Thursday 25 August 2011

What is a Shirt called in Hindi?

How often have you been stumped by someone who asked you what is the Hindi (or any other Indian language equivalent) word for SHIRT or COMPUTER. Sometimes such questions form part of our casual coffee table conversations. In the globalized, diversified, and multi-cultural workplaces it is hard to remember the Indian language equivalent of a particular English word.
The purpose of this post is not to evangelize Indian languages but rather discuss how this situation lends itself to an interesting idea for a game show. The medium of the game show can be TV/Print/Internet/ Radio and/or SMS.
Let us discuss how it plays out on Radio.

Game Show/Interstitial Title
Khelo Khel Zubaani, Hum Kitne Hindustaani
Target Audience
All Indians!
Content bank of commonly used English words in place of Indian language equivalent. Top of the mind examples are Shirt, Train, Computer, Bottle, Phone, Bag, Table etc. The research team of the station has to sift through the Indian Language say Hindi to English dictionary to create a sizeable content bank.
Skill Set - Ideally the editorial team or language SMEs.
User Gratification
Gift Vouchers, Brick from the Berlin Wall J etc.
Game Play
3 Levels of increasing complexity
Sponsorship Opportunity
By product(s)
Feeds content to the social media presence of the Radio Station

Game Play – Level 1
Question to listeners by RJ:
What is the Indian language (e.g. Hindi) equivalent of the word SHIRT?
Listeners can respond via SMS or a phone call.
The first correct entry/randomly chosen entry, advances to Level 2.
Game Play – Level 2
RJ calls up first correct entry/randomly chosen entry, submitted by SMS. In case the listener has phoned and answered correctly, the RJ can continue on the same call with Level 2 Question. It is up to RJ’s discretion. RJ asks the player to create a sentence within 10 seconds using the Indian language equivalent of the word SHIRT.
The player advances to level 3 on a correct answer. If the player answers incorrectly, RJ fields a new question to radio listeners and the loop continues.
Game Play – Level 3
As this is a radio show, in level 3 the player has to sing a line from a song with the word SHIRT or its Indian language equivalent.
The player wins a gift voucher for the correct answer.  If the player answers incorrectly, the RJ fields a new question to radio listeners and the loop continues.
The game show format can be adapted by the radio station according to the state in which it is present. In Maharashtra it can be Marathi equivalent of the English words, in Andhra it can be Telugu equivalent of English words and so on.
The Game Play suggested in this blog is illustrative, one can think of more than three levels and the twists and turns are only limited by imagination. For the sake of brevity, the format mentioned in this post is not exhaustive and can be further embellished.
If the readers of this post are from the Mobile Value Added Services business, they can appreciate how the concept lends itself as a SMS contest.
If the same concept is taken to television, I would like to see the anchor as one who is associated with chaste language. In HSM (Hindi speaking markets), the names that come to my mind are BigB (Amitabh Bachchan, not Big BudgetJ) and Ashutosh Rana.
I can detail the concept for other media, but it will make this post pretty lengthy. Signing off for now,
As always, I will request the readers of this post if you have time, please drop a line.

Monday 22 August 2011

Radio Jockey Talk and Listener Engagement Formats

If you sat through the end of any popular game show on television and noticed the credit rolls, you would have come across a mention similar to format owned by ….
Television game shows are usually quiz or activity based, example Kaun Bangea Crorepati adapted from Who wants to be a Millionaire (made famous by Slumdog Millionaire) or Zor Ka Jhatka adapted from Wipeout. Format based shows on a particular television channel during a year are 3 - 4 in number.
Compare this to radio, tune into a radio channel at any given day part, and you are engaged, interacted and entertained by the Radio Jockey (RJ) talk. It could be a show like Maaro your line in the morning or Kya Bolta Bengaluru in the evening.
The creative challenge is to introduce such concepts at regular frequencies to keep the listener interest alive. For radio stations, alacrity is must.
Sometimes I wonder if radio stations have thought of documenting these creative formats and publishing them as a book to establish their thought leadership. I have come across the show archives on their websites but not an offline presence. I can picture a book in my mind, titled Popular Radio Listener Engagement Activity formats. Once the listener engagement formats are well documented and articulated, they can be licensed to other radio stations in India or overseas markets. This will not only  give an edge to the radio station in the monetization of its knowledge assets vide licensing revenues, but will also establish it as a creative powerhouse. Mention of the wittiest user responses along with the format description will make it an enjoyable read and listen (if accompanied by a CD). It will also give the advertising brands an idea about how the station can creatively weave the brand communication into such engaging activities.
Once the book is published, it will also act as an incentive for the users to engage with the radio stations and get a chance to have their names printed in the book.
Many television programs and Bollywood movies have done this in the past. BBC Mastermind is one such example.
Some of the listener engagement activities on radio can also make a way for team building activities or psychological/psychometric tests in a corporate environment (activities like Are you a workaholic).
Cabinet approval for radio licensing and impending slew of new radio stations (Phase III) that will hit the airwaves will further increase the competition, thereby making it vital for existing radio stations to push the creative envelope and listener engagement!
As always, I will request the readers of this post if you have time, please drop a line.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Wedding Cards and Mobile Applications!

Today, I received the wedding invitation of one of my colleagues, over e-mail. The e-mail message had a wedding invite attached to it that sparked a series of thoughts….
‘What if there was a solution that could help appize the wedding invitation to a mobile application’. The application download URL with customized text/audio/video message can then be readily distributed to friends and relatives over SMS/MMS.
The recipient upon opening the mobile wedding invitation sees the wedding invite or an audio invite by the would be bride/groom, interactive maps that provide direction and route guidance to the venue, save the date in the calendar, schedule congratulatory SMS to be sent on the D-day and subsequent anniversaries, guest book which allows the recipient to confirm their presence and itinerary for the wedding, etc. This is an illustrative feature list, I am sure the readers of this post will have many more creative inputs.
This solution is not entirely new. There are online portals ( which help lay users create mobile applications without any knowledge of programming, however a free version is usually ad supported and we don’t want ads in our wedding invitation! The fact that a free version is an ad supported model, the idea does not lend to consumer (B2C) model (however it does if you are willing to shell out $’s) as a pure play business, especially if the mobile application in question is a wedding invitation!
In Indian context I see it as a business to business (B2B) model, as a services business, wherein the card print shop provides an option of creating a mobile wedding invitation to the buyer. If the buyer wants, the card print shop logs on to the online terminal application provided by the appizer to create a mobile wedding invite. Appizer charges a fixed amount to the card print shop, which in turn charges monies to the buyer. Since the same card print shop is also associated with the creative design/layout/physical print, of the wedding invite, it helps the card print shop to extend its bouquet of services and the buyer gets both physical print and mobile solution under one roof.
In India and elsewhere in the world, match making also happens by volunteering aunts/uncles/friends/neighbors (social matrimony – check out or the MatrimonyMaster facebook application). The Appizer can extend the B2B model to marriage bureaus/brick’n’mortar presence of online matrimonial portals, for the creation of mobile bio-data’s for people who register with them. The parents of would be bride/groom can then share the mobile bio data’s of their son/daughter to social acquaintances thus spreading the viral! Apart from text the mobile bio data’s can have elements of graphics and video.
Print media power houses that have presence in the space of internet and mobile applications are ideally suited to offer the buyers of print matrimonial classified space an option to create mobile bio data’s and put the download URL in the print classified ad.
Internet penetration and the fact that India has over 10 million marriages annually, has positively impacted the business of online matrimony portals, it’s time to take it to the next frontier of mobile devices.
As always, I will request the readers of this post if you have time, please drop a line.

Monday 8 August 2011

The Way Satellite Television promotes BIG Ticket Movies on Television

We have come a long way since the early days of internet when pop-ups were frequently used to peddle advertisements. Then came pop-up blockers which made surfing a pleasant experience and now except for the embedded advertisements (display, text, etc.) or a roadblock on the webpage, consuming internet is not obstructed by such intrusive advertising.
Contrast this with television, for a majority of people who don't have digital cable or personal video recorders or tivo, they have to stand the commercial breaks. But now tolerance towards commercial breaks is ingrained culturally and they are no more perceived as intrusion but instead utilized to answer nature's call, see what other channels have to offer, for homemakers it's an opportune time to progress kitchen chores, if someone likes sleaze, deodorant advertisement will live up to their expectations. Things one can do in a commercial break are just limited by imagination J
For quite some time now a particular English movie channel is promoting an upcoming movie of the decade on their channel, which was released in theatres in the year 2009 as a 3D movie. The movie has strange looking blue characters whose primary mode of transport is oversized combat birds. I was not able to see the movie in theatres and am eagerly looking forward to catch it on television (albeit in non 3D).
The television channel has adopted the established strategies to promote the movie in order to build planned/appointment viewing for this movie of the decade. This includes the normal fare of advertisement spots on their channel, other channels (I assume), print advertisements (I assume) and out of home sites (I assume). I also anticipate contests around the movie and contests during the showing of the movie on television (to retain viewership during commercial breaks).
However one mode of promotion that I particularly felt was obstructive while watching another movie on the same channel was a graphic formation of a bird that flew from the top left of the screen to the bottom center and then settling back to the top left portion of the screen. It’s a great way to grab viewer attention and acts as a reinforcement that the movie of the decade will be shown on so and so date/time, but it breaks the viewer attention from what they are currently seeing. Drawing an analogy to internet advertising, it is akin to a pop up that startles a person from their current on screen activity. Fortunately one can close the popup windows and allow/dis-allow showing of popups on their computer but not this form of advertising on television.
Another form which could have been adopted was the utilization of the bottom panel of the TV screen, but that would hide the sub-titles.
Since the channel must have invested considerable monies to acquire the satellite rights of this sci-fi visual effects treat, it is understandable that they would go all out to promote this movie with a significant amount of advertising and marketing war chest. I am sure there can be other non-startling/non obtrusive forms to reinforce the movie of the decade time slot to the viewers of this channel, such as internet advertising (text + display)/social media/radio spots announcing movie trivia and show date/timings etc.
Usually while signing up for internet mail/social media accounts, the users have an option to upload their Profile/Avatar photo, maybe the channel can tie up with such websites to offer their users an Avatar gallery to choose a profile photo if they don’t want to put up their actual photos. An Avatar for an Avatar….!!
As always, I will request the readers of this post if you have time, please drop a line.