Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pandora advertising

As I am blogging and trying to finish my assignment on communications strategy for Viagra, Pandora is playing my custom station Kings of Leon (which have I mentioned are one of my fav new acts). One interesting thing I have noticed is the side adverts that keep changing once in a while. A while back it was Sprint, followed by Jameson irish whiskey & now its Jockey. I have also noticed Dos Equis at some point in the past. Amongst all the noise of how to make money on new media and especially on internet radio, I think what they have done is clever.
All the adverts come with custom stations. Now I don't know how related the music on those stations is to the brand that is advertising, but my hope is that the music would be reflective of the target audiences tastes. If the core audience of the brand in question can relate to the most of the music on that station, then the advert is a success imo. Also it would be real easy to do that if the brand has managed to clearly state its core identity. All Pandora then has to do is apply the requisite filters to that station. And since they would be tracking the user behaviour also, the brand can get some truly useful feedback I think as the model evolves. Here is a screenshot of the advertising on Pandora that I am talking about.

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All Ye Old Monkers

I am not a huge fan of rum, Bacardi or Captain. Although if I had to choose between those two, with some convincing from our little Mexican Jaime, I'll do some Captain & coke. By the way Jaime actually is born in Argentina, grew up in Bolivia and spent most of his adult life in the US. The only reason he is called a Mexican is coz he is married to one and has introduced us to one of the best Mexican restaurants in Boston: La Verdad. But Jaime & La Verdad deserve a separate post.
This post is about Old Monk. The sweet tasting rum I can say I grew up with. By grew up with obviously I mean my post alcohol discovered growth years. This is a rum I will drink out of choice, rather than out of forced choice. I thought it was only available in the cheap Indian bars at first, since most of the "upper class" bars even in Mumbai don't serve this. They believe Bacardi is a finer rum. (crap) And lo and behold; can you imagine my surprise when I found the familiar squarish bottle of this dark rum at a friend's house (American that too) in friggin Wellesley. Could not be more obscure.
Apparently there is one chain of liquor stores in the Boston area (Marty's) that carries this. And so the day after that discovery I was at Marty's to find and bring home some for myself. Thank you Marty's for carrying this and even more for "Recommending" Old Monk.
I wish more people knew about this. But really I wonder what it would take to market this rum. Build a brand. They already distribute the rum in the US. The simplest way would be to discover what best mixes with Old Monk. I am still trying to find it myself. Tried Gingerale which works well, but we would need something that is not all that sweet, but only helps enhance the sweet taste of the rum itself. And then market the hell out of the mixed drink. Hmmm.... (hic)
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yes We Can!

This is a little late, but everyone seems to have an opinion on this subject. I am going to leave my opinion out as much as possible (that can be another post another time). I want to talk more about my experience of the night Obama & America did it.
I was invited to a friends house to watch the results of this historic US Presidential election race. Obviously I took him up on it, since I have no cable at home, and there could not have been anything better to do on this night. Its once in 4 years and more importantly this one was once in probably 20 or more I think. Everyone in the room was confident Obama was going to win, me included. Most were still not sure by how much he would actually win.
Before the result was declared I knew that Obama winning important to more people than him losing. But I had not fully understood the emotions behind that. What happened in that room when the result was declared was something I was not prepared for, and was truly surprised by. Besides the screams and tears of joy and the clanking of bottles and glasses full of tequila, there was a truly emotional story told that night. A friend who served in Afghanistan said, "This is for my cousins & my friends who have given up their lives for the wrong reasons. I have been to more funerals than anyone my age should have been to." Afghanistan was the right war but Iraq is the wrong one. I do not necessarily agree with the former.
The other thing that I did not understand before I was given the context for it was, "America has chosen a Black man for President." This is not as important because it is the first time this has happened, but because Black folks did not have voting rights as little as 40 years ago. That to me is epic. But there are some implications for highlighting that aspect especially since it was not given as much attention before the election as was his Muslim origins, which he is not. And Anindita does a good job here of raising the issues related to that.
But overall it was an extremely enlightening, emotionally packed, thrilling and obviously alcohol filled night.
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Donations 2.0

Following Fred Wilson's blog I came across a new way to support education through charity. I think this is pretty radical, because it allows you to support particular projects instead of giving your money to a school as a lump sum. You now know how the money will be spent.
This can and should be translated to most forms of donations in my opinion. I think people would be giving more money if they had such transparency in what their money will be spent on. I understand it may be difficult to support really big projects which require on-going support but say someone like AID (who hosted Indian Ocean's trip to the US this year) adopted such a model. They could find schools in rural India or villages which have specific needs. Figure out how much money is required. Look for the funds. Support the project.
And what also happens is once they get the traffic on their website, they could find ways to engage the visitor to more projects.
I for sure would be interested in supporting project based funding rather than simply giving my money to a NGO, irrespective of the reputation of any such NGOs.