Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tzinga aaaah

When I was approached by Ankit Negi, an intern at Hector Beverages to do a review of their new product - Tzinga, I was in double minds. The marketeer in me appreciated this innovative style of promotion, get the bloggers to try the product and blog about it. Very low cost but effective means of buzz marketing. But it is also a big gamble. Bloggers by definition are opinionated. If they do not like your product, they will say so without mincing words.

So, I tried the samples he sent across. Launched just last month by a start up funded by venture capitalists, Tzinga is an energy drink taking on the biggie called Red Bull. Which is probably where it falters. The product comes in 3 flavours - Lemon Mint (a refreshing zingy drink perfect for summer afternoons shopping), Tropical Trip (an interesting combination of flavours, unfortunately none of them stand out) & Mango Strawberry (too sweet for my palette but again a great refresher). 

So lets do this the old fashioned marketing way - The 5 Ps.

The product is spot on. The drinks taste good. The flavours are innovative and yet not weird. Though, I did not feel particularly energized and I did miss the lack of fizz in the drink.

The price point of Rs.20 also works. It positions itself slightly above the Slice and cold drinks of the world and much much below Red Bull. 

Packaging is where the product needs to make a choice. The current pouch packaging may be eco friendly and great for carrying in your handbag, but its just not cool. Red Bull drinkers like the whole jazz of opening that slim can with a pop and taking a swig. The pouch on the other hand can be perceived as sissy to be seen sipping from and I can't imagine many men in their target group (18-25) wanting to be seen publicly sipping this. 

Promotion - Though they are employing interesting techniques like blogging for promotion, the positioning needs a serious look-at. The product shouldn't be pitted against Red Bull. The 'hipness' factor is missing. It should be positioned at ages 14-21 for high school and college students.

The distribution of the product perhaps can't compete with the gigantic tentacles of Coke and Pepsi but they have made an effort to get good shelf space in retail outlets like Big Bazaar. The visibility of the product is quite high here.If the positioning is changed to the above target group, visibility in school and college canteens and 'addas' is the best place to be seen at.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Move over Gen Gap, here comes the Tech Gap!

I remember the days not so long ago when anything that parents didn't understand was attributed to the Generation Gap. Unfortunately, before I could experience the same for myself, the concept became redundant and I am now forced to acknowledge what can only be called the Technological Gap.

Let me disclaim at the onset that I have always considered myself tech savvy. I was making spreadsheets when I was 6 years old and have seen times change from Lotus to MS office and from PC-XTs to laptops and tablets. But my lil Sonu reminds me that she's made of different stuff than I was.

At 1 year of age, she knows the difference between the Samsung Galaxy and the iPhone, has a strong preference for one of them (its against my principles to say which one) and even knows how to unlock my phone. The downside is that she now assumes that any gadget worth its salt must be touch screen and wonders why the TV doesn't change channels when she swipes the screen. She has already rejected the PSP for the same reason and now only listens to fairy tales on the iphone or plays apps on a tab.

I know I'm still one up on her but the day is not far when she will be teaching me tricks and shortcuts on our gadgets. That day I hope I have the humility to smile and accept defeat. But till then, let me enjoy being the secret keeper of the knowledge of all things cool.

How times change.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, May 14, 2012

Book review- The immortals of Meluha

The success of Mythology depends on belief rather than facts and logic. Whether Hanumanji actually built the Ram Setu or not is really quite irrelevant. The fact that a billion people like to believe so is really what makes it important.

One of the most intriguing gods in Hindu mythology is Lord Shiva. Even to my illiterate mind, Shiva stands for raw energy, for passion and for strength. It is difficult to do justice to such a phenomenon in a few hundred pages. But that's exactly what Amish does in the Immortals of Meluha. Justice to the character. He takes Lord Shiva and makes him into a plausible character- one with feelings and faults, with a personality and a mind that constantly reasons with logic. The hero of the book is not the plot but the characterization that the author has achieved. Whenever I hear of Sati henceforth, I will imagine her to be this righteous, beautiful woman who is as comfortable accepting laws that banish her as she is dueling with those who question her honour.

The plot of the book follows Shiva as he searches for his destiny and tries to do what seems to be right. He is curious, honourable and respectful. At the same time, his colorful persona makes him mischievous, adding flavour to the book.

The author has used many techniques of writing to make the book interesting and has succeeded in doing so. The construction of sentences is captivating, the language simple yet not condescendingly so and scenario setting done with such aplomb that one can almost visualize Kashmir from the eyes of a tribal immigrant. Though the story is set in 1900BC, it appeals to the modern mind because history has been cleverly interwoven with logic, science and myth. It is difficult to know where facts end and fiction begins, the mark of a great writer. Amish has found what it takes to make a bestseller- intriguing characterization, simple plot that takes the reader with it and an open ending that makes sure that the reader buys the next book. I already did.

I increasingly find myself reading books only from the Indian Authors section on my online library. Not because of some misplaced patriotism but because writers of this new era are coming up with such fantastic books that I find myself wanting more.

Get the Immortals of Meluha. You won't be able to put it down!

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


The smile
knew has
faded away

It's dark
it's dark in

The spark
that once
could light a

has ceased
to be

My mind
is blank
My heart
is still

A joke

My thoughts
are now
my only

In dark
they let
me be.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

And thereby ends the tale

And thus ended my 2 months of exploring the creative genius in me. I enrolled in this writing course with the hope of finding which genre is my writing style best suited for. Thankfully, the professors unanimously agreed that Travel Writing suits me best. I was also pleased to find out that I'm not bad at writing fictional short stories. Unfortunately, I also discovered that I am terrible at comedy and my 'dry' humor is not so easy for the average person to understand.

I also learnt interesting techniques in writing and what a fascinating world the written word hides. My mathematically inclined best friend would love concepts like N+7 and lipograms (entire pieces of writing or books which avoid words containing a particular letter).

I met some wonderful people from varied walks of life. I shared perspectives with brilliant professors and allowed myself to be subject to their criticism. I loved learning again and got reminded of how I love giving exams.

Another chapter that comes to a close. Here's hoping for many such more.


posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, May 4, 2012


Superstition, the irrational hope against hope. It is either the seed of doubt that someone sows in your head or the ray of hope that you hope to see even though its cloudy outside. Forget judging everyone else, let me tell you a little story about myself. I pride myself to be a person wary of superstition and blind faith. I don't ridicule them but I don't believe in most of them either. But a few years ago, I tagged along with some friends to a renowned astrologer in South Delhi out of curiosity. I don't know whether it was her 3 storey bungalow in GK1 or the stilettos on her feet but to my rational mind, she did not fit the image of a typical astrologer so I gave in to the temptation of getting my future told. Lets just say that wasn't such a smart move. She did what astrologers do best, put the seed of doubt of impending disaster in my mind and then also told me how to circumvent the same. To cut a long story short, 18 months and countless boxes of sweets donated to Gurudwaras later, my life remained just as it was before, nothing better and no worse.

When I was in school, I always made a wish on a mail van. I would cross my fingers and not say a word till I saw a black car. It took many years of futile wishing to realise that the Barbie house wasn't going to be wished into my life, I would have to take more concrete steps. Then came the age of wishing as I crossed a subway while a train passed above. And more recently, my final hope and futile wish at Chishti Dargah in Fatehpur Sikri.

Taking the 3 decades of my life as an indicative sample (if Freud can do it, so can I), I think I can safely say that superstitions are just that - superstitions. Blind faith. Wishes don't come true by wishing them. You have to make them happen. If problems were solved by wearing stones, Obama wouldn't have any bare fingers left now, would he?!      

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Work trip? Anytime!!

Amongst the few things I miss about my corporate days (yes there are a few), travel is high on the list. Always a nomad, I loved to travel on work. Even if it were to commercial Mumbai or sweltering Chennai. I miss it all. I miss the taxi cards at the airport with my name on them, the hotels, the long languishing tub baths with a book in one hand and a glass of cold coffee in another. I miss being the master of my own itinerary. Working in new offices with interesting people and sneaking away sooner than I would dare to in Delhi!

I miss the ego kick that somebody thought me valuable enough to invest so much in my comfort and convenience. I miss watching TV alone in the hotel room with room service to boot. I miss meeting old friends. Discovering places. Or bunking a conference to watch a movie with colleagues (ya ya, don't look so shocked..you've done it too).

I miss the independence. The sense of being carefree. Sometimes. I do.

posted from Bloggeroid

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