Wednesday, September 22, 2010


My day job requires me to speak about the magic of the world wide web, it's reach, scale and powers. This post is a personal testimonial to the same without any professional or commercial angle attached.

Long story short, 2 days back Volkwagen brought out an audio ad in the Times Of India (and The Hindu) which started playing once you opened the paper. This innovative advertising idea got a lot of attention and was a topic of much discussion. Some even got so scared by it that they called the local police station. Like many others I too found the idea very interesting and shot a quick video (using my mobile phone) and uploaded it on YouTube.

It's been madness since then.

The video became what is known as 'viral' in the Internet circle. Lots of users spread the link via social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Amit (, India's most popular tech blogger also found it interesting and embedded it in his site. This started off a chain reaction with the video being picked up by blogs and news agencies from across the globe. Perhaps the biggest boost came from this post on, a super popular global tech blog.

It's been a little over 48 hours since I uploaded the video and it has received over 30,000 views and is increasing by hundreds by the hour. The link to my blog post was the top result in Google 'latest results'.

The video also got the YouTube 'honour' of being one of the most viewed videos in the 'Auto' category in India

and I was just told that it is featuring under the 'Most Popular' category on YouTube India's homepage.

All I can say is I am thrilled with the reach of YouTube and if I required anymore convincing of the power of the Internet (after working with an Internet company for over 5 years!), there's no need anymore.

Go ahead and tap into the magic of the net.

Thanks Parag, Anomita, Manan and Pavan for the tips and screenshots.

Update: The video reached 100,000 views in around 5 months with 0 investments!

P.S: If you haven't checked the video yet, you should:)

Kingdom Of Dreams - Much Larger Than Life!

Opulent. Extravagant. Gorgeous.

If you're in or around Gurgaon and in the mood for the above mentioned adjectives do drop in at the newly opened 'Indian Culture' themed destination - Kingdom Of Dreams. Just keep in mind that the keys to the Kingdom lie in your pocket, so be prepared before you venture that way.

Right in the heart of the Millennium City you will come across this palatial installation, replete with golden glitter and elephants. The entry barrier is very steep compared to it's conceptual counterpart - Dilli Haat, at Rs. 750 versus Rs. 20. However, the good news is Rs. 600 of this can actually be used o food, drinks, gift items etc. in the shops inside the place and Rs. 50 is refundable at the time of exit. So effectively it's a Rs. 100 entry fee with compulsory spends of at least Rs. 600. Be prepared you may well go over budget once you're inside the Kingdom.

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This larger than all life put together 'theme park' is promoted by Wizkraft Entertainment. The main draw as of now is the 'Culture Gully' where you can go to eat, drink and buy things specific to the various states of India. The decor is mind boggling, with an artificial sky to boot. So at any point during the day when you enter this place it has a 'daylight' like feel, with clouds in the sky.  The shops have the feel of the states whose fare they're serving. So you can sample a full Bengali meal for Rs. 400, Prawn Chops from Assam for Rs. 200, Crab Meat and Rice from Goa for Rs. 525, Appam and Mutton Stew from Kerala for Rs. 250 and so on.

They've also recently launched their 'Nautanki Mahal', inaugurated by none other than India's greatest superstar - Shahrukh Khan. This is going to be India's answer to the Broadway musicals, however the tickets are again priced a little steeply between Rs. 1000 - Rs. 6000. Those who have seen the first few performances are raving about the grandeur, opulence and Bollywood-theme of the shows.

The written prose will not do much justice to the place, so attaching some pictures (taken from my mobile camera) of KoD from one of our team outings recently. If you're feeling a bit well off and want to have a good time one evening do give it a shot!
The entry to the 'Culture Gully'

The Goddess Kali entrance to the Bengal pavillion

Punjab and it's mascot the ubiquitous truck!

Meeting of two great exponents of the Kathakali danceform

The temples of Chennai

The House Boat of Kerala

The uber popular local train of Mumbai/Bombay

Mud Crab curry with Brown Rice  from the Goa Pavilion

A little violence in Goa:)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Volkswagen Ad - Talks For Itself

If your social media is abuzz with one topic of discussion early in the morning, it's most probably a breaking news such as the death of a celebrity, Pakistan accused of not fixing a match or someone finding a stretch of road in Gurgaon without any potholes. However this morning has been different. My timeline is clogged with awe and aww about an automobile ad. Having been in the advertising business for over 5 years now I can assure you that's a first. So, take a bow Volkswagen India. And here's why.

In case the video doesn't play for you here's the 'guide book'.

When you open the Newspaper supplement, Volkswagen has brought out a full page (last page) ad. And the 'innovation' is that it's like one of those talking cards. As soon as you open it the ad starts playing itself, a voice over. This goes on in an endless loop till you close the paper. Every paper has a small speaker attached to it. See picture attached below.

And to add the 'social media' angle to the story, here's a screenshot of Google search results for 'Volkswagen ad':) [Tip: Pavan Varma]

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Japanese Puzzle

My dad, the biggest mental calisthenics aficionado I know, sent this across to me. Was fun solving it:) Over to you guys now. Leave your answers as comments, and if you want the solution please leave your email ID.

Rules as follow:

This is a new take on the familiar puzzle of crossing the river with a chicken, a fox and a bag of grain – but harder!
The test comes from Japan where it is used as an IQ test for jobs and university entrance, mainly related to IT. It should take you less than 15 minutes to complete:
The rules are as follows:
Aim - Get everyone - Father, Mother, 2 Boys, 2 Girls, Policeman and the red haired arrested girl in striped uniform to the other end of the river. You have the boat to ferry them across and the conditions are as follow:

1.  Only two people can travel at once
2.  Dad can not stay with the girls without the presence of the mother
3. Mum can’t stay with the boys without the presence of the father
4. The arrested red-hair girl in stripy outfit cannot stay with any of the family members, unless accompanied by the police officer.
5. Only the Police officer and the parents can drive the boat across the river

Click on the people you want to transport
To use the boat click on the red dots next to the boat
Press the large blue button to start. 
At any point you can right click and press 'Rewind' to restart.