Feeling Blue?

Those of you who were in or around Bombay yesterday and were channel surfing on the radio must have noticed something strange. Red FM 93.5 was calling itself Blue FM 93.5 yesterday, and even their jingle was customized for Mumbai Indians, the IPL team representing Bombay.

Interesting. How many times has a media property changed their name to match their sponsors’ message in the past? It was a buzz-generating tactic for only a day it seems. They don’t seem to be planning to repeat this stunt during the future matches when the team would play.

But what is more interesting is that through the time that I was hearing that channel, there wasn’t one commercial played between the songs or jingles. Apparently, Reliance had sponsored them enough for them to be able to just play songs, do the channel branding and the occasional soundbites about the game.

Like the possible options with the controversial London 2012 Olympics logo, Red used their own identity to carry a sponsor’s message, and wove it into their programming as well. Smart move, not considering the probable damage to the channel’s brand equity.

Sounds like a media planner’s and programme manager’s delight!

Long Live Indian Journalism!

How does it go? “The King is dead, long live the King!”

Around a week back, the Pointy-Haired Dilbert aka Chandoo wrote a blog entry about the “must read” section of a famous Indian news channel’s website. That just corroborated the general sentiment prevalent among people who care about journalism and news and its present state in the country.

News channels have been serving us items about ‘ghosts’, supernatural ‘incidents’, television soaps news, page 3 type parties, kissing scandals, timeslots dedicated to comedy shows, while keeping journalistic professionalism at bay. A ghost story or a faith story is covered with sensationalism, but without any coverage on the rational angle as is done by any self-respecting news agency. Page 3 scandals are covered with juicy gossip intact. And half the time when you switch to these channels they are either discussing cricket with a has-been cricketer, or showing a comedy gig featuring one of the new crop of Indian stand-up comics.

And ofcourse the love affair of these news channels with India’s first family – no, I’m not talking about Mrs. Pratibha Patil & family – the famous Bachchan family of Allahabad to Juhu fame is there for all to see. But they took it too far today with this:
Breaking News: Amitabh Bachchan ko thand lagiThe “Breaking News” ticker reads: “Amitabh Bachchan ko thand lagi” (Amitabh Bachchan catches cold).