When newsman becomes news himself!

The loudest bomb to explode online this Diwali is the news screaming out that the celebrated journalist Arnab Goswami has quit the Newshour program; he has quit the channel TimesNow!

Since then the Twitterati and social media are going berserk with hashtags like #nationwantstoknow!

The harbinger of news has become a breaking news himself. Online media is going crazy speculating his next move; dissecting his resignation speech word for word for a clue to his future plans!

This is not the first time a celebrated journalist has quit their program and broken away from the channel /media vehicle where they gained recognition and became famous. In recent past, Journalists like Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai have also quit their launch vehicles to take on newer and more meaningful ventures. But the sensation surrounding Arnab’s announcement is unprecedented and unparalleled. The whole country is talking about him. This signifies that Arnab is a star in his own right. Arnab is known to be the people’s voice – the country’s voice. Week after week – night after night he has taken on the mightiest of the mighty to task in the interest of the nation. He has been unbiased, courageous and never been afraid to call a spade a spade to the spade’s face.

He made a huge difference to the 9 pm news hour. The 9 pm slot may not be the same again – for a while maybe… Brace yourselves for a louder bark and fiercer bite to resonate through your living room soon.

After all, Arnab may have quit the Newshour – He has not quit being a journalist!

Reliance Jio!…..Baki Sab Dua Karo (Rest all pray)

Reliance has done it again with Jio!

Reliance has fashioned a new cult one more time – this time overnight; that too way before the customers got to use the brand Jio’s offerings and its services. Jio has broken quite a few advertising conventions with its communications strategy and has reaped huge PR benefits from the results that ensued.

The brand has achieved the highest level of consumer recall which all brands, irrespective of their industry and lifecycle – dream of, few aspire and still fewer are able to achieve it. And Jio did it even before it hit the market.

Reliance Jio generated the first big buzz when it announced the launch of its services at seemingly very attractive rates. It was almost like a replay of its marketing strategy the company employed about a decade back when it offered “Cellphone + mobile connection for Rs. 500 only”. But this time, the tremor escalated to a full-fledged quake when the country woke up to a brazen advertisement by the company.

For the uninitiated – Instead of advertising its offerings, Jio piggybacked on Prime Minister’s ‘Digital India Initiative’ and dedicated its services in propelling the PM’s dreams of a connected India. It used only the PM’s photo in its creative and emphasised the brand’s alignment with the PM’s vision and initiative in the content.

Such an unconventional advertising proposition in both print and electronic media on such a big scale has never been tried by a private enterprise in India before. The brand, its offerings, and its advertisement are on everyone’s minds and lips even as Jio opened its doors to customers recently only.

The entire country is not only speaking about it; the nation is questioning it – deliberating it – debating it. Twitterati is abuzz with their tweet arsenals, Writerati is busy penning their thoughts and Tv’rati is busy debating it. Politicians too have used this opportunity to raise a ruckus. Whatever ‘rati one may be – everyone’s talking about Jio.

While the world is busy debating the propriety of the said advertisement; as a PR & Communications specialist I can only applaud and celebrate the strategy, the tactics, and the results.

Usually, the utility of an advertisement ends on hope for consumer action after it creates awareness and reinforcement in the minds of consumers. But this advertisement has gone well beyond its “call of duty” so to say. It has generated an unprecedented amount of edit space for Jio. Jio has been ruling the opinion spaces in newspapers, blogs and other forms of electronic and social media. And the icing on the cake is that all the edit space Jio has got has been spontaneous and unsolicited!

This is the kind of coverage which PR professionals can only dream of – Reliance Jio may have never dreamt of it and still actualized it.

Personally, I do not think that the PM is actually endorsing the brand. Rather it’s the other way around! It is Jio that has chosen to support PM’s initiative, his popularity, his dreams and his visage as its initial and eye-ball grabbing communication tactic. A quick research tells me that using PM’s photo in support of his visions and initiatives is entirely above board. Anyone can do it.

It is just that no one else could think it whereas Reliance went ahead and did it.

Simply put – it was brilliant, smart and creative thinking. So smart that it has left all of Jio’s competitors red-faced, wringing their hands and shaking their heads at their folly of not spotting the open opportunity for themselves.

From the customers’ perspective, Jio had a space in the consumer psyche even before the brand name was coined. The market was aware of the preparations the company had been making for the launch of its 4G services. And with the company being Reliance headed by Mukesh Ambani – the expectations of a game-changer offering were already high. And so Jio immediately imprinted itself on consumer psyche the moment it announced its low data charges, free telephony and such. An immediately subsequent and extremely unconventional advertising ensured that the brand imprint and brand recall became firmly entrenched in consumers’ mind.

This communication strategy has already become a must-read case study for advertising and PR professionals. The timing and the content of the campaign both together have contributed to all the brouhaha. A brouhaha which will see Jio laughing all the way to the bank loudly.

The Google of mobile telephony has risen – it is obvious the Yahoos and Rediffs of the same will feel the pain in the wrong place!!

Sisters can become brothers – Sakshi Malik proves this Raksha Bandhan! Will brothers become real brothers now?

Tradition has been reversed this Raksha Bandhan. A day where traditionally sisters all over India receive gifts from their brothers – Sakshi Malik has given the unforgettable gift of an Olympic medal to an entire nation of brothers and sisters.

India stands united in cheering the grit and strength of its mighty daughters & sisters like Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar, P V Sindhu and others.

The girls of India have consistently been doing their country and families proud in almost all spheres of life, in the meanest of works in the worst of environments. Sakshi’s wrestling medal is proof.

But all this praise and regards is at best very transient in nature. It is like an ephemeral bubble – the recognition and respect vanishes with nary a puff of air when it comes to practising the same in our daily lives. An average Indian is quite apathetic to the sufferings their own mothers, daughters, sisters and wives go through almost on a daily basis. And we are downright cruel and shameless in our apathy towards women who are not our family. We, as a rule, fail to understand that men alone do not a society make. Women are our equal or mayhap even a tad better than us. After all, only a mother can give birth to us, never a father.

And that is why all this trumpet blowing and chest puffing with pride is meaningless in real terms. It is hypocrisy at its best. The pride we shower on our girl power on social media is nowhere near the concern and mercy we feel and show on our womenfolk. The bias which starts against a girl child even before her birth takes on humongous proportions as this girl progresses in life – that is if we are magnanimous enough to let her live in a first place. Else foeticide puts an end to that too. In the respect we show to our womenfolk lies our ultimate survival and salvation. Because we don’t know it yet – even they haven’t realised it yet – our girls and women can very well go it alone. Sakshi’s medal in wrestling on Raksha Bandhan day is just a small proof!!