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Thursday, February 28, 2008

SMS advertising: emerging as a new medium

Cell phone subscriber uses SMS as a new media mix tool for marketers across the world in the late 1990s and 21st century. It’s a new window for advertisers to send their messages to their target customers more precisely through SMS. Today's consumers are mobile - and today's marketing must reflect that. With the two-way SMS Marketing account, one can build powerful interactive marketing campaigns that drive results. SMS advertising reaches to target customers directly. So its reach is very high as near to 100%. Very few of the existing medias are so successful. Moreover compared with some mass media it is very cost effective. SMS is a service that is generally priced low and in a few cases, offered free of charge.

SMS is a single short message up to 160 characters that can be sent from one cell phone to another. The Internet can also be used to send SMS. MMS also can be sent on words, numerals, alphanumeric, or image format. The first SMS is believed to have sent in December 1992 from a personal computer to a mobile phone on the Vodafone GSM network in the UK. According to a BBC news report, SMS in its 21st century form took shape only in the mid-1990s. The traditional medias used by advertisers such as TV, newspaper, radio, magazine, billboard, transports, spot TV, email, mail and so one are mainly mass media, except email and mail. But SMS is really a customized media, because through this media a message can be sent directly to target markets, in a way that customers want.

Why SMS is the best?
Ø From the speech of Major General Manzurul Alam (retd), chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (BTRC), Almost more than 33 million people in Bangladesh hold a mobile phone at the end of 2007, so the opportunity is as large as the size.
Ø Over 90% of the user enjoys using and receiving an SMS at least once in a month.
Ø The cost of using SMS is very low.
Ø As a direct medium it is more than effective as Internet (e-mail). As the ratio of mobile phone users and Internet users are 32.37 million/ 4,50,000.
Ø Compared to most expensive television its reach is also very high. For instance, if a private university wants to send an information about its new program it can easily send it to the students who have appeared H.S.C. exam as its not so difficult to get information about mobile phone users when mobile phone companies have already completed the registration of cell phone users.
Ø SMS advertising is timely- deliver at the exact time your advertisement will have most impact.
Ø SMS can target a mobile audience on 12-24 hours per day.
Ø Response device is already present.
Ø SMS/MMS is personal.
Ø From university to grocery shop and automobile to real estate businessman every one can benefit from SMS advertising.
Ø Even an advertiser can use SMS junction, which is a free, wireless service, keeping one in touch - whenever and wherever. With SMS junction, a mobile phone is more than a phone. It can be used to exchange text and voice messages with groups and individuals. SMS junction also sends anybody up-to-the-second information on the events, places, and people s/he is interested in - all on her/his mobile phone.

The popularity of SMS led to the evolution of an entirely new vocabulary, that was a shorter, abbreviated form of the local language. This was essentially due to the limited space that a mobile phone offered. Thus, 'See you later' became 'CUL8R,' and 'Are You Okay?' became 'R U OK?' Smiles (or emotions) as used in messenger services on the Internet helped add the personal touch that SMS was often accused of lacking. SMS advertising is evolving as an extremely desirable method of target marketing for a range of market groups ranging in age from late-teens to middle aged. In many cases SMS advertising can be integrated into planned advertising campaigns to leverage response rates, or new campaigns can be built with SMS text messaging as the primary mechanic.
Data source: Internet,
Mahbuba Kanij
Lecturer of Marketing
Northern University Bangladesh
BBA, MBA from Dhaka University

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Brilliant dubbers, brilliant brand managers and the Indian advertisers

Unilever, Reckitt, Nestle-- who is not in the league. Bangladeshi TV screens are tirelessly airing Made in India TVCs. No wonder dubbing jobs carried on by Asiatic or Adcomm requires ‘praise’. Press insertions are also snapped from TVCs. Billboards, tri-vision, neon signs, shop signs, posters, festoons, buntings all are derived from the same source. Even shows like Closeup1 ‘tomakei khujche…’ are also ‘inspired’ by Indian idol or American idol. All this replication is being treated as advertisements instead of mere dubbing! MNCs in Bangladesh are full with dubbing managers, rather than having marketing managers or brand managers. Should we rename the division 'dubbing division', and the heads as, director- dubs and developments. May we ask Philip Kotler to write 13th edition of his marketing management as Bangladesh Special where 'chapter-dubbing' will replace 'chapter-integrated marketing communication & promotion.' Amidst all this rub-and-dub, I wonder where the room is for creativity and innovation. Corporates might argue in favor of having uniform advertisements across socially or culturally homogeneous regions in order to cut cost, but that surely happens at the cost of letting go local uniqueness, celebrity endorsements etc.

by Azad. A. Kalam

Friday, February 22, 2008

Butter up with cupcake adulators

Females have been long in use in handling hard-hitting customers, welcoming new clients, hanging on to old patrons, and performing other roles better not be stated on a public platform. Be it a multi-national giant, or a pocket-sized ‘deshi’ business everyone yarns to have some beautiful-supercilious-adamant-outspoken-bla-bla-hot-shot-more importantly sweet voiced girls in the front desk, at the customer service center, at the sales promos, at the fairs, and sometimes at the boss’s room as his cheerleader, PA (Passionately Allegiant... 8). Moreover, if you are to build up demanding PR, do some event managements or may be networking, you are to get a girl, a corporate one indeed. By definition from no where, a mere corporate girl understands all the corporate issues in a corporate way. She has to have the abilities to mollify the office executives, customers, and sometimes new-potential clients.

Warid’s customer care executives (female) can be brought into attention. A one Natacha has made some of my mates screwballs. When I see them at the University I often find them dialing Warid’s 786 (Customer Care Number) to access the Voice of Enigma ... psst!...Natacha, I meant. Willingly or not, I don’t know, Warid is gaining some revenues through the voice. I don’t have any idea how many more are trying to find either a Natacha or a Batasha at Warid, GrameenPhone, Banglalink, Aktel, Citycell and so on. Not a bad idea though for the companies. Hiring someone who can profit you collaterally.

Literally speaking, it’s not always that the females willingly do it. More often they are bound by the laws of the corporate world, i.e. if you wanna set in you have to make us feel good, or else you have to walk away, and I’ll call the next candidate. I know of a few words that came past the walls of Lux-Channel-I Super Star (LCSS) competition. A lot of girls came to get famous. But very few were given chances according to how they satisfied 1. the even management team 2. the male judges 3. the bosses. Among them only three could top; and here, too, based on their internal arrangements at that level! Any girl who walks in an advertising media are faced with almost the same challenges every now and then. I can mention here about one of my friend from Rajuk College, Uttara. She was picked by a production house that was going to make a drama serial. In the first interview she was asked to wear a Saree without blouse!! Can you possibly imagine that putting your own sister in that set up?

It’s a very common practice at the corporate world nearly in every country to have seductive girls at the office premises. In GP you have the CEO as the ‘Bond’, so you have the bomb, Rubz as his ‘Bond Girl’. Where you have Mahz at the ATN, you have Eve at the ATN Muzik. Where you have Huma in the films, you have Shaoon at the shoot. Things go like this. Girls have been traded as a corporate gifts in some cases. The cooperates surely keep a keen eye on the media seeking new-arousing-previously not used girls. And it’s a secret known to almost everybody.

Now, what’s my point here? If the girls are chosen on the basis of their fastness and skin and beauty, a terrible situation may arise out of nothing! What will be the fate of the ill-looking girls, or the ones cannot understand the corporate culture to the fullest extent? Female employment growth is shrinking at a high rate according to The Daily Star. No doubt, the things I have discussed in the previous paragraphs will considerably contribute in the high shrinking rate. I have no idea how we can come out of these set ups, but can assure you, if we do not, something unusual is racing towards ... ... ... God bless all!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

R.I.P. Manna Bhai and pray for us from up above

I am afraid I belong to that group of our society which never frequents the cinema halls of Bangladesh to watch Bangla movies. Once in a blue moon….Star Cineplex…movies by Humayun Ahmed or Sarwar Farooqi…c’est tout. Nevertheless, I also belong to that group of our society which keeps eyes and ears open for latest news and information and who on this earth was called Manna is nothing new to me. Albeit I haven’t watched a single movie of his, neither I ever wanted to, but I was pretty much aware about his stardom and popularity among a huge section of Bangladeshi movie loving crowd. Rest In Peace Manna Bhai…you made people laugh, you made people cry, in reel life, now in real life too…you made them cry for a longer period…through your final exit from the cinema of life. I wish you were there to tell us a bit more what exactly happened during your final hours. Many still keep on guessing that how can a person actually see his end even after self-driving to the hospital seeking medical attention. Many still keep on suspecting that experiment-loving businessmen (read doctors) were delighted at the prospects of tearing apart the chest of the Bangladeshi film star. And as usual and as always, something went wrong, went out of control and his life had to be controlled by the artificial support systems…while the heavy degree doctors (with MBBS, FCPS, ABCD, LMNO behind their names) and their cronies stood ‘united’ at the emergency wing of ‘United Hospital’ finally praying to God and asking for miracle and mercy. Manna became just another brick in the wall, with the difference that since he was famous, I am writing this post here, I never wrote any post for many unknown victims who are being laid to final rest…thanks to the ‘United’ docs and their Aides in the ‘Lab’, they are making sure no one comes back alive from their hands.

Forget about me, myself and this post…after all who am I? I am not even as famous as Manna was. So let me advocate for a famous (again) political leader of our country who recently expressed her unwillingness at first for medical treatment in local hospitals. Later on her advocates must have convinced her to get back to square one to seek treatment in a leading local hospital (hotel) called Square Hospital. I think that political leader is too shy to just say point blank that she does not want to rely on the expertise of local hospitals and their semi-educated-death-agents, she also fears ‘foul play’. For matters of protocol, she cited reasons of her security…she is intelligent and surely a politician. She just doesn’t want to become yet another brick in the wall, like Manna Bhai….after all she should be kept alive…as she is so eager and honest to serve me and my countrymen (?!).

I don’t know how many more posts will be published on the malpractice of our hospitals. I live very close to United Hospital and in any unfortunate moments of emergency, will be rushed to that very United only…I hope I don’t get to meet Manna Bhai any sooner. You RIP Manna Bhai and pray for us from up above.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Shame on AB Baby

Daily Star Reports

AB Bank's merchant banking wing was fined Tk 10 crore yesterday for disbursing excess margin loans in violation of securities rules.The penalty is the highest the regulator has imposed on a listed company since 2001. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also asked the merchant banking wing to submit the fine to the commission within the next 15 days. Managing director of AB Bank could not be contacted over his cell phone for comments despite repeated attempts. (anybody seen him around?) After an investigation the SEC found AB Bank's merchant banking wing disbursed around Tk 528 crore loans against its paid up capital of only Tk 57 crore during mid 2007 when stock market experienced an abnormal bullish trend due to liquidity glut stemming from excess margin loans. The wing mainly disbursed the loans among its employees and their relatives. (a big happy family...sucknig blood of innocent retail investors). “According to the securities rules, a merchant bank cannot provide margin loan more than five times of its paid up capital whereas AB Bank's merchant banking wing provided loans by around ten times of its paid up capital,” said Farhad Ahmed, executive director of SEC.The loans merchant banks offer to investors to buy shares is commonly known as margin loans. The merchant-banking wing of the bank swindled more than Tk 66 crore during the period last year, according to the SEC investigation report. The investigation found that the bank by disbursing excess loans created a liquidity glut, leading abnormal price hike of shares in some companies. In some cases, the share prices jumped by around 300 percent, the investigation revealed.The SEC investigation also revealed that AB Bank's merchant banking wing through its stockbrokers -- AB Bank Foundation, Ahmed Brothers Securities, Popular Equity, ARC Securities and Country Stock (Bangladesh) - used the netting facilities illegally in selling and buying shares on the spot market.
AB Bank has put on a new avatar these days, trying their best to wash their hands off sins commited in the past. They have a new logo, a new brand repositioning. Its time to start afresh for the happy AB family....they have sucked enough blood of unaware retail investors of the Bangladeshi Stock Markets.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The name's Bhond...Jasim Bhond...

One of the things that Anders (James/Jasim) Jensen (Bond), the blue-eyed blue-blooded Swedish spearhead of Grameen Phone is famous for, is his cost cutting measures. ‘They’ say he was famous for his massive lay-offs during his tenure in Siemens (unconfirmed), as a means to cut costs and streamline organizational processes. Remember how James Bond poses with his Aston Martin or Omega watches? I don’t know why but when I saw Mr. Jensen holding the Blueberry in his hand posing in the media briefing session, I could see flashes of a new James Bond avatar in him. We are perhaps allowed to make a local version of it…how about Jasim Bhond(o)?

Well, he might be someone working on behalf of BCI (Bangladesh Counter Intelligence…remember Masud Rana?) or against BCI….something which we are still not sure about. Agent Bhond has a mountainous burden on his shoulders to clean up the mess created by previous agents Terik Khaas and Dhola Bee. One of the certain things that agent Bhond might contemplate doing is immediate layoffs. Keeping in view the recent tussle with BTRC and increasing tiger roars from Banglalink, papa Telenor has missed periods…sorry profits this year. My friend who works in the IT department of GP is somewhat worried about her job. That is what happens when the company becomes too big. A time comes when the curve goes for a nose-dive and massive measures are being taken to cut costs and remain competitive. My friend is still confused whether the probable merger in the telecom industry will bring the axe of being fired on her head or will it open up better opportunities for telco professionals like her. As executives in Aktel are licking their lips to have a bite on the big Vodafone cake, while Banglalink keeps on roaring big day by day, a good number of GP staff are left wondering in dilemma and uncertainty. May be agent Bhond need to get good directions from head office to keep up the morale of his staff, recent measures to increase inter-department/division efficiency has also risen scopes for ‘corporate bitching and back-biting’, as some bitches and back-biters and ‘bitten-at-the-backs’ appalled.

So the big question is, do you think the telecom sector of Bangladesh is set to create more jobs or we all should be prepared for a big squeeze in the job market, in the industry and in our pockets and in our pockets of expectations too? Only God, gods and agent Bhond know.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Let me compare

Financial Express reports

City watchdog the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is to launch an independent Web site to help consumers compare credit cards. The move follows recommendations by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) designed to help consumers get a better credit card deal. Others will include improvements in summary boxes on credit card marketing materials and statements, standardisation of terminology used in product literature and greater consumer education on the benefits of shopping around for a credit card. The OFT report into credit card comparisons follows a super-complaint from consumer group Which? in April last year. Which? said people choose credit cards without understanding all the issues that affect the cost of the card, and OFT research later showed that 70 per cent of credit card holders do not shop around. John Fingleton, chief executive of the OFT, said: "No one wants to throw money away, but consumers who don't shop around for credit cards are doing just that. "It is essential that consumers are given the right tools to make comparisons between credit cards more easily, and we can achieve this through some of the recommendations announced today which have received widespread support." Payments body Apacs said the new comparison Web site would prove an important additional tool to help people make informed choices about the card that best suits their needs. Director of communications Sandra Quinn said: "We are backing the OFT in hoping that these proposals will spur customers on to make better decisions by building upon the work already undertaken by the industry to make credit card products more transparent."

Though the credit wave is pretty new to have hit the shore of Bangladeshi youth/consumers, it would be nice to see some entrepreneurs coming up with a comparison website for not only the desi credit cards but also for comparing various other financial products offered by numerous banks and NBFIs of the country. Experts might argue, but I get a feeling (only) that my bank (guess which one) keeps on siphoning off money from my account with many innovative hidden costs (!) under the banner of 'this VAT', 'that VAT', processing fees, charges etc. Most of the time I don't understand why I am paying for all those charges and wonder if other banks do the same or not. My banker friends are eager to take advantage of my ignorance and really didn't welcome the idea of a comparison based website which would only make the consumers more educated and alert of different banking products. Nevertheless, I am the customer and I believe I am the king and I should have the option to choose. Any financial entrepreneur reading this...can you make out a business model out of this?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

In pursuit of WWF recognition

Could it be argued that henna became popular only after Madonna started donning it and flashing it during her concerts worldwide? Could it also be argued that Yoga became popular only after western celebrities started advocating for it and practicing it themselves to seek salvation from their stressed lifestyles? Could it also be argued that Hindi as a language and India as a mystified country got more attention especially after Beckham tattooed his wife’s name in Hindi in his arms and more celebrities visiting India were made to wear sarees and say ‘namaste’? You might argue that many other factors simultaneously play a role in making all those things happen, nevertheless, the reasons I explicitly mentioned, are still out there and keep playing a role isn’t it? My hypothesis is that ‘God is a westerner white fat man with white hair and white beard’ and if ‘white men say so and think so’, we the impoverished third world inhabitants will get a due recognition or endorsement of our initiatives and efforts.

Take the example of this blog. Since it is still a not-for-profit entity, various bloggers are trying to bring out time from their respective busy schedules to advertise for the blog, so that more and more people start reading it, writing articles in it on Bangladeshi companies etc. But as it was bound to happen, individual efforts are never enough to pull a large internet traffic to the blog. Rather we are grateful to Google and the very presence of so many company names (which work as meta tags, search keywords) which have put the blog in a pretty high ranking in Google searches. We realize that we cannot afford to undertake a push-strategy for the blog, similar to that of CellBazaar these days, sticking a handy little sticker behind almost every third vehicle plying through the choked streets of Dhaka city. Neither we have the seed capital, nor we have infrastructure, nor do we have any institutional patron who would help us do that. So we have to opt for a pull-strategy. As most of the people we are approaching here, are giving us dry smile with sly looks…as if asking ‘who the hell are you folks? Are you guys guru of some sort? Since you aren’t famous yet, we won’t even bother what you are talking about….’

We are still thinking how to do something, tell something, innovate something which would pull the internet audience to the blog, rather than we pushing the blog down the people’s throats. We wish we had a fat white western buddy in our Facebook friend’s list, who could one fine morning give us some sort of an award…say ‘Best Business Journalism’ award in ‘3rd world category’ ….or ‘Minnesota State Award for Business Blogging’…keeping in view our humble efforts to get the young writing about business, Bangladesh and about big time ahead. By the way, all the award names I mentioned are fictitious and bear no link with anything in reality, they are just an output of my imaginative self. But just imagine if we could have managed to receive a WWF (Western White Fat) recognition, how easy it would have been for us to achieve a huge rise in interested readers, bloggers and other stakeholders who would make use of this platform for individual or business interests. Well…wishful thinking you still think? We don’t…I will shortly get in touch with my American friend…who is a part time student, part time womanizer, part time animal-rights activists and a part time blogger too….if any Tom Dick and Harry can simply utter that ‘Bangladesh Corporate Blog is great’, we have our local media ready here to make merry of this ‘proud moment’…this ‘achievement’ and this ‘success story of the Bangladeshi youth’. Until then, I keep on waiting with my legs and fingers crossed.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Against all evens

Sometimes things get fuming when you try to advocate for someone who is already colored in the society as ‘Hell Boy’. Lately a super-duper-bumper-jumper story of some Titas-ites have swung the country with fears, dreads and buzzes. But it did tickle me reversely! Otherwise, I’d not be writing articles of this sort. In a nutshell, a recent discovery by the country’s watch-robots have unveiled some misdeeds of their brothers in their own houses! Let me have the pleasure to quote from The Daily Star regarding one of the Hell Boyz endeavor,” The story of former Titas Gas sales assistant Abdul Kader Mollah would probably beat all incidents so far known about amassing wealth through illegal means. Believe it or not, as an employee drawing only Tk 4,000 in salary when at career's peak, Mollah accumulated wealth worth over Tk 2,100 crore. He has 15 industries, 13 flats, 29 vehicles, a five-storey building, a one-storey house, a farmhouse and 45 acres of land and a balance of Tk 18.53 crore.” Aha! how does that feel to read, hmm? Here you’ve just known about one Mollah. But there remains too many, let’s let them keep in peace and move my post ahead.

So everyone looked how bad these people have been throughout these 30 years, but, I believe, no one ever looked how well they contributed to the economy. I admit, I am not good at economics. But as a free-thinker, can I talk a little about it? I don’t know how many people were employed in their industries, how many families earned a day’s bread from the income which generated by working in those places. A lot of fathers felt relieved sending their children to schools from the income from those houses, no doubt. How many people were indirectly connected to those businesses, does anyone have any idea? Whatever those Hell Boyz did, they kept the wheel of the economy on the run. You can raise your eye-brow, and say,”... but they amassed a huge amount of ill-gotten money, didn’t they?”. Hmm, very very right! However, if they stockpiled those in the banks, and since we know how the banks do business, it’s quite unreasonable to question about the money.

Undeniably these boyz have been visionary businessmen. They know how to get set into the loops and earn profit from them. They know how to make quick cash. They create cash-cows for their businesses. Interestingly, they don’t have any BBAs/MBAs. So it’s a great news for the community which has been repeatedly complaining about the job availability for non BBA/MBA grads. May be rather detaining these hell boyz we can give them a chance. Perhaps they can uplift the corporate culture, who knows? Remember Steven Spielberg’s Catch me if you can? Leonardo DiCaprio (as Abagnale) acted superb out there. Abagnale (the real guy) was later posted as an FBI official as he was an expert in fraud-check identifying. So what do you say, don’t these hell boyz deserve a chance?

Photo: Internet

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chakri ta ami peye gesi Bela shunso...........

Most people in their student life face cash constrains for moving with their dates. But do people feel so intensely after entering the corporate world, allegedly donning with the cash power? With the increase in education among our female peers or for their inevitability in some of the posts, more of them are working in our corporate world. More fair looking girls are glazing at the receptions or some other chairs not only for their brighter complexion but also for their temperament. But that is not a problem untill a stout looking, handosme stumbles upon one of these co-workers. My article is about these corporate blues.

Films from Bollywood try to portray this 'falling in love' is a common phenomenon in the corporate world. Films like 'Life In A Metro' is based on a cobweb of intricate relations, where someone is courting other's wife or lower in position girls are dating with bosses for an extra advantage. But whatever is the depictation, most stories roll down to a bed, for some passionate love making scenes. Films like 'Agger' goes into the length of calling this 'physical relationship' a settlement. But is our corporate world is so mature to go frolicking with such a radical conservative outlook of our society?

Rekha never feels so ardently about Aarman, although they went about for some dates on a couple of occasions. Though it is not upto a state of infatuation, she has a feel good relationship with him. But it was not the same when Aarman first joined at this office. With a rugged looking face and a stocky aspect, Rekha didn't even bother to give him a second peek. But as a next desk mate she had to share some views with him, even had him overheard some of her secret conversations. She couln't desist the olive branch extended to her in the form of some tempting gifts. He could finance some of their dates at some posh hotels as he was earning more from some other sources. But they began to feel some niggles in their relationship, when they were already in a nuptial knot.

The downside of ' love with co-worker' is that it is not based on intense feeling or venerability on which a relatioship should evolve. Moreover, there is no family bound pressure to keep it intact as most of the time it is illicit or without the consent of family members. It is said that if you keep two pieces of stone together, they will trun to the same colour. As two peers spend such a long time together in their office, there develop a feel-good relationship. Apart from that, an extra spurt of money also stokes the relationship to a more hectic form. Eventually, it falls apart as they do not have anything new to descover among themselves.

But it does not mean we will not try to give our luck a chance. As the 'Valentines Day' is nearing, couples are more busy with their schedules on the very day. After office-time he would like to have a ride with her in the silhouette of setting sun. Whatever you do, please 'Play Safe'.

Monday, February 4, 2008

What are you tonight?

‘What are you tonight? Strawberry? How about Mint? Vanilla? what you want to be…Sensation’. The frosty female voice murmurs in your ears while saxophone tunes play in the background. Probably it will not take a wild guess to visualize the product being advertised so much lately in TVs and also in radio channels. Your experience and expertise with the product promoted by SMC must have given you a clear hint that the ‘frosty female’ had been advertising for our very own and essential—condoms (can you read this text? Ssshhh…don’t read out loud). But I wonder, why do they stop short of saying that Sensation is a condom? In the TVCs, although the text appears as c.o.n.d.o.m. but the voice does not read it. In the radio ads as well, the saxophone keeps on setting up the mood, the voice keeps on giving hints about different flavors but none just says out loud (or soft?) and clear that it’s a condom. I wonder if blind men have sex or not…or know what Sensation is, a blind viewer or listener of the sensational Sensation ad would stop short of guessing right that the ad is for contraceptives. Does SMC has special promotional campaigns for the visually less able? Who knows. Remember the Hindi movie ‘Cheeni Kum’? Where an elderly lover (played by Amitabh Bachchan) meticulously tries to communicate through sign language to the vendor that he was looking for condoms. Perhaps if Big B and the vendor had seen the ad of our SMC, he could have simply asked for ‘Sensation’, and the experienced vendor would have handed him a pack of it, without even murmuring the name of the product, lest people around stare at them.

Some flash back. 1996. End of SSC Exams. 10 school boys in uniform. One rent-a-car microbus. ‘Dhaka shohor chokkor’. To celebrate the end of ‘torturous’ SSC exam and to experience the transition from boyhood to manhood (or shall we say from boyhood to older boyhood?), we searched to do something exciting. One of our dare-devil friends proposed to perform an audacious stunt. He walked straight into a pharmacy in Mohakhali and asked for a pack of condoms. We eagerly waited inside the microbus and occasionally peeped out of the window to witness the antics of our adventurous dosto. We could see an embarrassed customer (our small short friend in school uniform) waiting with a straight face and an equally embarrassed vendor wrapping up the ‘tabooed’ item inside brown papers. There came out our buddy with a smile of a winner on his face and trophy in his hand. We realized later that probably it was not a good idea to go out buying such ‘nishiddho’ items in school uniforms. But how much do we realize now that although we have replaced our school uniforms with office-wears, suits and boots, how much change has actually taken place in our perception towards contraceptives, their usage and their advertising in media?

Well, I guess I shouldn’t complain much regarding this. Our advertising has come of age. Remember the evergreen ads of white pads being tested with blue liquids and how it enables a bubbly girl overcome (mostly all) obstacles in life? I had a tough time initially linking this innocent ad with female classmates who almost always used to be absent for 3-4 days every month. Thanks to informal education, peer learning, indirect knowledge sessions etc. now I know pretty well the ins and outs of the message of those ads. Then there are the birth control pill ads. Happy smiling family and the narrator clearly says that it is a ‘birth control pill…sholpo matrar’. So there is no doubt that our media has been maturing by the day (or are they really?) in matters of raising awareness about sensitive issues such as AIDS, safe sex, birth control, female hygiene etc. Just a small contrast with that sensational ad of Sensation…probably SMC wants us to buy and use and experience ‘Sensation’ (feeling) rather than experiencing only a piece of rubber. How thoughtful of SMC (?!). Its also very ‘fruitful’ of them to show artistic (!) representation of a woman embracing a strawberry, mint, vanilla etc. on the packaging of their product. Remember some foreign ads of Kamasutra condoms…two real human beings, steamy encounter, broken glasses, clothes in disarray….excitement…and here comes KS. Quite a graduation from the ‘two roses hitting each other’ to a straight forward ‘action-oriented’ condom ad. Comparing to that, we are at the stage whereby using graphics women embracing big strawberries and mints. Not bad, future is bright and full of flavors it seems.

Well, enough of blogging here I guess. Let me get back and figure out what I am going to be tonight…strawberry, mint, vanilla, aam, jaam, kathal, kola…lets see.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Kingdom of Bangladesh Corporate Blog

This is an exclusive post only for you. Know how fast The Kingdom of Bangladesh Corporate Blog is spreading over the world. Thank you for being so cooperative throughout these days. Be with us. Be Business. Be Bangladesh. Be in Big Time.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Advertisements that will lead you to the Undertaker

Like the advertisement says, careless talk costs lives, dauntless-illegal ads may take you to your undertaker, believe it or not. Since we have set a vision of talking about different elements of business, here, I have a great chance to bring some of your attention to some freaking ads that are really very dangerous both to your health and mind. Wherever we go, whatever we are dealing in throughout the days, weeks, months ads will always be coming in our ways. But not everyone is meant for your betterment. Amid hundreds of thousands of ads there float a large number of ads those are intended to take you to the grave. I know throughout February we will have a good number of posts on advertising; advertising being an interest of almost all of us. Everyday before I look for a national or an international news, I roll my eyes on every page of The Daily Star to look if there is any new ad! I believe amidst you, there’ll be some ad freaks like me.

But my post relates to those advertisements of which most of you are unaware, particularly if you do no run through the busiest places around Dhaka city. Or may be you don’t go through the ad pages of some Bangla dailies. I don’t want to lose the chance to inform you about these punk ads. You may never be affected by these ads anyway, but some of your mates may fall vulnerable to these ads, and any thing can happen, you never know.

Let me start with the deadliest advertisement you’d ever confront while you’re plying on the roads of Dhaka. The tiny-rectangular piece of papers (most of us throw them away without seeing what’s actually written on them) are one of the most floating ad papers one is very likely to get from an anonymous. Since I was to write something on advertising in February, I have not thrown mine which I got tossed by a unknown lady at Kataban, while I was returning home having finished my University classes. I was really amazed to read what was written on those papers. You would never believe me if I put this before you in writing, so I took the photos of those papers and posted them with the post. Look closely, they are certainly not meant for you, he and me, i.e. the Uni going, job attaining, or biz managing folks. These are rather meant for people of a bit lower class, of low income, less or not educated men & women we see on the roads everyday. But why am I writing about these? What’s my benefit out here? Who am I advocating for? These questions are quite evident from you, if you’re hopefully reading to this far. I have certain points to make. Before start shooting, let me ask you - have you watched any of the 3 parts of the Resident Evil? Or may be Will Smith’s I am legend? What did the Umbrella Corporation’s T-Virus, or the famous doctor’s cancer curing antivirus did to the world? I know they are complete fantasies, but dancing on the moon was a fantasy either, wasn’t it? If anything wrong goes with a lower-class people, any epidemic may gobble out Mr. Billoo of Micro, no doubt. Yeah, I am stretching things a bit far, I know. But surely these are worth taking into serious consideration. If we were aware beforehand, Bird-flu might not have damaged the poultry industry in this country plummeting a kg chicken’s price from over tk. 100 to only tk. 25! So it’d never be wise to take things simply, if any evil gets leaked who know what would happen? These moron advertisers are yet to taken into the consideration of the legal frames. How could the government do so if they keep busy ailing and hailing the big fishes! So, it lies over our shoulders to come forward, and set a barrier so that these poor ads cannot harm any of us.

Now in the newspapers. Often, chiefly in the Bangla newspapers, you’d see numerous advertiser shouting at you to avail their guide to make your path to the land of dreams. But what actually happens out there? Let me give you an example. One of my father’s friends’ dulal (son) was keen to get higher studies from the UK, to be specific, London. So he went to a local agency, and asserted his desire. The agency getting his as an abul (fool) made false offer letter, took a considerable amount of money as visa processing fee, and sent him to the UK. But when he reached London, he found that the university he was going in virtually didn’t exist (Well, there are some kahinies [explanations] behind this. The university actually lost it’s license for not complying with the UK standards. This is what I was told from the dulal’s father). That poor boy is crawling somewhere in Nottingham now. Like this, a lot of vua (charlatan) people, agencies are roaming on the cities of the country. Should they be allowed to continue their operation anymore? What do you say?

My younger brother went to a coaching center after his HSC exams to get a chance to build up a career as a physician. He found them by an ad from a daily. After studying for over three months there, before the final admission test, those teachers wanted him to pay them taka 5,00,000 (yes, five hundred thousand) if he wanted to avail the leaked questions. We did not pay those fraud teachers with that money, and as a matter of fact my only brother could not fulfill his dream to get admitted into a public medical college. But he then did a great job getting admitted in the Armed Forces Medical College, Dhaka Cantonment. He showed those psyches that really there exist something which money can’t buy. Still those teaching (I’d rather say cheating) centers give ads in the media, pathetic!

The practice of cheating the DV buddies has been in action for long. Often common people are misled by the notorious advertisers while they are dreaming of NYC, Florida, or Nevada may be. But their dreams realize when they fall into the sea of Shahara!

The marriage-makers are also looting people by ads. Often people are seen on TV being dumped by the marriage-makers. A recent exclusive show on Bangla Vision has revealed a fraud lady being involved in illegal marriage-making! Everyone should be careful while dealing in such susceptible issues.

A mate of mine at the University was getting crazy to start a tuition. He went to a tuition provider at Azimpur. After going, he learned that he’d have to pay tk. 250 as membership fee which is obviously non-refundable and non-negotiable. He was supposed to get a tuition in a day or two. But till this date, he was not even contacted by that fraud advertiser.

The legacy of these advertisements does not end here. They can be a hot topic that can be discussed for days. But they won’t stop advertising like these if they are not controlled hard by the authorities.

Question is, do the high-ups have any wish to do it?