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Is Chandrayaan an undermarketed space event?

Written by Rajesh Kumar on October 15, 2008 – 6:00 pm

(This post is dedicated to all of us who have grown up looking at the Chandamama, as well as my daughter who is all excited about Chandrayaan)

clip_image002 To the uninitiated, Chandrayaan is India’s first space mission to moon. And no, it is not manned.

On 22nd Oct 2008, Indian Space Research Organisation will light up a 316 ton launch vehicle, that will  travel to the moon which is, about 3,84,000 km away. In other words, if you travel on the equator, one circle is just 40,000 kms. A flight to moon, even if traveling on a straight line is more than nine times that distance. Unfortunately, the flight is not a straight line. And no, the entire rocket would not reach the moon. Read on.

The rocket will go only a few hundred kms up and leave the Chandrayaan in an elliptical orbit of earth. Only the 1304 kg ’spacecraft’ a.k.a Chandrayaan would make the rest of the journey. At specific points in the orbit, a rocket would be fired to change the direction and altitude towards the moon. Recall that it takes a minimum speed of 11.2 km/second to escape from earth’s gravity. Finally, the Chandrayaan would reach to an orbit of 100 km above moon surface and release the payloads.Here’s an interesting graphic depicting this flight path. The journey could take 5 and a half days.

One of the payloads would actually impact the surface of the moon.

Should the launch go wrong and the rocket appear to endanger life or  property, ISRO has authorized an officer to destroy the rocket. (In fact, he has used this authority to destroy a rocket in an earlier launch)

What’s the big deal about Chandrayaan? The big deal is because it is not everyday that someone can fly a rocket to moon. It distinguishes the men from the boys.

I would have loved to see some more content available via the ISRO website to keep the excitement going. Maybe a frequently updated blog, a mailing list, some interviews, some photos and videos, an RSS feed, a Facebook community and perhaps frequents Tweets!

The Isro page on Chandrayaan -1 is apparently last updated in Jan 2007. I find it difficult to believe nothing significant about the project was considered worth getting added in the last eighteen months. Contrast that with NASA website, where any mission page has a huge build-up, with live coverage in text and video form. In fact, Nasa has a picture rich page dedicated to Apollo Program Program which took astronauts to moon.


Few imaginary Tweets  from Chandrayaan 1:

  1. At lift-off: Good riddance from mankind!
  2. Hurrah, I figured it out- the sky’s black and not blue.
  3. Been flying two full days and still circling earth. No variety in life!
  4. Midway but damn excited. 
  5. Just woke up after a sleep, the moon is BIG!
  6. Looks like we have reached, I am so damn spacelagged!
  7. Whose footmark is this, Neil who?

(Photo Courtesy: Shrinidhi Hande’s photo blog)

Posted in Marketing | 2 Comments »

You Know times are tough when…

Written by Rajesh Kumar on October 13, 2008 – 7:00 am

I never ever imagined to see a BMW ad talking about money. That too in such big letters right in the center of the ad.


The conventional wisdom has been not to talk about price in the context of premium brands. That too on quarter page space on the the front page. Next what? A luxury LearJet advertised as being sold by redeeming supermarket discount coupons?!

PS: Either way, I want one of those head-turner beauties being advertised above!!

Posted in Marketing | 1 Comment »

Abhinav Bindra Samsung LCD TV Ad is unbeatable

Written by Rajesh Kumar on October 8, 2008 – 11:47 am

“For me, Design is a passion. Performance is a thriller. I’m in love with the Global No 1.”

Abhinav Bindra in Samsung ad


There is nothing unusual about an Olympic Gold Medallist becoming brand ambassadors of all things that are sold in a festival and shopping season. So what about the full page Samsung LCD TV featuring Abhinav Bindra? Just take a look at the endorsement line attributed to the brand ambassador. Below the text is a half page picture of Abhinav Bindra with  Samsung TVs. Below the picture are the product details such as variants available and prices.

The ad ends with the tagline ‘Design that performs”.

My curiosity is merely what an ace shooter has to do with the design of the TV. Is he impressed by the product attributes, such as performance or looks?

When Aishwarya Rai does jewelry ad, the connection is beauty. Sachin Tendulkar comes in Boost energy drink and talks about the secret of his energy. M.S.Dhoni comes in Pepsi Youngistan ad and again the connection is the youth. Tiger Woods’ appearance in Accenture ad is clearly to demonstrate expertise and learnability.

But design in the context of a shooter such as Bindra ? That too an Olympic Gold medallist saying “Design is a passion”?! Do you mean the process of design, or the style element of design? How does performance come in?

Wish those incharge of the brand had made better use of this expensive brand asset.

Posted in Marketing | 2 Comments »

How credible can be communication touch-points?

Written by Rajesh Kumar on October 6, 2008 – 4:53 pm

While working on a training assignment, I decided to include this matrix. Not sure how many of you agree.


Strength/Weakness Communication credibility
Sales Team Contact Quality of contact and follow-up Takes time to establish trust
Website Access
  • Information updation cycle
  • Impersonal
  • May have limited, template information
The algorithm to make it credible is fairly known.
Print/ TV/Radio Limited distribution Strong credibility via editorial coverage
Another customer reference Limited usability Strong- nothing like word of mouth
Third Party Advisories Limited reach Strong
Industry Conferences Focused, targetable audience Moderate
Blogs Can become unfocussed easily
  • The diffused focus makes it real
  • Easy to listen back

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