Saturday, February 27, 2010

Budget - Heads I Win, Tails You Lose!

I look at the common investor as the one who has his finger in every pie. He would like to spend if he has enough and save if he has little. With this psyche, he looks at the Budget with not only eyes wide open, but with a mouth to enjoy the benefits.
So what does the FM show us and give us?
Tax reliefs are fine prima facie. But the real effects do  not last long...not even till Pranab Babu finishes his speech. The din created in Parliament by the opposition-of-convenience sends fears. There is something astonishingly wrong.
The Common investor was happy that he’s got relief and can save and spend. And, as the FM himself said:  “to use for savings and consumption”. It’s like the rosy picture painted on the front page of the Times of India! The real picture is in inside pages. The Rs 50,000 dream carrot quickly disappears into the oblivion as one visualises the “broader picture” as analysts put.
This was exactly why Mr G V Nageswara Rao, MD & CEO, IDBI Fortis Life Insurance reminds us within ten minutes of FM’s speech that Pranab Babu has given with one hand and taken back with the other! Typical case of a Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham!
If FM has left an average of Rs 50,000 (though I do not understand as to how the analysts arrived at this super savings amount!), the cascading impact of taxes, fuel price hikes will continue to increase the unbearable burden on him.
Whether it is a developer, businessman, vegetable vendor, transport operator – all will pass on the tax impact to the common investor. The oil companies have already done so! In fact, I have already heard someone saying at the top of his voice: 50,000 bachaa kar kya karogey (What will you do with the savings of Rs 50,000?)?
There are many women like my wife who are worried about the expenses on te education and marriage of their children. You see, gold also costs more than yesterday!
One is very happy to note that the tax allowance on long-term infra bonds is extended to investment of additional Rs 20,000, allocations for infrastructure, rural housing, power, education and health are all up. This will surely help in spreading the small investor movement to tier-2 and 3 towns. The financial services industry has quite a bit coming its way in this new and ever growing market.
But the goodwill that FM wanted to earn will prove to be very short living.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MNIK - 1st Bollywood film with audio description

February 23, 2010 /India PRwire/ -- 'My Name is Khan' has made cinema history by becoming the first ever Bollywood film to be released in cinemas with audio description (AD). Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) worked with 20th Century Fox to achieve this milestone after its research among blind or partially sighted people of Asian origin found that over 55 per cent of respondents were more likely to watch Bollywood films if AD was provided.

AD is as important to blind and partially sighted people as subtitles are to those with hearing problems. It is an additional narration that fits between passages of dialogue to describe action sequences, body language, costume and scenery, allowing the viewer to understand exactly what is happening on screen. 'My Name is Khan' is also the first film to feature AD in Hindi, the language of the film.

Martin Bromfield, Executive Director at Twentieth Century Fox says: "20th Century Fox is proud to offer, for the first time ever, a Hindi AD track on 'My Name is Khan'. English speaking AD has been available on all our films for some time now, so we felt it was natural to progress and offer Hindi AD on our first collaboration with Bollywood. With help from RNIB and Deluxe Digital Studios we worked hard to create an English audio descriptive track which was then translated before being recorded by a Hindi speaking audio describer, in time for the second week of release."

Fazilet Hadi, Director Inclusive Society, RNIB says: "Around 700 films are produced by Bollywood every year, and our research tells us that blind and partially sighted fans want AD on these films. So we're delighted that Fox have worked with us to allow blind and partially sighted people to enjoy this much-anticipated release along with their sighted family and friends. We hope other studios will follow Fox's lead making 'My Name is Khan' the first of many audio described Bollywood films."

Film fan, Bhanu Ben, from Coventry says: "I love watching Bollywood films on DVD at home- if my daughter's here she tells me what's happening on screen, but I stopped going to the cinema because it was too difficult to follow the action. I'm really excited because I can actually go and see 'My Name is Khan' at the cinema with my family and we enjoy it together with AD in Hindi."

'My Name is Khan' from Fox STAR Studios and 20th Century Fox is directed by Karan Johar and stars Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. It opened in the UK on 11 February and will be available with English AD & Subs and Hindi AD in cinemas from 19 February 2010. Cineworld and Vue cinemas have confirmed they are using the Hindi AD and details of which cinemas around the country are showing the film are available on their respective websites.

RNIB's campaign for AD has resulted in more than 300 cinemas in the UK equipped with systems to facilitate it, and the majority of Hollywood and UK films released in this country have an AD track on them. Many DVDs also include AD on mainstream UK releases

Friday, February 19, 2010

Concept PR gets ISO certification

MUMBAI, February 19, 2010: In a rare distinction, India’s leading PR consultancy firm Concept PR has been given ISO 9110:2008 certificate for its “Quality Management System”.
Nimbus certification Private Limited has assessed Concept Public Relations India Ltd and awarded the ISO certificate.
Winner of PR Agency of the Year – 2007 award from PRCI, Concept PR has over 150 professionals, with a pan-India presence and national infrastructure - 12 offices and 36 representative offices covering every major centre.
Mr B N Kumar, CEO of Concept PR said: “This is a validation of our processes, systems, compliances and ethical practices that we adopt to ensure the highest degree of quality of service to our clients on the one hand and the media on the other.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Remembering Mani Ayer

While several advertising professionals are running head-over-heels to pay homage to Mani Aiyar, the doyen of Indian advertising industry, not many seem to realise the fact that Mr Ayer should also be considered as the father today’s PR Consultancy.
He had the vision and the right perception of the value of Public Relations and gave the green signal to set up O&M PR way back in 1986 and the 1st and the most prestigious account that the PR team bagged was that of INTACH to work on PR for the Ganga Action Plan during the Mahakumbh. O&M PR did a considerable work in spreading the good word about the efforts that were going to keep the Ganga clean, diver the Haridwar and Rishikesh sewerage that was earlier going directly into the holy river and so on.
O&P PR also did pioneering work in Crisis Communications for Hindustan Coco Products Ltd – now known as Cadbury’s – when they had problem with the coco farmers in Kerala. Another great work the team did was when VST Industries Ltd (of Charminar and Charms cigarettes fame) had faced crisis on its investor front. And, I still remember the way he got emotionally moved and his PR team won the Ogilvy worldwide APAC award for the work done for VST.
Mani would always be available to share his thoughts on PR with his team and would tell them to talk to clients of the importance of “this non-paid communication” as opposed to advertising. He would actively encourage his PR team members to come up with original ideas. When God of Advertising David Ogilvy visited India, he left it to his PR team to handle the media without interfering even once.
I was lucky to be part of the team that set up O&M PR under the leadership of T C Ajit. I also consider myself to be lucky to enjoy similar freedom that we had at O&M PR (now Ogilvy PR)
Thank you Mani, for constantly reminding us that the companies should always communicate (and not just in times of crisis).