Friday, July 16, 2010

T20 still no match for good old cleavage

If I were to manufacture, say, biscuits, life wouldn’t have been much different. I’d have someone bake them, someone to deliver them to a shop, and someone, of course, to eat them. Then there would be that unexplainable need to advertise my product, and I’d have gone through an entire brochure of celebrities, frowning.

Unless, of course, if Chitrangada Singh volunteered. Imagine a completely undressed Chitrangada Singh, finishing off with some frantic lovemaking, then reaching out to the bedside table for a pack of biscuits, asking you to buy them at the earliest. Of course you’d buy them. If you didn’t, the product’s sales would drop. If sales drop, advertisement budgets would go down drastically. Inevitably, the clip would be pulled off air. And life would be boring again.

But if the captain of a cricket team suggested a certain brand of biscuits, would you really bother? You’ve hardly aspired to arrange for dinner with him, and neither are you very fond of the craters on his face.

Yet, somehow, MS Dhoni, captain of the Indian cricket team, signed an advertising contract, or something of the sort, worth an unbelievable Rs.210Cr. Why? I have often jumped to conclusions in the past, so this time I’m going to try my hand at deduction.

Men, with their ego shirts and self-esteem trousers, certainly don’t seem to give two hoots about what MSD eats. Score a ton, win matches, and we’re fine thank you. So men, certainly, are not the target audience in mind for MSD’s adverts. Children, perhaps? Well, yes, they are more vulnerable in this case. But I know that children too are not the target audience. You see, children will buy Pepsi regardless of who promotes it. Yes, there maybe some banter about the (stupidly long) advertisement, but that’s small talk. If the ad suggests drinking Pepsi will give you MSD’s batting skills, you would have also, by now, developed Preity Zinta’s breasts, and SRK’s wit.

But, and I’m getting somewhere here, you would then have also acquired the cricketing skills of Sachin Tendulkar (who has endorsed Pepsi for the longest time). So if I have Sachin Tendulkar’s skills, why would I now want the lesser ability to play cover drives, from MSD? To put it to context, if you had a sufficient bowlful of steaming mutton Biryani, you wouldn’t get up and walk away from the table, in search of Marie Gold biscuits, right?

That leaves me with the only remaining category of audiences - women. I do understand that MSD has a large female fan following in India. But, given an options list consisting of Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and SRK, MSD doesn’t stand a chance of getting into bed with another woman.

Which only means one thing. Whoever signs MSD on to promote their product couldn’t afford to sign the above mentioned trio. Which means they have settled for fourth, or maybe fifth best. That, then, automatically becomes a reflection of the product itself. And a brand that makes ‘fifth best’ products should be spending Rs.210 Cr on making themselves better, not signing it off to a cricketer. And that’s common sense.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Now Pyromaniac Beats GM’s baby

I dislike mobile phones on a, pun intended, cellular level. While I don’t doubt their utility, which is on par with that of photocopier machines, and Metallica, I’ll never wake up at 3am, with an urge to coin Wordsworth-ish lines in awe of them. On a regular call, I will hold a conversation for about a minute. If it’s somebody I badly want to get into bed with, it can go up to six.

Apart from the primary function of calls, and messaging, I have no particular interest in how mobile phones function. As long as I don’t have to use needles to operate the buttons, I’m just fine, thank you. I’m even less concerned (and ignorant) about mobile software technology, or whatever it is that makes them do their thing.

But the Internet is a great leveller. I hate laptops, so the internet provides me with unlimited access to Chitrangada Singh’s, ahem, interiors. I dislike mobile phones, and then the internet offers me themes for my Nokia N72. So now I get iPhone thrills for the price of dirt (basic internet charges as may be applicable. No South American interventions). Add cheap, duplicate body panels to the scene, and you get the plastic equivalent of a boob job, mascara and Chanel Number Sex for a phone that is still, basically, soggy old feet. Just like the Chevy Beat then.

In today’s half page advertisement in the Times of India, ten minutes, says GM, is far too short a time to make a car buying decision. And they couldn’t be more wrong. Ten minutes is in fact, way too long. I made my (not) buying decision against the Beat in time that can only be registered on an atomic stopwatch.

If the Beat was a girl, it would be seventeen. It would chew on bubblegum, wear collared Nike tee shirts, and would be friends with middle of the road boys, whom she’d occasionally sleep with at 6 in the evening.

But what really beats me about the, er, Beat is the expanse of plastics used. While some of the trim does feel ‘sporty’ (sigh, that word again), the glossy-black accents feel tacky, cheap and tasteless. It’s like those plastic ‘leather’ sandals women buy off Linking Road. Or, more appropriately, like the bits on a woman’s handbag. They’re fine as long as they’re shiny, but they’re a fingerprint magnet, and will go out of fashion faster than the Beat runs out of breath. Add to that the eccentric, electronic fuel gauge, and you have a recycle bin on wheels.

That the Beat is a city-centric car is bollocks. Yes, it steers fairly well – and that’s a given for a car of its tiny size – but you have paid 4+lacs for the car, and you are bloody well going to drive it to a hill station with your all of your girlfriends in tow. But just then, your bubblegum would have burst. You see, the Beat has the most disconnected drivetrain in the world. It’s like driving one car, and shifting gears of another. It’s like having sex with a log of wood – limitlessly unrewarding, and ends in a lot of bleeding.

You have my word; for half the price, you can buy the Tata Nano. It is perkier, more fuel efficient, only slightly smaller, and as a consolation, you can buy one in a Loud Yellow. Of course you’ll end up on fire, and dead, moments after you pull out of the dealership. But rest assured, you won’t end up in that dreaded halt between heaven and hell. Which is where Beat owners go to die, having failed an overtaking manoeuvre in second, at 11,000rpm. Alongside ladies handbags. And plastic shoes.