Thursday, August 31, 2006



FCB-Ulka is a master of the art of stumping viewers with its uniquely crafted commercials, and the Tata Indica V2 Xeta campaign proved to be yet another milestone for the advertising agency. “The Indica Xeta was planned by Tata Motors as a car that will take on the strong petrol offerings of Maruti (Alto) and Hyundai (Santro),” explains M. G. Parameswaran, FCB Ulka Executive Director and CEO, Mumbai, adding that the agency was briefed to work on a communication plan that launched the new brand with an impact. The brand name Xeta was derived from the engine of the car that provides extra efficiency torque advantage. Boasting a powerful fuel-efficient engine, ample space, great looks and an unbeatable price, the Xeta was truly a luring proposition targeted at the younger first-time car buyer, say the agency guys. And in sync with the attributes of the brand, the creative brief was evolved to say that a car buyer must have a hole in his head if he did not purchase, or at least consider the Xeta!

“From there was born the ad film, which said that not considering a Xeta is equivalent to saying no to four lovely women who are inviting you for a day out at the beach,” simplifies Parameswaran. “While we have used humour in the past, like the ‘Liar, Liar’ commercial last year, we have more often used a very rational selling message,” says Parameswaran, going on to mention that “for the Xeta we decided to use humour, a more emotional overtone to cloak a very rational offering.” The commercial begins with a group of four attractive girls driving their Indica Xeta on a sprightly number. They are hot, chirpy and going to have a good time. Midway, they spot a good-looking guy standing on the road and stop the car. As they sing to him: ‘We want a sizzling hottie, who would like to get naughty. Do you know any man, who’ll help us rub suntan?’ The ‘hottie’ thinks for a while and blankly points out, mumbling, “Maybe you should try the beach café.”

The disgusted girls leave the bloke behind, who’s quite foxed as they speed their vehicle away collectively exclaiming, “Dumb!” The voiceover in the next shot goes, “Fortunately, life gives you a second chance. So, here’s the new Indica Xeta...,” wittily concluding, “If you still miss it… you gotta be dumb!” The commercial carries a refreshing hue to it and was shot in Goa by the Director, Rajesh Saathi of Kerosene film, with the film scripted by Dharmesh Shah. Parameswaran grins, “I was told that the shooting was quite incidentfree, in spite of having some explosive- looking models.” He, however, reveals that the original model cast for the film backed out because he did not want to be labelled ‘dumb!”

But the bold statements in the ad, that too coming from a bunch of scantily clad, beautiful and liberated looking women, was found to be vulgur by many, which triggered the old debate about sex in advertising to start all over again. Nevertheless, Parameswaran is excited about the outcome of this commercial, beaming, “The film has won excellent reviews from ad experts; your magazine has featured it in its Top 10 rankings now for over three months. Another newspaper rated it as the ad of the week.” An ace attempt to create a new brand with a distinctive identity and a set of cool appealing to- the-youth values, the film has worked brilliantly, leaving thousands quite literally ‘dumb’ struck!

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Source:- IIPM-Business and Economy, 2006

An IIPM And Management Guru Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri’s Initiative

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mr. Head on Wheels

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Here’s yet another red-blooded, driven entrepreneur, who has much more to his credit than just a legendary surname! A mechanical engineer from Pune University and Masters in manufacturing systems engineering from the University of Warwick in 1991, Rajeev Bajaj joined Bajaj Auto first as an officer on special duty and streamlined the manufacturing systems to improve the production quality and profitability. Since then, this bold Bajaj has concentrated on completely refurbishing the image of Bajaj Auto from old and ugly scooters to stylish and sleek two-wheelers! His role in this successful transition is applause-worthy, thanks to the manner in which he conceived and executed a realistic and result-oriented plan that focused on a few significant issues and delivered results! Rajeev is now steering Bajaj Auto towards the future with twin engine (petrol and LPG/CNG) two wheelers! That’s youth power for you!

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Source:- IIPM-Business and Economy, 2006

An IIPM And Management Guru Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri’s Initiative

Tuesday, August 22, 2006



There was indeed a lot of bad blood between the Ambani brothers post the split. Largely though, the two seemed to be charting their own destinies. In the more recent past, however, the two seem to be crossing each other’s paths more oft en, and this is creating further complications in their relationship (or what’s left of it anyways!). After relentless altercations on issues like SEZs, airport and many others, the duo are again caught in a mêlée. This time, the bone of contention is the Navratana gas sector. On July 26, 2006, the Petroleum Ministry put a red cross to the gas supply agreement between Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and the Anil Ambani owned Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RNRL). The Ministry rejected RIL’s proposal to supply gas to RNRL at $2.34 per mBTU (million British thermal unit), which is less than half the market price of $4.7 per mBTU.

So what does all this mean for RNRL? States Vijay Narayanan, Senior Research Analyst with Almondz Capital Markets, “If the current opinion is upheld, RNRL will have no option but to purchase gas at prices higher than the current.” He elaborates that even a one dollar rise in the price of gas will raise the price of electricity by around 30 paise per unit. This would, in turn, result in higher electricity generation costs. But this cannot be effectively passed on to consumers as electricity prices are regulated by law. These developments have put RNRL on the offensive, and it has accused RIL of manipulation. A spokesperson with RNRL states, “RIL is deliberately misleading the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas by withholding the full facts of the case. RIL’s attempt to mislead the Ministry is solely motivated by its selfish desire to secure a higher price for gas.”

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Source:- IIPM-
Business and Economy, 2006

An IIPM And Management Guru Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri’s Initiative

Monday, August 21, 2006



The helplessness that marks the ‘eyes’ of the woman photographed twice in the span of 17 years by National Geographic remains the same even after the time lag. Aptly reflected in them is the unaltered position of women even in post-Taliban Afghanistan. They remain as humiliated as before, with their honour compromised and their socio-economic positioning fragmented. According to the UN and the Human Rights Watch, the attacks on girls’ schools have increased considerably post-Taliban, reducing the female student intake in secondary education to 5% in comparison to 20% of boys. The UN contends that about 300 schools educating girls were burned down post-Taliban. In another incident in May 2006, a female legislator, Malalai Joya, was attacked by her colleagues for ‘daring’ to participate in the male domain – Parliament! That Parliament, mind you, was formed after decimating Taliban!

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission even contends that about 38% of women are wedded forcibly and about 50% are subjected to domestic violence leading to high number of suicides and self-immolation. Clearly, it is not the Taliban philosophy, but the culture of demeaning women that has to change. And for this, it is urgently required that women are integrated into all sections of governance in Afghanistan, as well as being provided social development.

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Source:- IIPM-
Business and Economy, Editor:- Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri - 2006

Friday, August 18, 2006


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Those who the gods may destroy, they grant their wishes. Zinedine Zidane may be pondering that bit of ancient Greek wisdom today. Having announced that he would end his professional career with the World Cup, Zidane had his wish fulfilled. After France barely survived the tournament’s first round, Zidane performed at the top of his game and led the team to the brink of a second World Cup championship. But instead of finishing his career in triumph, or at least with an ovation, he was ejected from the final for head-butting an Italian player. There have been few such tragic moments in football history. Whatever the provocation that led to Zidane’s behaviour (probably a racial comment), his violent act seen around the world has tarnished his image.

The sad paradox is that while the world had been learning of and celebrating his legendary kindness as a person, he will now be distinguished for all time by an act of aggression. Indeed, Zidane’s status as an emblematic champion of the world’s most universal and popular sport does not fully explain why people have been so obsessed with him. His human qualities, as much as his amazing talent and technical feats on the field, counted equally in establishing his popular acclaim. Football has always been this way. For example, for the Argentineans, the diminutive Diego Maradona represented the revenge of the weak and the deprived. As a result, his countrymen excused his frequent bad behaviour time and again. Similarly, Pelé became the symbol of a harmonious, inter-racial Brazil.

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Source:- IIPM-Business and Economy, Editor:- Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri - 2006

Saturday, August 12, 2006


...could end up withnothing for anybodyif a fi scal crisisderails growth

Money may not be able to buy love. But the UPA government appears convinced that it can buy enough votes to propel the precariously perched present regime into a second term at the Centre. A few days after the bomb blasts in Mumbai shook the nation, the Union Cabinet announced the formation of a Sixth Pay Commission for central government employees. This will inevitably lead to a hike in salaries; and analysts estimate that the wage bill of the government could go up by as much as Rs.200 billion every year. But of course, this is one rare decision of the government that the omnipresent Left has welcomed with open arms. Says Atul Kumar Anjan, Politburo member of CPI, “We welcome the 6th Pay Commission report. It is a long pending demand of workers and employees.” When asked to comment on the reaction of businessmen and industry bodies like the CII and FICCI that this move could trigger inflationary pressures, Anjan is contemptuously dismissive. “It’s their practice to oppose any benefit to wage workers or government employees.

The Left parties are hopeful that inflation will be under control,” he adds. If vain hopes and misguided socialism were enough, India would have eliminated poverty, illiteracy and unemployment by now; farmers would not be committing suicide by the hundreds and many states of India would not report infant mortality rates worse than those in Sub-Saharan Africa. And now, analysts are worried that the current government is displaying alarming signs of going back to the bad old days of a peculiar mixture of misguided socialism and crony capitalism. In fact, the Sixth Pay Commission is just another example of how the UPA government appears determined to wear the robes of Santa Claus and dole out goodies, freebies and subsidies as if there were no tomorrow. Simultaneously, the government seems to be veering towards the bad old days of paternalistic and somewhat authoritarian ways, where the rulers were simply not held accountable by the public for their decisions and still had the powers to decide what is good and bad for Indian citizens. This is not just a display of bad democracy, it is also terrible economics.

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Source:- IIPM-
Business and Economy, Editor:- Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri - 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Indian Animation Industry Must Invest In Technology & Manpower

Picture this: Cinema hall operators all around the world are planning to dethrone the all time famous superhero in the new flick – Superman Returns – so they can showcase the new Indian superhero, Krrish! Reason: People are flocking to theatres to watch the zing & special effects associated with Krrish; and amazingly, over 50% of them are foreigners. And it all started with the epic fl ying superhero Hanuman, an animation movie credited with the revival of the Indian animation film industry. While the Indian film industry as a whole is booming and expected to clock revenues worth $3.3 billion by 2010 (FICCI- b PwC Report), the growth is set to be driven by the animation sector.

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Source:- IIPM-
Business and Economy, Editor:- Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri - 2006

Monday, August 07, 2006


What’s common between Exxon-Mobil, Wal-Mart and GE besides being the only three to have ever occupied the top spot on Fortune 500 list of top global corporations? Well, they have all been booked during the course of their glittery past for ‘unethical’ acts! And there are many more names to add to the gang of unethical practitioners! The latest is Microsoft , which was fined $357 million on July 12, 2006 by EU for its unethical, monopolistic act of ‘non-code sharing’? Microsoft , of course, is an instance o fl outing norms to protect market leadership. More shameful have been stock market frauds for petty personal gains.

The twenty major frauds since 2002 eroded a cyclopean $236 billion from shareholders’ wealth’! The biggest losses ever, due to corporate frauds were in Tyco ($84.2 bil billion), Lucent ($55.5 billion), WorldCom ($26.9 billion), Enron ($25 billion) and Xerox ($9.8 billion). Most astonishingly, according to a Price Water house Coopers’ Global Economic Crime Survey 2005, 62% of larger companies have been victims of frauds, as compared to 36% among smaller fi rms. Other famously infamous instances of fl outing norms are Hyundai Chairman Chung Moong Koo’s arrest for bribery, Samsung’s fixing of chip prices globally, Toyota selling SUVs that failed regulatory standards and Wal- Mart engaging in unethical pricing.

Rudy Hoskens, Director, Dispute Analysis and Investigation, PwC Belgium puts it thus, “It will probably not be possible to rule out economic crime, but a company can at least create an environment where ethical behaviour is discouraged.” But then, why are we so hard on the companies? They face gargantuan pressures to perform, and have to strive to create shareholder value. The Devil’s Advocate forever beckons the corporate bigwigs to bend the rules here and there, be it to protect market share, drive down costs or make some quick dough. And they do tend to succumb every now and then to the temptation. It’s up to the law of the land to protect the people.

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Source:- IIPM-
Business and Economy, Editor:- Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri - 2006

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Saturday, August 05, 2006



September 2001 - a fateful month in the history of corporate America! Hold it! No reference is being made here to the terrorist attacks; we are referring to Jeff Immelt taking over as CEO and Chairman of General Electric (GE) – the icon for all conglomerates! And he had to follow up on one of the most iconic CEOs of all time – the inimitable Jack Welch. And at a time when America was reeling from the impact of the dotcom bust, and yes 9/11. Owing to his restructuring initiatives, GE’s revenues have increased by 50% in five years to touch $144.3 billion in 2005. But dismally, Wall Street GE’s share price is southward bound (currently at $32.88 on the NYSE)! According to Peter Dunay, Chief Strategist, Leeb Index Trader (NY), “’s going to get worse for GE. We don’t expect the stocks to perform any better in the near future...” A weird paradox for sure. It’s been a more or less satisfactory performance by GE in terms of revenues.

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Source:- IIPM-Business and Economy,

Initiative:- Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri

Thursday, August 03, 2006



On the trains that ply from the impoverished eastern region to the promised land of the Western India, the socio-economic stratification of India is aptly displayed. These overloaded trains carry along those who are denied opportunities in their homeland; they make up the much derided factor of production; labour. Displaying the scale and growth of regional disparity, these migrations have serious implications. The per capita income ratios between the highest & the lowest earning states, Punjab & Bihar respectively, (as well as between Maharashtra & Bihar) are 4.19 & 3.94 respectively. With poverty concentrated in eastern states & rain-fed regions of western India, the local residents participate extensively in inter-regional migration as that constitutes a significant livelihood strategy.

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Source:- IIPM-
Business and Economy, Author:- Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri - 2006

Tuesday, August 01, 2006



As the Hizbollah pound rockets into Israel, the renewed confidence banking on daredevilry of the Shiite group is more than apparent. And that audacity is not an isolated gimmick, but can be read as the growing confidence in the Shia population across the region, to challenge the might of US and its Zionist ally – Israel. For example, in Iraq, the immediate aftermath of Saddam’s ouster was an infinite American control over Iraqi oil; but the move also created a geo-political void that got filled in by religious & ethnic aspirations. Despite an all out American support to the ‘secular’ alternative of Allawi’s Iraqiyah Party, it was the Shia dominated United Iraqi Alliance that won the largest number of seats in the post-Saddam Iraqi Parliament.

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Source:- IIPM-
Business and Economy, Author:- Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri - 2006

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