taking a strong political stance about supporting Mr. T

Their  potential customer base- Probably Hillary lovers, coastal folks started burning their shoes, taking this story viral. (Read: PR nightmare)


In conclusion:

Make sure you understand your target audience and their potential political orientation. If you want to take big bold steps, tests the waters a little bit (humour is a universal language) and try not to get too deep in the waters.

We all like 4 feet pools. Like really.

The only thing we look forward to more than Santa

Christmas (Winter) is coming. That means a lot of things – Lights, Christmas trees, M&S Cookies and the other incredibly anticipated thing – The annual John Lewis Ad.

Unlike the tear-shedding-tissue-box-finishing previous ads, this ad was hopeful – “One day I’ll fly away, leave all this to yesterday”.  We all need a heavy doze of that. (2x please?)

And I loved how the foxes flew in the sky – reaching higher and higher on the trampoline.

Check the amaz-e-oooo video here:


Also: F*ck cute cats. The internet loves #BuskerTheBoxer

We need more dog people, so thank you John Lewis.

Netflix and Snap(chill)

I hate how we are always obsessed with creating Tekken Battles out of our marketing channels. Digital v/s traditional. Online v/s Offine. Everything is a debate. Everything is a fight.

But sometimes, when we combine our forces –  we have an indestructible power. (Think, Up + L1 + Triangle + X on your playstation) You will win, for shizz.


That’s exactly what Netflix did. They combined outdoor media and Snapchat to create tons of earned media. Introducing – #Netflixswap i.e. faceswap with your favorite Netflix characters. (My pick is obviously, Pablo Escobar from Narcos).


The billboards were positioned near school and high snapchat user density areas. Needless, to say – this campaign went viral on Snapchat stories.

How are you leveraging on emerging channels to kick ass? Perhaps if we brainswap with Mr. David Ogilvy, we might have a genius of an idea :D


11 minutes of non-smoking

What can you do with a sum total of 11 minutes?

Good question.

If you are curious to know – trade in a cigarette and discover how much you can gain in precisely those 11 minutes.



Campaigns have always made smokers feel guilty and miserable, Aetna simply shows them a better, happier alternative.

Trade it in. All in.

Insect Kill.ers.

How does an insect killer brand aka – fundamentally functional, pseudo disgusting, bring humour to the air?

If a picture is equal to a thousand words, I’m not going to type anymore.


Clearly, an insect killer so strong, even spiderman fell to the floor.
Haha, Baygon. My friend in my darkest hours.



Like new, new? #pixelish

Full Disclosure: My Iphone and I are in a committed relationship. But when I saw the new launch video of the Pixel, I found myself winking at that hot guy that just walked by. (so #pixelish)

Phones are functional, but some aspirational. Brands do that to products. <3

As a consumer, I don’t think that Google really thought much of their brand a few years ago. Their products spoke for themselves and the adoption curve has been exponential. But with the Nexus et. al, the ‘sex appeal’ of the Iphone was missing. I think that’s changing now.

Introducing, the pixel.

The new, new phone in the market.

3.5mm headphone jack, satisfyingly not new.

Cheeky, eh? Who knew?

Check out the launch video below:




You will always be my baby

Sometimes, you wish somethings never changed. Sometimes, you wish people never grew up. I feel that towards my sister, who will always be my baby. And I suppose, parenting would give you similar Dejavu moments when you realise time passed so fast and suddenly your kids are all grown up.

Ikea tapped into this beautiful ‘pause, and reflect’ moment. The universal emotion of a mom watching her son suddenly grow up and ready to move out of the house, even if it is just ‘around the corner’.

The campaign is subtle, yet so powerful. To think about it – even furniture brands are now integrating so much raw emotion into their products. They are sharing real, authentic and relatable everyday stories.

A fantastic piece of work that effortlessly integrates with the brand. Wish we could keep somethings small forever…

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Absolute Magic

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“You think things are always going to stay the same, but one day BOOM.”

Personification – Something that we only discuss ever so widely in Literature.  I feel this is one of the first times that advertising has embraced personification to the extent where you really start to wonder – ‘How would it feel for an extinct animal to live in today’s world?’

Although a the connection to Audi might be a little stretched,  but it did manage to convey a wonderful message – “Magic is the feeling I had. It was absolute magic”.

Audi, the brand that positioned itself as just about machines and engines is now positioning itself to something more human, something so much deeper.

Absolute Magic.






The cool(ing) effect of Social Networks

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Live-strong bands, if you remember them – Were once cool, and then very quickly uncool.

In social networks, this cool to uncool transition can happen quite rapidly.

Facebook remained in the cool zone for a long time, until uncles and aunts started commenting on your photos and you stopped posting them eventually.

The same story with Instagram ( the reason why I don’t upload Instagram stories) and unfortunately now with Snapchat.

Snapchat was that niche social network – where you posted videos of doing random things that only your BFF’s deserved to know. But slowly, your aunts found a way to be there too.

This might not be the tipping point, but surely is a sign of the ‘cooling point’.

Facebook has been ‘ice-d’ a little too much and has thus come up with a brilliant solution  – “An age restricted network” – Lifestage. It is a social media app of the2016’s  – jam packed with video content.

Since Lifestage is open to people only below 21 years – I suppose: “Sorry aunty, see you on the otherside?”




Mercedes can touch hearts too

Sometimes, you want to sit back, turn the key right and just let your emotions flow.

Mercedes did ignite that emotion with a little boy leaving his home on a quest to the police station. He seems rather calm and excited in the moon light with his little explorer map and teddy bear on his back pack.

What really is wonderful about this commercial is how it brings back nostalgic feelings about everyone’s childhood (I’ve tried to run away with my soft toys too) and builds the excitement about what the real reason for the escapade is.

If you want to know too, hit play on the video below:

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The dark side of (Social)


When we think about social, the colours that come to mind are shades of blue, red, purple and yellow. Beautiful colours that light up our lives and connect us to people who we love and care about.

However, there is a dark side of social. And no, this is not one of those facebook hater posts, this is a thought piece on something that marketers are still getting a grasp of. In the digital marketing world, we call there is a phenomenon called ‘Dark Social’. 

What is Dark Social? 

Dark social any traffic that originates from a shared link that gets misattributed to direct traffic instead of social traffic.

If you are wondering wt* does that mean – Here is an easy way of thinking about it:

When a marketer pushes some content on facebook, they add UTM tagging so that when they analyse their traffic in Google Analytics – they know where those people came from i.e. ‘xx’ channel brought me ‘yy’ users.

However, when people share this content – these UTM tags are lost if they copy paste the link and send it via a messaging app or email instead. (Guilty as charged: Sometimes even I copy paste links and send it to Whatsapp groups). As a result of this, traffic is often misattributed to ‘direct’ and leads to brands optimising towards the wrong channel mix.

Analysts estimate that 50% – 70% of sharing activity actually comes from Dark Social.

How do we measure it? 

A way of measuring this would be to:

  1. Understand the landing pages that your traffic comes to
  2. If users are landing directly into content / article pages – it is safe to assume that they might not be typing in ’40 word URL’s’
  3. Exclude these content/ article pages from all the traffic
  4. This should only leave you with traffic that comes to the home page (or topic pages)

The % of traffic that lands directly onto content pages through ‘direct traffic’ as a percentage of overall traffic is dark – they probably came through social channels and ‘lost their way’.

What could brands do? 

I think Step #1 is understanding and truly appreciating the traffic that comes via dark social. If the % is well over 50%, it is time to start prioritising this. Budgeting allocations and channel prioritisation should take this form traffic into the equation.

Second, some brands are using URL shorteners so that users can sort of remember them and share it without stripping them naked of their UTM tags.

Third, integrating sharing widgets on content pages is super important. Some brands are even testing these widgets with Whatsapp and other messaging platforms.



With the onset of mobile, and ‘multi-apping’ dark social is only going to be in the limelight. It’s like the elephant in the room who no one acknowledges but is right there – big and prominent. I guess the real question is – are we going to truly care about it or just all become ‘comfortably numb’?



Light up my world (with Drones)


Guess who took over the Palm Springs desert in California recently? Yes, an army of 100 drones. This was the first of such a show, an aerial display of lights over the US night sky. Beautifully orchestrated by cutting edge software, the drones make magnificent formations in the dark, clear skies. Intel continues to position itself as a leader in innovation and cutting edge technology

This is a step forward for all unmanned air vehicle technology industries that are sprouting everywhere across the globe. This was one of the first initiatives to be approved by the Fed. Aviation Authority and have announced certain exemptions for UAV’s for education and research purposes.


Seems like it would not be too far until we embark on our Jetsons life.



How not to corrupt Snapchat (from a 22 year old)


Snap, Snap, Snap – everyone is taking about leveraging Snapchat as a new platform: What can brands do? How do we change the game? While all these rather enlightening discussions are going around the internet, I thought I will make a gentle plea to the advertising world about how to not corrupt Snapchat.

Also, 60% of Snapchat’s audience is Millennials, so it wouldn’t hurt to get a 22 year old’s perspective on it.

3 ways to prevent corrupting Snapchat:

1. Don’t be perfect:

We all know that Snapchat stories can’t be pre-created and uploaded. You need to hit ‘record’ and that’s it. There are not fancy editing possibilities and neither is your logo going to appear on the top right. The truth is, you are going to end up with  fuzzy-unstable-video and that is okay. Infact, that is perfect. We look for imperfect (aka authentic content) so please, don’t give us beautified (=fake) content.

2. Don’t be a brand: 

This might sounds fundamentally different from what you do on your day to day job. But hold on, this sounds about right. Snapchat (unlike most other platforms) is still unadulterated. We want friends, not brands. You might be like, sure – brands are friends on facebook, twitter etc. so how is Snapchat  different? Well, cause the choice to engage with you completely lies in our hands. We don’t get brand updates on our news feed that we ‘see, but can scroll past’. On Snapchat, we will even choose ‘if we want to see  your content.’ So if I  don’t see you as a friend, I won’t care about you. Do stuff that friends do – post stupid videos, update us on pranks you play in the office and give us  some behind the scenes sneak peaks about how your everyday lives look like.

3. Don’t offer offers:

No, we are not money-less. So no, don’t push your buy one get one free offers on us via Snapchat. I have seen brands be like – here, poor kids, look at this wannabe groupon deal, take a screenshot (whohoo) and come to the store to redeem it (followed by a forced cool smile). We care about experiences, and humor. So yes, I will watch random Starbucks employees wear a banana costume and ‘go bananas’ while making coffee -> go to Starbucks on my way home 5 days later rather than see a Snapchat deal and run to the store for the ‘limited validity offer’.

Snapchat is not a ‘new channel’ for the ‘same old content’. It is a ‘new channel’ for a new  ‘form of (authentic) content’. So unless you have your content-channel fit sorted, please don’t embark on a corrupting your Snapchat journey. As I said, no one will care cause that’s just lame af. 

Should marketers hate Ad-blocker?

Marketers are often perceived as the Darth Vaders of the world: the ‘evil people’ – destroying happiness and taking over the world with their evil little ads.

In this constant battle between the ‘dark side’ and the ‘force’, ad blocker was created. Today, 48% of the web visitors (in the United States) use Ad Blocker – the shield that protects consumers from the firing of ads.

Ad-Block interferes with the HTML and proper loading of a web site to block ads from displaying on both desktop and mobile devices. Marketers believe (read: convince themselves) that this breaches the implicit “free content in exchange for advertising” understanding between a website and visitor.

Industry experts estimate that ad blockers on desktop computers will cost publishers $22 billion this year alone in lost ad revenue – a huge hit for the entire industry. So today, there are technologies (example: BlockBypass) that allow any website to continue serving ads to users running Ad-Block. While some might believe that this is a step forward for marketers, this in-fact is a step backwards for our consumers. 

I believe that instead of spending resources to circumvent a clear signal of disinterest from consumers, we should be moving forward to create innovations in digital advertising that users would not want to block. We as marketers, should be able to convince our audiences that we can be useful to them. Perhaps, advertisers and consumers might never be the best of friends but at-least we can make strides to live harmoniously in the Galaxy. In this mission, I do see some trends that I would like to highlight:

1. Change in choice dynamics: Currently the way we serve impressions are as follows- we serve, consumers are forced to see. This illusion of power that if users consumer free content or use free apps, they will have to see crappy ads. We evolved from video impressions in gaming apps that you have to watch to users ‘skipping’ a video on YouTube. Today, platforms like Snapchat truly change the choice dynamics – consumers CHOOSE to engage with certain brands and channels. Choice dynamics will change very rapidly and we no longer will hold the upper hand by throwing marketing dollars and forcing people to watch our ads.

2. Immersive Ad Experiences: The current model of advertising disrupts current user flow. Bombarding users with ad impressions in the middle of content is just sad. Can’t put it any other way but while consumers put up with that (with a mindless scroll of-course), they are never going to give a sh*t. Advertising will move towards a fully immersive ad experience with multi-media and brand content that people love and want to share. (aka. Love marks, done right). If you don’t know what I am talking about, check out Facebook’s Canvas Ads – the one format I would +heart on.

3. Native Content 2.0: Native Advertising has been a step forward for consumers in the right direction. Ads in the native experience of a site are both appealing and exciting. Still in it’s nascent state, this has a potential to be that bridge of harmony between the two. Breaking the experience between a publisher and an advertiser is painful for the consumer and the less we fight amongst ourselves, the better it is. Google is moving towards displaying the right chunks on information through their quick answers box (and micro-moment questions) while Facebook is releasing Instant articles that gives consumers the opportunity to read content directly in the app. While publishers will try to take everything on-platform, I don’t see this as such a bad thing for advertisers. Publishers and advertisers need each other to exist and currently are both working towards a ‘least damaging model’ (i.e. reducing drop off and improving the experience while giving sessions to the advertiser).

I think we are really lucky to be marketers in this era – moving away from the manipulative ways of Mad Men to truly caring about the consumers and fulfilling their needs. Let’s move forward with consumer-first mindset; after all, the galaxy will cease to exist without them.


Brands create powerful videos by sharing real stories. But Ariel goes one step further with by connecting something that every person has grown up playing (“Ghar Ghar”) and matching it to life’s reality.

We might brag about equality in the work place (promotion, pay) etc. but the true question is – is there equality in the house?

Never thought a clothes washing brand had the power to create content that moved people across the globe. Let’s not be scared to bring up social issues through powerful content. Living on the edge, is not always clean, but does have it’s perks.

Watch the video below:


Finland: At the forefront of Design

In 2017, Finland will turn 100 and reach new heights! In fact, Norway has promised to gift Finland a mountain (see here).This begs the question, as to what will take Finland forward?

I believe that it is the amalgamation of design, culture and unique heritage that will give Finland a unique opportunity in the global, digital economy. Finland should probably take a stronger hold on their biggest asset – their design thinking mindset.

Finland’s design story dates back to 5 key milestones:

  1. The Aalto Stool (193o’s)



2. The Aalto Vase (1930’s)




3. The Ball Chair (1960’s)




4. The block Lamp (1990’s)



5. Marimekko’s Textiles (2012)


At the core of Finland’s heart is design; that creates everything. Might it be newer products, technologies, textiles or architecture, Finland will need to re-invent and adapt itself to newer, emerging markets.

Design is more than something that looks beautiful.. It is simply just a way of living.






Did you toast your phone today?

Gmarket Green Toaster_Thumbnail

We toast bread. Now imagine – toasting your phone?

Our smartphones travel with us everywhere and are often kept in the worst conditions. Without a doubt, our smartphone can collect a lot of bacteria & dirt. But do we ever bother brushing it like we brush our teeth? No.

GMarket came up with a cool & funky way to get people to clean their phones. Create a UV Light intensive cleaner in the shape of a toaster. So when people are buying their coffee, their phones can be sterilized in about 5 minutes.

Cool? Watch the video here:

Unilever, Lies & Kodaikanal


Underestimating the power of an online revolt through social media is a mistake no one can afford to make any-more. ‘Kodaikanal won’t’ is a campaign that is a petition against Unilever for failing to clean up mercury contamination or compensate workers affected by its thermometer factory in Kodaikanal, India.

The rap adapted by Niki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ has gone viral with more than 2 million views. I am of the firm belief that in this super transparent interconnected world, PR teams and corporations can’t hide under their fake parachutes.

Watch the full video here:

Ofcourse, like any other story – Unilever claims that extensive studies to prove otherwise (with no transparency) while independent auditors, health safety engineers and health experts have solid proof to refute these claims.

From a company that doesn’t miss an opportunity to beat their Corporate Social Responsibility drum, here we were, waiting for a better ending.

Airbnb: Belong Anywhere


AirBnb has a unique value proposition: Explore different cultures and make your travel more interesting.

While a lot of people might resort to Airbnb because it is ‘cheaper’ than a hotel, Airbnb is clearly trying to move up the value chain to provide something more profound – An experience.

#Mankind is a campaign that urges people to not just be wanderers but also believers. Believe that people will have a great experience by meeting new people, getting to know their cultures and trusting that they will have a great time.

Watch the full campaign video here:

Let’s all go look through people’s windows and understand their views. I believe in man’s kindness. Do you?

Movie in a Pizza

The one experience that is universal is friends + cheap pizza + horror movie. Almost like a match made in heaven, one without the other seems incomplete.

Pizza Hut came up with a strategy to convert the empty (read: useless) pizza boxes into movie projectors to in order to re-live that experience:

Design thinking might be a buzzword, but it surely is an apt way of describing the innovation that came out of a simple pizza box.

Turning Online to Offline Sales

Conversion is key in the sales pipeline. Moving beyond Digital awareness, it is essential to convert that awareness and branding into sales. But how can we achieve this?

There are the top 4 must do’s in order to marry online & offline:

1) Connect with mobile users.

A large percentage of your consumers are using their mobile devices even when they are already in your store. According to a Wanderful survey, 77 percent of clients have searched online for product information while shopping, and the growing millennial audience is particularly likely to engage in this at 85 percent. One way to encourage customers to visit your store is by merging the online and offline shopping experience through mobile applications. You can accomplish this by giving customers the option to quickly order items via mobile for same-day, in-store pickup. Be sure to highlight the benefits of this option, such as cutting out lengthy checkout processes and shipping costs while delivering instant, face-to-face service.

2) Listen and respond to customer reviews.

Your customers want to know what people are saying about your products and services. 63 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has reviews, and visitors who read the reviews have a 6 percent higher average order value than those who do not. Reviews can improve things like customer confidence, SEO, and credibility. Afraid of negative feedback? One study found that negative reviews actually boost client trust by 68 percent if a customer complaint is immediately rectified. By addressing customer concerns, you demonstrate listening willingness to your audience in order to improve your products and experiences. A positive review of an exceptional customer experience will motivate shoppers to visit your business in search of the same encounter.

3) Monitor your social media presence.

Another way to receive and use feedback to drive offline sales is by monitoring social media conversations regarding your brand. Show customers you are ready to answer their questions and talk about their concerns by networking through your social media platforms. Facebook and Twitter are extremely valuable channels for customer interaction because they allow you to have a one-on-one connection with your patrons. You can also create virtual window shopping opportunities through sites like Pinterest to give your customers a sneak-peek at the items they will find in your store. Also, consider offering coupons that can be shared with friends and brought to your business for promotional items and discounts.

4) Go to the customer with Geo-location services.

Soon, Google Maps will introduce similar technology to smaller companies in the space that already offer offline turn-by-turn voice direction and the exploration of local businesses for users with low connectivity. This means that being involved with location-based mobile targeting will be incredibly beneficial to your business moving forward. Only 23 percent of retail marketers are utilizing geo-targeting for mobile marketing, giving businesses that implement this strategy an early adopter advantage. A successful way to get in on geolocation services is to drive offline sales through targeted mobile coupons. Become a part of location-based social media platforms like FourSquare and encourage your customers to check-in to your location. This will show the popularity of your store to locals, prompting loyal customers to continue to visit and inviting new customers to get involved.

This article was written in collaboration with Manish Patel, CEO of Brandify and Where2GetIt

Bold is Beautiful

If ads were steak, this one would be very well done.

‘The visit’, an advertising piece created by Ogilvy&Mather  for an online fashion portal, Myntra has created a lot of buzz by taking a positive stance for LGBT rights. Although this is not the first local brand standing up for LGBT rights in India, it is most definitely one of the most beautiful and polished ads.

“We tried to avoid the stereotypes associated with gay people. There was no one woman looking more masculine or feminine in the film. We tried to give it a candid feel like it is any other couple being apprehensive about meeting the parents,” Avishek Ghosh, co-partner of Hectic Content, the production house that made the film, told the Times of India.

Beautiful isn’t it? After this, even your preferences might shift to ‘very well done’.

I-Scream for Ice-Cream


I am currently spending half a month in New Zealand and can swear that their ice-creams are divine. Personally, I have become quite a fan of Tip-Tip – a popular ice-cream brand here in NZ. We are know the age old trick – Ice Cream makes everyone happy and happy people are more likely to give into your demands.

Tip – Top reinvented this hypothesis to create Yes Sticks – customised for different requests, addressed to different people. Eat into the ice-cream and once you are all happy, find the question to which you should (if you are a little bit nice) – say Yes to!  People requested for all sorts of things – borrowing a car to asking someone’s hand.

Watch this cute-fuzzy-ice-cream-video here:

Simple idea, but a 7% increase in market share. Yes, Happiness = Ice Cream. Just watch out for the end :)

Cookies, Do We Part?


The basic assumptions of online advertising have always been so simple.

1) The foundation of all online ads are Cookies.

2) For the sites we love, we cannot escape Cookies.

3) Advertisers gather meta-information from these Cookies and push out interest based ads.

The question is, are these assumptions changing? Consumers are voicing out their concerns regarding privacy policies, people are only browsing in Incognito mode and technology-geeks are coming up with Cookie-confusers to mess data up. To me, it almost seems like activism against the ways of Digital Marketing. To be fair, there is still so much room for evolution and change.

The Network Advertising Initiative, a leading non-profit self-regulatory association dedicated to responsible data collection and use for digital advertising, recently published Guidance for NAI Members: Use of Non-Cookie Technologies for Interest Based Advertising Consistent with the NAI Code of Conduct.  The Guidance provides clarity on how their members can comply with the NAI Code of Conduct when they use non-cookie technologies for interest-based advertising and reflects NAI’s commitment to supporting a free and thriving internet while protecting consumer privacy in the modern digital ecosystem.

Compliance to new privacy standards is essential. So the question is how do we change our current ways to adapt to the new ones? Will there still be interest based targeting through cookies or will we all eventually become Cookie Monsters?

The Click and Mortar World

Walmart at 8500 Golf Road, NIles. PhotoPat Krochmal

The war of Traditional Media v/s Digital has surfaced again with Walmart v/s Amazon Prime. Except that that is the Game of Thrones with the Game of Drones (Yes, I hope you are all as excited about Amazon’s Drones).  Walmart, the largest retailer in America, is developing a subscription program to directly face-off against Amazon Prime.

For just $50 a year, Walmart will offer unlimited free shipping on items purchased from its online store, a bargain compared to Amazon Prime’s $99. However, the only benefit to the service will be unlimited free shipping, with delivery guaranteed in three days or less. However, because free shipping continues to be the most popular and effective sales closer in the online retail space and because Walmart shoppers are typically thrifty, the upcoming service could be mega-popular.

Nothing exists in isolation and e-commerce can never flourish if they don’t get the basics right – Pricing, Pricing, Pricing (and the other 3P’s). Walmart has already challenged Amazon; so all we need to ask Amazon is – Do you accept?

This post was written in collaboration with Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus Marketing Group, a company that builds subscription e-commerce programs similar to Amazon Prime.

#Texts from Mom

Some ads blow your mind and some just make you smile in the that’s-so-cute way. We all have had encounters with our mother’s encounters with technology. To be fair, I think mom’s really try quite hard.

Samsung re-created this memory urging everyone to call their moms on Mother’s day by reminding us of some of the most peculiar text communication habits of our mothers.

Zoom Zoom: Rumbles and Space Messages


There was a time when great advertising came from the ‘West’ and the ‘East’ was just a smart-photocopying-ape. I’m happy to report that – that ‘time’ is over.

Auto-mobile companies are killing it with amazing campaigns that go beyond hose-power and mileage. Infact, they have been zoom into people’s hearts and stay there. 2 amazing Japanese and Korean car companies – Honda and Hyundai are redefining marketing in the car industry.

1) Honda: The Sound of Honda

Honda recreated history when they brought Ayrton Senna’s (the Formula One Racing Legend) fastest lap to life. The engine sound was re-created by combining Senna’s driving data collected from 1989. Hundreds of networked speakers and LED lights were placed along the race line to bring back Senna’s fastest lap. To me, this is one of the most beautiful and surreal moments that advertising ever created.

2) Hyundai : A Message From Space

Hyundai delivered a message to a little girl’s father… in space. 11 Hyundai Genesis were used to replicate the Huston girl’s message in her own handwriting for her father to see. The “The largest tire track image” is something her dad will surely cherish for the rest of his life.

What is my personal social media strategy?


I believe that everyone should take ownership of their personal brand. Much like corporate brands, you should think about your positioning, value proposition and communication strategy. I must admit, that I am learning along the way as platforms and capabilities evolve. But having an iterative strategy is key in developing your brand identity through the power of social media. You don’t have to be a ‘particular type’ or ‘seniority’ to do this. Everyone has a unique identity, but are you leveraging it to share the right message to the right audience at the right time?

Here is how I use different platforms to represent different facets of myself. This is not the gold standard, but just something that I do. Hopefully, it should inspire you to start thinking about your own social media strategy.

The first step is to understand yourself. Like customer segmentation, you might want to segment your own identity. I think about my identity as split between my professional self and my personal self (but this might be different for you). Here is my social media (no-magic) formula:

1) Representing My Professional Self:

# The power of LinkedIn – Currently, I use LinkedIn as the primary platform to represent my professional brand. I use LinkedIn to share my professional interests, network with people and participate in profession-related discussions. Find me at /asthakalbag

# The power of Twitter – Many people use twitter to express their personal day-to-day lives (what they eat, where they go, what they feel). But for me, I don’t believe that information is shared on any platform as fast as it is shared on twitter. Infact – If you have ever met me, you will know that I have an opinion on almost everything. (This includes having an opinion on not having an opinion). Therefore, I use twitter primarily to share my opinions/ viewpoints on latest happenings in the world. Follow me at @AsthaKalbag

# The power of WordPress – If you are reading this blog, you will realise that I use this platform extensively to share trends, opinions, campaigns in the digital marketing/ advertising space. Since I am really passionate about this industry, I write focused posts for people who are interested to be part of my learning journey. I like to think about my blog’s positioning as a cross between The Economist (making complicated things understandable) and Twitter (Keeping content digestible, cause ain’t nobody got time).

2) Representing My Personal Self:

# The power of Instagram – Instagram to me is a super-intimate platform. Almost exclusive, I share parts of my private life – memories with my best friends, amazing places I have visited, awesome food encounters (and pre-hangover-beer-pong photos). If you are my instagram friend, we must be close <3

# The power of Facebook – I remember the time when Facebook would my ‘public-cloud-server’ to share photo albums of everything on my digital camera. That doesn’t hold true for me anymore. In the rare case that I post a photo on facebook, it is probably cross published through Instagram (Yes, Mark Zuckerberg- it was a good idea to buy Instagram). But I still think about Facebook as an avenue to get in touch with long-lost-friends through facebook mail. And ofcourse, I can’t run away from events published on facebook that often serve as a starting point for all my weekend plans :)

# The power of Snap-chat – Snapchat to me is like some people’s personal twitter handle – only more intimate. I share real time updates to my tight circle of friends about all the random-stupid-funny-encounters I have. (Hoping that there is no trace of this the next day).

We all know that digital media platforms have powerful network effects. We are there because we know other people who are there. So depending on where my network moves, tomorrow I might just be hyper active on We Chat or Kakao Talk. But for now, this is how I leverage different social media platforms. What about you?