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Urban Junkie

Monday, February 06, 2006

Abhishek's birthday and high romance

One fine Sunday morning, on 5th February 2006, several thousand Hutch subscribers were woken up with joyous smses announcing wallpapers and ringtones for those who wanted to celebrate Abhishek’s birthday. At least, I hope it was several thousand subscribers, and not just me who was considered a suitable target for a message that went roughly like this:

“Hot Abhishek turns 30 today. Download ringtones and wallpapers from hot Abhishek movies”

Several reminders through the day, too. Never one to let an opportunity slip by, our Hutch. And AB’s birthday does seem to have got them all aflutter at the marketing possibilities it offers. Oh well. There is undoubtedly a solid consumer insight here which I’m missing at the moment. I do want to know, as an interested consumer at the receiving end of these pleas, why I should be the one downloading the ringtones. I mean, shouldn’t his mother be doing that? Assuming that phones singing hot songs from his hot movies are indeed likely to make him happy on his birthday.

Or perhaps I’ve got this wrong. Perhaps the world is full of Abhishek fans who would gladly play his hot songs on their phones if that’s what he wants for his birthday. Fans who share the Hutch Vision of a million phones belting out ‘Dus Bahane …’ when he drives past them on this special day. Perhaps.

The thing is, AB’s birthday ringtones are part of a larger issue that has been worrying me for a while. Too many of the marketing messages I come across these days leave me wondering who they are meant for. Check this out, for example.

One of the FM stations, I forget which, is running a Valentine’s Day contest, where the avid contestants will have a chance to win (yes, really) the 10 most romantic sayings of all time. So that (it gets better) they are equipped with the tools to win the hearts of their loved ones. Oh wow. The 10 most romantic sayings? I really do want to meet the people who are dashing out to enter the contest dreaming of this reward. And then lying in wait for their beloved armed with the potent list.

Have marketers completely lost it? Or do they think consumers have? Or (most alarmingly for me, given my job) have I completely lost touch with what makes people tick these days?

On Tuesdays, it appears, we all ought to be downloading Hanuman Ringtones to make the most of the auspicious Hanuman Energy. I am not sure what a Hanuman Ringtone sounds like, but I'm intrigued enough to check it out.


  • Rest assured, I feel the same way. Perhaps the answer lies in the age group they are targeting (one to which I no longer belong). At least that's what I tell myself.

    On second thought, do not rest assured. I may be years older than you.:)

    By Blogger Sujatha, at 9:52 AM, February 07, 2006  

  • The 10 most romantic sayings of all time? Er .. when's the deadline?

    (Look, if those don't work, nothing will.)

    By Blogger One in a Billion, at 8:20 PM, February 07, 2006  

  • You are funny!

    I'm just wondering if there can be contest on Soha Ali's birthday (download hot ringtones, hot wallpapers and keep doing so till you have a hot battery) and the one with most downloads gets a kiss on the left cheek from her. Yes, I know this is taking wishful thinking to Hutch lows!

    By Blogger Rahul, at 9:56 PM, February 07, 2006  

  • Ok, LOL.

    Thought i must tell you that i actually met someone who has sent an sms and eagerly awaits the ten most romantic sayings (of all time, no less).

    And the first one happens to be:

    'Days come and days go...my love for you will always show (sic)'

    I am eagerly waiting to see the fate of his relationship after he uses that one!

    By Anonymous tara, at 10:00 PM, February 07, 2006  

  • Abhishek has turned thirty,
    So has his ass.
    I dont give a damn,
    Then why should I spend a dime?

    By Anonymous csk, at 10:43 PM, February 07, 2006  

  • (Adding as an afterthought)
    Sorry for the word 'ass' but I totally hate these marketing gimmicks.

    By Anonymous csk, at 2:16 AM, February 08, 2006  

  • sujatha: oh, rest completely assured, we both are probably in the same age bracket. (Which we will skip lightly over in this public domain)

    the one (and only): I am disappointed. One has already forgotten recently acquired knowledge on courtship. Oh well, if One must enter the contest, One should do so before Feb 14th - but remember to translate the 10 most romantic sayings (if one is lucky enough to win them)into Italian. In fact, if what tara has written below is anything to go by, they will be infinitely more effective in as incomprehensible a language as One can manage.

    rahul: I cannot think of a lower Hutch low. You should consider applying to Hutch for a job :)

    tara: I cannot believe this. But since you quote what is clearly a romantic saying of the top 10 variety, it must be true.
    PS: Was this winner, by any chance, you?

    csk: Completely understandable. This sort of thing makes the best of us fall back on anatomical references to display our angst.

    By Blogger Anjali, at 1:13 AM, February 09, 2006  

  • Did anyone see the 'Special' report on star news about Abishek's birthday? Who came how long they stayed - Aishwarya was the first to arrive and last to leave so does that mean they're together. WHat about Vivek? Ugh.

    OK i don;t know what's worse - the fact they made a special report on it or the fact that i watched most of it. :( but i assure you no ringtones were downloaded

    By Blogger The ramblings of a shoe fiend, at 3:59 AM, February 10, 2006  

  • sf: yup, it was a lead story on more than one news channel.
    Despair not, braver souls have buckled under such persistent onslaughts ... and you must be applauded for resisting the downloads :)

    By Blogger Anjali, at 8:05 PM, February 10, 2006  

  • Hi…I’m Roy, just start the journey in the blog-world. New..... so learning the tricks by peeping in others blog without any prior permission (sorry for that!!).

    Here in mumbai..the situation were more hyper abt that birthday!!

    Heii, why not take a look to my blog: (http://comeonroy.blogspot.com/) & tell me where I need to improve. Most important, maybe you can also get something new & interesting stuff…..maybe!!
    Hoping to hear you..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:24 PM, February 10, 2006  

  • There is no cause for disappointment, O Junkie. One has emphatically not forgotten. One repeats the contents of those discussions twice before going to sleep every day, and one has wrung from them every last drop of wisdom. But a few extra tips cannot harm the cause, one is certain.

    And the subsequent translations should pose no difficulty, for Incomprehensibility is one's middle name. (No wonder one does not divulge the other ones.)

    By Blogger One in a Billion, at 9:07 AM, February 11, 2006  

  • Airtel sent me a message saying it was a Mallika Sherawat special...again, ringtones...not even pics (not that I'd download hers, but that's beside the point)...oh well, I suppose they're continuing in the great tradition of marketing management not having a clue about consumer needs...

    By Blogger the Monk, at 3:40 AM, February 23, 2006  

  • Er...ahem...being from the telecom industry and having been a guy who regularly pushes out these SMSs, I apologize on behalf of my fellow telecom masses for these unpardonable mistakes! But if y'all start being nice telecom citizens & use GPRS to download sudoku games or browse the internet, then we wouldnt have to resort to such underhand tactics to meet our targets...but seriously, you should see the kind of traffic (and money HAHAHA-evil laughter) such things generate overnight...I didnt know we had so many Priyanka Chopra fans in India until I saw the no of downloads after Aitraaz...welcome to the brave new world...of wallpapers, ringtones and even interviews...just a few clicks away! So long and sorry about all the beeps!

    By Blogger Ganja Turtle, at 10:17 PM, February 25, 2006  

  • Yes, I do believe the marketing folks have stepped away from reality... poor things.

    The trouble is, many people WILL be standing in line to download the ring tones ... and then rubbing their hands together in great anticipation of winning such a silly prize! Sad.

    By Blogger Weary Hag, at 4:34 AM, February 26, 2006  

  • NOo
    i am not 30 yet....
    they all lied!!
    Hee haw
    (jus kiddin")

    By Blogger AlterinG Abhishek, at 9:19 PM, March 06, 2006  

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