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Master Chef Pakistan: Coming soon on URDU 1

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masterchef Pakistan

Master Chef, the famous television cooking reality show, is all set and ready to come to Pakistan soon. 

The show was originated in United Kingdom in 1990s, created by Franc Roddam, after which it was revived by BBC in 2005. Ever since then, the show has made its way to numerous countries of the world, including United States, Australia, Malaysia, India, Belgium, China, France, Germany and many more.

The international sensation is being brought in Pakistan by none other than URDU 1, the Alliance Media Dubai owned channel, famous for its dubbed Turkish, Croatian, Spanish and Indian Drama series.

The reality Cooking show is famous for having all the flavors for everyone; those who love cooking, those who love food and even those who love reality television. Master Chef, for all these reasons and more, has been produced in more than 25 countries and is currently airing in more than 200 territories of the world.

The Show has also had four major versions, which are followed according to the success of the show in a country. The MasterChef series, MasterChef: The Professionals for professional working chefs, Celebrity MasterChef featuring well known celebrities as contestants and lastly the Junior MasterChef.

On the other hand Urdu 1 is considered to be the latest addition in the highly competitive Pakistani electronic media. Launched last year, the channel is headquartered in Karachi. Urdu 1 rose to both fame and controversy after the success of their dubbed Turkish Drama Series, ‘Ishq e Mamnoon’.

Master Chef Pakistan is going to be the first reality show for the Channel. Urdu 1 may have dubbed and adopted International programs for now, but launching and sustaining an adaption of one of the most famous reality show, is going to be the toughest challenge for the young channel so far.


Banana Car: A New Player in the Automobile Market?

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bananas car

By Zulfiqar Ali Sajwani

As weird as it sounds there is an innovative car that is going to make you crave for its ride the moment you catch its first glimpse.

Imagine a 1993 F-150 lined in front of you. There is nothing much exciting about it right. Now imagine a huge banana on it. Yes, this is the part which makes one go like ‘I want to go bananas with this Big Banana Car’.

Designed by a mechanic from Oxford England Steve Braithwaite, the car made the porch-sitting residents go bonkers when they saw Tom Brown, the promoter of the car, driving his Big Banana Car around Kalamazoo.

The mechanic and the promoter of the car met in Muskegon selling aerial photographs and address signs together and started searching for a new venture. Having a routine breakfast at Denny, they were instantly inspired by a ‘Banana’ and then there was no looking back.

According to Brown, the car aims to “make people laugh, have a good time, put smiles on their faces, promote a product, to get this around the world with Steve and to build the next car.”

The duo has positioned this car as a promotional medium for brands, which is far more striking and attention grabbing than a typical billboard. With a vision of carrying this communication worldwide, they have launched an official website of the car called bigbananacar.com, where you can get all te information about how can you approach the car and make your brand the next big thing.

Brown and White wish to get the ‘visas’ for the car, but, unfortunately, that does not seem to happen anytime soon. However, premium brands like Planet Smoothie, Chiquita and Del Monte have already used the breath taking banana car for their promotion, leaving no reason for the makers to discontinue the innovative startup.

Looking at the pace of this ‘fruit car’, do not be surprised to wave at a giant banana car that crosses y your window. We are sure that even if you would not be dying to ride the automobile, it would definitely give you a reason to smile!


Robert Pattinson sizzles in Dior ad

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robert pattinson

By Ufaq Ashfaque

Hollywood heart-throb Robert Pattinson comes back with a bang, with his sophisticated and sultry appearance in a recent campaign done by Dior Homme.

After his successful performance in Twilight, the Hollywood’s most wanted vampire is back in action.

The advert shows Robert Pattinson and model Camilla Rowe, acting all whimsical and flirty while sporting Dior, be it their accessories or clothes.

As Hollywood and fashion icons pair together, fans will have something worth watching and brand will become viral over social media.

Rock band Led Zepplin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ has been chosen as the background music of this commercial.

From Robert dressed fully in a bathtub to wearing designer shades on the rooftop; to crashing a party with French model Camille Rowe and Pattinson crashing a party in casual clothing to enjoying a BMW convertible joy ride with Rowe, the ad is a treat to watch for Pattinson fans.

While people watching the ad may call it as “hot” and “catchy”, critics regard this as a deviation from Dior’s brand image and consider it a ‘pseudo-sexy silliness’.

However, even though quite a few are criticizing the ad, marketers knew that this TVC is all about channeling Pattinson’s fans towards Dior.

Some may argue that Dior’s target audience hardly matches with Pattinson’s. What do you think?


Samsung Galaxy Note 3: What to expect?

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galaxy note 3

Galaxy Note 3, the forthcoming heir in the Samsung Phablet family, is just a few hours away from being officially launch. It will be unveiled just hours from now in Berlin at 19:00 CEST (22:00 PST), after which It would be just a matter of time till the highly anticipated device makes its way from Europe to American Markets and soon the highly lucrative Asian markets.

Samsung galaxy note 2, the predecessor, was a pretty big deal in Phablet devices. With an impressive S pen, improved screen sensitivity, more RAM and a fairly improved battery time from 2,500 mAh to 3,100 mAh. The Phablet was a much better follow-up to the preceding original Samsung Note.

What to expect from Galaxy Note 3?

Some speculation are that the new Galaxy note 3 will include a new version of the S pen software kit, a  finger print reader together with the famous Samsung eye reading sensor introduced in Samsung’s flagship smartphone Galaxy SIV. Rumors also suggest that the Note 3 will have capabilities of a Remote of control which have again been introduced already in Note 8 and S IV.

Officials earlier announced that the new Note 3 will have a larger screen size of 5.68” inches, with a clear 1080p resolution. Equipped with a 13 mega pixel camera the device is said to be 4k supportive. The device is also rumored to have an 800 SoC processor and a 2.5 GB RAM.

Along with all these added features the new Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a new Quick Charge 2.0 protocol, which would allow a 75 percent faster battery charging


McDonald’s releases Augmented Reality App

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mcdonald augmented reality

By Ufaq Ashfaque

McDonald’s has launched an augmented reality application, for smartphones, that educates users regarding sustainability initiatives launched by the fast-food restaurant through its four mini-games.

Leader in Augmented technology Metaio together with creative digital agency Heye and communications agency LessingvonKlenze,came up with this application for the German audience.

The introduction of this app, which is available on Google Play and iTunes app store, came shortly after the brand published its ‘Corporate Responsibility Report, named ‘McMission’.

Four applications complete the entire McDonald’s “McMission” series.  This application would allow the users of this application to play interactive games, satisfying their need for entertainment and educate themselves regarding the activities and events that McDonalds is involved.

These four series have been designed based on the areas where the fast-food restaurant has been involved in.

Called “Eco-Spinning”, “Recycling Crash Course”, “Waste-Dunking” and “Origin Puzzle”, these missions are being completed by users, concluding with a mini-quiz.

These games would allow people to educate themselves about environmental preservation, but would allow motivate them to do their bit in making Earth a better place to live.

Children playing games and learning about such initiatives and seeing McDonalds be involved in such activities would also persuade them to render services and act responsibly.


Google pockets one-third of total Online Ad Revenue

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total online ad revenue Google

Google has proven to be almighty when it comes to online Advertisement. According to Mashable, total online ad spending accumulated to be around $117.6 billion in 2013, one-third of which was earned by the search giant Google.

Google tops the chart (from statista.com) which shows the top 10 destinations for online ad dollar spent. The colossal lead can be estimated by the fact that the Google earned twice as much as all the other nine companies made together.

The list further includes Facebook on the second position, followed by Yahoo on third and Microsoft on the fourth position, for online ad revenues.

For all the people who wondered how does Google – a brand which for the longest time was touted for ‘not having a product’ – earn? The fact, as the statistics illustrate, is that Google is doing pretty well.

Last year Google made around 97% of its total earning from online Ads.70% of this revenue was from AdWords, which allows businesses to advertise by popular keywords and the remaining 30% came from Adsense which allows different businesses to post ads on particular websites.

Hence, the total revenue Google earned from Google Ads, in essence online advertisement, makes Google more valuable than GDP earning of the 31 poorest countries of the world (combined).

This year the total online ad expenditure has increased by 13% from what it was a year ago.

Social media tycoon Facebook grabbed second place in the top ten. Despite the unfathomable popularity of facebook, the company could only make $6.4b from online ads. This is in no way a small earning, that is if you can ignore the fact that it is a one-sixth of what Google makes.

Then there comes a bit too many surprises in the chart. Yahoo this year earned one-tenth ($3.5b) of what Google earned.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn stood on the tenth place managing a mere one percent of Google’s ad revenue. Online retailing giant Amazon found itself on the seventh place this year, with earnings of around $0.8b.


Ready to Watch the Smartwatch War?

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smartwatch- 1

By Zulfiqar Ali Sajwani

Did we ever imagine that an accessory which we wear on our wrist to get hold of time would become a multipurpose gadget? No, we did not.

But yet again, we stand awestruck with the speed with which the technology is evolving. The ‘smart people’ who came up with ‘smartphones’ and set to launch a ‘smartwatch’ that talks, walks, plays and stays with you just like a personal assistant. The best part is that it’s not just one tech-savvy company that is gifting us with this innovation; it’s the four technology giants – Apple Google, Microsoft and Samsung.

We have heard the silence before the thunder. The hurricane of ultimate technology is about to arrive so grab your popcorns and get ready to watch the ‘smartwatch’ war’.

The battle is between the seasoned players of the technology market. Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung are putting forth their best foot to position their smartwatch as the ‘pioneer’ in the minds of the technology lovers.

From acquisitions to incubations, the technology giants have planned various initiatives to add value to their smartwatch. We have tried to catch the news about their strategies so that you get a preview as to what is going to happen in the smartwatch arena.

Samsung

smartwatch- samsung

This player used the first mover advantage very well. We heard a lot of news about Samsung Galaxy Gear and its features along with the official announcement about its launch on September 4.

Samsung have scheduled the release right ahead of the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin. The market is prepared to welcome this watch, with some loyal fans awaiting its arrival.

Samsung plans to use ‘fitness’ as the edge for their smartwatch. The pictures on VentureBeat show the device’s sleekness and health monitoring features. Technology Experts suggest that Samsung would not force a smartphone into a smartwatch. Rather, the emphasis would be on companionship with Galaxy S Android phones as well as fitness tracking.

Microsoft

smartwatch-microsoft

The connection between Microsoft and Smartwatches may raise some eyebrows, but the company is reported to source components for a smart watch prototype, including 1.5-inch displays as per the Wall Street Journal on April 2013.

This is not the first time that the baby of Bill Gates has interacted with the watch industry. History tells us that the company developed a Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) application which was later utilized by high-end watch makers like Fossil, Swatch and Tissot.

However, with Steve Balmer’s, current CEO of Microsoft, farewell lined up, it is still ambiguous as to how Microsoft would handle the smartwatch symphony along with acquisitions of Nokia’s mobile business.

Google

smartwatch-google

Google silently baited on an entrepreneurial venture and we saw WIMM Labs, a smart watch startup, creeping into its bag.

WIMM’s smartwatch has already made a mark for itself in the market for being a standalone gadget with no dependency on other software applications. Envisioning this, they had already started developing a platform and with Google’s acquisition, Android has joined in the league.

Experts expect that this smartwatch development would propel Google into the hardware side of things. The smartwatch initiative is expected to compete internally with Google’s console, with one of them hitting the market by the end of this year.

Apple

smartwatch-apple

As they say ‘Nobody knows what is happening inside Apple’, hence all the news about ‘iWatch’ that we receive is through the grapevine.

With Apple patenting iWatch in Japan this June, there are hardly any doubts about the company’s participation in the smartwatch battalion.

The New York Times recently informed the fans about the company’s claim of “experimenting with the wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass” recently.

Furthermore, the Taiwanese press has reported Quanta and Inventec winning the contracts to build Apple’s first smart watch, with suggestions that they could build up to 38m units in 2014.

With such news in the air, we are ready to be bestowed with a savvy watch soon.

Research firm Canalys recently claimed that 500,000 smartwatches will be sold in 2013 and the technology giants seem to be all ready to make their best sales. With the above news and all the tech talks hitting our senses, we should definitely fasten our seat belts to welcome the revolution of smart watches.


Movie preview: The ‘Lamha’ has arrived

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lamha movie

By Marium Ashfaq

Are we ready for a journey to self-discovery? Yes, apparently, this is what the multiple award-winning film is all about. According to press release, the movie will release in Karachi by The Platform, at the Atrium Cinemas on September 20.

The movie written by Summer Nicks and produced by Meher Jaffry promises to take its viewers on a self-exploratory expedition, where a moment (lamha) can be eternal in one’s life.

The star cast of the movie includes Aamina Sheikh, Mohib Mirza, and Gohar Rasheed.

‘Lamha’ has been waiting for a local theatrical release since 2012. However, The Platform came to the rescue and took charge of the distribution and exhibition as they wish to ‘promote new filmmakers who are making a mark in the international market’.

According to the director, Mansoor Mujahid, the film explores the ‘little things’ in life which we tend to miss in our daily hustle bustle. There is no extravagant plot with unpredictable twists, and this is exactly what makes it stand out among the clichés of the Pakistani cinema.

Lamha is a simple movie which depicts the journey of a simple couple – Aamina and Mohib – who lose their only child and then have to live with the uncertainty of it all until they cope with it…or not.

Moreover, the film has already won the People’s Choice Best Feature Film Award, at the New York City International Film Festival along with Aamina Sheikh named the Best Actress in a leading role. Furthermore, it has been travelling overseas including the South Asian Film Festival, as well as the Delhi International Film Festival 2012.

Unfortunately, the film took so long to release in its own country due to the lack of sponsors. Nevertheless, with the release of Lamha, we can surely look forward to seeing the Pakistani reaction towards the film that has globally stirred hearts already!


Defikopter – life-saving drones

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defikopter

Heart attack, till date, remains to be the leading cause of death for mankind, in both male and female. Myocardial Infarction, as it is termed medically, occurs when blood does not flow properly to one part of the heart, thus injuring it due to the lack of oxygen, Mashable reported.

The person having a heart attack is left with very little consciousness and even more little time to do anything about it. So the suffering person is either left dependent on the people around him or fate if he/she was alone.

Human response time, regardless of how fast one can make it, would always be just a little too slow. That is the idea behind Defikopter, a drone that can save the life of a person who is having a heart attack, on sight.

Drone in technological terminology refers to an ‘unmanned vehicle’. Drones are often confused with an MQ-9 Reaper – a combat aerial vehicle commonly known as drone.

Technology is a tool that can be used either way. And rightly so, a Defikopter is also a million dollar machine made to save human lives in contrast to its predecessors.

Made by German Non-for-Profit Organization (NPO) Definetz and drone-developer Height Tech, the Defikopter is controlled by a GPS-enabled Smartphone Application, which lets its users call for an emergency defibrillator.

Defikopter is reported to travel in a radius of about ten Kilometers with a flight speed of around 70 KM/hour. A flying robot also gives innate advantages like being on-time even on places where terrain does not allow fast travelling and there is also no fear of delay from a traffic jam.

The significance of assistance through a defibrillator is better prompted in an American Red Cross report that quotes, “For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced approximately 10%.”


Mövenpick Resorts and Hotels to replace Sheraton Karachi this year

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movinpick

The multinational chain Sheraton Hotels and Resorts has announced to discontinue its business in Karachi this year. The news comes as a disappointment, not only for every Karachi-ite but also for all the other international businesses in Pakistan. 

This would conclude Sheraton’s 31 years of business in Karachi.

The splendid structure of the hotel, which speculators till date call an architectural ingenuity, is now being considered by Swiss business tycoon Mövenpick, for the start of their resort and hotel business in the city.

Sheraton Hotels and Resorts is the largest and second oldest brand of Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Sheraton Hotel Karachi is owned by Arabian Sea Enterprise, who announced his decision of not renewing the contract once it expires late this year.

Movenpick Hotels and resorts, the new caretakers of the property, are not any less renowned themselves. With over 80 Hotels in 29 countries, Movenpick is a well-established name in upscale hotel management.

Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts have finalised a management agreement with Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the owner of the hotel, to operate the property from January 1, 2014,” Mr. Toufic Tamim, Vice President Sales and Marketing – Middle East and South Asia of Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts confirmed the news, according to news reports.

The Swiss company has always had a strong expansion strategy in Asia. Its interest in Pakistan can prove to be just the kind of foreign business involvement; the government of Pakistan so dearly craves.

The hotel will be renamed as Movenpick Hotel Karachi. Officials also confirmed that some major renovations in the property will take place while the new management hopes to keep as many operational staff as possible.

Sheraton Karachi currently employs more than 600 people and accommodates 407 rooms in a total of 16,487 square yards.


Harley-Davidson celebrates its 110th Anniversary

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harley davidson

Ufaq Ashfaque

Flocks of bikers came out on the streets on August 31 to celebrate Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary.

Harley-Davidson has been the face of both men and women and celebrates freedom and companionship that bikers have with their motorbikes.

Terry Martin, owner of the prized motorbike brand, left his house a week ago for the celebrations with seven of his closest friends.

“This is where it all began. Harley-Davidson is my life. Besides my kids, it is my life,” Martin said on the occasion.

All riders were seen in full glory, being part of the global celebration, with roads packed with leather, latex and all the love for bikers fuming the streets.

“It’s freedom. You feel all of your senses. You smell it all, you hear it all,” said Drew Canon a devoted brand owner, coming from Texas with tattoos and a grey beard.

Harley-Davidson has grown profoundly, from being a mere work project to having a global reputation. The brand itself is so powerful; it is being anchored with an entire culture revolved around it.

People who own Harley not only purchase the brand, but become evangelists for it.  With the brand still progressing and heading to new heights, it is reaching new heights, bringing more people together and expanding their biker culture globally.


Are you ready for Android KitKat?

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Android Kitkat

Google names its new Android operating system “Kitkat”. Yes you read it correct, the new Android 4.4 is named after the famous Nestle chocolate, KitKat. Google officially announced the news on Tuesday.

Android has been famous for naming its mobile operating systems after delightful deserts such as Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honey comb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean and now KitKat. This remains to be the first instance of an established brand name being used for this purpose.

The official Google page has a picture of the famous green Android robot-logo made up of KitKat.

Technology websites such as Mashable and TechCrunch have reported that no money has been exchanged in this deal. Therefore, the only theory that comes to reason is that the deal will serve as a ‘cross-promotional’ tool for both the brands, Google and KitKat.

Not many people know that the history of “Kit Kat” goes back to 18th Century as a reference to a desert. Nevertheless the brand KitKat, formerly owned by Rowntree, has been around for 8 decades now.

In 1988 Rowntree was bought by Nestle which now owns the brand all across the globe except in America, where it is sold under Hershey’s umbrella.

Hence, ‘Android-branded’ KitKat bars are also making their way to the market, with Android’s logo on its wrapper. Android and KitKat have also launched a contest giving the fans a chance to win Google Nexus 7, free Google Play credit, tablets and other such prizes.

It is notable here that Google’s Senior Vice President recently confirmed the news that, Android has reached a billion activations. This implies, with Android’s audience getting as large as 1/7th of the world’s population, KitKat is in a ‘sweet’ place.


Discovering Brand Activations with Shoib Qureshy

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shoib qureshy

By Synergizer
“Brand activation will drive the entire marketing campaign”, Shoaib Qureshy, Chief Executive, Bulls Eye Communications Group

Question 1: Tell us about Bull’s Eye.

Shoaib Qureshy: Bulls Eye is a new breed creative agency. I started it in 2002 when I strongly believed that the market needed a new kind of an agency. Today, 10 years down the road, it has come a long way and is firmly grounded as an agency network to reckon with, with strong presence in advertising, activation, content and brand consultancy services in the Pakistani landscape.

Question 2: Below the Line or BTL, and more specifically, experiential marketing has become a choice tool for marketers nowadays. For how long has the industry existed in Pakistan? What lifecycle phase is it in?

Shoaib: BTL has been around for ages, infact ever since marketing and advertising has been around. It was always looked upon as a side-kick function by advertising agencies and never blossomed. However, it got a new lease of life with the emergency of brand activation concept in late 90’s. So the brand activation industry got started only then and is hardly 10+ years old and is still in its growth phase.

Question 3: Usually, what percentage of the marketing budget is allocated to BTL or experiential marketing campaigns?

Shoaib: Usually, a minimum of 20-40% budget is being allocated to brand activation campaigns these days, depending upon the industry and the brand.

Question 4: How do you evaluate the effectiveness of such campaigns?

Shoaib: Brand activation evaluation is objective, immediate and effective, unlike an advertising campaign which is subjective. In most cases, it is measured in trials or sales generated.

Question 5: On a scale of 1 to 10, where does Pakistan rank on BTL idea generation and execution capability?

Shoaib: You will be surprised to know that Pakistan is quite an advanced market when it comes to brand activation, unlike advertising, where we still have to make our name. I have no doubt in my mind that we rank 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. I say this because we have been competing on the international level and we have proudly won 4 dragons over the past 2 years in the Promotion and Marketing Awards of Asia (PMAA), so we are no less than anyone out there.

 

Question 6: Are there any platforms or associations through which BTL agencies are able to share their experiences and learnings?shoaib qureshi- internal

Shoaib: This is currently happening through seminars and conferences and marketing publications like Aurora and Synergyzer. Besides these, there are no associations at the moment to facilitate BTL agencies.

Question 7: International affiliations in the advertising industry are fairly common, providing benchmarks to the local industry. Is the case similar with BTL agencies?

Shoaib: As I mentioned earlier, the entire brand activation industry is hardly a decade old. However, in the next decade, there will be international players entering and getting affiliate arrangements in place. Similarly, local activation agencies will also try and get these affiliations to help them further grow and move forward.

Question 8: What is the career path for those seeking employment in BTL agencies? How do they gain pre-emptive knowledge about this field?

Shoaib: The career path at an activation agency is no different from that at any ad agency. You don’t need any pre-emptive knowledge or specific education, just need to be bright and ambitious to make a mark in any of the disciplines like client management, creative, strategic planning or execution management. Neither are there any specific courses anywhere in any university that are training people for this field.

Question 9: Are there any pertinent issues and challenges that the BTL industry is facing that need to be overcome?

Shoaib: I wouldn’t say that there are any issues as the industry is in its growth phase, which is all positive and optimism takes you through all obstacles if any. So, no issues at all!

Question 10: Do you think that the BTL industry in Pakistan is growing at a reasonable pace? What developments do you foresee in the future?

Shoaib: Yes, the industry is growing at a great pace, despite the fact that there has been a setback on “large scale” events due to security and safety concerns. The future will turn the world upside down. Brand activation will drive the entire marketing campaign. Think about it!


IPhone 5C: Is Apple really launching a cheap iPhone?

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iPhone5C

For quite some time now a rumor has been around, that iPhone is launching a fairly low-priced series under the umbrella of iPhone 5C. The speculations might just have arisen because of the letter C, which some presume stands for ‘Cheap’. 

However, as the frequency of images increased, on the internet, so did the speculations that the rumor might just be true.

It wasn’t until recently, when a Chinese website CTechnology showed a fully assembled and functioning iPhone 5c. The 50-second video demonstrates what seems to be Safari on iOS 7, with the typical iPhone ‘pinch to zoom capability’ along with a decent responsive rate. 

What makes it convincing is the peculiar plastic look and red color of the iPhone remained bizarrely consistent with the leaked pictures over the Internet.

The legitimacy of the video can still be questioned with lack of speech or any other view of the device itself. C Technology also released more pictures of iPhone 5c on their website in different and ‘gaudy’ colors – which one cannot associate with Apple – along with a solo picture of a green iPhone 5C in its packaging.

Another Chinese website iApps.com shows yellow, blue and white plastic looking iPhones on assembly lines.

Much has already been said about ‘what could be, and what really is’, however Apple is likely to unveil the reality on September 10 with the launch of their operating software and iPhone 5S.


Dark is Beautiful, says Nandita Das

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“Mirror, Mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?” pronounced Snow White’s step mother in the fairy tale, Snow White and the seven Dwarfs.

It was instilled in our minds that being fair was all one needed to be successful in every field of life. Can you recall any fairy tale princess who was not ‘white as snow’ and ‘pink as roses’?

The word ‘fair’ was often used as a synonym for ‘beautiful’ and hence, the phrase, “I welcome you my fair lady?” Wouldn’t the lady be warmly welcomed if she wasn’t fair?

These are the questions which forced the Indian beauty Nandita Das to come forth in the ‘Dark is Beautiful’movement against fairness products.

Launched in 2009 by Women of Worth, the campaign challenges the belief that the value and beauty of people (in India and worldwide), is determined by the fairness of their skin.

Recently, the social media was buzzing with Nandita Das’s ‘Stay Unfair, Stay Beautiful’ online campaign which started on Women’s Day this year.

“From the time I came into the public domain and have been written about, 9 out of 10 articles start by describing me as being dusky or earthy. A reference to the color of my skin does not escape the best of journalists,” Das said in one of her interviews regarding the campaign.

The underlying objective, of the campaign, is to give confidence to the dark and dusky women and help people understand the pain of a mother who sees people discriminating between her two daughters on the basis of skin tone.

In the Indian society, fair colored women are a preferred over the dusky ones in matrimony, social events and even in the corporate world.

Dark is Beautiful 1

In her blog Nandita writes, “Whenever I interact with college students, especially young girls, I invariably get a question to the effect, “How come you are so confident despite being dark?”

Das’s point of view stands firm, promoting the fact that all women are equal and deserve all prerogatives to look their best, no matter what color they are or how ‘dark’ they may appear. Each woman, according to Das, has a unique identity and how differences in areas of education and learning make them stand apart from one another and not their skin color.

Her campaign has been a huge hit, bringing some of the most basic issues to books suggesting that success of a woman has nothing to do with the color of her skin.

Quite a number of brands have joined the Fair-Skin-frenzy but then again advertising only ‘reflects’ the needs of society. ‘Dark is Beautiful’ movement is not against that one ‘fairness cream brand’ but against all those who stereotype dark woman as something to despise, be it brands, soaps or movies.

Every day, many women wage a war against their natural skin tone and features just to appease the ever-demanding society. Multiple surgeries, remedies, entire routines and diet plans are designed in order to compete in the ‘Fairathon’.

Women should learn to understand and respect themselves.  Today, some of the big names in the industries around the world are women especially in Bollywood.

Das herself gained popularity through this very industry where ‘Bengali Beauties’ such as Kajol, Rani and Bhipasha were welcomed with open arms and open minds.

At any cost, the self-esteem of a woman and her status should not be compromised, based on her looks, but with appreciation and acknowledgement of the work that she does is what should be highlighted and promoted in the society at large.

 


Round-up: Microsoft acquires Nokia

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Round-up Microsoft acquires Nokia

September 3, 2013, will be marked as the start of Microsoft’s biggest venture till date, as they get into one of history’s most popular corporate acquisition of the Finnish multinational Nokia.

A BRIEF HISTORY

Microsoft is an American multinational software corporation and multibillion dollar empire. Microsoft declared its total assets to be around USD$ 142.43 billion in the year 2013 with a staggering 97,000 employees. The company was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975.

Microsoft rose to glory in middle 1980s, with personal computer operating systems, namely MS-DOS and later Windows. After which the company increasingly diversified from the operating system market. Currently Microsoft’s product portfolio includes some of the most famous global brands such as Windows (phones and Servers), Office, Dynamics, Xbox, Bing, Skype, Azure and many more.

Nokia is a world renowned cellphone manufacturer and also IT devices as their principle products.

The relationship between Microsoft and Nokia began in February 2011 when Nokia’s representative Stephen Elop announced that the Finnish company is adopting Windows 7 operating system in its smartphones.

Almost two and a half years down the road we see Elop, former Microsoft executive and current Nokia chief executive, stepping down to become the executive vice president of the ‘devices and services division’ at Microsoft.

MICROSOFT’S STANCE

The acquisition in no way indicates that Microsoft will detach from its former partners. In fact Microsoft, like any other business empire, is seeking to expand its existence in different industries.

In a memorandum to his staff Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, confirmed the company’s acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services business.

Identifying the move as bold, Ballmer further added the nature of acquisition is such that they will not only own Nokia’s smartphones and mobile phone businesses but also their award-winning design team, manufacturing and assembly facilities around the world, and teams devoted to operations, sales, marketing and support.

Talking of Microsoft’s strategic rationale Ballmer calls their ‘Integrated Ecosystem’ a family of devices. With this addition, the family gets stronger and will strengthen the overall opportunity for Microsoft and their partners.

FUTURE OF SMARTPHONE INDUSTRY

Before Apple rose to dominate the Smartphone industry; it was Nokia who had the strongest footing in the cell phone industry. They were the world’s largest cell phone vendors in the world. Nokia strived to keep up with changing times, launching their Smartphone line named LUMIA in association with Microsoft, who provided the Smartphone’s interface.

Now, with this acquisition Microsoft will enter the Smartphone industry to face their arch-rival Apple. Apple previously was the only Smartphone giant to make its own devices powered by its own operating system.

Microsoft had recently started to license its own operating system, termed Windows 8, to other cell phone manufacturers as well, and the company confirms that it would continue to do so to build healthier and better relationships with the eco system. The same level of optimism is not shown by other manufacturer in the industry however.

In the epilogue Microsoft has proven its excellence in every business it has set foot, which so far has been numerous. The company’s portfolio can now be termed as a comprehensive and integrated eco system.


Hardees Angus Thick burger is here to tease your taste buds

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hardees Angus

Hardees recently launched a teaser for an upcoming product by the name of ‘Angus’ on its social media pages. By using taglines such as ‘Use both hands’, ‘Unbuckle your belt’ and ‘Open wide’ the American fast food chain seeks to position the burger on its magnanimous size. 

Although Angus thick burger is going to be launched for the first time in Pakistan, it is not a new offering of the fast food chain. Being launched under the same name in different states, Angus is a beef burger with a patty famous for being fat and juicy.

The typical ingredients include sharp cheese, lettuce and tomato, grilled onions, Hardees’ chipotle sauce and mushrooms making the burger rather juice.

The international version of the burger tells us that it is surely not as big as portrayed in the pictures. To be fair though, none of the burgers ever are.

Also, Angus has been widely criticized for being fattening with 810 calories from which 460 are reported to be from pure fat.

Hardee’s is the fifth largest food chain in its hometown America after Subway, Mc Donalds, Burger King and Wendy’s.

The first Hardee’s restaurant in Pakistan opened on M.M. Alam Road, Lahore in 2009. Since then it has grown to 3 locations with more than 12 restaurants to be developed over the next three years by MDS Foods Pvt. Ltd. Hardee’s is known for its Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shakes and charbroiled 100% Beef Thickburgers.


‘Lamha’ comes for Zoe, Omran to sing ‘Jab Koi’ and wear Levi’s

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lamha zoe viccaji
By Ufaq Ushfaque

The long awaited, internationally-certified Pakistani movie ‘Seedlings’ (Lamha) released its Levi’s-sponsored promotional song, titled ‘Jab Koi’, sung by Zoe Viccaji and composed by Omran Shafique under the supervision of Producer of Seedling, Meher Jaffri.

“This Mehdi Hasan classic has been close to my heart since I was a child. The bittersweet tone of the song lends itself perfectly to the mood of what we were trying to capture in that scene with Aamina and Mohib’s characters,” Meher said regarding ‘Jab koi’.

Lamha or Seedling is a movie featuring Pakistani actress Aamina Sheikh and actor Mohib Mirza as a couple who have lost their only child and how they overcome the fear and uncertainties which come with such accidents.

The soundtrack has been composed as a tribute to Pakistani legendary singer Mehdi Hassan.  It was a daunting challenge, for everyone involved to re-capture the spirit of ‘Jab Koi’, originally sung by the legend himself, expressed the trio who was involved in making of the song.

Omran blended the traditional music of Mehdi Hassan with Zoe’s modern, unique and fresh voice.

“Zoe and Meher got in touch with me regarding a remake of a song that was used in the movie…Zoe did her vocal parts and we ended up with a great, respectful cover of the original,”

Zoe feared the song might not go well with the audience.

“Every time I’d be singing the song, I’d imagine voices telling me that I should have left the song just as it was, and not tampered with a golden classic,” she said.

The video is sponsored by Levi’s and hence, we will see Zoe and Omran clad in Levi’s jeans and shirts roaming about in Zoe’s apartment (that is where the video is shot).

Viccaji is a recent sensation in the industry.  Composing music since the age of fifteen, her passion for music has taken her to great heights.  Beginning her work at a very early age, Viccaji has also performed in Pakistani plays ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Chicago’ and is also a supporting vocalist at CokeStudio.

Omran is known for his taste in rock music and experience in playing guitar.  Shafique has been a lead singer for the Pakistani band ‘Mauj’ (Enjoyment) and was also the band guitarist for the popular Coke Studio.

Pakistani movie ‘Lamha’ has been an international hit.  The film received awards at the prestigious platforms like the SAARC Film Festival (Best Film and Best Actress), the New York Film Festival (Best Film, People’s Choice and Best Performance by an Actress) and the Washington DC South Asian Film Festival (Best Film).


IPhone 5C: Is Apple really launching a cheap iPhone?

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IPHONE 5C

For quite some time now a rumor has been around, that iPhone is launching a fairly low-priced series under the umbrella of iPhone 5C. The speculations might just have arisen because of the letter C, which some presume stands for ‘Cheap’. 

However, as the frequency of images increased, on the internet, so did the speculations that the rumor might just be true.

It wasn’t until recently, when a Chinese website CTechnology showed a fully assembled and functioning iPhone 5c. The 50-second video demonstrates what seems to be Safari on iOS 7, with the typical iPhone ‘pinch to zoom capability’ along with a decent responsive rate.

What makes it convincing is the peculiar plastic look and red color of the iPhone remained bizarrely consistent with the leaked pictures over the Internet.

The legitimacy of the video can still be questioned with lack of speech or any other view of the device itself. C Technology also released more pictures of iPhone 5c on their website in different and ‘gaudy’ colors – which one cannot associate with Apple – along with a solo picture of a green iPhone 5C in its packaging.

Another Chinese website iApps.com shows yellow, blue and white plastic looking iPhones on assembly lines.

Much has already been said about ‘what could be, and what really is’, however Apple is likely to unveil the reality on September 10 with the launch of their operating software and iPhone 5S.



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