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I’ve finally got myself an iPad. Blogging, tweeting and surfing from the iPad is amazingly convenient. The urge and the intent to write regular blogs has always been there. I am sincerely hoping that this would make me a little more proactive and regular at blogging. Now the only bit I need to figure out is time.

The story behind the success of Saint Juice coming soon…

Photo 41

On the mood:
Day one as we emerged out of the registration counter an African man approached us and introduced himself as the editor of a Kenyan publication. He told us he was doing a piece on delegates from poor countries visiting Cannes during the recession. He asked us if he could click our picture for the cover. I introduced him to a few Americans standing near by.

Recession was on everyone’s mind. However, The Carlton terrace was buzzing as ever, it is the Gutter bar that suffered the numbers. Brunch at Le Columbe d’Or was a full house, it is the lunch at café Roma that took a beating.

On the seminars:
While the seminar halls weren’t as empty as the rest of Cannes, most of the seminars were a repeat of last years content.

On the work and judging:
I was particularly impressed with some of the Design, Interactive and Outdoor work. I enjoyed Akira Kagami’s simple yet graceful jury president address. It sounded like he had no agendas. He was truly at peace and it reflected in the judgment and the work.

Film, print and integrated work on the other hand were competent but uninspiring. I don’t know if it was just the quality of entries that were to be blamed.
A complete antithesis to Kagami, David Lubars (Jury President Print & Film Lions) was terribly uninspiring when he addressed the ceremony on two occasions and consistently had only one thing to highlight ‘I have tried to make sure you see less of scams today.’
How elementary! You are the jury president; your job is to make sure we see best ideas win. Let Scotland Yard do its job. The organizers are there to watch out, police, scrutinize, check and double check. While you were concentrating on the scams, a few good pieces you did miss.

On the Indian contingent:
It wasn’t as exciting as the year before when 100 of us opened our lungs out at the Gutter Bar to a cacophony of Hindi songs. Journalists and media reps had a majority over advertising people in the Indian contingent. And, the India party had more Goras than Indians.

On India’s performance:
While the number of metals look as good as last year, we tend to forget that there were 1000 entries from India this year. 25 won. That’s about 2%. This year, India spent over Rs. 3.5 crores on Cannes entry fees. It’s cost us approximately Rs. 14 lac per metal, irrespective of its quality. This is not including cost of proofing, material and courier; which could easily add up to more than a crore. Bad ROI.

On Creativeland at Cannes:
After 5 in the One Show, 3 in the D&Ad, a couple at the Asia Pacific Adfest and debuting amongst the top 10 at the Abby in our very first award year; just one shortlist out of the 6 campaign at Cannes was a bit tough to understand. Especially when 2 of them have consistently won at every show. We decided it was God’s way of telling us ‘Boys this is just the beginning, you can’t have everything yet.’ So, three of us put it behind us and lived it up in our (now famous) little apartment just off the Croisette. Some serious Curries, Malu food became staple as Senthil, Ali, Boski, Kamble and quite few others joined in.

Here’s the article from on LMN


08 April 2009
They say size matters, and since this week’s Hotshot sees a 12 inch man stranded at the seaside, we’re inclined to agree. The spot for new Indian soft drink LMN is all about thinking big. brings you an exclusive look at pre-production sketches and behind-the-scenes photography.
This week’s hotshot is all about scale, ambition and attention to detail. Directed by Ram Madhvani – the visionary behind Happydent Palace, Cockroaches and Mosquitoes Quit India and Himani Man-Made Machines – the spot for Indian soft drink LMN sees a tiny, dehydrated man battle past the terrors of the seaside to quench his thirst.

The creative was dreamed up by local agency Creativeland Asia. They were tasked by Indian beverage company Parle Agro with launching a new lemon drink – and had to find a way of branding the drink to make it stand out in the marketplace. As well as creating and designing the LMN look, they also had to come up with a spot that was funny and different but had mass appeal.

“While the film has strong youth undertones, strategically the commercial has to appeal to people from various social and economic backgrounds across various languages in India. A powerful visual metaphor and the humour helps us cut across languages and various socio-economic segments in a huge market like India,” explains Raj Kurup, the founder of Creativeland Asia, and creative director on the job.

The idea was a play on the fact that the human body is 80 per cent water – wouldn’t really thirsty people become 20 per cent of their usual size? “The thought of a pint-sized man running around, dragging his pants in panic, searching for LMN looked and sounded hilarious in our heads. The script happened right there,” he explains.

According to Madhvani’s producer at Equinox, Manoj Shroff, the team were keen to portray a realistic Indian beach scene. Generally speaking, beach life in India is less about bikinis and suntans and more about family picnics. “In Indian advertising we make our beaches look, unsuccessfully, like they are from Baywatch. Ram decided that a real Indian beach has an exotic, ethnic feel that is rooted in India yet can be thought whimsical and strange when looked at with a different eye,” he explains. “Fully clothed people at a beach? Imagine!”

And this realism was also an integral part of the casting. So what was Madhvani looking for in his leading man? “Someone whose breasts wouldn’t shake when he ran!” laughs Madhvani. “But jokes apart, when talking about the casting with Raj we were wondering how to give the man a sense that he did belong to the beach, We wanted the film to look real. And give the man and the other characters a feeling that they existed before the action. Raj came up with a back story. The man should look like a local tour guide.”

The team decided to shoot on a popular Mumbai beach, Juhu. Knowing it would be impossible to employ the 15,000 extras needed to capture the feeling of a busy Sunday afternoon at the beach. Instead, they headed down to the beach with a 35 mm camera hidden in a bag.

DP Pushan Kripalani and Madhvani worked in what can only be described as a ‘directorial pincer movement’. Kripalani wandered round the beach with the contraption, while Madhvani looked through a video camera pointing in the opposite direction, pretending to shoot something else. It was a technique to distract the crowd while Kripalani filmed. AD Shakun Batra then had to discreetly take measurements so that the graphics team could comp in the tiny protagonist later. They then shot for four days at a quieter beach, where they worked on more close-up shots.

It then came time to shoot the hero’s close-ups. The team had to wait 15 days between wrapping the beach shots and filming the protagonist, thanks to Madhvani’s meticulous attention to detail. He decided that a dehydrated man would weigh less than normal, so the actor went on a strict diet-and-gym regime.

One of the most challenging parts of the spot was the scene where the man is hit by a giant wave – a shot that was never originally intended to be part of the film. “The director gifted it to the producer and the production team after the budget was signed. Most people will never know the heart attacks this one caused production and producer. We actually built a tank 30 feet into the sea, 18 feet tall with a huge 500 litre iron tank on top, with a giant slide attached so that the water came gushing down in the right size and proportion to hit our 5’11” man,” explains Shroff.

In total, the spot took two months of pre-production, six days of shooting (spread over a month) and a month and a half to post produce. The post production was handled by Biju D from Fable Farm. To ensure that the film looked as realistic as possible, they decide to use as little green screen as possible.

Bringing the spot further to life is the vibrant soundtrack. It was inspired by the music of the Kohli fisherfolk of Maharashtra – Madhvani felt that it would bring just the right level of insanity to the finished film. It was scored by music director Sneha Khanwalkar and a Kohli singer.

The leading man might have been tiny, but the job was anything but. As Kurup explains, by the end of the shoot, most of the team identified with the tiny protagonist.

“Creating eight feet tall waves; making gigantic jeans, paper-cups and a toy parachute man; teaching dogs, fish and local fisherwomen to act and shooting every single thing live and putting them together over seven weeks made us lose water and shrink to the size of a 500ml bottle. But when we saw our final product, we got refreshed, flipped and grew back to our original sizes.”

Watch the hotshot here. And check out the range of preproduction models and sketches in the gallery at the side of the story.

I’m personally quite thrilled with the start Creativeland Asia has been able to make on an iconic brand such as Frooti with ‘why grow up.’  It’s even more gratifying when seniors from the industry call up proactively and appreciate the work. And in some cases, selflessly suggest ideas on how one can build on the campaign.

The exercise in a nutshell
: The revamp has been a 9-month exercise. We started with an extensive study of the market, the society and a keen understanding of the brand; its history and its strengths.

Over The Years
Brief: Revamp Brand Frooti. Make it contemporary and youthful.

Background: Frooti is India’s legendary and iconic mango drink. It has been around for over two and a half decades now. Pretty much what Nike or McDonalds or Guinness or Ikea is to the world, Frooti is to India. There’s not one person in India who hasn’t had a Frooti. By sheer numbers and its depth of distribution in India and availability in more than 20 countries, Frooti is perhaps one of the largest selling mango drinks in the world.

During the brand study, here are a few things we realized. When Frooti came into existence over 2 decades ago, it came in as a really contemporary and youthful drink. Frooti brought Tetra Pak into India. It was cool to have a Frooti. Even the imagery in Frooti communication was way ahead of anything else the Indian society was exposed to. Who can forget classic Frooti commercials in early 80s with pretty girls in mini skirts, hula-hoop, use of CG, people diving into a pool of Frooti, etc., All these, India hadn’t seen before. We realized being cool wasn’t alien to Frooti, it was just about reinstating the cool factor. Relevantly.

However, there was a little something we had to tackle going further. Over the years Frooti was blessed with a lot of child and adolescent loyalists. There have seldom been birthday parties without a Frooti. Can we without alienating them create a similar cult following with youth? With about 60% of India being a part of that segment.

We were aware that frooti had made attempts in the past. Digen Verma by Everest and Bindass campaign by Grey, were both tried. While they did create an initial buzz, they lacked a long term strategy or longevity perhaps. We concluded.

So, the exercise was essentially to arrive at a strategic idea that’s much sharper and a thought or a philosophy Frooti can own and reinvent itself for years.

Arriving at the idea:
There are three parts arriving at the idea:

The young: What’s cool and contemporary with the young? Young India is much more confident than it ever was. It’s much more aware and unabashed. It’s not about how good looking, or rich, or intelligent you are. It’s all about how interesting you are. People don’t ape anymore, they’d rather adapt something they like and reinterpret it to suit their own. Alternate is the new popular. The young and youthful are constantly hunting for fresh new everything. Present is in. Past is stale. Future is out. Everyone’s exploring and experimenting and experiencing. And while they are, and like to be a part of a community, they’d like the space to express their own individuality and eccentricities.
Key words/phrases: Originality, Not stale, Fresh community, eccentricity and unabashed-ness.

The Mango: It was really important for us to study the mango fruit. It’s the soul of Frooti. Everyone knows Mango Frooti Fresh n Juicy. You hum one part and someone else will complete the other. Last year, soon after Frooti started working with us, we did a commercial reinforcing Frooti as the the mango to every Indian. This was a tactical exercise and to buy time for the revamp. Pretty much to add to confusion of Maaza and Slice trying hard to be a mango.

Here’s what we understand of the mango. While it is the king of all fruits and all that blah, deep inside, the mango is a quaint and quirky fruit. It looks funny, lopsided and asymmetrical. And, quite unlike most other fruits. You can’t really eat it with a fork and a knife. It’s fruit you’d like to get dirty with, steal and even crave for. I haven’t heard of too many people stealing bananas or pineapples as kids. And then of course there’s the mango seed, the best part of the mango. You have to suck on it, squeeze and get your hands dirty. (And for god’s sake there can’t be a sexual innuendo to mango eating. That’s mistaking it for a strawberry.)

Beneath all the garb and responsibility mango has to shoulder, it is a sweet child-like fruit and you can’t behave like an adult and enjoy a mango. Seriously.
Key words: Child like, quirky, lopsided

The Brand Frooti: (Refer to background)
Key Words: Iconic, Cult, Mango, fresh n juicy, childhood,

The idea:
We had to find a voice for Frooti that was well within its values and yet so cool and contemporary that people in their heads said, wow I didn’t look at Frooti like that, and not that isn’t frooti.

During our various brainstorming sessions, debates, discussions (at Creativeland we call them Freethinking (TM) sessions) and thinking exercises, we were really impressed with the job ‘Fresh n juicy’ had done for years. We jointly decided to give it a raise and a promotion. From just a baseline, a slogan or a product descriptor we promoted ‘Fresh n Juicy’ to the brand philosophy.

It was documented and agreed upon that Frooti will never be stale, it will always stay fresh ‘n’ juicy as a brand. We got a buy in from everyone in the team. We pledged to keep pushing with everything, the product, its communication, its packaging, its contests, offers… everything.

Then during one of the subsequent sessions we struck gold with the theme – ‘why grow up.’ It sounded the most promising bet for the brand because one, it embodies the spirit of mango. A fruit that is the soul of Frooti.
Two, today the society is unabashed, eccentricities are adored, take our ex-prez Abdul Kalam, he was adored for his child-like spontaneity. A boss in or a college professor who will be most likely admired by the younger audience is the one who is not a straight-jacket.
And three, of course it turns the associations of Frooti with children and childhood on its head, and to its advantage.

The youth today is really confident and unabashed about the way they are. So, we didn’t use ‘why grow up’ as a question. We didn’t have a point to prove, we wanted to make a statement.

The ‘why grow up’ campaign
The why grow up campaign sets up a long-term strategy and vision for the brand. It is sharp, it is in keeping with the contemporary values of what a mango drink can embody. It is extremely youthful.

Over a period of time it will manifest itself in every aspect of the brand and will be supported through various communication channels and media.

Work so far:

Frooti Logo
The Frooti logo has been carefully tweaked to look a little more contemporary while retaining its classic character. The complete metamorphosis will take a little while.

Doodle Frooti

Frooti Pack

The packaging: It’s brighter, cleaner and has a new visual identity. We have created the Mango Emoticons fondly known as Mangoticons. We have launched with 3 new pack designs with three new mangoticons by the next season, we’ll have 25 mangoticons in the market. The Mangoticons will assume more significance as we go on. You will see, it will unfold.

Communication: The why grow up campaign will be culmination of various media conventional and alternate. The web, Social media, ambient installations, in-premise stunts & spectaculars and with a huge thrust on User Generated Content (UGC).

The first big piece of communication with the ‘why grow up’ theme is a TV commercial. Here we’ve portrayed mango drink lovers across age groups enjoying the drink the way it is truly enjoyed, without inhibitions and with contentious slurps.

The ‘why grow up strategy will constantly reinvent itself over the years and promises to bring in cutting edge communication year after year on the brand.

Apart from the youth and external market, Creativeland is also creating internal communication in the form of workshops to brand partners, media agency, sales etc., as this is a completely new way of thinking on Frooti.

The film has been directed by Prakash Varma of Nirvana Film, a good friend and an amazingly mature filmmaker. Couldn’t have thought of a better guy to do this. A great eye and a keen understanding of the subject. The film was edited at VHQ Singapore. And the sound design was done by Evan from The Gunnery. What an extra-ordinary person, he’s a ‘one man magic troupe’!
My team at Creativeland who are exceptional and I’m extremely proud of. And the marketing team at Parle Agro who I’m thankful to for trusting me and my team with such a huge decision.

Thrilled and How!

This film started as a trip and a challenge when someone who worked all his life on P&G told me that it’s easier to think out of the box or break conventions if you’re working on smaller brands and more interesting product categories. With P&G, I was told, it is impossible to break formats and think different. I discovered it is difficult. Not impossible. 🙂

This film is closest to my heart. It took me 4 months to make this film. And 2 years to get it out. The struggle a hand full of ‘believers in this film’ and I went through while making it and then getting it out makes it even more special. I could actually write a book on it.

Or may be I’ll start with a blog. Watch this space.

Excerpts from my talk at Sophia Polytechnic

Protect your mind.
Your mind is the most valuable asset you’ll ever own.
It’ll will be your office for years to come.
A playground when you’re bored.
A preview room for all your fantasies
A library when you’re searching for something
A secret garden when you’ll want to keep something
A mill when you’d want to invent something.
A boat. A bridge for troubled waters.
A bank. A vault. A panic room…
And your own.

Learn to control it, use and protect it.
Here are 13 simple tips.

1. Accept nervousness

Nervousness is the first Feeling a mind feels.
If you aren’t nervous you’re not feeling.
Learn to accept it as a good feeling.
Love, excitement, euphoria, exuberance. The greatest feelings are built on nervousness. Build on it. You’ll soon feel you’re on top of the world.

2. Teach you mind to Collaborate
You cant be good at everything.
One mind is good. Two minds, great!
Learn to co-exist with other minds.
Minds that are completely tangential to yours. Relatively faster, or deeper or simpler.
Stimulate each other. Glory never came to one person alone.

3. Believe in something.
God. Self. Destiny. Magic. Santa. Aliens. Hope. Something. Anything. Believe.
You’ll feel less dizzy if you fix your eyes to the horizon.

4. Channel emotions.
In a life time:
There will be happiness.
There will be despair.
There will be depression.
There will be time you’ll feel stupid.
There will be times you feel like you’re on top.
Don’t waste these emotions doing nothing.
Create something out of it.
Blues came out of pain. R&B came out of Oppression.

5. Be a student. Judge less. Experience more.

The world will change. The world will evolve.
Sometimes we’ll contribute to the change and evolution
But most times we’ll experience it.
Accept it. Learn from it.
From the right. From the wrong. From the foolish. From the strong.

6. Don’t abuse your mind
Drugs can’t make you think better.
Not in the short run. Not in the long run.
Breathe correctly. Eat on time. Drink responsibly.
I don’t know if it will help you think better.
But it will certainly help you think longer.

7. Don’t let things go to your head
Sometimes you’ll succeed.
Sometimes you’ll fail.
Some days you’ll be genius.
Some days you’ll be a stupid.
Don’t get stuck on one.

8. Travel
Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever does.
See places. Read. Listen. Watch. Meet people.
The more we see. The more ideas we’ll get.

9. Meditate.

Even your mind requires a little time alone to sort itself.

10. Simplify.
Most of your hard work should go into minimizing complications in you mind.
Beyond that creativity and life are both simple.

11. Play with your mind.

Turn things on its head. Play what if?
Invent tools. Thinking patterns.

12. Be honest with your own-self.
The more honest you are with yourself,
the more you’d accept yourself for what you are.
And the faster you accept yourself for what you are,
the sooner your work looks original.

13. THINK.
Don’t just sit there and worry.
The less space you’ll keep for worries.
The more space there will be to think.

Thank you.