MAR 26, 2014 #035
Hence I say digital is everything, but not everything is digital! David Sable Global CEO Y&R
IPL chaos could be total disaster for Pepsi
n the eve of the much anticipated Indian Premier League (IPL) governing council meeting in Bhubaneswar, title sponsors Pepsi have come out in support of not only the other sponsors, but also the eight franchises and said that they hope the BCCI comes up with a solution through which the tournament stays in India. Despite the dates of the IPL clashing with the general elections, the BCCI has met the home ministry to request for permission to host the domestic T20 league in the country. But Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has made it clear that providing adequate security during general elections is impossible, India Today had reported in February. That is history, as the ‘much anticipated’ junket moves to the UAE for the first leg. “At its meeting in Chennai earlier today, the IPL Governing Council confirmed that the first phase of the Pepsi IPL 2014 season matches will be played in the United Arab Emirates, from Wednesday 16th April to Wednesday 30th April. A total of 20 matches will be played in three stadiums: the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi; the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, Sharjah; and the Dubai International Cricket Stadium,
Dubai. The opening match on Wednesday, 16 April, will be in Abu Dhabi, between the defending champions, Mumbai Indians and the 2012 IPL champions, Kolkata Knight Riders,” reports IPL The match-schedule for the UAE leg can be accessed on the following link: http://www.iplt20. com/schedule So that’s a blow for the sponsors – especially for Pepsi, the title sponsors. Could things get worse? Sadly, yes. “Expressing shock over the revelations in the report submitted by the justice Mukul Mudgal committee in a “sealed envelope”, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked BCCI president N Srinivasan to step down to ensure a fair investigation into the IPL corruption saga. A bench of justices AN Patnaik and FM Ibrahim Kalifulla fumed at senior counsel Ariama Sundaram, who also counts Subrata Roy Sahara among his clients. “You ask Mr Srinivasan to step down, otherwise we will give our verdict asking him to step down,” the bench said,” reports DNA. What are the implications of the Supreme Court observations? Very serious ones – as they could see two IPL teams being blacklisted. “A BCCI office-bearer who is also associated with the IPL governing body said the IPL Season VII this year could be given a miss in order
to clear the muck. What’s worse is that franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals can be terminated,” the DNA report adds. An IPL that is tarnished is something that Pepsi could have dealt with. But either a truncated IPL (minus the two teams which could potentially be kicked out) or the total scrapping of the IPL could be a disaster for Pepsi. When the IPL was first conceptualized, it was an event seemingly created with the largest brands in the country in mind. What the IPL did was to create a calendared, high-GRP product that would take place in the highspending summer holiday months, when schools and colleges were closed and consumers had a higher propensity to spend money on discretionary products. Into the mix, throw in Coca Cola and Pepsi. One of them could ‘own’ these GRPs – GRPS which came at the height of the summer. Imagine how valuable it would be for either of the cola majors to ‘own’ the IPL. There’s no need to imagine how valuable it could be. Pepsi won the rights to be the title sponsor of the IPL for 5 years (beginning in 2013) for a whopping Rs. 397 crore, almost Rs. 80 crore per year. Pepsi obviously believed that this Rs.80 crore investment was money well spent – in addition to the investments being made
Which is the biggest luxury brand in India -- and is bigger here than in China? The answer might surprise you: It’s Britain’s Marks and Spencers. In the last five years, India’s retail market has seen a significant shift in retailer attention, with select luxury brands like Mango, LV, Hermès, Forever 21 and Gucci increasing their presence in the Indian market. According to a report by real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle, UK’s Marks and Spencer has 37 stores in India, followed by clothing brand Mango, with 19 stores, and Zara, with 13 stores. Ironically, Marks and Spencer has a much larger presence in India than in China. The British retailer has only 16 stores in China, while it has more than twice that in India. Even relatively lower-priced fashion retailer Forever 21 has
more stores in India than in China. In fact, when considering China, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia, only India and Philippines can boast having five stores each, while Vietnam has none. China has only three Forever 21 stores. However, Spanish brand Zara has a clear preference for China with 149 stores against just 13 in India. There does seem to be a correlation between income growth and higher per capita retail space (more income
leads to more spending, which encourages more retail outlets). For instance, China has the highest level of income growth as well a higher per capita retail space when compared to India. Also in India, the retail space is low mainly because the retail industry is still in its nascent stage. India and Vietnam clearly lag the rest of their Asian neighbours when it comes to retail industry development. “The wide gap in penetration of these brands between India and China suggests that India is only emerging in these categories. The potential for further penetration of these brands is high given that supply of right quality of mall increases,” said JLL in a report. Source: Global Insight, Real Estate Intelligence Service 4Q13 (Jones Lang LaSalle)
in procuring the pouring rights for all the individual franchises, the investments made in the production of commercials, the media cost, and the cost of acquisitions. Conservative estimates would suggest that Pepsi’s commitment was at least Rs. 150 crore per annum. This investment is made on the basis of an expectation that the association with the IPL would both protect and increase their market share in the height of the
summer months, a period that accounts for a substantial chunk of their annual sales. The uncertainty that we are in now, therefore, would have Pepsi boffins scrambling around to analyse their options. The problem is one of time. If, as is being speculated, IPL 2014 is either truncated or cancelled, Pepsi stares at a clear and present danger to their summer ambitions. Unless there is clarity immediately, Pepsi cannot
afford to invest in a plan B. If the clarity is slow in coming, even if it is delayed by a week, Pepsi will have no time to write off the IPL and park their (new) money elsewhere. Pepsi is not the only sponsor or stakeholder to be affected by the chaos. The official broadcaster, SET MAX, stares at the same abyss, as do all the franchise owners and all the sponsors. But there is little doubt that Pepsi is the most affected.
2 JP Rangaswami
MAR 26, 2014 #035
issues of the day From saving to spending: getting hooked on the new LSD From 1966 to 1969 I used to take the bus to school. It looked a bit like this, except it was in grey and it still worked. Just about. It would take us an hour to cover three miles or so. The rest of the time, I walked to school. Before I turned 12, we’d moved to within fifteen minutes walk of the school, so that isn’t saying much. But walk we did, and walking was considered normal. It helped that we lived in what I considered the centre of town, even though technically it was “south Calcutta”. I felt I could walk anywhere I wanted within an hour and a half, and most places in less than an hour. If it was too hot (which it sometimes was) or if it was too wet (which happened like clockwork during the monsoon), there were other options available, trams and buses aplenty. Most of the time, Shank’s Pony was the easy option, so I walked. So much so that I never learnt to drive. I still don’t know how to drive. And, not surprisingly, my favourite cities are walking cities, albeit occasionally augmented by public transport. In those days, electricity used to be a luxury in Calcutta. Regular power cuts were common and referred to as load-shedding. It wasn’t much fun. The PC hadn’t been invented; the TV hadn’t made it over to India as yet; the battery cell was just about noticeable in devices like torches. Portable “transistor” radios weren’t around either. So the principal impact of loadshedding was that the room lights and ceiling fans went out. Air conditioners were for the very rich or the criminal, althogh occasionally you couldn’t distinguish between those two classes of human. Labour saving devices had yet to make their mark on Indian society. The urban middle-class had refrigerators, but they were really glorified larders
given how often we had power cuts. Anything cold was a luxury. [I used to go to the local Ice Rink and just sit in the shadows for a while just to cool off; I didn't know how to skate, and couldn't afford it anyway]. Ice was usually transported in large chunks on hand-carts called thelas, and kept cool by prudent and careful use of coverings made of hessian, with sawdust additionally on the exposed bits. There were no washing machines or dishwashers to be seen anywhere. Some modicum of laundry service was available, though for the most part people would wash their clothes at home and perhaps hire the services of itinerant ironers. No fridges and no freezers, so no frozen food. No supermarkets, no pre-washed or cleaned or chopped or mashed anything. Everything was done by hand, fresh, on the day. By 7am you would hear the rumble of gigantic stone mortar/pestle devices as the herbs and spices of the day were prepared; the vegetable cleaning and chopping would go on in parallel. We didn’t have to worry about meat going off in the heat: we were vegetarians. For the first 23 years of my life, I was blissfully ignorant of at least one type of LSD. Labour Saving Devices. And then I moved to the UK. To western civilisation. And wave after wave of opportunity to save my labour. We live in interesting times. [Incidentally, whenever I use the phrase Western Civilisation I am reminded of Mahatma Gandhi. Apparently he was asked what he thought of Western Civilisation. And he replied "I think it would be a good idea"]. Pretty much since the day I was born, we’ve all been growing fatter. As we moved from agriculture through manual labour in factories to more sedentary
occupations, this was to be expected. We delayed some of the effects by using nicotine and caffeine in prodigious amounts, until they were both sent to the Naughty corner. More recently, sitting has become the new smoking and taken its place in Naughty Corner as well. And now, it looks like the fat-is-bad-sugar-isgood train of thought has crashed, with sugar banished to be with sitting and smoking. But we’re still getting heavier. You just have to look around. And compare the society of today with society fifty, seventy, a hundred years ago. No rocket science. Like most other people I know, I need to get fitter and more flexible and lose a chunk of weight. Occasional dieting has helped but the weight rarely stays off. And fitness and flexibility continue to be important. And I’m growing older. So I’ve decided to get hooked on a new form of LSD. Labour spending devices. Tools that make me work, rather than save me from work. Having spent a decade and a half with the Jesuits, I recognise a corpore sano is not enough; I need a mens sana as well. Which is why I am keen on making sure that what I do for my body I do for my mind as well. In both cases, I need to be sure that I am using tools wisely, to do things that keep my body and mind fit. Which is why I loved A Second Machine Age; which is why I loved Crap Detection; and which is why I’m installing a carpentry workbench in my den and learning more about gardening. The new LSD. Spending labour. Wisely. JP Rangaswami blogs at www.confusedofcalcutta.com
WhatsApp, What's down -- keeping track is tough going
David Sable, Global CEO, Y&R
When Facebook announced its purchase of WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion, all other news stories began to melt away, including the headlines coming out of Ukraine, including the death of activists. You might think it crass, even odd to couple the two events, but seeing these two stories juxtaposed, it struck me that the analysts and pundits have stepped away from the “Twitter Revolution” theories they were so enamored with during the Arab Spring. Remember, it was only a few years ago that part of the early euphoria about the uprisings in the Middle East was the belief that social media were driving the revolution,. In fact, one would think that no other revolution could possibly have happened in the world without them…. Of course, that reflected ignorance more than reality. In truth, what was accomplished was done by the hard work and humanity of people committed to change. Time Magazine wrote: “Technology allowed us to watch, and
it spread the virus of protest, but this was not a wired revolution; it was a human one, of hearts and minds, the oldest technology of all.” Malcolm Gladwell writes about social networks as weak ties — effective at increasing participation but only because they lessen the level of participation required. (So, for example, he points out that the Save Darfur Coalition has close to 1.3 million followers. But on average they have contributed only 9 cents per person.) Weak ties, he claims, give access to information. But they don’t stand up to the strong ties that come from hierarchical organization that help us persevere in the face of danger. In other words, people, the organized activists whose commitment, focus and sacrifice drive real momentum. Which brings us back to where I started. The “small cadre” theory is what gives WhatsApp its value and enormous valuation. In the ever-shifting Holy Grail of what we’re after socially, WhatsApp is now being touted as the
technology that can underpin and, even more, galvanize the strong ties of smaller, more purposeful groups. Truth is that one does not invalidate the other — broadcast TV is, after all, alive and well, despite the many warnings of its imminent demise. Nonetheless, it is already interesting to see the knee-jerk need to denigrate Facebook now that small is big. But having a circle of friends is a truth about the human condition, not a phenomenon created by social media. And if we believe that technology can have a real impact on changing the world, which I do, maybe we can call a brief moratorium on figuring out how to monetize every way we communicate with each other and come up with an idea that’s really worth communicating. Follow David Sable on Twitter: www.twitter. com/DavidSable
Ruing annoyingly primitive human-machine interface
The first thing that hit me when Theodore finished installing the new OS and started ‘speaking’ to ‘her’, in Spike Jonze’s Her… was Jane, from Speaker For The Dead, part 2 of the Ender Series, by Orson Scott Card. I wasn’t really keen on reading the 2nd part after finishing the first book (that I thoroughly enjoyed) after seeing a lot of review say that it was way too philosophical and was completely unlike the first book. But then, oddly enough, after watching the movie version of Ender’s Game, I felt compelled to know what happened to the Hive Queen and I quickly procured the audiobook. I actually liked the 2nd part more than Ender’s Game, in the end! And also fell in love with Jane, much like Theodore did, with Samantha. Beyond the striking similarity between Samantha and Jane, a few other strands of ideas occupied my mind as I completed watching Her. Sentient machines The strand of sentient machines has always been a fascination with science fiction. Right from Skynet in the Terminator series, to Marvin, the paranoid android, in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (the name of this darn blog is an ode to the man!) we have had intelligent machines, but Jane and Samantha, besides being intelligent, are also self-aware… sentient. To fall in love with a machine only because of its (her) intelligence reminded me – completely random! – of a short story by Woody Allen, called The Whore of Mensa. Read it here – it’s an interesting short story that is full of Woody’esque humor but also makes a very serious point that I’m going to explore in the next paragraph. If bodily necessities are glazed over (as they are, in Her), the human-sentient machine affair seems like a very plausible set-up given the complications in present-day relationships and also taking into account that people are becoming increasingly aloof and private with the onset of social networks, which, paradoxically, connects people more than ever, but also isolates them in the physical world. Add to this, the intelligence a sentient being can bring into our everyday lives – Jane helped Ender significantly in the Speaker book. It was a lot like having a 2nd, superintelligent brain at your disposal all the time. Even the way they were imagined – Jane and Samantha – seems vastly similar. Both are worn in the ear – Jane, was a ‘jewel’ in Ender’s ear, while Samantha is an ear-piece in Her. Both can be switched off at will, though the one switch-off in Speaker changes the relationship between Jane and Ender forever. In Her, Theodore switches Samantha off many
times and she even calls him when she wants, via his phone! In Samantha, the possibility of her OS self speaking to other people’s OSs via the internet is also explored and it ends in a fascinating premise towards the end of the film. I really wish that thread is explored as a sequel focusing on Samantha and her friends… they would end up becoming Skynet? The interesting parallel to that line of thought is how Asimov’s Foundation’s Edge utilised the concept of the planet Gaia, where, under the guidance of robots, humans evolved their ability to become part of the planet’s group consciousness. So, we have Samantha and her fellow OSs forming a group, but they are the same, belonging to the network of consciousness. Then, we have Jane, in the Speaker, who is part of the ansible, though the possibility of other Janes is not fully explained. But Jane interacts with a lot of people on her own, not as Jane, but as an intelligent machine, while she interacts as herself, the sentient Jane with just two humans, in the book. Finally, we have Asimov’s Gaia world where humans, plants and animals live as one conscious super-being (used in planet Pandora too, by James Cameron), also hinted at within the lives of the Pequeninos, in Speaker for the Dead. Human-machine interface The more I recalled Her, the more I was annoyed with the prospect of typing into my phone and laptop to get things done. I do understand that speech-recognition hasn’t evolved in our times at all and it remains, at best, clunky. But the way it was polished in Her was honestly very, very tempting and makes me feel like we’re living in primitive ages of human-machine interface.
The scenes of people talking to themselves in Her are disconcerting, no doubt, but with full-fledged Google Glass usage in the near future, we might just see that happening, with the Glass replacing the ear-piece. The nifty trick Theodore uses to let Jane ‘see’ what he is seeing (a pin used in the bottom of his shirt pocket, to let his phone jut out of his pocket just enough for the phone’s lens protruding) is something Glass does better, in a more elegant way, though that elegance is in very early stages of evolution. As we are exploring other forms of machine interface – like the swipe and holographic depictions that help us interact in easier ways, text input continues to be the most painful. I always used to wonder if there’s a possibility of having speech-recognition app where we dictate letter by letter, instead of word by word (if that’s what is causing the clunkiness). The solution is clunky I understand, but I guess if we type letter by letter, why not try that for text input via voice too? PS: As I finished writing this, I notice a Kickstarter project called The Dash - wireless, smart in-ear headphones! This doesn’t connect the net, yet, but imagine it connecting to the internet and also managing speech recognition! I think we are getting closer to ‘her’ now PS 2: I don’t know if you noticed… in one of the early scenes in Her, the news report mentions an impending merger between India and China! I mean… wow!
Karthik is National Lead, Social@ Ogilvy, Ogilvy & Mather. He tweets as @ beastoftraal and is a prolific blogger
MAR 26, 2014 #035
3 david sable
the really long interview
Global CEO, Y&R
Take a look at your own country – look at the life and vibrancy on the street. Where are the analysts from 15 years ago that predicted we would be living in caves again? They said we would be stuck in front of a screen, typing away while restaurants, movies, the retail inside a building dying away. But see how exactly the opposite has happened and continues to happen around the world. Movies are still powerful; restaurants are starting up like never before; young entrepreneurs are going places. We are jaded because we think young entrepreneurs are in the technical side of the business, but that’s not true. All over the world, they are starting fashion companies, restaurants and small boutiques of different types of artisanal food. They’re doing all kinds of things because not everything is digital. The question is how do we take those two sides of life? Digital is an enhancer we call ‘Digital Exponential’. We love the notion of the digital world making your real life that much more powerful. It is giving you new tools, new opportunities, new ways to buy but in a way that it is enhancing the life that you have. For instance, most of the search on smartphones is local search. I am out and about; I may be at a restaurant, a local place and I need to know something on the spot. Hence I say digital is everything, but not everything is digital!
Storyboard recently caught up with Y&R’s Global CEO, David Sable. In a conversation with Editor Anant Rangaswami, Sable discusses Y&R’s partnership with VML Qais, the questions brand managers must ask themselves and how everything in real life stems from digital, but isn’t truly digital. At Rediffusion, a lot is happening on the VML front, but nothing on the advertising side. But if you go back 10 years, Rediff was a huge name in the business… Sable Rediff is still a huge name in the business; venerable even, if I may say so. Everything that I believe, see, feel and even all the people I’ve met are doing the right thing. We are in the kind of business that has a lot of ups and down as a part of its natural cycle. So, watch the upside! This is what you to tweeted to me – “Digital is everything, but not everything is digital”. Could you elaborate on that? Sable There is nothing in the world today, that isn’t digital. Even a newspaper is printed from a digital source; everything that we do has some basis in digital. Having said that, not everything is digital. We still walk out into the streets, don’t we?
There is a technical side to the VML business that no advertising agency in the world will ever have. We think it is the power of bringing our technical side and our creative brain side together as a very powerful offering for our clients.
Will we see VML Qais working much more closely with Rediffusion Y&R, specifically in India? Sable Absolutely, considering that that is our model around the world; our model is that every office we have is digital. Rediffusion Y&R has done some really amazing digital work. But there is a technical side
At one time, being a part of a club was about a lot of value exchange. It made no difference what club you joined. If I give you information, you have to give me something of value of my information back to me. Online, we have made email strictly the price of entry. Then Google, for instance, takes it and says ‘we don’t just want you on email’, but throws in Google Plus and shares everything across the platform
to the VML business that no advertising agency in the world will ever have. We think it is the power of bringing our technical side and our creative brain side together as a very powerful offering for our clients. VML has its own clients for whom they do a lot of work. But the partnership delivers when we bring them together.
We see this in India very specifically, where competition forces traditional and digital advertising agencies to underprice themselves… Sable I don’t think this is a digital issue as much an issue of the times we are in. Clients globally put pressure on their agencies. It is not just pressure on us but it’s the pressure on world partners that all our clients have and consequently we put some pressure on our suppliers as well. That is the nature of the world. We are just seeing that pressure and the application of that pressure which we are all dealing with. Let me go back to saying something you said on your LinkedIn blog. You said in your Groucho Marx piece that ‘the standard price of admission has been your email address’. You also speak about the ‘membership of a club’. You need to help us with two areas of this – a) The challenges for the ‘club owner’ or the brand manager and what are the things he should be careful of doing and b) What should the consumer be careful of not giving away? Sable The quote that you’re referring to is in an article I wrote specifically about what a club is and isn’t. So at one time, being a part of a club was about a lot of value exchange. It made no difference what club you joined. If I give you information, you have to give me something of value of my information back to me. Online, we have made email strictly the price of entry. Then Google, for instance, takes it and says ‘we don’t just want you on email’, but throws in Google Plus and shares everything across the platform. Facebook, too, is pretty much the same. But it’s not clear to me what the value exchange here is. They have access to all of a consumer’s data and information which they then sell, while he is left with nothing. Supposedly, the consumer is left with a better experience – maybe they are giving him ads and sending him messages about pricing that are more relevant to him. But maybe he really doesn’t care. That is the issue I’m trying to address here, of how the value exchange does not work and how it’s ultimately it’s going to backfire. I reiterate that if I was the brand manager, I’d think about that value exchange. For example, we did a program for a major food company in the US where they had asked for a lot of information going. It didn’t get a lot of response obviously. We told them that they didn’t really need that and should just ask for one piece of information first – the email address. Now what do we give back to those people? What if we sent them access to information in a beautiful magazine format? Then we asked them for another piece of information with three-four questions; ‘What is your household like?’ That way we know if the consumer has children or is an empty nester or lives with his grandparents, from the answers. But this way, what you got back was specific information that was tailored to you. The value exchange was very clear here – I asked you for something and you gave me something back. Every brand manager must ask this question – if I ask my consumers or something, am I giving them back enough to makes that value exchange worth it? At the end of it, they must feel that there really is a dialogue and a relationship. Otherwise it’s one way, a waste of the way. One year from now, can you suggest some quantifiable answers on how you would have liked to see Rediffusion Y&R progress in terms of ranking, billing or anything that the reader can hold on to? Sable I want all our clients to say that we are their best partner! That will be my biggest measure of success.
MAR 26, 2014 #035
the back of the book tv tracker
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