Controversy is the new advertising

Sometime last week, I wrote a column for the New Indian Express that I felt deserved a bit more visual treatment. It also needed the “Ramesh Srivats” treatment.

I ate oatmeal for breakfast today

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151 thoughts on “Controversy is the new advertising

  1. KA … mention of the candles that saved the trees and increased the number of tigers in the wild would have filled a few missing links in the evolution … but howlarious as usual …!!!


  2. Only Controversy????? They made it an issue of ideology. Esp. the TV news ppl. They had concluded that if you’re not going to watch the movie you MUST be from the Sena.
    The release day Media- frenzy was far greater than for any “Thalaivar” movie.

  3. Saar…. yengayo poiteenga… Awesomest

    As a side thought,I still dont get why Shahrukh forgot to drag in Shashi Tharoor into the controversy. That would have added more cattle(wink) to the cinema halls .

  4. Twitter part was lovely. Yes we Candle was amazing. Reminded me of a joke about how Bob the Builder and Barack Obama have the same punchline: Can we fix it? Yes we Can!
    Somehow, less howlarious than your other posts. But this somehow reassures my cheap ‘is-he-getting-away-with-doing-nothing?’ mind that you do ‘research’ before posts. 😀 Ah, the joy of knowing that another man has to toil!

  5. Controversy is indeed the new advertising. By telling everyone they have a choice and then creating controversy, it is possible to create a market. It is another thing that this isn’t sustainable, but in the world of 15 seconds of fame who cares?

    Brilliant post.

  6. You missed out on the big Tit &Ass deal, bro. In which generously endowed women get to say how much they loooooooooooove the smouldering candle 😛

  7. Loved the post and reading about anti getting antique reminds me of an anti I used to know, who is getting old and he hates being called anti for the fear of becoming anti uncle to friend’s kids. I know the comment is totally irrelevant but it had to be said.

  8. This history of advertising lecture was, well, illuminating. You should have brought up book-readers as an invention too — could have thrown in a “kindle the flame” pun too. 🙂

  9. No all we need is Ramesh Srivats to kick up a fuss & claim copyright infringement &
    that controversy to go viral to make this recursive 🙂

  10. So good that I CANTdle it. You know what I mean – can’t handle it. 🙂 In other words, it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness….and looks like that’s exactly what you’ve done. Lighted a million candles of all shapes, sizes and colours. So long…till the Dark is the new Light happens (Stains are good!)! He He (What about interviews with the man next door about how long the candle lasts….thought that could have been included, what?)

  11. Heh! Very funny post (as usual!)
    Missed out 2 things though.
    1. (Totally unrelated to the product) Freebies of the 90s: With our Candle you get a Free pen. When the lights are out, light our candles and continue writing that love letter to your mistress! Your son can finish his homework too!
    2. Multi-functionality of the new millenium: Our candles have FM Radios that run on the heat generated by the candles! (Patent No: XXXXX) Now when the power is out you can still listen to your favourite RJ!

  12. Fabulous!!!!…. rib-tickling as well taking a gr8 pot-shot at the world of advertising.. hats off 2 u!!!! 😀

  13. Inbetween my Excruciatingly painful meetings this week @ work , two good things put a smile on my face 1. ur blog 2. manu’s carling cup victory ;

    gr8 blog , keep it coming wat abt plagiarisim ad ?


  14. not being tested on animals to appeal to PETA, concept of going green coupled with using candles [less power consumption, perhaps a tax break for energy efficiecny] to appeal to GW folks and unions, offer to personalize kandles for Vday to appeal to romantics and sena folks, and ofcourse BOGO buy one..woudl all be nice too..

  15. LOL, awesome! Too good :). BTW how about including one more stage of advertising when each & every product even if its a toilet tissue paper was being endorsed by a celebrity…Some Ms. Kapoor saying – this candle is the best, when my pics r shot in its light they come out to be bestest 🙂

  16. Haha excellent post! But why did you leave out the ‘simple n cool’ phase of advertising..Like ‘candles are just to provide light..No confusion only great light’ 🙂 …or is that the anti-advertising phase?

    Amazing post btw…such creativity I say!

  17. i can’t say anything that hasn’t been said.
    i can’t decide which is better — the content or its treatment. that said, its treatment didn’t take anything away from the content, though in his busy format it so easily could have. it’s brilliant.
    and do you know? i read it as procter and gamble for at least three times till i started asking myself won’t he get into trouble. and then i saw it was actually gocter and pramble! they sure as hell don’t need to work on their brand!

  18. Thanks everyone 🙂 Of course it’s not a factually or chronologically correct history of advertising, so there’s probably many trends that I might have missed out. I just picked those that formed a linear thread leading to the punchline.

  19. Recently ventured into the blogosphere…tripped and fell over this drawn in by them bright shiny colours. Good way to grab attention without controversy 🙂
    Very, very funny…

  20. Recently ventured into the blogosphere…tripped and fell over this, drawn in by them bright shiny colours. Good way to grab attention without controversy 🙂
    Very, very funny…

  21. Looks like marketeers have a tough time in trying to beat consumers who quickly seem to catch the bluff. I am atleast happy that we are giving marketeers a tough time.

  22. OMG You are Brilliant!!! Truly blessed and gifted! You make people laugh out loud – you are doing the greatest service to mankind – we all need it so badly:-))

    Hilarious read! I thought nothing would beat that Mile Sur Post this one is giving it tough competition!

  23. what was that equation before E=mc^2 ?
    Nice irony at the end..
    Ashok: Formula for luminous intensity for light of a particular wavelength λ

    1. actually was thinking you were gonna end up with chetan bhagat’s uber ultra marketing of his printed blogpost. think that is a far more relevant example of this genre of advertising mainly because there was no actual issue at hand. however, i am not in india and dont follow hindi cinema. so i suppose mnik could have generated greater impact thru controversy.

  24. Can we have a link to your New India Express article, as it is difficult to imagine a saner you?( and New India Express and The Hindu publish only boring sane articles – strictly IMO)
    Ashok: Actually, the NIE allows me to write pretty much anything as long as it’s text (it’s hard for them to accommodate pictures and videos). The NIE site is not quite the best and often links dont work. Here it is anyway: Globalized Gapsaa

  25. Hoo hoo hoo 😀 😀 amazing one !! was hoping St.Valentine’s Day would move u to write something funny 😦 aw well.. u came up tops again !
    i also lik that u intro’d the concept of ad-men and advertising only after they became historically relevant.. nice, subtle teaching ashok-sir 🙂

    can we please expect some Silly Swamiji’s scandal series next ?? 😀 😀

    i know i’m really late commenting, but pl read this n post soon.. i really hate waiting for the next one 🙂

  26. Waiting for your take on our “R” Rated super star Nithu !! Jai Jai Nithyananda !! 🙂
    Ashok: Not on this blog 🙂 Read the New Indian Express this coming Saturday (Zeitgeist supplement)

  27. Awesome 🙂 I thought you were going to end up with the recent Rin vs Tide ad. Have you seen that? The RIN guys openly ridicule TIDE’s campaign of the whitest white shirts. They use the word “Tide” literally !
    Ashok: I wonder why that is such a big controversy. Two brandnames using each others’ names in a TV commercial. Big deal. So what?

    1. Well, I suppose you can’t openly defame other products! I surely haven’t seen taking names without any beep or blur or spell changes.

    1. i really want to know! why aren’t you answering? helloooo?
      Ashok: Oh sorry, somehow escaped my attention. My views on piracy? I dont believe in copyright. Or Copyleft for that matter. Im more a Copy Left and Right (with permission & attribution) type of person. In a digital age, piracy is not the crime it’s made out to be. Most IP-fanatics tend to make a false analogy with real-word stealing and that’s wrong because a “copied” digital item still exists in its “original” form (again, a concept that is hard to establish in online). That said, if people steal/copy content and pass it off as their own (without any remixing, extra creativity etc) without attribution, that’s a problem. But we can’t have that behavior policed. It can only established as a social etiquette. The recent episode with Lavanya’s post was a case in point.

      1. lol. . so would you ever download music or a movie off piratebay?
        Ashok: Ah the great false dilemma of the copyright lobbyist – “Do you believe in copyright? No. Oh, so do you kill kittens?..” so let me start from the periphery of this issue instead of meeting it headlong. I once paid $80 to watch Eric Clapton live in the US. I’d have gladly paid more because that was one memorable live concert. I’ve also seen most of the artists I like live and often bought merchandise such as T-shirts as well. But I believe (back in the day) most music was overpriced, at least for someone living in India. Further, the industry forced you to buy entire crappy albums to listen to one good song, in short, they did not give you any sort of choice. So of course, I have downloaded off Piratebay. Now is that right or wrong? Well, it’s the wrong way to phrase that question because there are clearly shades of grey here. Music or movies one buys tend to come with sucky DRM making it harder to share with friends. I believe that the act of sharing is a free, yet unheralded act of marketing that the industry mostly does not recognize. A large section of modern day users gave grown up with choice, with a strong preference for paying as one uses, paying in ways one wants to pay and not be constrained by the industry’s business model and importantly, compensate after sampling the product. Pre-iTunes, the industry just did allow any of this. A modern day music fan listens to entire albums free on Myspace and either decides to buy on iTunes OR buys tickets to watch the artist free (a far more profitable deal for the artist by the way). Further, if friends like the music he’s just discovered, he would not like to be constrained by DRM and other kinds of nonsense. Perhaps some of his friends might like it and decide to compensate the artist in ways of their own choosing. All in all, we seem to be moving to a world where the choice (of artist, of compensation model) resides with the listener/watcher. This is what makes the Radiohead experiment (pay what you want to) so successful. The business model for digital content is not going to work with a per-user/per-use model like physical goods. While most artists understand that they are selling an experience, not a product and that like a stand-up comic performing for free in a bar, the audience listens first before deciding to attending a paid gig, most of them understand the power of word-of-mouth and sharing and the futility of being anal abt every “illegal” download.

        Ok, lecture over 🙂 Short summary: Yes, I have and I do use Piratebay when I have no credible choice (for e.g. many of the documentaries I’d like to watch never get released in India, in many cases physical media is crippled by DRM and other pointless restrictions, radio&tv usually never play the kind of music/movies I like thus denying me the free sample that the internet graciously provides)

        So did I just justify piracy with a lame excuse before admitting to it? Perhaps yes, but at least in my mind, I’m clear about the why of it. That is also the reason why I’ve postponed the usual blog-to-book route that folks like Sidin and Greatbong have taken. Unless I have a publisher who is comfortable with street-side pirates, internet pdf uploads and a wholly fresh attitude to the “digital native” generation, I am not interested. This blog monetizes itself in other ways- it has landed me columns with newspapers and magazines, all of whom have enjoyed this enough to pay me for weekly columns. Further, my experience with editors has never been great. Barring the New Indian Express, most editors are too opinionated and edit my stuff down to the joke/pun level, which again, as a blogger used to writing whatever the hell I wanted and still finding a niche audience for it, just does not work

        Well, I think I’ll stop now 🙂

        1. Thanks, that’s exactly what i wanted to know. More importantly, there’s a book @KA ? YAY!
          Maybe you can start your own publishing company ? Would be a good thing for the indian market as well. Initial capital to be provided by the blogosphere . i’d be happy to set the ball rolling.
          Ashok: Haha thanks 🙂 Task nr 1: Sign up first angel investor – tick .

        2. The blogosphere (as in, your readers) paying for a publication is a fantastic idea. You really should pioneer this. (Unless it has happened already, in which case you can think of it as pirating the idea).

  28. The title of the blog post (Controversy is the new advertising) is giving away the punch-line at the end of the whole story…!! It was the spoiler. I wish you had given a more general title. Otherwise the story is awesome….!!!

  29. Nice article! I’d like to know the font used in this presentation.. its cool!
    Ashok: Akbar for the title and Blambot Casual for the text

  30. Look. I pass a lot of gas, okay? [don’t blame me, it’s the stoopid society I live in, with so many stoopid people doing so many stoopid things that give me gas, bad gas] That in and of itself can lend to lots of controversy, depending upon where I happen to be (i.e., the grocery store, the gym, the coffeehouse, etc.). But me and my B. (Beano, my main squeeze), we generally try to avoid controversy, and just like to stick to ourselves. It’s not my fault I give up the funk…

  31. Hilarious!
    You missed the corporate social responsibility and climate change tags, may be they are the future
    The Carbon neutral candles
    “Buring our candle saves you carbon credits”

  32. There isn’t an iota of doubt as who is responsible for terrorism in India. It is India itself. Thats right India is busy engaging in terrorism on her own country so she can score brownie points against neighbor Pakistan.
    All leading law enforcement agencies openly work for exiled underworld don Dawood Ibrahim – who supposedly is in Sonia
    Gandhi’s ( former PM’s Widow) first circle of close friends.
    So much so that even NDTV ( India’s leading media house) is hand in glove as well. All senior police officials i.e. Director
    General level staff are but employees of this vast underworld network that thrives openly in a lawless jungle state that is
    India. And underworld don Dawood Ibrahim operates all of India through his right hand man Muthappa Rai.
    And there’s one man – an IIM Graduate ( India’s Harvard) who is now being chased all over the country by this crime network
    in a desperate bid to shut him up from blowing the whistle. And in the process have exposed the most unusually brilliant
    psychological alternative means to operate in India. And is the reason why we haven’t heard of any underworld story from
    India in the past decade and a half. Read this ghastly truth of Terrorism in India on his blog
    All incriminating details and show all pics are available on this blog
    And he needs your help to save himself and pronounce the whole truth to the world. His whole family has been killed, his job was removed and the gangsters along with Indian Police openly chase him everywhere he goes!

  33. Yaar, you really write amazing stuff. Absolutely full of jalsa. Those JPEGs above on IPL and evolution of ad industry (symbolic use of candle) is fab…I just can’t stop ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…btw……what…….is this thing …Jilpa? …

  34. На уклон скатов крыши влияет выбор тех или иных материалов для кровли, способ их укладки, а также климатические условия района строительства. В малоснежных районах применяются крыши с небольшим углом наклона и большим свесом, в районах с обильными осадками – крутые крыши с небольшим свесом. В районах с сильными ветрами крышу, как правило, делают более пологой, чтобы уменьшить ее парусность.

  35. missed one scenario where the candle guys would show two candles in split screen, one their own and other of the competitor. and then boast how it shadows the other 🙂

  36. Hello there, Are you preparing to be publishing a post disaster piece? My husband and me have squandered a bit browsing over your website and surprisingly enough you touched on anything we had been discussing only one other week with our accountant. We often notice ourselves quarrelling throughout the smallest of issues, isn?t it again childish?

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