Archive | July, 2012

Computers(1)

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The Day the Computer starts to Misbehave

Posted on 30 July 2012 by Khushboo Motihar

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‘There are three kinds of deaths in this world.  There’s heart death, there’s brain death, and there’s being off the network’ said Guy Almes, and I must say he is right. I just can’t imagine what would happen to me if my computer stopped working for a nano-second. We, BMM students, are completely dependent on machines for each and everything and they are nothing less than a demi-God to us.

Computers are fickle machines. Sometimes they work like a dream and sometimes they are really a pain err… you wouldn’t want to know where! When the computer doesn’t work, we scream and shout, throw a fit, give the computer a kick, bang it a couple of times and when this too doesn’t work our last resort is to pray to the “Computer Deva” who in all his mechanical glory has chosen to show his ire today. We sit and ponder as to what it is that we have done to invoke his wrath. Is it the fact that we yet again forgot to switch off the computer all night or dropped the monitor’s sibling, speakers, too many times today? Has the computer come down with a bad case of “viral” fever which cannot be controlled by the best medication i.e. my antivirus program? You can try and cajole, plead, beg and even threaten (not necessarily in that order) your computer but the point is that it won’t work. So what can you do?

The first and foremost thing that would come to your mind would be to call in all the favours and goodwill that you have accumulated throughout your semester and crash at someone’s place. If you are the angry young man type or the one who believes that silence is golden (basically you don’t interact much) then you may not have anyone to depend on. In that case your second best option would be going to a cyber cafe. Now a cyber cafe has its own set of limitations. So here are some tips.

The first thing you must do is fallback on books for research. Yes, books. No, they are not archaic. Every college has a well stocked library with excellent set of books which you need to make the most use of. So if you cannot use your computer, then invest some time in research. Read the matter thoroughly. What you speak is of greater importance than what you put up on show.

Now when you are armed with a lot of information walk into a cyber café and spend those 60 bucks. The first hour will go in typing out all the information that you have collected from the books. Another thing to remember; don’t carry an armful of books around. Edit and write down all the important points and then start working on your PPT. Once done, you can go back home and read through all the information you have used. Exercise your oratory skills and practise for a wonderful presentation.

Remember this when you are working on a project, “Beauty lies in simplicity”. Make this your mantra and dole out excellent presentations even when your computer has decided to misbehave. ;-)

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Tips to Make a Memorable Commercial

Posted on 27 July 2012 by Srirang Kavali

In our day to day life we see numerous TV commercials. If I ask you how many do you remember distinctly, you might not be able to answer my question. The reason for this is simple as most advertisements are just ordinary and mediocre and they fail to catch the attention of the viewer.

1) Evoke an emotion: Most of the award-winning commercials are successful because they managed to connect with the audience. So whether you shock them, surprise them or make them laugh or cry, the emotions are what will make your ad unforgettable.

2) Don’t try to please everyone: Some businesses make the mistake of trying to appeal to everyone at the same time.  Choose a segment of people you want to reach out to and then craft your message to fit their needs and expectations.

3) Know where to reach your customers: All your branding efforts will be for nothing if your target audience is never exposed to them. You need to know where your target audience is so you can reach them more effectively. Which social networks are they members of? Which magazines do they like to read? Which TV shows do they watch? Which blogs do they read? Knowing all of this will help you reach your target audience in the places they frequent most.

4) Focus on your TG: The first thing that a brand should do is to focus on their target group’s lifestyle. The study of this would make it easy to design ads that are in sync with the TGs likes and choices.

5) Make your name synonymous with the industry: When you think of tissues, you think Kleenex. When you think of soda, you think Coca Cola or Pepsi. When you think burgers, you think McDonalds. You want to create this same inseparable association between your brand and the industry you function in.

6) It should have viral qualities: There is no secret to creating a good viral campaign. But you must make an ad that appeals to the masses and one they cannot stop talking about. If you can do that, then you have a winner of a campaign on your hands.

7) Have a USP: FedEx promises to deliver your packages on time. BMW promises to be the Ultimate Driving Machine. You need to create a unique promise that customers instantly associate with your brand. This promise needs to be something your target audience cares about and something that your competitors can’t offer.

8) Video & Audio: The images and sounds you use in your ads must function in sync. Make sure the images are in accordance with the message and so are the sounds. Make use of colour, celebrities, and/or exotic locations that are backed by catchy jingles, tunes, voice-overs etc.

9) Be consistent: It amazes me whenever I come across a company that has different designs/themes for their website, brochure, business card, billboards, TV ads, etc. Everything should be unified in style and theme. That’s how people will start to immediately recognize your brand

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Types of Advertising

Posted on 27 July 2012 by Diksha Gerella (Contributing Writer)

Advertising has become the finest tool for companies who are always looking to strengthen their customer base. It is nothing but the act of promoting one’s product/brand in the marketplace.

There are different types of product consumed by different types of consumers. In the same way, advertisements are also divided in different types according to the usage of the product and the target audience. Here are some of the categories in which advertisements can be divided.

  • Classified advertising:  Classified advertisements are usually printed in newspapers for a number of reasons such as job vacancy, matrimonial, to lease properties, real estate and so on. They are typically short, not more than six lines as the rates of these ads are decided on the basis of the lines or words used. Classified ads are a good source of revenue to newspapers.

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  • Industrial advertising: Industrial advertising is targeted to industrial buyers. Industrial advertising covers products like machine parts, raw materials, plant and machinery etc. It is rampant in business magazines, business newspapers and the likes.
  • Consumer advertising: It is more informative and influential than the rest. All type of consumer items that need continuous and extensive advertising are included in this category like grocery items, cosmetics, clothes, soaps or detergent powders etc. Consumer advertising is targeted at people or families who buy the product for their own use or someone else’s use. Consumer advertising is complex and requires much research and superior + efficient execution skills.

FMCG products

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  • Retail advertising:  These types of advertisements are placed at the place of purchase or place of consumption. It is appealing to people, thus it facilitates shopping. Some people just look around the stores, spot these advertisements and if it appeals to them they shop (buy products). Retail advertising can also be done by putting attractive products on display at the shop, distribution of leaflets or brochures at selected places etc.

Point of Purchase (POP) advertising

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  • Political advertising: These types of advertisements aim at promoting ideas, policies, concerns etc of political parties to gain the trust / confidence of people and votes too. Political advertising is an election campaign process as it is used by political leaders for publicizing their party ideas and assuring people that their demands will be met.  Political parties desire to keep and maintain cordial relationship with different social groups for their support. Here the product is a person or their philosophy rather than any goods or services.

Political Advertising in Print Media

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  • Internet advertising: This method is highly economical and prompt. Companies spend huge amount of money to promote their websites and their presence online. Internet has become an important medium to advertise products and services. It is a fast means of advertising your product. For e.g.:- ads of HDFC loans, Cadbury, Sunsilk, Blackberry, Kellogg’s etc are visible on most websites.
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Unethical Advertising

Posted on 24 July 2012 by Milana Rao (Contributing Writer)

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Advertising is planned persuasion to promote products, ideas or services. It effectively uses media as its tool. Advertisements are in the form of bill boards, hoardings, on television, on radio, newspapers, pamphlets, leaflets, inside the train coaches, on the panels of buses and where not?! Advertising is everything we see around us. E.g. if a pen works well, we tend to notice its brand – even that is a form of advertising!

Advertising affects our life as a consumer and as a citizen. We are made aware of new products in the market or of a new government policy via advertising. There are also some advertisements which are issued in the interest of the public. The marketing function is incomplete without advertising. It helps to pre-sell, promote, generate interest and finally sell the product. No business can succeed without advertising.

Since advertising is all so important and widespread, it becomes very necessary for the advertisers to keep in mind the code of ethics and values while creating advertisements.

Now, what actually does ethical mean? Anything is said to be ethical when it is within the basic morals and values with which we live; that which tells us what is good for us and what is bad. Ethical advertisement then would mean one that portrays truth and the one which refrains from misleading the masses and which would not be indecent or objectionable for larger audiences.

It would be correct to say that with the increasing importance of advertising we are currently witnessing a decrease in moral and ethics that these advertisements adhere to. Today there are many advertisements proving the same.

There are many advertisements promising the thing that never gets delivered and mind you that even includes reputed brands. E.g. Fair and Lovely ads show that girls can get fair in just 7 days. We all know this is not possible!

The ads choosing the indecent path to advertise are also on rise. The ‘Axe’ deodorant advertisements use women as sexual objects to promote their brand. The ‘Amul macho’ ads do the same. The errors on the part of advertising agencies and brands cannot be overlooked as this has a very bad impact on the children and society at large.

Some brands purposely resort to unethical or ambiguous advertisements in order to gain publicity. For such brands publicity in any form is desirable. Some celebrities featured in such unethical advertisements just add fuel to the fire. These kinds of celebrity endorsements have a very bad effect on the people who tend to hero-worship celebrities.

It is agreeable that the competition is rising and the market is overflowing with creative advertisements. It has become very difficult to grab the attention span of the audience. However resorting to immoral means to promote product is not right.

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Use of Animals as Mascots for Brands

Posted on 21 July 2012 by Shahid Shaikh

A Mascot is usually a person or an animal-like figure used for promoting a product and enhancing its sales. In India the use of animals as mascots is comparatively less. Over here, marketers prefer celebrities as endorses to enhance the brand value of their product. In the US, the usage of fictional mascots as opposed to actual animals is high considering certain laws and legislations’ surrounding portrayal of animals. Usually, mascots often prove to be catalysts between the USP of the product and the consumer’s decision to buy that product. They even become effective brand ambassadors as the campaign needs to be applied across multiple mediums.

Global Approach to Animal Mascots in Branding –

The U.S. manufacturers have often relied on animal mascots for branding their products. Mostly products related to Sports and FMCG categories make use of mascots. You might know of the famous cereal company Kellogg’s. Throughout its marketing years it has been dependent on the usage of mascots in promoting their wheat-based cereals. Also over a period of time, they have used innumerable fictional animals (which are conceptualized by Hanna Barbera) not only on their product packaging but also in the commercials.

Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger – Mascot for Frosted Flakes Breakfast Cereal

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A fast food chain like KFC too makes use of the ‘Rooster’ as its approach to quality Chicken Products. Although, more impetus is now given to their old mascot – Colonel Sanders.

KFC Colonel Sanders

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Milo from the house of Nestle too had its mascot, Milo the Dog which was a huge hit amongst the kids during the time when the product was at the peak of its Product Life Cycle. Nowadays more emphasis is being given on the usage of animal mascots especially by software and web companies. The likes of Firefox (fox ), Zynga Games (dog), Linux (penguin) are examples of the same.

When it comes to sporting events, it is obvious that more and more sporting events have gone on to adopt a certain animal mascot. The reason being the popularity and connect with the audience that it is able to generate within a short period of time. Great examples of popular sporting events that used animal mascots would definitely include the Euro 2008(Trix & Flix-The Chipmunks), FIFA World Cup 2010 (World Cup Willie-The Leopard) and the most recent ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 (Stumpy -The Elephant).

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The Indian Approach to Animal Mascots in Branding

Branding in India is not a joyride. For a country with diverse needs and expectations as well as demands, it becomes immensely tough to attain recall in the minds of the consumers. That is the reason we see marketers emphasizing on popular figures viz. celebrities, sportsmen to endorse a product. This automatically wipes out the scope of using animals as mascots. Despite this, there have been instances wherein manufacturers/advertisers have attempted to put forth this idea in the minds of the consumers. Some of them include Britannia Tiger Biscuits’ mascot as well as logo, the Indian Tiger. The Indian Tiger as a mascot has also been used in the more recent Commonwealth Games XIX which happened in Delhi. Although nowadays a few FMCG products have started using mascots for pertaining brand value, they have adopted the usage of fictional characters unlike the usage of specific of animals and popular characters. Some of them could include Sunfeast, Hippo, Kellogg’s Choco and so on.

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The Future of Animals as Mascots

The only global obstacle to the use of mascots in branding is PETA. PETA has so far targeted innumerable companies and urged them to stop using animals as global mascots. PETA even tries its best in preventing colleges from using mascots for their events. The PETA even went on to describe the 2010 Vancouver Olympics’ Mascot as ‘wild bloody seal-hunters’. But as per the branding scenario, Animal Mascots continue to rule the US & Europe markets. They tend to be not only entertaining for the kids but also for the older lot. However, it appears that it will still take considerable amount of years for animal mascots to take-over the celebrity endorsing scene in India.

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Why Brands Prefer Advertising on Live Internet Streams

Posted on 18 July 2012 by Shahid Shaikh

It is now a known fact that internet video will account for 91 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2014. Thus the medium of live-streamed online content is gaining momentum and is creating an increased interest not only among content producers, but advertisers who are keen to brand their client’s products online. Another reason for this is the increased live coverage of several sporting events and games on the World Wide Web. Thus more and more viewers today prefer to watch live sporting action online.

In a country like India, where sports, especially Cricket, is followed religiously by the masses, it is obvious that people would do anything to watch a live game. With broadband getting cheaper and 3G gaining popularity in India, online live streaming is already an integral part of our lives: live cricket, live Budget, live news etc. Hence, right from the Cricket World Cup to the IPL, you often get to see live content being streamed across certain websites and on mobile servers. This added boost in online viewership has helped brands focus on internet advertising. Also, during key games the rates of ad spots across TV channels shoots up drastically. However, now every new Brand in the market has an option to stick to Internet Streaming Advertising (ISA) and thus create massive brand awareness at a much lesser cost than television advertising.

Network Findings & Research Showing High Acceptability of Online Streaming

A network survey conducted by the online streaming agency Vdopia has indicated that the online content viewership has zoomed up to 459% (approx.). This is mainly because of the constant need of watching live content online which has led to more net consumer traffic over the past couple of years. While movies and film related content (viz songs, trailers) are the hottest among popular online video categories, research has also indicated that live sport events (including seasonal events, and games) have begun to dominate.
Network survey findings also speak about high acceptability of and increasing viewer interest in online video ads. High acceptability of such ads is found among those who recall seeing them — an outcome attributed, in large, to the engagement and enjoyment levels of these ads. Moreover, the surveys performed by Vdopia suggest that  brand rise is also observed when it comes to promoting their products on the live streaming scenario — 65% of viewers who were surveyed use the net for more than an hour and 45 per cent of them spend more than 30 minutes on online videos itself.

The Marriage of Internet Streaming Advertising & Sports Brands

If you run a sports company whose focus is on increasing sales of your sports goods and products, then ISA is the greatest and the most effective way to do that. Over the years as live sports content has started to flourish on websites and mobile servers, it has been observed that many sports brands have started to make use of this situation and have promoted their products during the live streaming of various sports events. Live streaming platforms during sports events also helps various brands with unique opportunities to connect with young, aware and aggressive consumers on what is essentially a youth platform. Also the number of people who are hooked on to viewing cricket matches online account for a staggering 10 million and beyond. This number is any marketer’s dream. This is the reason why we see more and more youth related brands like Axe, Gatorade, Adidas taking their promotions online and spreading an enormous recall value amidst the masses especially the youngsters.

Quantifiable Advertising in Live Streaming

Another major reason why Advertisers prefer placing Ads in Live Streaming is that it is the best and easiest way to measure the response of the campaign, something which even the Television won’t be able to accomplish. Advertisers can find out seconds after placing their ad as it all depends on the number of people who actually clicked on the advertisement and showed interest in it. Thus it makes it easier for them to determine what is actually working for them and what is not, allowing them to rectify their mistakes and improve upon it ASAP.

An Advertiser\’s Guide to YouTube

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Twilight Photography

Posted on 16 July 2012 by Sean Andrade

It is said that Black goes with any and every colour; but to achieve a level of acceptable balance is rather difficult at times whether you are a painter, designer, or photographer. Black is not a colour but something that increases the depth of the colours around it, sometimes a void that graciously gives its surrounding life. Here are some tips to help you aspiring photographers and artistic visualizers out there.

Low light levels make night photography a challenging yet rewarding subject. After sunset, the everyday world is magically transformed, and city buildings, fireworks, thunderstorms and the northern lights all become popular subjects. But with the variety in elements and perspective, twilight photography takes a whole different dimension which you can sometimes achieve in the absence of your fancy equipment.

Now there is a constant search for finding colour in the darkness, be it in the streetlights at night, or the moonlight shining on branches; these different shades of black give a feeling of the unreal. During such times, your biggest weapons and tools are your eyes, you have to see and alter your perspective to tame even that faintest call of light and life. So if your eye perceives it, your lens receives it.

The results can be very stunning and strange effects are easy to master. With many night photography subjects, total darkness at night isn’t necessarily the best time to actually do ‘night shots’. I think late dusk is usually a great time. This is when there is just a bit of light left in the sky after sunset (or before sunrise for the early rising photographer). The advantage of shooting at this time is less large areas of black in the image, this cuts down on excessive contrast and adds more colour to the image. The residual daylight that is left will also ‘fill in’ the large shaded areas that are not lit by artificial lighting. But this does not mean that all night shots should be taken at dusk. There are certain subjects and night photography techniques that are more successful when practised in total darkness at night.

Now, in the “old days”, there were issues regarding film that made it more difficult to get good night exposures as we could not see the final image. But this is not the case with present day dSLR cameras. However, the problem with dSLRs and using them for night photography is that the higher film speed or ISO you take, the chances the noise your device will make increase. The only way out is the traditional solution – to practise.

An important factor in night photography is how the lighting is portrayed in the scene. When portraying rows of street lighting for example, the direct light source itself is being photographed, therefore the lighting being exposed is very bright. An image of a floodlit building on the other hand is an image exposed by reflected light. This naturally is much weaker and would need a much longer exposure.

With extremely low light levels, moving subjects such as people walking will not register in the image so long as there is very little light shining upon them. Cars are a good example of using this technique. With long shutter speeds and moving cars, the headlights and taillights will register as streaks. The cars themselves will not register on the image.

Some reminders:

  • Use the self timer or a cable release.
  • Also try not using your flash unless your subject is within 10 meters of your range.
  • Learn your camera like the back of your hand to mix and match your shots. And remember to use a camera with a high ISO for night shots (like from 3200 onwards)
  • Try using a tripod for added stability since night shots require a bigger aperture and slow shutter speed
  • Click more pictures of the same subject from different angles, settings, and perspectives.
  • And most importantly, visualise your picture before you click it

Twilight photography may seem decently challenging but the final product is exhilarating to say the least. Happy shooting.

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Types of Interviews on Radio and A Few Tips

Posted on 14 July 2012 by Natasha Tulyani

An interview can be casually described as a conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewer asks a host of questions to the interviewee on a relevant subject. Since radio is primarily a audio medium, the type of questions asked is very important. It is these questions and their relevance that will keep the listener hooked.

Here we try to break down the types of interviews on a radio and share some tips on how one must conduct a sound radio interview.

The interview types:

1. The Opinion Interview

According to the topic of the programme, experts are called from various fields. These experts then give their sound opinion and advice on the concerned topic. For example, a doctor will be called to address the issue of a malaria outbreak in the city. These interviews are also known as personality interviews. This interview style does not adhere to a script. The interviewer can react, comment, opine and ask questions as the conversation unfolds.

2. Information Interview

The purpose of this interview is to give information about a particular something to the people. In such interviews mostly everything is scripted unlike the opinion interview. Many a times the script is practiced and rehearsed before the programme goes on air. The interviewee can pass factual information or experiences based on a cause or purpose. When the script is written the personality of the interviewee should be kept in mind.

Radio Interview Tips:

These are some important interview tips that you must keep in mind when you are asked to conduct a radio interview:

  1. Do background research
  2. Schedule the interview with basics. For example: introduction, conclusion, questions and so on.
  3. Maintain a notepad and take notes
  4. Agree with the guest if required and ask for explanations when a certain point is unclear
  5. Observe and fine-tune the interview as required
  6. Be fair
  7. Relax

Some things to keep in mind when conducting a phone interview:

  1. Introduce yourself properly
  2. Speak slowly and clearly
  3. Make statements that will put the guest at ease
  4. Ask brief questions
  5. Give the interviewee sufficient time to respond
  6. Do not talk simultaneously

Hope these tips help you in your radio project and/or if you wish to pursue a career in radio.

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