Sanjeev Kotnala: Four Square of observation

16 Aug,2017

By Sanjeev Kotnala



I want all to see this brilliant film by Ullash Chopra and team for Ambuja Cement. It is simple and minimalist. It has an apt location, casting, expression, music, build up and culmination with that timely intervention of a cloud. All the elements are brilliantly balanced and exploited for the intended impact. Hope the feeling continues among the viewers.



It reminded me of another unrelated short commercial. Something that left me emotionally charged many years back Happy viewing.




I had to recheck my watch. It was 2043 hours, on a Friday evening and the debut awards show ‘MARQUEES’ were over. The award show was smooth and elegant in its execution, the way it should be. And it was the winner takes all, no silver no bronze; I love it. The whole team behind it needs to be applauded for it.

The new offering from the Advertising Club is aimed to plug a gap in its repertoire of activities and create a stronger bridge with advertisers/ marketers; one of the most important stakeholders of the industry.

The show had good participation from media and advertising, though attendance of marketers was low. Maybe the next edition will find some solution for it.

As in every award function, the opinions on winners were divided, however, the respect for the strong jury carried the day. Delegates believed that they were privy to a lot more and would have deliberated before taking the most right decision. What the gyaani in the crowd have is just the impression and perceptions, and that is never enough for awards.

However, I suggest in next Marquees, we focus only on moment defining award and leave the regular awards for other associations. The awards presented in the second section like “Green Marketer Award,”“Conquering an impregnable fortress,”“Traversed unchartered waters,”“Riding on an emerging wave, Breathing new life into a category, “Creating a Global Impact” and “Carving out a Niche” are the ones Marquee should concentrate. They are the differentiating and worth of a Marquee, in case we are making a statement with it.

There was a bit of inequality at display in the awards. For some insane reason the anchor ( must be based on the internal brief ) decided to ask only two winning representative to share their thoughts, emotions, words with the audience. My issue is simple, if such an opportunity is available, it must be offered to all the winners.

It was great to have the Chief Guest; newly elected Rajya Shabha member and Minster of Textile, Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, Smriti Irani present on stage throughout the award ceremony. However, she seemed withdrawn. She was stepping back after giving the award. It seemed odd.

I would have really appreciated if she was to give all the awards by herself and not politely ask the other member on stage to also do the duty. I presume it does matter.

The last one. What was the reason for calling a different representative of jury or the Ad Club on stage and be part of the team to give away just one award? It seemed like a well-orchestrated circus! I would presume it was neither their need for photoopportunity on stage, nor an act of pre-agreed ego gratification. I don’t think those one-award presenters needed this exposure.

49th CUT

Recently Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairman Pahlaj Nihalani has attempted to destroy the fabric of Kushan Nandy film ‘Babumoshai Bandookbaaz’ with 48 cuts. Don’t think if he anticipated the 49th cut was from the newly appointed I&B minister

In an anticipated move, adman and lyricist, Prasoon Joshi replaced Pahaaj Nihalani. He comes in with enhanced expectation and takes on a position that is perpetually under crossfire for a spectrum of reasons. The new board has powerful independent minds expected to speak up their mind.

The industry hopes for somewhat liberal attitude and fewer frequent controversies. And yet everyone will expect him to poetically protect Indian culture.

We will soon know, how Prasson interprets the 1952 cinematograph act and leads the board to make the choice between being a certification or censor board. His first response to ‘Babumoshai Bandookbaaz’ could set the tone. However, it will be good if the industry keeps the expectation a lot more realistic.


August 9, 2017 was a day of celebration. It was the 75th anniversary of Quit Indian Moment. It is a moment of respect in the Indian history and freedom movement. In the Parliament Special Session the government spoke of collective efforts and rekindled the memories for the new generation, which rightly takes freedom for granted.

The opposition failed the test and used the occasion to take pot-shots at the ever popular government. Definitely, they need to re-look at their strategic team to survive in 2019.

Meanwhile, here was the business savvy bundle of raw energy Baba Ramdev and his Patanjali brand of products pushing for another Swadeshi Moment. It is different that communication of Patanjali products has many times found flouting ASCI guidelines and notices.



In their TVC, in a conversation among cosmetically loaded rich comfortable ladies set the tone. The ladies suggest: with the wide range of Patanjali products, the price is low and the profits do not leave the country. So, dear customers it is time to boycott the MNC product and adapt to Indian companies. Start the new swadeshi movement. This is a far mellowed than the earlier ad.



I am worried as to where this can lead. Like the Vande Mataram of patriotism and Beed of religious sentiments, it has the potential of instigating and dividing citizen based on commercial consumption. MNC user traitor Vs. Patriotic Patanjali user! Is Patanjali right in pressing such a lever? The opinion will remain polarised on this softly lobbed emotional bomb.


With 30 years of corporate experience, Sanjeev Kotnala is the founder of Intradia World; a Brand, Marketing & Management Advisory. Additionally, he focusses on Ideation, Innovation and design thinking. He loves sharing the concept of Brand-i, a deliberate strategic framework to create and control your image and impressions, to be the brand. Email tweet @s_kotnala web:


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