Tuesday 16 October 2012

Breaking News…Looper Is Missing…!

One of the checklist items of movie promotions is SMS/online contests, which win you movie merchandize or meet ’n’ greet with the cast or movie tickets or … <placeholder for anything else that one can imagine J>. So the same elements were at play prior to the release of Holly flick Looper on Indian screens on October 12, 2012.
I responded to one of the two options against the question, “Who plays OLD JOE in Looper?” flashed on television channel ABP News, on Thursday October 11, 2012, 11:17 PM. I knew it was Bruce Willis and immediately typed YES A (YES B, if option B was the right answer) and sent it to the short code 5782728. Now came the Looper moment which gave me a jolt, yes it was, the response text from 5782728 read from the past…when Looper was not born!
“Thank you for becoming Star Ananda Privileged Fan! We will keep you informed about important news, breaking news alerts on your mobile. Keep watching Star Ananda.”
Not a single mention about the contest! I wanted to shout out loud that;
·         I DID NOT TEXT to become a Star Ananda Privileged Fan!
·         I don’t want to be kept informed about important news, breaking news alerts ON MY MOBILE
·         Keep watching Star Ananda WHY? FOR WHAT?
It’s true that I engaged with the channel during random surf, but the context of the engagement was a movie contest and nothing else. What I expected was a response aligned to the context of the contest, “Thank you for your participation in the contest. Winners will be announced shortly. Logon to … for terms and conditions…”
A typical condition laid out in the agreement between the Telco and the short code provider for provisioning the short code into Telco’s network is, the short code provider will not push any kind of promotional messages either as add on or stand alone, to a corresponding pull SMS. To de-jargonize, in the present context, what I sent to 5782728 was a pull and the response I received was a push SMS.
The response text from ABP News was nothing but a promotional SMS, albeit a deficient one! It also fell short of aligning the response text to the purpose for which the SMS was sent.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Hi! This Is … and You Are Listening to…

We are all used to hearing station identifiers on radio. Hi this is … and you are listening to … Sometimes these identifiers are station jingles or familiar (celebrity) voices which identify the station. They also come in a slightly different flavor as celebrity omnibus in which more than one voice identifies the station.
Earlier, I never paid attention to these station identifiers, but on Oct 3, 2012 I did, at around 7:17 PM. Not because it was the famous bolly actor Sallu Bhai (Salman Khan) who told me what station I was listening to, but I was more interested in listening to the song that followed this station identifier. The song that followed was Karde Mushkil Jeena Ishq Kameena from the bolly flick Shakti (2002).
After listening to the song, I was wondering what relation the song had with the immediately preceding station identifier in Salman’s voice. The film neither had Salman in its cast nor was the song filmed on him.
Being unaware of the rules/policy employed by the stations in the linear placement of celebrity identifiers on the timeline for the day, I thought whether the identifier has to meet my expectation of confirming to the immediately succeeding song? A mental rewind of identifiers heard in the past, gave me two commonalities.
One, it identifies what the station stands for: In the present case, this radio station primarily stands for bolly music. Having an identifier in a bolly star’s voice, establishes the association.
Two, it identifies what the day part stands for: In the present case, since it was evening, during which contemporary bolly numbers are played by this station, the said identifier came across as appropriate.
Save for few exceptions, celebrity identifiers are not exclusive to a station. Sallu bhai may happily identify other stations as well. As the name implies, the station identifier is meant to identify the station and not a song.
However, if the identifier relates to the immediately succeeding song, this radio station will definitely identify itself amongst its peers for its attention to detail.