21st Jan 2015

10 years ago when a brand had a moment of truth with a consumer through activation, it was just that — a single moment of truth. And that was the big challenge at the time, justifying the cost per contact as marketing spend worth doing. It was an uphill task to compare the numbers delivered by mass media like TV, Radio and Press and compare that to the superior quality of contact delivered by activation and direct consumer contact.

Over the past few years, it has all changed and the key drivers for the change have been technology, digital media, Social media & mobile amplification. …

17th Nov 2014

I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years and like many in our industry, I am sick and tired of having to justify the value activation and events deliver! It’s true that many clients not only get it, but also get it enough to reap the benefits of the results. But many other clients don’t.

By many a yardstick, our business is the toughest business in the marketing communication gamut… yeah, yeah, everyone thinks they have a tough life but seriously, from a business perspective, running an activation/events business is pretty damn tough. If you were to analyze our business with Michael Porter’s 5-forces model, you’d pretty much decide to shut down the agency and open a kirana store. …

13th Ocr 1014

“I hear and I forget…I see and I remember…I experience and I understand.”

- Confucius

Sample this — Johaan, a regular 23-year-old, wakes up in the morning to the sound of the radio alarm on his smartphone. On his way to work, the mobile again updates him on the mails waiting for him while outdoor communication, from various brands, vies for his attention. At work the PC is his gateway to the world, assisting him on all ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ needs. There is a blurred line between official and unofficial anyway!

On a typical evening his attention is divided between the television screen, the conversations on the phone (he doesn’t call it his mobile or cellphone cause he’s never used a landline!), as well as the Internet through his laptop. …

10th May 2013

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It was the moment we dreaded for years, we knew we would miss him.

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It was a regular Wednesday morning, 8th of May 2013. Was about to turn into the kind of day I had been dreading for over a decade. Rumours had been rife from the night before, but i like many other United supporters were hoping against hope.

Finally, in the afternoon on that day, it was official — he was leaving and life as we knew it would never be the same again.

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Thank you, Sir Alex.

I owe you more than I can ever express. So many moments of joy and contentment, tears, heart-wrenching moments, leaps of delights, belief where none logically should have existed.

My own little tribute to you.

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5th April 2011

I must admit i was a late-bloomer in the 2011 Cricket World Cup campaign. More out of ‘not wanting to tempt fate’ than lack of belief. And to add to that I was put off with the massive hype create by the media. It was almost as if all we had to do was show up and we would win the world cup ! It all started quite nicely when we beat Bangaldesh convincingly, it was big deal since we’d lost to them in the last world cup (the less said about 2007 the better!). I was in Bangalore, coincidentally, the day of the India-England game so planned to go see the game at the stadium…. ended up being a nerve-wracking game. India was well on top for a good part of the game with Sachin scoring a brilliant century…. but then we played some pretty ordinary cricket with slack bowling and fielding and let England cruise to a winning position….. and then came the back-lash with Zaheer Khan bowling a superb second spell…. the crowd got into it too. Suddenly we were in a position to win. Ended up being a nail biting TIE! With that game, suddenly i was interested in the world cup. Ever since the momentous win 1983, I had followed India (much like millions of Indians) through heart-breaking world cup campaigns….. 1987, the first world cup in India, I went to see India beat Australia at the Ferozshah Kotla… only for the team to come undone in the semi-final against England at the Wankhede. 1992, the world cup down under where India really came undone and the highlight was beating Pakistan (that was to become a repeating and solitary highlight of subsequent world cups) 1996, the world cup back to India and the heady world cup quarter-final win against Pakistan in Bangalore… I was in Bangalore that day but had our IIMB convocation the same day… followed by the terrible terrible loss to Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens…. 1999, the world cup back in England… while we did beat Pakistan but for me the highlight was watching Sachin Tendulkar scoring a century against Kenya. Having just returned from India after his father passed away… he raised his arms and looked up to the heavens with tears in his eyes. Poignant moment. And then we went on to lose to Australia. 2003, so close and yet so so far. We were well beaten by a far superior Australian team. The highlight was the beating of Pakistan again. I will never forget Sachin beating the living daylights out of Shoaib Akhtar. 2007, India never showed up for the world cup, well actually I wish they hadn’t! And then came 2011… the world cup back in India and was likely to be Sachin’s last. What a travesty it would be if he were to retire without winning a world cup. India lost to South Africa and stumbled a little bit against Holland, Ireland and West Indies but got through to the quarter finals…… up against the “mighty” Australians. 3 Times defending World Champions. This match was to show the first real signs in this world cup that this team were potential world champions. Over the past few years, we had done some unthinkable stuff against the best, both home and away. №1 ranking in both test and one-days, won the T20 world cup too…. but the 2011 world cup campaign had been luke-warm at best. Playing Australia in Ahmedabad changed all that, suddenly there was belief that these guys could go all the way…. Yuvraj, Sachin, Gambhir took care of that. With Pakistan winning the following day, it set up the biggest cricket match in world cricket. possibly the biggest match-up in world sport…… Mohali was the center of the sub-continent, maybe even the world for that one day when India played Pakistan in the world cup semi-final. India played out of their skins and Pakistan helped by dropping Sachin 10 times ! We celebrated like we’d won the world cup…. …

10th Oct 2010

Before going on this trip to Africa, I had DECIDED that i would do the bungee jump…. in the end, that was what pulled me through.

Signing on the dotted line for the indemnity against ‘damages’… not that i’d be around to claim anything !

walking down the bridge to the platform with my heart beating furiously and then having to wait there for 20 minutes before my turn…. more than enough time to back out. But it had to be done.

It was quite the experience… un-bloody-believable… very few thoughts before… just petrified, i’m so scared of heights anyway…. but during was unspeakable…. all the blood just rushed to my head and hands and i could see the water and rocks rushing at me… incredible…. and then the jerk of the bungee…. 2–3 times… body going everywhere… zero control. …

10th Oct 2010

The Africa trip was conceived (of all the places) in Arunachal, on the banks of the Brahmaputra.

So we decided the next river would have to be the mighty Zambezi. A bunch of us got together and convinced Vaibhav Kala to put together a river trip for us on the Zambezi and bung in a safari leg too — in the Masai Mara.

What an amazing trip it turned out to be! The short (seemed like it was a whole day long) flight from Lusaka to Livingstone in a 10-seater plane where you could open the windows!

Pretty much everyone on that flight threw up their lunch, i was busy passing out airsickness bags, thank god i didnt need one! …

27th April 2010

It was in 1983 that i started supporting Manchester United. Today, I went to watch them live at my REAL home, in Old Trafford. I’ve been to the stadium before but not to watch a game, this was different. I went all by myself, took the train up from London (Thames Ditton actually). Left at 5.30 AM, 5 hour journey. Well worth it. The match was against Tottenham Hotspur (a london club), so there were loads of Spurs fans on the train with me. Once in Manchester, and even more so at Old Trafford, I felt well at home amongst the multitude of red shirts… ready for the game, one we had to win to stay in the title race. I went across to the ticket office to collect my ticket and on the way back towards the stadium saw Sir Bobby Charlton step out of his car right in front of me. I would NOT believe my eyes, stunned. Just stepped up along with 10 odd supporters and said hello. He stopped and shook hands with me and others, signed some autographs. What a moment. I had to sit down and settle myself. Unbelievable. Went into the stadium a good hour before the game and took my seat, it was right behind the United bench… the players came out for their warmup and they were right there, almost in touching distance. This was turning out to be quite the day…… Soon after, the teams came out. Followed by god himself, Sir Alex. I felt a glow inside me, so special a moment. I watched most of the game in a trance, managed to take a few photos. but watching the game was far more important. All the others around me were season ticket holders and obviously knew each other well. They weren’t really sure whether the stranger (me) was worth their time, just a tourist, or a supporter or what. By the end of the game, we were celebrating goals and hugging… amazing. …

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8th April 2010:

“I wish…… I wish I could kayak instead of rafting”. And thats how it all started…. seemed like a very good idea at the time ! I had been rafting 4 times in about 14 months…. Zanskar in Ladakh, Ganga and Tons in Uttaranchal and the Mighty Brahmaputra in Arunachal…. On all these trips there were the regular Safety Kayakers along — Kahn Singh, Gappu, Manoj, Jeetu….. and it looked like such fun… dont get me wrong, i didnt think it was easy. I realised it would be difficult but little did I realise HOW TOUGH…

So during the Brahmaputra trip in december 2010, we started talking about doing a Kayak Clinic in Shivpuri at Camp Silver Sands. Seemed like a simple enough idea and even a good one at that…. so i signed on ! …

18th Dec 2009:

The Brahmaputra or Siang as it is called in Arunachal Pradesh is one of the most remote rivers in India, and considered by many as the “biggest water” rivers for rafting in Asia. It had fascinated (and in my mind, challenged) me for the longest time.

I had decided long ago that I would be in a raft on the Brahmaputra one day, not the easiest task to achieve and it took me some time. I have caught the rafting bug over the past couple of years and it was almost inevitable that the Big One would come around soon. …


atul s nath

Manchester United & France Football supporter 34+ years. Founder & MD of Candid Marketing @candidmktg :India's No. 1 Brand Activation Agency. And now a father.

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