Daily Archives: December 27, 2011

Does Tanishq GlamGold’s Advertising Understand Women?

Tanishq has a new campaign on air and I don’t think it works. It’s not that I don’t like their designs. Indeed, they were probably one of the first brands that brought contemporary designs to gold jewellery in India. But their recent advertisements leave me cringing.

Here’s one of them:

The storyline goes as follows: A book launch is in progress. At the party afterwards, the author hugs a dolled-up lady (presumably a friend). The friend is wearing a lot of gold jewellery and the crowd starts to flock around her. She looks up, sees the author looking left out. So she feigns a headache and leaves. In the car on the way home, her companion asks her why she lied. She says its better than ruining someone’s evening. This last line may also translate into, ‘It’s better than making someone burn with jealousy’.

I’m not going to comment on the cleverness of that, since presumably the ad industry usually tiptoes that fine line between smart and smart alecky. But I want to know what the woman in the ad was doing dressing up all that much for a book launch. Did she really realize only at the event, that she’d be the center of attention? And when she did, was it self-consciousness (embarassment?) or generosity that made her leave?

And another thing, jewellery is 100% accessorial. It exists for no other purpose but adornment, so people will look at you and admire how you look. What’s the point in jewellery that you can’t show off?

Now let’s look at another ad, which is currently on air now.

The storyline of this one goes as follows: It’s a wedding party on an open-air dance floor. Suddenly it starts raining and the guests run for cover. One of them, a bejewelled woman pats herself dry (showcasing an elaborate necklace in the process). In the mirror, she notices the bride looking wistfully at her ruined party. Immediately, she moves onto the dance floor in the rain and starts a sensuous writhe in the rain. She’s joined by the guests shortly after and finally, a smile from the bride.

This one actually sounds better in copy than it did on screen. I saw this with the boy and was trying to articulate exactly what was wrong with it. He summed it up succinctly so I reproduce his words:

“A woman doesn’t want another woman to be the center of attention.”

All I had to add to that was, “Especially on her wedding day.”

How come the advertising & brand teams over at Tanishq didn’t get that? Advertisements which make me think that they don’t understand me, the consumer, put me off a product that I may even have been interested in the first place. I’m also not buying into the idea that the team is evolving existing notions of vanity & beauty. The product they’re pushing is the most established symbol of that archaic structure of beauty. Even if you can change minds with a slick ad or two, these really aren’t doing it for me.

Note: Thank you @pankajsabnani for finding me the videos!

Social Networking-The Creation & Consumption Of Content

Earlier in the month, I began writing for Social Samosa. My brief was to recap the major events in social networking over the past few years in India. Given how vast this is, I broke it up into two parts. I started with an article titled, ‘Social Networking: How Communities Were Built’. In that post, I looked at the connections aspect of social networking.

Image via Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot,

The second part of that story is now online in a piece titled, ‘Social Networking: The Creation & Consumption Of Content‘ where I discuss the other harbingers of the social media revolution – blogs, commenting systems, bulletin boards, discussion groups and everyone’s favorite birdie – Twitter.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Online content creation began with a few individuals putting out text & images that could be consumed by other users of the internet. In the recent years, though, we’ve seen content creation get closer & closer to the space that we call social networking.  A content creator is not an artist working in isolation but the initiator & propagator of conversations.  The social networks are but channels to drive conversations, which need content.  Thus it was inevitable that social connectors and content holders should find themselves merging in a borderless space.

‘Content creation’ is a misnomer since, increasingly, we are all becoming both producers & consumers of content.  One person feeds into the network a piece of information or an insight or a personal account (a phenomenon now called ‘seeding’ if done with the intent to propagate).  Others read it and share it on their networks (the phenomenon now called ‘going viral’).  Along the way, comments are added and other bits of content spring up in response to the first piece.  These could take several forms – blog posts, tweets, comments, status updates, pictures and videos, to name a few.  The conversation now spans multiple users, data points, media and web locations. Every user in this process has now become both a consumer and a creator of content.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Popular Dance Is Now A Legitimate Activity

When I was a teenager, dance wasn’t a slightly taboo concept. I say ‘slightly’, because the times didn’t exactly forbid or punish dancing. Indeed, most girls were sent for bharatnatyam or kathak classes. But these, seemed to be, at best, surface-level attempts to show how ‘broad-minded’ and ‘culturally inclined’ their families were. Even as a leisure activity, dance placed somewhere below music. Every child who learnt music was made to parade their skills at family functions and friendly gatherings. The dancers didn’t get the same kind of attention.

More contemporary forms of dance (then mostly Bollywood), were not taken seriously as forms of art or indeed, activities that could be pursued and nurtured, by everyday people. Somewhere around the turn of the millennium, that started to change. Maybe it’s because Bollywood got more modern and the dhak-dhak-jhatka-matkas gave way to more light-footed steps that were accessible to the in-front-of-TV dancer (which I assume would be the equivalent of the bathroom singer). In parallel, there was a concerted effort to push various other forms of dance, salsa being the prime leader in this. All at once, there were dance shows, dancing competitions & reality shows on TV, dance classes & special instruction in dance.

A decade later, dance is suddenly serious business. It’s a tangible career option, a viable part of major public functions and a respectable aspect of one’s profile or resume. Words like salsa, tango, merengue aren’t alien to us anymore. Even forms like belly-dancing and pole-dancing which would have been unmentionable a decade ago, are being openly advertised, sought and attended today.

This is personally intriguing to me, interested as I am, in both pop culture and art of any sort. But it never went beyond that. My musical career went from classical Carnatic music training to guitar lessons, to pop/rock jams on campus to stage performances all through my academic life and some after. I also had the mandatory bharatnatyam training too, as a kid. But it never went beyond that, save an awkward shake-a-leg at a crowded college festival. I never thought of myself as a dancer. I don’t even know whether I am graceful or not, since I never had a chance to explore it. So it’s quite wonderful to know that dance in several forms is now within reach of regular people like you and me too.

This is what got me thinking about this – Sayan Chowdhary, a friend and former colleague has begun a parallel career in dance at the relatively ripe age of 28. After over a year of lessons, shows and other dancing adventures, he now teaches too. It’s personal inspiration to me, that he’s able to manage a busy corporate career as well as a burgeoning creative one in a time-starved city like Mumbai. But he seems to be thriving on it, which is more than I can say of my other friends whose lives are sucked up completely by their careers. The group he is with, MadMax Academy of Dance is expanding with new venues & events. I think I’ll go shake a leg too!

Here are the details of MadMax’s next event. It’s free and it’s a Christmas special so do walk in (dance in?) with your foot-tapping shoes if you’re in the area:

MadMax Academy Of Dance: Christmas Dance With Santa
Free Christmas dance workshops on  Bachata & Bolly-Hop by Madan.
This is a fun and lively dance workshop, which is not only enjoyable but also serves to educate participants about many dance forms. A dance experience not to be missed!
Dress Code : simple, sober and elegant white
Date : Wednesday, 28th Dec 2011
Time : 7:30p.m. to 9:30p.m.
Venue: Nipra House,
             17,Ropa Lane,
             Chandan Wadi,
             Marine Lines,

To register in advance please contact us:

Phone : 993-0996-623
Social Media
Twitter : @MadanMadmax

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