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Go Ninja, Go! November 17, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Conversations.
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On a perfectly ordinary day, you get to see an extraordinary commercial like this. Suddenly, everything seems a tad bit better.

Savour the world’s most expensive burger June 30, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Conversations, Healthy Living, Pot Pourri.
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burger king IMG_2850, originally uploaded by Damien_Toman.

The most interesting bit of news I’ve heard whole day, via Ad Age.

Indulge in the world’s most expensive burger at $190 every Thursday at Burger King’s Gloucester Road branch (near to Harrods where the high and mighty shop).

You have to pre-order the burger by telephone, before you are ushered through a red velvet rope and up some steps to a more upscale dining experience than the regular diners. You are treated to crisp table linen and free-flowing 2003 Tapanappa Cabernet Shiraz from the Whalebone Vineyard in South Australia. And then,you are presented a free limited-edition bottle of Coca-Cola, supposedly worth $300.

And here’s a gastronomic description of the sinful burger:

“Made from Wagyu beef, topped with white truffles and Pata Negra ham (which owes its nutty flavor to the fact that the pigs are fed on acorns), the burger nestles in a bun spread with organic-white-wine-and-shallot-infused mayonnaise, plus pink Himalayan rock salt, and dusted on top with Iranian saffron. It is served with Cristal champagne onion straws (inspired by the “angry lobster” dish at David Burke & Donatella Manhattan restaurant) and a garnish of lamb’s lettuce.”

Apparently Leo Burnett sent its 2 henchmen there to check out competition on behalf of McDonalds. Ahhh, the joys of being in advertising!!! And the cherry on the burger: All proceeds go to a local children’s charity.


Think Different, Today May 20, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Conversations, Digital.
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Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones,
We see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world,
Are the ones who do.

Great Blogosphere Finds-1 May 13, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Conversations, Digital, Social Media, Travel.
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Candles, originally uploaded by [ changó ].

Noah Brier’s Brandtags is a very interesting project (hat tip to Tangerine Toad) that not only lets you tell the world what you think of a brand but also learn what others tag the brand as (quite useful if you are in advertising).

It’s one of those addictive fun apps to power your day, like FreeRice. I said “OK” to UPS, “Understanding” to Toyota (understanding in two planes – understanding the community – Toyota has strong CSR initiatives in Oman & understanding the consumer – Toyota globally innovates and brings out different vehicles targeted at different audiences) and “Uhm awesome” to JetBlue (the uhm coming in after reading a Yahoo! Story on a JetBlue passenger forced to ride in an airline loo).

My suggestions to Noah: Can we have region-specific Brandtags? For example, I’d like to know what consumers think of regional airlines in the Middle East… The IPL cricket teams in India and so on. And may be, a lot of merchandise on the concept of brand tags? Also, I think a cool-tool on the home page which tells you what brands are featured… that one needs to be nimble & smart as the no. of brands will keep exponentially growing in time.

David Armano talks about ‘microinteractions and direct engagement in 2.0 world while Harker Research tells us that microinteractions are best captured by radio.

Every second spent in viewing Apple’s PC & Mac ads is a thoroughly interesting experience. These ads are so creative, funny & entertaining that it’s hard to pick a favourite – but I’ll go for “Pep Rally“. Click here to view all 30 plus of them.

Mack Collier discusses the evolution of social media tools & technologies from 2005 to the future. He says that soc media apps that facilitate connections leading to relationships will be successful.

Bloggers on the Power 150 blog-ranking index tell us what technology marketers should be paying most attention to in 2008. Video, micro-blogging and search marketing get the biggest shout-outs.

Launching Your Startup – PR and Social Media Strategies. A very informative podcast series featuring Neil Vineberg, Matt Dickman, CK, Jyri Engeström and Adam Metz.

JetBlue’s been creating a little buzz on the Web with Happy Jetting. Tangerine Toad suggested a few ways they could improve their web experience. I flew them in April and found their service, in-flight entertainment and even their ads appealing. Today, Yahoo had a story in its home-page that kind of undoes all the great work.

In the wake of the recent Dove Real Beauty ad retouching controversy, Ad Age’s Jonah Bloom talks about how Dove & Ogilvy have a long way to go to be recognized as true WOM proponents.

Dubai cabbie shows the world that honesty is still the best policy.

Astronaut Dr. Scott Parazynski says how risks and success go hand in hand.

Is it time for me to consider Sauvignon Blanc over Chardonnay?

Again, an interesting NYT read on the fascinating mind of a wine drinker.

Yummy clip of Mr. Beanbastic

Is it time to phase out the creative function? Joseph Jaffe believes that the “traditional specialist” is out and “the creative generalist” is in. A great brief for those looking for a kick in the pants in ad biz.

Interesting findings from ArabianBusiness.com Travel Survey 2008

  • Gulf residents are among world’s most traveled – 4 out of 5 travel to at least 2 countries in a year
  • Saudi Arabian residents are the Gulf’s most frequent global travelers, 4.65% of visit 21 or more countries in a year; Omanis most likely to travel to between two and five countries
  • Saudis spend the most on travel
  • Kuwaitis spend most on their vacations
  • Emirates is the most preferred airline
  • Culture, sightseeing and comfort for the family are the most important facets of a vacation for Gulf travelers
  • People in Qatar take the longest holidays UAE-ites vacation for the shortest period
  • Almost three quarters of frequent flyers are unwilling to pay extra for airlines using greener fuels
  • Business travellers are key to airline profitability

    My Media Diet: Arun Rajagopal May 8, 2008

    Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Conversations, Digital, Movies, Social Media, Travel.
    Blogger buddy Ryan Barrett tagged me in this interesting meme called: What’s your media diet? Her interesting post made me think deeper about my own media consumption and how I want to improve my media diet. After all the kind of media you consume, defines what kind of person you are, right?

    Print: I’m fond of two dailies – Times of Oman & Times of India, though I’m not a regular reader. Reading Times of Oman is something that I want to do first thing when I get to work. I especially dig catching copy mistakes in TOI.

    Magazines: I’m a voracious reader of magazines. I especially dig Time, Ahlan Masala, Esquire and National Geographic. I last read British Airways’ in-flight magazine “High Life“. I’m very fond of in-flight magazines and used to collect them as a kid. Next on my reading list comes “Forbes 2008 Guide to the Biggest Companies in the World” & “America’s Largest Corporations Fortune 500”.

    Books: I used to be a compulsive bookworm when I was a kid, but I’ve been reading less lately. It’s an appalling habit I’m working on and the first step towards that is building a mini-library at home. I last read Deepak Chopra’s Buddha and John Grisham’s The Summons. I’m currently reading Rohit Bhargava’s Personality Not Included and John Grisham’s The King of Torts.

    Online: I read the following news portals on a daily basis: Indiatimes.com & Rediff.com. Both websites keep me connected to current affairs in India. Cricinfo.com feeds me fodder on cricket. Wikipedia.org gives me much needed dope on topics I pluck out from thin air. I browse daily through Arabianbusiness.com with a particular focus on the aviation & travel industry. If you didn’t know, I’m a total transportation buff with interests in trains, planes and buses. I’m also a regular visitor to the picture galleries of IRFCA.org (slakes my passion for Indian Railways).

    Blogging: My personal blog www.arunrajagopal.com is where I talk about my travels, rail-fanning adventures, my 2-cents on advertising and social media and the many things I find interesting in life. I don’t consider my blog as an expert authority on marketing. The most important purpose of my blog is to help me stay connected to some of my very dear friends who are leading marketing bloggers around the world. Through my blog, I reach out to them and become a part of their lives. My blogging frequency is usually 4-5 blog posts per month. A few weeks ago, I started another blog on Tumblr that serves as my bookmarking diary. I usually read blogs related to advertising, digital and social media such as Adgoodness, Adsoftheworld, Adblogarabia, Adverblog, and the ones on my blogroll. I check out all my incoming links via my Technorati page and WordPress dashboard.
    Some blogs & websites I want to spend more time on are Micro Persuasion, The Buzz Bin, The 360 Digital Influence Blog, Logic+Emotion, Copyblogger, Marketing Profs Daily Fix, Bannerblog, Digital Media Wire & MediaPost Publications.

    Email: Email is probably the important part of my media mix. I love to check my email every 5 minutes (ideally) when I’m in front of a comp. If I’m on the go, I check my mail on my Nokia N73 music edition using my Oman Mobile Hayyak prepaid connection. My email is my lifeline! I’m a compulsive yahooligan and somehow don’t feel so attached to Gmail or Hotmail.

    Television: I’m not too fond of TV and prefer spending as much time away from the box as possible. I dig MTV, Channel V, VH-1, cricket channels, popular channels in Tamil & Malayalam.

    Web 2.0 Logos, originally uploaded by wp4lib.

    Social Media Tools: I’m active on Facebook and LinkedIn. I don’t believe in needlessly adding people to hike up numbers, and I ensure that I only have people in there who I need to be in touch with. I dig most of the Facebook applications such as the quizzes (I try most of them and then weed them out occasionally) and feel that the new Chat feature offers an exciting way to connect with people. My Facebook account is a more personal window for me to reach out to my friends; while my blog is the world’s informal window to my life.

    I’ve given up on Orkut, even though I have quite a bit of friends there who are not on Facebook. I haven’t yet started podcasting. I do vlogging, especially of my travels. I’m very active on Flickr with a large collection of travel photos, trains and destinations. Nope, I don’t do Second Life or Skype (it’s blocked in Oman). I’m on YouTube, Daily Motion, Vodpod and Vimeo, and I‘m just setting up my second del.icio.us account.

    Chat: MSN Chat is an inseparable part of my life, especially with its online text messaging tool. I used to be a total Yahoo Messenger junkie back in the days.

    Cinema: I’m a prolific cinemagoer, sometimes watching the same movie twice or thrice in the theatre. I spend most of my weekends hopping from one theatre to the other. (We have 5 cineplexes in Muscat). I watch movies in English, Hindi, Tamil & Malayalam. I last saw The Forbidden Kingdom (click on link to watch trailer) and The Bucket List (click on link to watch trailer). I’m currently watching There Will Be Blood (click on link to watch trailer). I occasionally rent movies on DVD and watch them on a laptop when I’m traveling. I especially like movies that make me cry. 😉

    Twitter: Twitter is the latest addition / addiction in my media mix. Not only does it serve as a link feed for interesting blog posts and news resources posted by people with like-minded interests, it also helps me keep track of what my friends across the globe are up to. My mission is to maintain building my Twitter list as an authority base of thought leaders passionate about advertising, social media and global perspectives; and to continue updating my KQ.

    Music: A very important part of my existence. I’m usually listening to music while I’m at work, at home or on the commute. I need music to play in the background for me to get going. At work, I plug into my headphones hooked up to my PC, while at home I choose to go with the home theatre system, laptop or the box speakers plugged into the iPod. I have an iPod Touch, an iPod Shuffle & a Nokia N73 music edition loaded with my fav tunes. I listen to English, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu music. For some reason, I love songs more than the artists. I have never used iTunes store till date, and visit a lot of blogs and music streaming websites to get my music.

    Miscellaneous media consumption: I don’t use a feed reader. I subscribe to blogs such as The Viral Garden, ChrisG.com through email. I get updates on Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, Bowen Craggs Web Tips and a Google Alert on “Arun Rajagopal” in my email. I subscribe via mail to Ad Age Daily, Ad Age Digital, Creativity Online, BestAdsOnTV and MarketingProfs Today. I do not keep a diary, though I rely heavily on handwritten lists to get through my daily grind. I particularly keep an eye out for outdoor media, POS, in store experiences and billboards. I love Times Square for the same reason & I totally adore the M&Ms (click on link to watch video) board out there. I like the HSBC perspective posters they have in the air-bridges at London Heathrow. I love interesting messages that are placed in the most obvious places.

    What’s your media diet? I’d love to hear from Tim Brunelle, Linda Sherman, Cam Beck & Ryan Karpeles. Do spread the meme far & wide.

    Bloggerspiel on Media Diets & Media Snacking:

    Connie Reece – Got the Munchies? Have a Media Snack

    Drew McLellan – Serve a steady stream of snack-sized messages

    Neil Perkin – Memes Like Buses

    Asi Sharabi – My Week in Media

    C.B. Whittemore – My Media Diet

    David Reich – My Media Diet

    Quibblo Personality Quiz – What is your media consumption level?

    Oman Air: The New Wings of Oman February 24, 2008

    Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Oman, Travel.
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    My latest campaign at Wunderman Oman is one of the most exciting projects I have ever worked on. It has been exciting, hectic (explains the blogging hiatus) and a great learning curve.

    After all, it’s not every day that you get to work on the rebranding of a country’s national airline.

    Particularly gratifying for me is that I have worked on this brand for the last 3 years, across 2 agencies. It gives you a great high to watch an airline take off in new colors, especially when you have played a role in its ‘vibrant, new journey’.

    The New Wings of Oman

    Welcome to the new wings of Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman.

    The rebranding exercise became essential as Oman Air has changed its focus from being a leading regional airline to a competitive global player.

    The airline is currently expanding its wings with an ambitious fleet expansion programme and launch of new destinations (9 cities in 2007).

    Our campaign delved into the psyche of Oman as a traditionally friendly and hospitable nation to create the message that as ambassadors of the nation, Oman Air brings élan, friendliness and warmth to flying.

    The revitalized brand identity features the Oman Air logo as a contemporary rendition of Frankincense smoke. Frankincense is one of the most evocative expressions of Oman’s vibrant heritage and culture.

    Those familiar with Arabian history will know the significant role frankincense has played in Oman’s history. Today, burning incense is an inseparable part of Omani life and is indicative of the country’s enduring traditions of hospitality.

    A high-profile corporate branding and aircraft livery unveiling event (with laser show and the works) was held yesterday at the Shangri-La’s Barr-Al Jissah Resort and Spa, Muscat. The ‘New Wings of Oman’ press campaign was launched across Oman today.

    TV spots unveiling the new look of Oman Air will roll out across the Middle East this week. Communications across diverse media – print, outdoor and digital will follow.

    Here’s the print campaign & logo rationale of ‘The New Wings of Oman’…

    Teasers 1, 2,3:

    The New Wings of Oman - Teaser 1

    The New Wings of Oman - Teaser 2

    The New Wings of Oman - Teaser 3

    Launch Ad – Double Spread:

    The New Wings of Oman - Launch Double Spread - Cover

    The New Wings of Oman - Launch Double Spread

    The New Wings of Oman - Launch Double Spread - Back

    Logo Rationale Book (Giveaway in a wooden box of frankincense):

    The New Wings of Oman - Logo Rationale

    Watch this space for more news on ‘The New Wings of Oman’ campaign.

    Update: TBWA/Zeenah, a leading agency in Muscat designed the new logo and livery of Oman Air, while Wunderman Oman developed brand communications for other media through ‘The New Wings of Oman’ campaign. Hat tip to Ivan Sidzhakov at TBWA/Zeenah, who worked on the new logo.

    What is Advertising? January 15, 2008

    Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Conversations, India.
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    Advertising is a creative tool to sell a product.
    Can’t agree better with this definition by maverick Indian adman Bharat Dhabolkar.

    Vodafone India: VAS Commercials January 7, 2008

    Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Conversations, India.
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    I love these recent commercials from Vodafone India promoting their value added services. The best thing about them is that you don’t know what they lead to till the last frame, which makes you hooked on to the commercial. This kind of storytelling looks very refreshing and entertaining on TV.

    Game for conversation? December 26, 2007

    Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
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    Yeah, finally! My first ever guest post is online today. And what better host could I ask for: Valeria Maltoni’s Conversation Agent.

    I wrote about Creating Effective User Experiences in Global Conversations. Click here to read on. I hope to do more such posts in the future.

    Plug into ADEATERSPEAK September 28, 2007

    Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
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    Mind Blogging, this week’s cover story on Khaleej Times Weekend touches upon the ability of social media to offer diverse audiences the potential to interact, stimulate and engage across cultures. One of my recent ventures ‘ADEATERSPEAK’ attempts to do just such that.


    A group of ‘AOC’ co-authors have volunteered to share their expertise in a syndicated media column in Oman which is a unique experiment that is at the cross-section of branded content, publishing and event blogging.


    Consider this:
    The Night of the AdEaters, a world renowned advertising festival is coming to Muscat for the first time ever next month. I’m helping promote it through www.adeatersmuscat.com, an event blog that showcases outstanding ad commercials. The event is also promoted in mainstream print media through advertising and ADEATERSPEAK, a thought leadership column on marketing, advertising and communications in Times of Oman, a leading English daily in Oman.

    Through the print column, we present insights from leading experts (the serious stuff) and then lead readers to the AdEaters Muscat blog to get a feel for the AdEaters festival and view some of the world’s finest ad commercials (the fun stuff).

    Drew McLellan was the first columnist at ADEATERSPEAK last Tuesday. Drew described a brand as a three-legged stool with the legs being:
    1. The company’s vision of the brand;
    2. The consumers’ vision of the brand;
    3. Where your brand sits in the marketplace.

    You can read his article ‘What is branding & why does it matter?’ here. We have 3 more ‘AOC’ co-authors chipping in to share their wealth of knowledge through ADEATERSPEAK in the weeks to come. Stay tuned for updates!