Home Blog Page 1014

It’s a bird..it’s a plane..No! It’s Terrafugia’s Flying car

0
Flying Car

Who doesn’t get stuck in a traffic jam? And who doesn’t wish to fly out of the slumber-inducing inertia. Therefore, there is no one who would not wish to be able to fly away from all that noise, fatigue and exhaustion that always comes with a traffic jam.

Science fiction movies have been not-so-secretly nourishing our imaginations regarding flying cars for decades now. Many movies such as ‘Star Wars’, ‘Jetsons’, ‘Back to the future’ and almost every classic flick has always depicted the future with flying cars.

Privately held American corporation Terrafugia is perhaps the closest to making that future a part of our present. Terrafugia stands a few regulations, and a very powerful battery, away from launching a hybrid vehicle, Terrafugia Transition, which is a car and a plane at the same time.

Phil Meeter Chief Test Pilot for Terrafugia flew and/or drove the Terrafugia Transition – Flying Car – amidst thousand onlookers at the “EAA air venture” this year. The 20-minute demonstration included the conversion of Transition’s transition from a car to airplane and the other way around.

Transition is considered by the company as a prototype for a more substantial business of flying cars, according to the CEO Carl Dietrich it is ridiculous why these hybrids have not made it to the roads.

“There is so much potential for an economic benefit to society if we have things like this,” Dietrich said.

“There have been a number of studies recently that have quantified the economic impact of traffic congestion … just for the US, I think it was estimated at $87 billion to $125 billion a year. And that’s just comparing it to driving at normal speeds, without traffic,” he further added.

Transition has the capacity to achieve a maximum speed of 115mph (185 km/h), cruise speed of 105mph (172 km/h) with rear wheel drive while moving on the ground; Transition is designed to fit in a single car garage.

“The Transition is the transportation of the future today. A street-legal airplane that converts between flying and driving modes in under a minute,” the website boasts.

After a 30 second transition time, enabled by the push of a button and an automated electromechanical ?folding wing system, the vehicle may take off from a 1700 feet stretch over obstacles at a height of 50 feet.

Transition is estimated to cost around $279,000 when it enters the market. However, the model designs of the next generation of Transition, named TF-X should be a bit more universally affordable.

If we speak of design then TF-X is supposedly a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, which would be equipped with heavy navigations and auto pilot sequencing. Although still in its planning phases, the manufacturers are calling TF-X to be a less expensive better in quality follow-up to the Transition.

With plans of showing off Transition in the Northeast Light Sport Aviation Expo on September 14, in North Andover, Terrafugia seems determined to make human kind’s mot desired dream come to reality.

‘Flying cars’ will face some major hurdles such as requirement of driver’s ‘flying license’, marking of fly no fly zones, weather conditions, battery life (a flying car would not stall, it would fall), before it is commercially available and globally expected.

To be fair, every revolutionary breakthrough has faced hurdles. Acceptance comes with time and evolution with Transition.


Twitter learnt its lessons regarding Advertising

0
Twitter learnt its lessons regarding Advertising

It has been more than four years that Twitter launched advertising in the year 2010. The first tweet ‘Just setting up my Tweet’ was posted by Twitter’s owner Jack Dorsey.

Twitter launched the step, but was unsure of the results and ambiguous of the corresponding results that may come with advertising on the microblogging website.

Multiple questions and concern sprung as Twitter began advertising.  Jack Dorsey’s fear was superlative since he knew that his users on Twitter will not approve of advertising on their private, Twitter profiles.

“As far as I can tell, a customized background image had some folks confused and speculating” said Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter.  This made it all the more difficult for Twitter to take up advertising in the first place.

The first advertising happened in Japan when Toyota launched Twitter’s advertising.  At the same time, Twitter experienced tough competition in the United States, where other competitors such as Twittad and Adly.

The then-Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company, Dick Costolo, finally took up the initiative to launch advertising on Twitter.  Costolo acknowledged that the Twitter ads would be “fascinating, non-traditional and people will love it.”

Just four months in and Twitter launched ‘promoted accounts’, advertisers received a big boost with this website.

At this instance, Twitter has managed to gain $259.9 million in ad revenues last year, projecting increase in revenues to $400 million by this year end.


CINEMA IN PAKISTAN: A NEW LEASE OF LIFE?

0
CINEMA IN PAKISTAN A NEW LEASE OF LIFE

The Pakistan cinema industry saw its days of glory with big-screen cinema houses packed to the brim in the 60s and 70s, showing classics that produced some of the finest actors and music makers in our history, including Mohammad Ali, Waheed Murad, Zeba, Madame Noor Jehan, Mehdi Hasan, Nisar Bazmi and Sohail Rana.

Come the ’80s and this glory started to fade away, with cinema houses losing their family-oriented clientele that continued diminishing as time progressed, forcing a number of operators to close shop.

According to statistics quoted by the Express Tribune, the number of cinema houses declined to 325 in 2010, with only 160 operational, from a high 1,585 in the 1960s.

The number of movies produced annually has come down to a mere 40 today versus 300 during the 1970s.

To give a new life to this medium, the government lifted a 40 year ban on screening of Indian movies in Pakistan.

This paved way for further revival, and a mechanism to improve cinema industry’s infrastructure rolled into place fueled by the building of smaller screen cineplexes and cinemas, mostly by private players, to bring back audience.

In Karachi, Universal Cineplex was built to cater to this demand, which was more recently addressed by Atrium Cinemas.

Providing family-oriented entertainment and technological developments via 3D screens, these endeavors have audiences thronging to watch the latest released movies, whose quality has improved subsequently.

Cinema In Pakistan

 

Also, with the inception of Brand Cinema, a movie and cinema marketing company, this promotional form is swiftly gaining ground in Pakistan, with innovative and effective strategies applied to movies like Wolverine, Despicable ME 2 and more recently, Chennai Express, which has become the highest earning foreign film in Pakistan.

All these reasons are contributing to making cine-going a massive phenomenon once again. Moreover, the response generated by films like Khuda Ke Liye, Bol and Ramchand Pakistani, Main Hun Shahid Afridi is a testament that people want to see more from their industry.

With large scale productions expected to be released this year like Josh, Waar, Zinda Bhaag,and Main Hun Shahid Afridi, a well-established film industry and cinema culture in Pakistan may just be a few industry-friendly policies and years of continued persistence away.


Spreading positivity: Heroes of Pakistan Competition

0
Spreading positivity Heroes of Pakistan Competition

With so much of negativity and criticisms surrounding Pakistan, we seldom get to witness the innocence, love and purity of its natives. Their stories of bravery, struggle and triumph somehow gets overshadowed as the nation gets defamed for terrorism and corruption every now and then.

In such critical times, initiatives like “Heroes of Pakistan” tend to be the exact remedy to combat against the country’s not-so-positive image.

Heroes of Pakistan is a co-creation of SoundView Broadcasting, USA’s leading broadcaster and distributor of international television channels and consulting and investment firm, Green Card Capital. The mutual project is a short film competition, scheduled to commence from September 1, 2013.

The competition welcomes aspiring Pakistani film-makers of all ages to submit one-minute to five-minute video documentary on the theme of “No Pain, No Gain”.

The main idea behind the contest is to unveil the story of success, courage and hope of a Pakistani to the world. Participants are encouraged to exhibit in their films the determination and zeal of any Pakistani individual, they believe is an inspiration to the whole country.

SoundView Broadcasting and Green Card Capital celebrated the launch ceremony of the competition on August 28th at Marriot Hotel, Karachi. The prominent attendees of the event were Abbas Hashmi, CEO, Green Card Capital, Ateeq Ur Rehman Member of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Shireen Naqvi, CEO School of Leadership.

 “Heroes are not only sports stars or showbiz personalities. Heroes are the real-life people in your community such as your parents, teacher, friend or anyone around you,” Abbas Hashmi said while addressing the press.

Both, Ateeq-ur-Rehaman and Shireen Naqvi congratulated Abbas Hashmi and wished for the success of such a initiative.

The three winners of the contest will be decided via a panel of international judges in December 2013, along with one winner selected via popular public choice.

The winner will get a one year contract with SoundView Broadcasting, while the runner-up will get a chance to avail an internship.

Monetary rewards have also been announced for the film-makers who win the contest. The person who comes first will get $1000, the second will receive $500 and $250 have been allotted for the third position.

SoundView Broadcasting has extended an open invitation to leading institutions of Pakistan to take part in the “Heroes of Pakistan” Competition and deadline for submission is October 31.

With the efforts of SoundView Broadcasting and Green Card Capital, this platform is bound to elevate and sort Pakistan’s obscured image. Its about time such programs and projects should be organized in order to rekindle the lost identity of Pakistan and its people.


One on One With HUMAYUN SAEED

0
One on One With HUMAYUN SAEED

Humayun Saeed, the good looking and versatile actor, model and producer par excellence, talks  about his upcoming movie projects and the brighter prospects Pakistani cinema is showing.

Question 1: What made you divert from TV production to film production?

Humayun Saeed: I was passionate about movies since childhood. After acting in TV as well as film productions and producing for television, I ventured into producing films.

I believe this is a diversification of my career, rather than a diversion. I will continue working for TV, however I strongly feel that something should be done to revive the Pakistani cinema industry now.

My company, Six Sigma Entertainment, was formed because my partner, Shazad Nasib, and I share the same passion for making films. We invested around Rs. 3 crores on the latest film making equipment like cameras and lighting to bring out high quality films and provide a good source of entertainment for the audience.

A lot of distributors, like Nadeem Mandviwalla, and media such as ARY Digital, GEO and others are supporting upcoming Pakistani movies but the emerging film makers also need the help of producers to make films. I think it is time that we help our cinema industry revive; I don’t want to sit back and regret not having done anything for the cinema.

Question 2: Tell us about your upcoming movies after ‘Main Hun Shahid Afridi.

Humayun Saeed:  After Main hun Shahid Afridi, another movie which is on the cards is, ‘Afra Tafreeh’, a comedy film. Wasay has again been roped in to write this entertainer. Right now the work on the script is underway and we plan to release it on February 14, 2014.

Question 3: What factors, in your opinion are contributing to the revival of cinema at this point in time?

Humayun Saeed: In the recent past, we witnessed a revolution in dramas as the launch of numerous new TV channels increased competition in the industry, which got all the channels vying for higher viewership.

We are now observing a similar trend in our cinema industry; with the opening up of a number of cinema screens across the country more film makers have a chance to showcase their stories on the big screen.

A lot of young people are getting professional training in film making and they are now bringing their movies to the cinema to cater to a new generation of cinema goers who want diversity in their choices for entertainment.

A recent hit, Chambaili, which is a cause-oriented movie, garnered tremendous response from the upper-middle and middle income groups versus the traditional cinema market, which means that our industry is open to new genres being developed.

Question 4: Earlier it was difficult to find financiers for film production in Pakistan. The situation has changed in the recent three to four years? Why?

Humayun Saeed: The reason for this development is simple; people now understand the movie business and they are willing to be a part of movie production since the Pakistani cinema industry as well as the audience are evolving.

Let’s take Chambaili for example – the success of this movie proved that such a unique genre is also in demand and creates its own niche in the market if the movie is worth it’s while.

When a movie does good business, everyone starts taking notice, the movie and the people involved with the film start gaining popularity and that yields higher returns, as well as paving way for further film production projects.

One on One With HUMAYUN SAEED new

Question 5: How have the technical facilities evolved in recent years? 

Humayun Saeed: Directors who are involved in making commercials and music videos in Pakistan, the likes of Saqib and Jami have invested in the top of the line equipment. The TV production houses, on the other hand, are not as well-equipped.

However, the rate at which our movies and dramas are gaining success and popularity and generating high returns is now encouraging several production houses to invest in new equipment.

Also, the digital revolution has brought forth a new generation of easy-to-use equipment which is making it easier for new entrants to shoot movies or dramas at high quality and with greater ease compared to the previously used 35mm cameras that had a lot of technicalities involved.

Question 6: Are the majority of film makers in Pakistan able to adapt to the digital technology?

Humayun Saeed: Yes, fortunately, most of the film makers in our country are very much at home with digital and HD (high definition) cameras while they have little or no experience in handling the highly technical 35mm cameras.

This is beneficial since digital cinema screens and 3D cinemas are growing in popularity, with more and more cinema screens being installed across the country.

Question 7: In your opinion, are Indian movies a threat to our industry? 

Humayun Saeed: I really do not think so. When we criticize the screening of Indian movies in Pakistan, we should realize that the cinema business in our country started soaring when Bollywood movies were allowed to be screened here again.

Indian movies are not a threat to our industry.  Chambaili was screened simultaneously with Indian films; did it affect its business? I don’t think so.

You cannot force people to close down all the foreign films and only run local content. We do not have a strong industry so it’s okay to screen foreign content, it provides the needed impetus to the local film makers become strong competitors one day.

Having said that, we need exhibitors like Mandviwala Entertainment, who know the importance of supporting local movies. They give an extra run to the local content which gives it strong support.

Question 8: Anything you would like to add?

Humayun Saeed: I would like to request people to come and watch local movies and not ignore them. If we can produce good TV plays then we can definitely produce good movies too.

The movie industry just needs your support and feedback and it will soon reach the heights it was once associated with.


Amazon’s blackout took Instagram and Vine down with it

0
Amazons blackout

Amazon Web Services, one of the world’s largest Internet cloud service provider, stopped working this Sunday, for more than 45 minutes taking down with it Instagram and Vine amongst others.

The outage occurred at around 4 PM (ET), as the reaction to a connectivity issue in north Virginia Datacenter which led to elevated API error rates in the region. According to AWS status page, a ‘degraded experience’ occurred resulting in a data loss.

The biggest casuality however remained to be the flooring of Facebook’s Instagram and Twitter’s Vine. 

Both these Internet addictions of modern times are used regularly by millions of users worldwide. To be specific, Instagram has over 100 million users whereas Vine has more than 40 million users. 

The arch rivals, Facebook and Twitter, recently acquired the two comparatively younger social prodigies. As both Giants remained functional during the blackout, they made sure to keep the users aware of the technical difficulties too.   

Google’s five minute outage, earlier this month, had reportedly made the company lose as much as $545,000. This Amazon’s outage is also estimated to have caused the company lose an amount of $1,100 per second. 

As for Instagram, an official tweet surfaced as people started to lose their cool, the tweet said, “We know many of you are having trouble loading Instagram. We identified the issue and are working to fix it ASAP”.

Amazon engineer James Hamilton wrote in his personal blog “Inside a single facility, there are simply too many ways to shoot one’s own foot.”

Amazon’s main retail earlier this week also was inoperable for a less than an hour for many customers. Amazon didn’t offer an explanation for the outage.


Google acquires Waze, ignites OFT inquiry

0
Google Ignite

Google’s recent takeover of Waze, a travel mapping service, has triggered an immediate investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in UK.

The acquisition has already been inspected by Federal Trade Commission of United States, with reference to the demands of the consumer groups, which question the domination of Google over online mapping already.

Experts suggest that if Google aims to achieve a turnover of £70 mn in UK or establish control over 25 percent of the market share, it may have to divest its stakes in order to level the field for competitors.

Having its headquarters in Isreal, Waze facilitates satnav functions by updating its 50 million direct users with real time traffic news. It also claims to provide anonymous traffic data to Apple’s map service on iPads and iPhones.

Before Google’s $1 billion contract to buy Waze,  it was rumored that Apple bid $500 million for purchasing the mapping service. However, the attempt faced heavy criticisms from the surroundings and therefore was taken back.

In line with the acquisition, Apple has paved its way out of Waze dependence by patenting a system of user – specified route that can function without Waze. 

On the other hand, Google has commenced installing its satellite and street view imagery on Waze application.

The OFT has confirmed that an ‘invitation to comment’ has been issued to Google, demanding a comment in 40 days. Google reports to have received the invitation, but has denied to comment.


Oxford Dictionary Online increases its ‘digital’ vocabulary

0
Oxford Dictionary

Oxford Dictionary Online (ODO) has recently included a number of words, such as phablet, bitcoin, emoji and so on, in line with the cultural shift towards technology and media.

Among the plethora of words that the dictionary has incorporated, few immediately grab our attention including: 

Phablet – a hybrid word of “phone” and “tablet” used for oversized smartphones;

Bitcoin – a digital currency in which transactions can be performed;

Emoji – a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion;

FOMO – the fear of missing out, often around for a post on social media; and

MOOC – a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of    people;

In order to keep the ‘fashionistas’ happy , they have also added words such as:

Double denim – regarded as a breach of fashion etiquette;

Chandelier earrings – a long, elaborate dangling earring;

Flatforms – a flat shoe with a high, thick sole; and 

Fauxhawks – a hairstyle in which a section of hair running from the front to the back of the head stands erect.

The oxford linguistics have also opened their doors to ‘unexpected’ words such as ‘twerk’ which refers to a dance, on popular music, in a sexually provocative manner  and ‘vom’ which is shorthand for vomit.

ODO, along with the well known Oxford English Dictionary (OED) are both products of Oxford University Press. However, in order to keep its ‘historical’ image of OED intact, these additions have only been made to the online dictionary and not to the classic hardcover one.

ODO claims to be an up-to-date dictionary, coherent with the developments happening in the modern lingo. If you still have some  ‘word appetite’ left, you can go to their website and search for all the random words you can recall. 

After achieving this milestone, the makers of ODO definitely deserve to  take a ‘selfie’ (a photograph that one takes of oneself) and post it on Twitter.


Gear up for Samsung’s Galaxy Gear SmartWatch

0
Gear Up

Samsung is all set to reveal its latest innovation, a Smartwatch called Galaxy Gear, on September 4th 2013, reports suggest.

“We will be introducing a new wearable concept device called Galaxy Gear at our own event in Berlin on Sept. 4”, Lee Young-hee, Executive Vice President of Samsung’s mobile, announced on the official launch of the Smartwatch.

As per the patent filed in the beginning of August, the Galaxy Gear range would offer a range of Smartwatches in various forms such as Wristwatch, Wristband or Bangles. All of these varieties would let users access internet on their wrists and even send and receive phone calls as it will be linked to their phones, enhancing the smartphone experience. 

In addition, the wristbands would have the ability to store and transmit data as well as manage personal information. 

However, there is a limitation in their first version of the product that the makers  openly accept. The smartwatch would not offer flexible display for users.

As per the sources, the Japanese innovation giant plans to patent a series of wearable devices in future, including stick on patches that will serve as health monitors.

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear competes against Google’s Glass and Apple’s iWatch. However, what  provides it with an edge is that both  the latter products are not in the market yet.

With all of the technology competitors on the move, tech savvy users should prepare themselves for experiencing next big wave of ‘smart’ gadgets.


Starbucks ‘Evolution Fresh’ reaches Whole Foods

0
Handful

AUG 27th, 2013 – Starbucks is planning to impress the Whole Foods, a retailer in the US, market with the help of its healthy yet expensive brands namely ‘Evolution Fresh’ juice and a new line of snack bars ‘Evolution Harvest’, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Evolution Fresh juice is a variety of juices while Evolution Harvest includes snack bars and trail mix products.  What makes Evolution unique and different is the fact that it is packaged in an ultra-high pressure technology to secure vitamins and minerals of the fruit and vegetable juices. 

The brand has been in the market for two years and has not yet earned a spot at the Starbucks shelf. Starbucks is planning to replace  PepsiCo’s Naked Juice and Kind LLC’s Kind snack bars in its cafes, with its own brand, Evolution, to incraese brand awareness.

Evolution also plans to target 8000 Whole Food stores and Starbucks café by the end of this year.  

Despite the standing of Evolution in the market and the promotion it has received over the years, Whole Foods can help Evolution with their line of products because it is the only retailer which can ‘pass on such high price points’, according to David Vinjamuri’s, a brand consultant, quote in US Today.

As part of their expansion regime, Starbucks is entering Columbia.  Reports suggest that it will target Bogota, the capital city, to open a store next year.  

Also, the coffee brand is planning to open up 50 stores in other cities over the next five years.  With established markets in Latin America, combining to 650 stores, acceptance in the region shouldn’t be a problem.


McDonald’s Austine Mahone commercial: ‘What about (Muffin) Love’

0
Mcd Austine

American singer Austin Mahone shows his love and appreciation by endorsing McDonalds’ Toasted McMuffin Biscuit.

The new Toasted McMuffin Biscuit, packed with Egg, Bacon and Cheese is designed to satisfy your taste buds and is another addition to McDonald’s ever-evolving line of quality products. 

Justin Mahone has been a new entrant in the music industry.  His debut song ‘What about Love’ has been tweaked a little and used in the new McDonald’s TVC.  

The ad was created by the Moroch agency and shows a studio session with the singer where he is distracted by people eating McDonald’s muffin on the other side of the booth. He starts to fumble the lyrics of his popular song ‘What about Love’ and the TVC ends on Mahone singing Mc Donald’s tagline, ‘I’m Lovin it’.

McDonald’s has been targeting its customers with its remarkable advertising.  Some have been a huge success such as their ‘Eid Mubarak’ celebration while others have been a target of criticism, such as their ads and campaigns promoting obesity.  

The brand still continues to make unique catchy advertisements that allow them to connect with the audience and spur people’s attention.  

McDonald’s collaboration with Austin Mahone will allow the former to reach the latter’s fanbase and vice versa.


Movie Preview: ‘Zinda Bhaag’ from Pakistan

0
zinda bhag lead

Pakistani cinema is back with a bang – one which can be heard throughout the nation and abroad. Recently a trailer of Zinda Bhaag (Escape Alive) was featured on various websites and resonated quite well with the audience. 

Zinda Bhaag is a comedy packed thriller directed by Meena Gaur and Farjad Nabi. The movie comes straight out of the mohallas (communities) of Lahore and captures the lifestyle of young Lahoris. The trailer suggests that the movie revolves around the life of three friends, their attempts to settle abroad and the intense drama associated with it.

The director duo Meena and Farjad are confident about their project as they feel that their work represents the emotions and stories of the local audience.

“We feel that when audiences will watch this film in Toronto or Sydney, they are bound to say ‘this is my story’. We are constantly surprised when people come to us after a preview screening and share their own stories. It is a very moving experience,” Nabi and Gaur expressed their motive behind the movie and commented on the first impression of the movie.

The cast of the film includes fresh Pakistani talent, but the highly skilled Naseeruddin Shah, won the hearts of the audience by creating a brilliant character on-screen.

zinda bhag 01

Naseeruddin Shah sports red hair and beard with a heavy Lahore accent and graces the opening scene of the trailer with the phrase “Dekho gee Saray kandenay, jo Lahore Ni vikhiya who jamiya nai” (“Everybody says this that he who has not yet seen Lahore, has not been born!”). 

As far as the music is concerned, its album jumped to 140 from 225, in one day, on iTune’s charts on August 25. Zinda Bhaag includes rendition, sung by Abrar-ul-Haq, of Pakistan’s first ever rap song ‘Paani da Bulbula’. It was originally sung by Yaqub Atif Bulbula and it became a massive hit amongst youth in the 60s.

This is bi-lingual project is the mix of Punjabi and Urdu. The language is raw and it successfully manages to re-create the experience of Lahore on the big screen. The trailer has sparked interest among the younger audience and is becoming talk of the town.

Even before its release in Pakistan, Zinda Bhaag has won four major awards at the Mosaic 2013 (MISSAF) festival in Toronto which is Canada’s largest South Asian event.

It won the prestigious best film award. Amna Ilyas and veteran actress Naghma Begum bagged the best actress and the best supporting actress award respectively. While Sahir Ali Bagga won the award for the best music/soundtrack for his work.

Zinda bhaag promises a fun filled experience wrapped in fresh Pakistani packaging and the magic of Naseeruddin Shah who never fails to impress.

The social media discussions suggest that people are eagerly looking forward to it and some have even claimed it to be a blockbuster. The movie is expected to release on 6th September, so clear your schedules because this is a must watch.


Nokia VS Q Mobile: A Pakistani Retrospect

0
Nokia VS Q Mobile A Pakistani Retrospect

Nokia has to face another challenger in its lower price category, this time it is a Pakistani brand, Q mobile. Nokia, once a market leader in mobile phones category, never expected such a steep competition.

Its first competitor was IPhone which triggered the explosion of Smartphones, and then it was Samsung who took up the challenge. After which everyone seemed too busy choosing between iOS and Google App store that they didn’t look back at the once market leader, Nokia.

Nokia did come back with Microsoft Windows 8 equipped range of LUMIA phone in their artillery to go head to head with Samsung and iPhone in the high-end smartphone category. Q-mobile joined, or should I say crashed, the party with its ‘flashy’ advertisements and competitive pricing.

If one can get a five-inch screen, the latest android operating system and many other features in Rs20,000 then why spend Rs60,000 on it? And that too in a country where phones don’t last long, either due to ever-changing preferences or robberies.

So Q-mobile is busy spreading its footprint in Pakistan while Nokia plans to blind the audience with its neon-shade phone, be it the Lumia series or Asha series.

Let’s have look at the two struggling yet adamant mobile phone companies in terms of their market penetration and marketing activities.

Market penetration

Nokia 120

 

In lower end phones, commonly known as “Bar Phones”, Nokia had maintained its monopoly since it was and still is positioned as a durable and familiar phone in the mind of the consumer.

Then came Q Mobile, a Karachi-based company whose founder was previously a renowned importer, assembler and distributor of LG products in Pakistan.

It would not be fair to compare the two companies, since Q mobile does not manufacture its devices rather it imports the technology and merely assembles it. It is very seldom that devices are imported, branded and then sold in Pakistan. Hence the same device, imported from China, is sold under the name of Micromax in India.

Q mobile first made its mark in lower-end phones, disturbing the schema of the Nokia-using population, and has penetrated deeply into the market with its more-for-less strategy.

Contrary to common perception, China also makes some of the best devices in the world. In fact China has world’s largest manufacturing capacity. Q Mobile made sure to have imported good quality devices which they can sell at lower prices in price sensitive market, this flanked Nokia’s lower end Bar and QWERTY phones.

After making its reputation in the market as a reliable name Q mobile entered the Smart phone industry with expensive-looking advertisements. With the launch of A500, A600 and now Quad Core A950 Q Mobile has substantiated its name as the favorite brand for people with low budget but high desires.

So Q-mobile has becoming the fastest growing brand in Pakistan but Nokia undoubtedly has the first-mover advantage and people, especially in rural areas, still prefer their good old sturdy Nokia phones.

Marketing activities

nokia 1021

You have one look at the billboards and an ad slot of any television and you realize the effort both the companies are putting in promotional activities.

Q-mobile may have won the race locally, with its advertisements featuring stars such as Fawad Khan and Aditya Roy Kapoor, but Nokia Lumia’s global (attacking) ad campaigns have impressed many.

Nokia Asha series’ promotional activities are going neck-to-neck with Q-mobile and might even have an edge due to their presence on various streets and roundabouts. Branding islands, billboards on busy roads of metropolitan cities like Karachi have increased brand recall.

Nokia Asha has also started voicing its many features and the colorful bodies add an extra appeal to the phone.

In all, Finnish mobile phone company Nokia and China-based Q-mobile have announced that they won’t be deterred by the fancy android and iOS phones and will continue to strive for their share.


Tweens take up the consumer role

0
Tweens take up the consumer role

He is a 10 year old. He selects his own cereal when he goes grocery shopping with his mama. He chooses his toys after looking at some options on his father’s Ipad. He knows the latest songs and is eagerly waiting for “Monsters University” to be released so that he can go with his family to enjoy the movie. He learnt about the movie when he was playing a virtual world game with his friends.

He is a tween. He is the new consumer. He is the marketers’ latest love. Let’s take a look around us and we wouldn’t fail to notice that numerous communications are targeted at tweens.

Horlicks, Pepsodent, Lifebouy, Gluco, Tiger biscuits, Rooh Afza, there are a number of brands who are now focusing on the age bracket of 8 – 12 year olds.

Not only that but brands have specifically created products for tweens e.g. banks with their young saver’s accounts and cosmetic brands with their tween lines.

But why are tweens becoming so important for the marketers? Over the years, tween priorities have changed.

The tween today is more connected to his friends, is more influenced by his peer group, is more brand conscious and is more tech savvy. Chances are that he knows more about operating your smartphone than you. This tween is sharp and very future oriented. He is not only influential in his circle but has a hold over his elders as well.

The change in tween’s habits is good news for marketers. When previously tweens depended on parents, marketers had to look for avenues to attract parents before the child.

The influence that today’s tween has over others, has forced marketers to target them to sell their product.

Introducing a product for the tweens means creating early memories and creating a brand loyal consumer for life.

consumer

On the other hand, a tween might decide to switch to some other product in a flip of a second.

The problem is, tweens have a short memory span and a lot of activities to indulge in. Marketers not only have to give their message but also have to look for ways to keep the tweens engaged with the brand.

One such creative idea is depicted in the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” where a visit to the chocolate factory was something exclusive and engaged the tweens with the brand.

A tween might not be interested in a 10% off promotion, but she would feel happy if she happens to decide the shades for the next season’s lip glosses.

She will feel empowered, and would be willing to use something to which she herself has given an input. She needs an emotional connection with the brand. Marketers cannot get away with promises with this age group, they have to give the tweens something to trust and build a lifelong relationship.

All over the world, legislative forces are trying to curb marketers from targeting tweens while marketers continue to stress on them.

On one hand they have to create experiences for the tweens, on the other hand they have to devise ways around the legislations. Tweens have just become the most important consumer group and holding their attention is the secret to success for businesses today.


Red Bull Pumps Adrenaline into Marketing

0
Red Bull Pumps Adrenaline into Marketing

How many of you remember American author and journalist Ernest Hemingway’s quote, “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” He said it with pure passion for the games and when I watched Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner’s achievement for the first time I felt Red Bull re-igniting that passion in mankind. 

It was as Felix himself who put it as “One small step for man, one giant leap for Red Bull.”

INSTAGRAM CAMPAIGN

On Thursday the social media powerhouse behind Red Bull’s marketing strategy capitalized on Instagram’s video feature. The clip shows Russian daredevil Valery Rozov base jumping from Mount Everest.

Instagram recently added its new video feature and where many brands are still struggling with it Red Bull seems to have hit the target. It previously posted only one video on its profile, but with this clip it took full advantage of the new feature receiving 29,000 likes in its first 12 hours on Instagram.

After the overwhelming response from Red Bull’s 850,000 followers the video clip and Red Bull were declared an instant hit.

The interesting bit about this video is that it is not new; Red Bull shared a longer video of that feat on YouTube back in May. That original clip has since been viewed more than 340,000 times.

EXTREME EVENTS

Spending next to no money in TV or radio commercials, Red Bull has masterminded the marketing strategy by alienating itself from traditional antics of advertising. It creates events rather than sponsorships, this gives ownership to Red Bull and the target audience suddenly sees a whole new perspective of what the brand is all about.

Red Bull has associated itself with extreme sports by creating events such as Red Bull Road Rage, Red Bull Air Race World Championships and Red Bull X-Fighters. With events like these Red Bulls seems to have broken through all the ‘noise’ that other brand create and has found a unique place for itself in the market.

STUDENTS AS BRAND AMBASSADORS

Events however aren’t the only things that keep Red Bull in the marketing game. The strategy to have students as Brand Ambassadors, who are active in campus life, play a major role in promoting their energy drink.

This allows Red Bull to keep in touch with the latest ‘happenings’ of the universities and develop a personal touch with the students.

Red Bull has a worldwide reach and continues to grow its brand portfolio, leaving its competitors baffled with its popularity. Red bull shows no sign of slowing down and by nailing this attempt to redefine extreme, Red Bull has proven that you cut through the clutter and do something unique.

Each brand has a characteristic that could possibly be overwhelming. In this day and age, it’s about engagement and enhancement of the message and Red Bull has achieved that in both ways.


Psychological factors shaping advertising

0
Psychological factors shaping advertising

Since the turn of the century advertisers have tried to explain consumer behavior with the help of psychological theory, seeking to unlock advertising effectiveness with the key to individual motivations and desires.

The importance and need to get desired results can be judged by the fact that between 1943 and 1954 seven thousands psychologists joined US advertising agencies.

In the post-war era two psychological approaches became popular, the first, based on Freudian psychoanalysis, sought the motivations of consumers as repressed within the subconscious and looked for hidden needs and desires; the second carried the view that the people are motivated by certain biological, psychological and social needs. Both these models are still used today to determine the fundamental motivations of consumers.

In 1954 Maslow developed a hierarchy of human needs (A. H. Maslow, Motivation and Personality, 1954), stating that humans have a rational basis for needs starting with basics: sleep, food, warmth, thirst, then later safety, security and fairness, trying to assert control over our environment.

Other needs then arise, such as need for belonging, love, status and esteem. These motivational and behavioral assumptions have formed a “common sense” about what makes consumers tick.

The model supposed that the lower level needs such as warmth and food have to be satisfied before higher level ones such as status and esteem are achieved.

psychological

These are the basic determinants of consumer behavior. Going to a cricket match, watching TV in a family setting or having a family meal, even people’s “need” to be entertained or to feel that they are “informed” and well educated, are part of psychological behavioural reasons for belonging, security and assurance.

Advertising in this behavioural psychological framework starts by seeking to match and satisfy consumers’ needs and desires.

To unlock consumers’ spending, advertisers needed to appeal to the higher levels of human need, especially love, status, esteem and belonging.

In the 1940s a team of US psychoanalysts headed by Ernest Dichter developed a less rational view of consumer motivations and desires. Motivational research suggested that the “real” motivators of consumers lay in the untapped subconscious.

The motivational researchers held that we do not know the real reasons for our actions in buying things, so we invent reasons for doing it which fit in with our world-view (Colwell 1990: 15).

All that an advertiser needed to do was to use a psychologist to tap into the subconscious. Consumers could be persuaded by images that hooked into their psyche, into their self-perceptions (anxieties, fears, frustrations), by relieving their anxieties through brand values and brand images.

Consumers were depicted as more interested in the form of advertising than the content, the emotional sell rather than the logical, rational reason-why of advertising.

According to motivationalists, this kind of research revealed irrational buying habits of certain sets of consumers such as those who tend to pick up a wine bottle with scenes from rural France on it rather than a plain label.

They sought the answer in individual psychology, rather than in cultural differences.

The personality of the consumer had to be matched by a personality for the brand. Consumers were meant to self-identify with brand personalities. The brand now had a complex “brand image”, and the advertisers were told that people would actually identify with this brand image.

In 1960 Unilever launched a campaign for a detergent soap called Breeze. The brand featured a naked woman. This was one of the campaigns in which an ad aimed at women included a sexually alluring woman. The intention had been “these women of any class will identify themselves with a model provided she is beautiful enough” (Pearson and Turner 1965).

Dichter and the motivationalists believed that consumers self-identify with advertising and brands: “she is me”. Vance Packard’s book

The Hidden Persuaders (1957) took the motivational researchers at their word and fuelled a great deal of publicity for their technique and power. Advertising agencies willingly embraced this powerful view of their own abilities.

It is still held by many in advertising today: the idea that a person matches her or his own personality to that of the brand, or the person in an ad.


General Motors returns to the Super Bowl Advertising fest

0
General Manager

General Motors (GM), the automobile giant, is all set for a comeback in the advertising space of the upcoming Super Bowl XLVIII. 

GM left the biggest advertising stage of America last year, in February, with a much hyped cost-cutting move by the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO)  Joel Ewanick.

After his farewell, the current Chevrolet Marketing chief Tim Mahoney believes that the timing of the launch of his automobiles and airing of the Super Bowl is perfectly aligned.

“The timing of Super Bowl XLVIII lines up perfectly with our aggressive car and truck launch plans. The Super Bowl is a great stage for showcasing the Chevrolet brand and our newest cars and trucks,” Mahoney expressed his determination for this initiative.

Super Bowl is a significant and fertile marketing platform for not only GM, but other brands which don’t even belong to this category.

Market leaders like Procter & Gamble (P&G) and PepsiCo have invested in this broadcast, which has the highest viewership records. From Budweiser’s famous mascots Clydesdales to the controversial SodaStream commercials, Super Bowl has its own culture of advertising.

Moving into the arena of ‘Super Bowl advertising’ is prone to risks and benefits.

On one hand, brands like Doritos and Snickers have topped the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter, generating huge market shares for themselves. On the other, Blackberry has slumped in this race, credited to the improper articulation of the features in their ad, costing them a million bucks.

A portion of viewers also categorize advertisements during Super Bowl as ‘absurd’, ’nonsensical’ and ‘uninformative’. They believe these catchy campaigns are aiming just to make a memorable brand impact.

What they don’t realize is that this memorable impact will result in keeping the brand top of mind of the consumer, which will consequently translate into sales.

According to Neil Mulcahy, Executive vice president of Fox Sports, the automotive industry is the strongest ad category for the Super Bowl yet again this year. Keeping this in view, GM’s return seems to be a card well played.

With Mahoney’s Volkswagen legacy of iconic advertising and Chevy’s capability of mastering the innovation, we can surely anticipate some classy adverts on their way at the Super Bowl XLVIII.


AT&T’s ‘Trans’formation to ‘Trans’media

0
ATnT

AT&T is a well-known telecommunications company with a vast advertising strategy spanning across print media, television commercials and Out of Home advertising. However, the technology giant deserves to be credited for a move, that brought a new media platform to the frontier.

The company thought of tapping a media zone that is a part of everyday viewership, but is not regarded by many brands as ‘important’ enough to be used as a medium to market their products. AT&T attempted the bold move of using ‘Transmedia’ as the new way of unveiling the features of its products and services.

Transmedia means telling a story across multiple platforms. While the content should be unique on each medium, it has to synchronize and tell one story.

AT&T broke its stereotype of a company limited to rational and tech savvy ads and came up with an action-adventure drama entitled ‘Day break’. The media package of this campaign involved a story, well told, through five online films, two websites and even a smartphone application.

Keeping its humble image intact, the company thought of using the talent of ‘John Casser’ who is known in the niches for his direction of ‘24’, and  ‘Tim Kring’ , whose latest hit ‘Touch’ is gradually making news.

Esther Lee, SVP brand marketing and advertising AT&T, informed the viewers that this initiative is the second phase of their campaign called ‘Rethink Possible’.

“Today, I am proud and excited (by) the next phase of Rethink Possible: Daybreak. This new marketing initiative was inspired by the ideas and commitment the people of AT&T demonstrate every day in driving innovation and striving to make Rethink Possible a reality, not just a tagline”, Lee said while expressing his views at the launch of ‘Day Break’.

North Kingdom, the mobile and online experience developers of ‘Day Break’ did a commendable job creating a digital ‘ecosystem’ for the media platform. In a case study on their official website, they expressed the various challenges they had to face, encapsulating connectivity into this blooming channel of media.

‘Day Break’ had a captivating storyline, with eloquent articulation of how technology could be used to save the world. The screenplay revolves around Ben Wilkins, the protagonist, who uses his digital powers to make this world a better place to live. With suspense and thrill woven with finesse, the story does have a ‘goosebumps’ factor to it.

AT&T ensured that it does not get carried away from its motive behind stepping in this arena. The directors exhibit an array of features of AT&T’s technology including AT&T Translator, Air Graffiti, Image recognition and 4G Network.

AT&T’s connectivity with the audiences definitely got stimulation through this unique initiative. With the campaign catching news, it is very likely that its competitors will applaud AT&Ts bravery with coming up with their own Transmedia campaigns.


Nokia Lumia 1020 ad: ‘Fighting’ its way through!

0
Nokia 1020

Nokia seems to be on the height of extroversion these days. They are saying everything, implicit and explicit, openly taking names, using sarcasm and irony as their new tool of revelation.

Remaining steadfast to set this new convention, they are coming up with advertisements, one after another, and their latest Nokia Lumia 1020 advertisement surely promises to amaze you with its impeccable articulation.

The ad features a school talent festival, where children are dressed as cute fruits and vegetables. All the parents, as expected, have their gadgets gripped, to get one perfect shot of the ‘apple of their eye’. However, things do not get as smooth as you think they would.

You see wives pushing their husbands to front, neighbors smacking each other and even people dropping from the terrace, all in the pursuit of taking the closest picture to the stage.

From climbing their neighbor’s shoulders to knocking them off using their heads, they do everything and clearly not leaving anything to imagination.

The ad shows a wide range of gadgets, from tablets to smart phones, branded with pioneer brands like ‘Apple’.

If you think the drama ends here then you are wrong; Nokia goes full throttle at the closure as we see a woman being banged off before she can completes saying Apple’s tagline “you know every day more photos are taken from an ipho…”

This is not the first time that Nokia has been so ‘competitive’ with its advertising. Nokia Lumia 920’s commercial broke the ice long time ago. Set in the ambience of a wedding, the advertisement showed a peaceful ceremony turning into mayhem, when the ‘technology’ battle breaks in.

There are a series of events, from flying objects to tearing shirts, to portray people’s frenzy to take the perfect click. You hear names of the famous competitors of the brand with clarity, along with the message which the brand is trying to deliver to you.

The screenplay of the advertisement is quite similar to that of Nokia Lumia 1020’s ad, with two people at the end asking each other about the reason behind the chaos.

The current advertisement of Nokia Lumia 1020 aims to highlight the 41 megapixels and extended zoom features that the phone offers to the audiences. However, the way these features are represented does raise eyebrows.

On one hand, this advertisement immediately captures your attention, and ends up giving you a hearty laughter. On the other, at some point of time, you do say to yourself “Is this the right way of publicizing your brand’s features”.

It is still ambiguous as to what direction does Nokia wish to achieve through this ad. However, there is one thing that the company is yelling out loud through its advertising and that is ‘Bring it on!’


Marissa Mayer’s 5 Steps that Led to Yahoo’s Success

0
s Success

Marissa Mayer was ranked 14th on the list of America’s Most Powerful Businesswomen in 2012 by Fortune magazine. She recently made it in Times 100 released this year, but who is  this lone-warrior of a woman making global headlines in a world dominated by men?

Marissa Ann Mayer is a 38 year old computer engineer, who was nominated the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Yahoo in July 2012, after which Yahoo has seen a rise of about 75% in its market share. This is what bought her into the limelight as a rising business woman.

Marissa is a mother, a wife, a specialist in Artificial Intelligence and now a CEO of a 30 billion dollar company. Formerly employed by Google, Mayer spent 13 years building Google into the internet giant that it is today. When she joined Google there were 19 employees before her, she was the 20th and by the time she left, Google had more than 44,000 employees.

Meanwhile, in America rebellious CEOs seem to be the new norm. It all started with the visionary Steve Jobs, who branded CEOs to be celebrities in his contemporary sense of clothing and a small suburban condo. Mark Zuckerberg with his casual T-shirts, hoodies and flip flops gave an impression of his personality that reflects his brand, Facebook, young and happening.

The same can be said of Marissa who gave Yahoo, part of her personality with her Oscar De La Renta wardrobe and frequent Red Carpet appearances. Marissa lives in a lavish penthouse of San Francisco’s most expensive Four Season’s Hotel. She recently starred on the Vogue cover page with her sizzling persona which broke every cliché in the book for a CEO. In the last year Yahoo seemingly adapted from its new CEO.

BrandSyanrio enlists the five great steps of Marissa Mayers:

1. Yahoo cashed out $4 billion worth of its stake in Chinese Internet Company AliBaba

Jerry Young invested $1 billion in Chinese company AliBaba, ever since then the fate of the two companies seemed to have departed. Yahoo struggled with one after another problem and AliBaba rose to become China’s leading online retailer.

Within two months as CEO, Mayer took one of the major financial decisions of Yahoo which some at that moment claimed to be a naïve tactic.

However, the cash gained from AliBaba helped Yahoo to focus more on its fundamental issues like losing out market share to Google and facebook over search advertising.

2. Mayer Restricted Employee’s to Work From Home

In a rather controversial turn of events, Ms. Mayer in February 2013 sent a Memo restricted all the employees from working from their homes. According to Mayer the collaboration makes work better, hence presence within the office is imperative.

“Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people and impromptu team meetings,” she further added.

3. Yahoo bought Tumblr in a $1.1 billion deal to acquire young audience

With one of the most expensive acquisition in Yahoo’s history, Mayer convinced the Board that the blogging website would provide Yahoo with the young audience it so desperately requires.

David Karp the owner of Tumblr, a 26 year old High School drop pout sold the company in a billion dollar deal. Many critics called this to be another bad decision on yahoo’s part. Yahoo’s share price meanwhile rose to $26 from what was around $15 less than ten months ago.

4. Mayer re-designed Yahoo wen search page, included photo site Flickr

With changing times and rule of Facebook and Google over the Internet, yahoo required an updated face. Mayers redesigned the ever-so-stagnant Yahoo search page. With a new navigation bar on the top of the page, Yahoo called it ‘modern’.

Yahoo also claimed to have made some under the hood changes to enhance loading time. An updated home page was followed by a re-launch of the flag ship app, updated mail app, new weather app and the announcement of the massive overhaul of its massive photo sharing service– Flickr.

Next month, Yahoo was declared to be the biggest Internet property leaving Google and Microsoft behind.

5. Mayer makes red Carpet appearances

Mayer calls herself a ‘Computer Geek’. Her family and friends describe her as ‘shy’ and ‘socially awkward’. In Vogue’s September edition a piece being written on Mayer’s life was accompanied by a cover photo of the CEO in the most astounding fashion. To be fair, she did look ravishing but one could not have ever expected this.

Mayer truly has made yahoo re-appear in her own form, she has made it trendy, classy, up-to-date yet pleasing on the eyes. The editor of Vogue calls the picture, “strong and bold”. Many may call her posing ‘awkward’ for a CEO but as proven wrong on all accounts earlier, Mayer seems determined to prove her critics yet again.



Latest Updates