Friday, May 21, 2010

Owner, Lord and Master!!!

ToW and I go back a long way. We studied together and were real close friends, bunked classes together, job hunted together, before I got enough courage to pop the question. Damn woman gave me a matter of fact yes, and a look which meant IDIOT why did you waste such a lot of time!

Anyway she refers to be my name (most times in a very hey you kind of manner), and me being GenX ultra cool dude is totally fine with it.

The other day when our trusty maid was not in, she had organized for a temp maid to take care of sweep, swab and dishes. The woman knew only chaste Kannada and at best both our Kannada can be described as dumb charades with a few words thrown in (most of them in English & Hindi), though we understand it ok if spoken slowly.

Our regular maid very familiar with our hand waving, facial expression Kannada understands all we say, including things like how many whistles the cooker has to do, what amount of fabric softener and detergent to use etc.

The new lady was a tough nut and she her Kannada was pure and chaste not influenced by Hindi or English.

ToW: (very hopefully) Tamil? (Accompanied by a lot of hand waving and eyebrow raising)

Maid: Bewildered look and nodding and shaking of head simultaneously and looks piteously at regular maid.

Regular maid: No madam, but she can speak good Telugu. (Translating look correctly and armed with prior information.)

ToW: Giving her regular maid exasperated look and wave of hand (Translated, you know if I have to talk Telugu, it will have to be with no lip movements only wild facial expressions and severe hand movements).

Any case regular maid says, madam only two days I have told her what to do. You just smile and say hi and bye.

Day 1 was smooth. Day 2 dawned ominously with maid coming in late, giving heart burn to the poor ToW. Damn woman, she misses the maids more than she misses her husband.

Now ToW wanted to tell her she is going out, please stay and finish the work by which time, my husband will be back and you can go. The dance drama begins watched by an awe struck SnH. The more eloquent ToW gets the more confused the maid gets. SnH collapses in giggles and rolls on the sofa, ignoring dangerous looks from his mother.

The maid understands she has to wait but for what and whom is still a mystery. She would have told Vladimir and Estragon, at least you know you the wait is for Godot, but look at me!

Finally Eureka moment arrives; ToW drags SnH and says Appa and does complicated Bhartnatyam steps to convey wait till. Now bulb glows and maid says madam you should have said Yajmanru and then done your dance bit for wait till and I would have understood!

ToW`s lower jaw dropped to the floor.

Later SnH related this to me, of course he just talked about how ToW did the dance and he enacted her expressions! ToW then told me the whole story.

My only query was that, if I am your Yajmanru - roughly translated owner/lord/master - then why don`t I get better service round here!
Next time round come running when I snap my fingers.

Thank God! They make pillows soft, or I would have had a fractured skull!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Sound of Brands

Have you ever seen babies turn their heads to jingles on TV or radio. The SnH used to crawl at 100kmph to watch his favourite ad. My nephew used to sit patiently on his grand mom`s lap till the title song of his favourite mythological serial, crawl away and would promptly come back to hear it play again during end credits. During the DoCoMo launch days we used to have singing competitions between your truly, SnH and ToW (Ahem! ok Braying from my side).

The Sound byte takes the place of a logo sign off in visual communications. Where sound scores over sight is that the person listening could be concentrating on some other activity. The sound reaches him and his brain records and associates the brand/product.

The earliest sound branding in India, I guess, would be All India Radio’s start up tune. Risking the fact that everyone will realise how ancient I am, remember the startup tune to Doordarshan? These I don’t think were conscious branding decisions, but standard tunes. The first one at least in my memory was Britannia. They have maintained the sound byte even after the rebranding exercise. The instrument Ting tingta Ting was changed to a vocal one.

The Airtel A.R. Rahman tune is one which every AirTel user has had on his mobile at some point of time. The same goes for the Nokia tune. Intel`s Sound bit has been expanded in all their ads, Britannia again takes first place in that. Remember the commercials in which the kid says ting Tingta ting. (Sorry am lazy to hunt all those video links).

The Liril Bathing beauty tune was as easily recognisable as the Beauty. Liril continued using the voice byte even after the model changed. Any of the common jingles were all sound branding examples. These were never conscious branding decisions but did the job nevertheless.

Both the Korean giants Samsung and LG have gotten on to the signature Brand Tune, though the consistency of use is not there.

There is a host of subliminal level applications of brand sound bytes, like embedding them in other places. That would be another post...

The human brain can perceive and distinguish five senses - sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Sight has been used extensively by marketers. Now sound has been explored. What about smell the most primal of senses. Couldn't brands exploit the smell - what is the smell you associate with your favourite brand of shirt. Does tea Rose or lavender evoke the memory of a long lost girl friend or your courtship days. It does! Now you know what I am talking about. What does your favourite airline smell like, or what smell do you associate with Indian railways ;-)

From smell to touch and taste is just a tiny step.