Conquers more than the roads. Captures more than your imagination.

I am no off-road maniac. I am no big automobile junkie either. At best you could call me an armchair critic, especially of our foreign policy, cricket and South Indian food. So what is a retard like me doing in a beast of vehicle like the Pajero?

Well to begin with, it partly has something to do with a condition that I often find myself in and for which my friends no longer have any sympathy for. I am often at the receiving end of two conditions which are contradictory in nature; diarrhoea of words resulting from a constipation of thought.  Anyways, to come back to the story, this happened on one rather unusually hot summer evening in Bangalore, when a bunch of friends and I, after a few exhilarating rounds of conversation over beer and seekh kebabs realised that as our domestic lives had taken precedence; our enthusiasm for the unrehearsed, impulsive spur of moment decisions had indeed deteriorated making us nothing more than compulsive creatures of comfort. It looked ominous to all of us that our zing for off-road adventures had taken a detour for the worse.

That evening I also realised alcohol and adrenalin don’t make a great combination. In that gusto to rekindle the passion I called up the good people at Mitsubishi for a test drive of the Pajero. By the time the fun, frolic and passion was over and good old slumber had restored some amount dignity
to my senses and my overworked grey cells, I found myself standing in front of spanking new dual coloured black and silver Pajero. A thousand thoughts crossed my mind in that blink of second, ranging from the totally deranged to what else can I do with this monster. Initially, I did contemplate taking the sales guy back to my apartment, offering him a cup of authentic South Indian filter coffee and politely excusing myself while appreciating him for all the trouble that he had taken. And then I looked at the four wheeled wonder again.

Suddenly, as if I was possessed, there was a rush of adrenalin that surged through my veins energising every single cell in my body, I was there behind the wheel in a flash. I knew, the soft leather on the seat was just the skin of a monster that was about to bare its fangs. Though the dash-board and the ergonomics looked a bit dated, reminiscent of an era when the focus was beneath the boot rather than cosmetics, the front dual airbags and the 3 point Emergency Locking Retractors or ELR seat belts more than made up for the lack of any flamboyance.

The high seat on the road was taken and I was on my way to conquer the highway to hell at least that was the feeling that hurried through my already overloaded synaptic connections as I turned the ignition on. The familiar sound of an all-conquering machine now reverberated through the apartment complex almost bringing everybody and everything to a standstill. Little ‘Ronaldos’ froze in their dribble; little girls seen licking their lollipops were hypnotised, birds stopped flying and it seemed as if the other vehicles were trying to hide behind the pillars much against the wishes of their drivers. Such was the overwhelming presence of the Pajero.

The drive through the streets of a crowded city was a breeze thanks to the beautifully synchronised 5 speed manual gearbox and gear ratios. The 2.8 litre turbo charged inter-cooled diesel engine generates enough torque to handle the toughest city needs; a handy thing given the state of most roads in our cities today. Actually, I was fortunate enough to preview the ‘off-road’ capabilities of the vehicle well within the city itself when I had to wade through half a feet of filth flowing though the lanes of an unfortunate populace. Come to think of it, some of the potholes on our streets could well challenge the craters caused by meteors and perhaps, even win hands down.

In such conditions, the front double wishbone torsion bar with stabiliser bar suspension and the rear 3 link coil spring rigid axle with stabilizer bar suspension proved to be more than adequate in cushioning us inside. But that wasn’t enough of a cushion for my angst against certain despicable authorities for the sad state of our roads. The chassis of the Pajero is the famed reinforced ladder frame which is capable of withstanding the demands of the toughest terrain and believe me, I just happened to witness one such terrain a moment ago. The body roll too is minimised thanks to this solid frame working in tandem with solid suspensions. The result, a smooth ride irrespective of the terrain!

As we drove away from the city, I decided to put the monster to its ultimate test, or at least what I thought would be its ultimate test. Small thinking from a small-minded person you could say. I decided to go off-road when I saw this endless mass of rough country, much to the surprise of our friendly Mitsubishi sales person. There it was; boulders, sand, rocks, a hillock, ditches carved out of the Earth by the elements and a path at best for a road. I thought this is it, let me throw this uncharted terrain at the brute and see how she handles it. Much to my disdain, the Pajero handled it all with maximum ease. The multi-meters including the altimeter, barometer, inclinometer acted more as hindrance to my abilities making me conscious all the while of what I was doing, defying the very purpose of my rather spirited attack on the mean machine.

After a gruelling 30 minutes of pure adrenalin rush, I conceded defeat and also much to the delight of the Mitsubishi sales person, called it quits. The beast had conquered more than just the roads.

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Simpsonize Me!

Simpsonize Me! Wow, what an idea. In fact this is one thing that has always fascinated me about the Internet. The engagement that one is able to build with consumers is mind blowing. You pick a photograph, choose the colors, the style, and everything else and presto, you have Simpsonized version of yourself. Then you choose if you want to use it as an avatar or as an icon. Amazing isn’t? And as a consumer, why on earth would I not want to be a part of this wonderful engagement?

Many times, we marketers miss to make this connect. Engagement equals brand recall. Sure, this engagement can come about in any relevant manner or means. But as long as you get your consumer to do something that captures his attention or imagination, brand recall or recognition will remain a distant dream. Sometime ago, in these virtual pages, I also had written about the rbk experience. There too, if I remember right, it was the engagement that caught many people’s attention.


So to check out your Simpsonized version here:
http://simpsonizeme.com/

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You can’t afford to miss out on this Boss!

Thalaivar is here and how. The last few days saw perhaps, the biggest ever phenomenon of Indian cinema open to packed houses across Tamilnadu, Andhra, Kerala, Karnataka, Mumbai, Japan, USA and the Far East. In fact that is an understatement. People, sorry read as devotees of Rajini, thronged cinema halls. Every show, in nearly every cinema hall in Chennai, has been booked for over 20 days. Ever heard of something like this? This can happen only in Tamilnadu and perhaps, only for Rajini.

Depending on how you look at it, the experience of watching a Rajini movie in the first few days can be completely exhilarating or absolutely boisterous. But never dull. Seeing the adoration people have for the man can be quite a moving experience. The processions taken out by hundreds of thousands of his fans carrying his cutouts through the streets can put to shame any seasoned politician’s ability to mobilize crowds. Billboards of politicians dwarf in comparison to these 60 feet or more cuts outs of the superstar. Milk by the liters, is poured over these cutouts. This kind of adulation was hitherto reserved only to the Gods. But hey, he is no ordinary man either. Thousands of rupees worth garlands then adorn these cutouts. Pujas are performed and then the crowd sweeps into the cinemas.

Every little move, every dialogue, every scene is cheered, applauded, hooted. In short, there is very little that you can see or hear. That’s why I suppose; so many people go back the second time and the third time to watch the movie ;) By the way, just for the record, his earlier movie, released about 2 years ago, is still running at a cinema, grossing over Rs. 60 crore!

The other amazing thing about Rajini is the fact that his off screen persona is as affable as his reel life. He is not pretentious, neither is he to perturbed by his reel life glamour. He is the way he is and people just love that. It perhaps, adds to the “savior of the needy” image that he so deservingly carries.

On the day of release of Sivaji, I casually asked my driver, what would happen if the movie bombs? After all about Rs.100 crore was riding on it. Without even batting an eyelid, he said “no chance of flopping sar”. When I quizzed him a bit more on this, he told me “ Sar, AVM is involved. They will not make bad movies, they check, story, dialogues, screenplay all that, then, we have Shankar sar… He has made only a few movies but all of them are very good. Anniyan, you must have seen no sar, the hero had hair like yours, that movie also was Shankar sar’s… than we have AR Rehaman Sar’s music, which has to be super hit, then we have Rajini Sar… This combination has come together before. So no chance of flop sar. Ever heard of pre release rationalization? If you haven’t, well this is it, and remember you read it first here. Anyways, going by the reports, it is going to be a while before this mania comes to an end. But while it lasts, lets enjoy.

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What can you do on a landing page?

I suppose a lot. It doesn’t need to be a mere data collection outpost. If used properly, it can definitely add to leads and the overall brand experience.

Recently I came across this fantastic page for Rbk (Reebok) http://www.goruneasy.com/RunEasy/ What was amazing to me was the manner in which a mere pair of running shoes is so beautifully shown as an absolute necessity. It makes me want to own a pair, but more importantly, wear it and run! There are very few pieces of communication that are able to create this kind of a desire.

Adding to the overall impact is the amazing use of Google Maps. Wow! What a way to bring in technology to enhance your idea. In fact, this has been my favorite saying; let technology not be the idea, use it to enhance yours.

The bits on posting your favorite runs, viewing and sharing of photos, comments, play list etc., too are brilliant. It not only adds the interactive bit, but also immensely adds to the overall brand experience.

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Compromise is for politicians.

I watched with a lot amusement the announcements made by the BCCI. Correct me, if I am wrong. The idea was to meet up and come up with solutions that were supposed to encourage and inculcate cricket and winning habits amongst players.

But what do we have now. A nicely worked out compromise, that just pulls wool over the people’s eyes. The board has clearly sent out signals, that as a player you can get away with absolute mediocrity and if you are a cricket enthusiast, you will have live with this mediocrity.

What I fail to understand is; what have endorsements got to do with performance? If I am a professional, I know my “good times” will not last forever. So if I don’t give it my 110%, I stand to loose everything, because, I no longer will have people’s respect, which in turn means they will not standby my endorsements. I have to be a ‘full time’ idiot not to understand these dynamics and devote all my time to endorsements or not perform on the field.

The measures suggested by the BCCI smacks of ignorance. 3 brands per player, no more than certain number of days for shoots, no shooting or events to be attended 15 days prior to a tournament etc., etc. It shows how people who have not played the game are now killing it in the name of revival. But hey, with the BCCI, you never know. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. The next win, could throw all this out of the window, and our players will be restored to their rightful place – next to our Gods. All this will be end up being notes for a sequel of the comedy of errors.

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The blue billion

India exits world cup.

Players feel hurt and hapless.

Chappell resigns.

Zee launches ICL.

No wonder a billion people are feeling so blue.

So what’s all the fuss about? I think primarily, it has everything to do with people’s mental makeup. We are no longer a contended society. We want more and we want it now. Look at the violence that’s perpetuated through our movies. The hero is no longer satisfied with a small bashing of the baddies. He needs to pull out his big gun, his big sword and beat ‘em up big time to pulp. The hero no longer rides around on his bike. He’s gotto have a big car. His stunts are big.

This catastrophic change has come about, I think due to the change in psychic of the Indian public. We live our dreams through our heroes and heroines. So everything needs to be ostentatious. In fact, I distinctively remember, a die hard John Abraham fan told me that she didn’t ‘like’ Kabul Express. I was quite amazed. On probing further, she told me that the movie was too simple. It made her feel ‘light’. There was nothing in it for her to take home. No glam, no aspiration, no expensive cars, no swanky locales, nothing to dream off, no flights of fantasy. Phew! Most directors would give an arm to do a movie like that. But we are like this only!

Similarly, when it comes to cricket too we are ostentatious. One billion people live their dreams through our cricketers. It is another matter, that we don’t dominate any other sport at the world level. (Perhaps, the one exception being Chess, where Vishwanathan Anand is No.1. But then with 42 people following it at any given point of time, we can safely ignore it.) Coming back to cricket, yes, one look at the record books will tell how seriously we take the sport. Every conceivable record will feature the name of an Indian player. (Actually, read as – Sachin) Are our players so talented or do we drive them to such frenzy.

We are no longer happy with a 250 –280 score. It needs to be 350 – 400. Our margins of victory need to be a world records. Every time Sachin goes out, it needs to be a big hundred. Every time Irfan, Sreesanth, Munaf bowls, it needs to break the 96 MPH barrier, the stumps needs to break in half, or the batsmen need to break a bone or two. The catching has to be spectacular. The throws from the boundary need to find the stumps. The impression we would give anybody is that we have 11 supermen in our team. Every win raises the players closer to the status of GOD. And every failure reduces them to a bunch of incompetent nincompoops who are better of selling nariyal paani.

Such is the Indian public. And when you shoulders carry the burden of a billion such fans, I think you are better off selling nariyal paani.

 

Hey in passing shot;

After a lot of research, we zeroed in on two powerful personalities who were responsible for India’s debacle at the World Cup;
Indira Gandhi for creating Bangladesh and Hanuman for not destroying Lanka completely… hehehe ;)

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The Kawasaki Vulcan 2000. What boys want.

 

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Tell me when you finish drooling.

Yeah, but then you can’t help not drooling either. Such is the presence of the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000. Solid, beefy, styling can give a 2-ton rhino a run for his money. Super, drop dead, gorgeous looks can sweep anybody of their feet. Hmmm… one wonders how he rides. Anyways, fellas, this was a mail I received some time back, so I just thought will share it other bike enthusiasts.

Kawasaki’s Vulcan 2000 cruiser, heralded by media and owners alike as a perfect combination of power, style, and superb craftsmanship, has this year seen its popularity grow to encompass two additional “family” members the Vulcan 2000 Classic and the Vulcan 2000 Classic LT. Matched with the original Vulcan 2000 and the Vulcan 2000 Limited, Kawasaki now offers four separate variations of this massive V-twin cruiser.

Styling queues that put the Vulcan 2000 at the forefront of cruiser design include a powerful four-bulb, projector-type headlight encased in a signature chrome Nacelle headlight. Adding to its high-end status is the chrome instrument panel with its large-face speedometer; mounted on a stretched, 5.5-gallon fuel tank, the V-shaped panel keeps the rider informed with an LCD display and warning lamps. The bucket-type saddle with locking passenger seat complements the Vulcan 2000′s long, curving silhouette while providing all-day riding comfort.

Power for these stylish cruisers come from a 125ci V-twin engine featuring a bore and stroke of 103mm x 123.2mm, forged pistons, alloy-steel connecting rods, huge 220mm flywheels, dual cams located within the one-piece crankcase and right-side pushrods actuating four valves per cylinder. Notably, Kawasaki engineers chose to utilize a push rod design in order to reduce engine height, which directly contributes to the Vulcan 2000′s low center of gravity and relatively low seat height. Plus, hydraulic valve lash adjusters automatically maintain zero valve clearance for smoother, quieter operation.

Cruiser enthusiasts will appreciate the Vulcan 2000′s classic V-twin sound thanks, in part, to the single-pin crankshaft, while dual counter balancers and rubber engine mounts keep it running smoothly.

To provide sharp throttle response at any rpm, the Vulcan 2000′s electronic engine control unit (ECU) manages electronic fuel injection with its dual 46mm throttle bodies and sub-throttle valves, as well as the iridium spark plug ignition system. The sub-throttle valves help provide the Vulcan 2000 with a smooth, linear power band, while the highly sophisticated fuel injection system’s fine atomizing injectors deliver an ultra-fine mist of fuel/air mixture to the cylinders for greater combustion efficiency, increased power and optimum fuel economy.

The top quarter of the V-twin engine is liquid cooled, while temperatures for the bottom three-quarters of the engine are managed by stylish and highly functional cooling fins. Plus, the engine and transmission feature built-in oil and water pumps, with the transmission also serving as the oil tank.

The fuel injection system’s air cleaner is nestled between the cylinders, which feature a black matte finish, and the cooling fins are polished to a bright metallic shine. Dual exhaust pipes and mufflers emit a distinctive V-twin rumble, and include honeycomb catalyzers to reduce emissions.

A Hyvo primary drive chain transfers torque from the big V-twin engine to the five-speed transmission case, which houses a multi-plate wet clutch. To fully benefit from the Vulcan 2000′s advanced electronics, a gear position sensor in the transmission sends signals to the ECU, further enhancing fuel injection volume and ignition timing, and thus improving performance. Final drive to the rear wheel is provided by smooth, quiet and low maintenance belt drive.

The V-twin engine is utilized as a stressed member of the Vulcan 2000′s steel, double-cradle frame, which features a large-diameter, box-section single-tube backbone. Coupled to the frame is a simple but elegant rear steel pipe swing arm suspension with a direct-action single shock. The rear suspension provides 3.9 inches of travel, and includes spring preload and rebound adjustment. Up front, large 49mm forks provide more precise steering feedback and 5.9 inches of travel.

The Vulcan 2000 motorcycle rides on bright, cast aluminum 16-inch wheels with a 150/80 front radial tire and a huge, 200/60 rear radial tire. Dual 300mm front disc brakes with four-piston calipers and a single rear disc brake with two-piston caliper bring this big cruiser to smooth, powerful stops.

SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: Type 4-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled, OHV, 4-Valve Cylinder Head, 52� V-Twin
Displacement: 2053 cc
Bore and Stroke: 103.0 x 123.2 mm
Maximum Torque: 141 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Carburetor: DFI with Keihin 46mm Throttle Bodies (2)
Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
Transmission: 5-Speed
Final Drive: Belt
Rake/Trail: 32�/7.2 in.
Front Wheel Travel: 5.9 in.
Rear Wheel Travel: 3.9 in.
Front Tire Size: 150/80-16
Rear Tire Size: 200/60-16
Wheelbase: 68.3 in.
Front Suspension: 49mm Hydraulic Telescopic Fork
Rear Suspension: Single Shock, 8-Way Rebound Damping
Front Brake Type: Dual 300mm Discs with 4-Piston Calipers
Rear Brake Type: Single 320mm Disc with 2-Piston Caliper
Fuel Tank Capacity: 5.5 gal.
Seat Height: 26.8 in.
Dry Weight: 750 lb.
Color: Metallic Ocean Blue/Metallic Phantom Silver, Ebony/Galaxy Silver

Engine
- 2,053cc, 125ci 52 degree V-twin, four-stroke engine produces massive torque across the entire rpm range
- Forged pistons and alloy connecting rods are strong and light
- Huge 220mm flywheels smooths power delivery
- Push-rod valve actuation contributes to lower engine height, low center of gravity and relatively low seat height
- Hydraulic valve adjusters reduce maintenance
- Engine Control Unit (ECU) manages electronic fuel injection and digital ignition system optimize throttle response
- Fuel injection system features sub throttle valves for a smooth, linear power band
- Fuel injection system’s fine atomizing injectors deliver ultra-fine fuel/air mixture for greater combustion efficiency, increased power and optimum fuel economy
- Center spark plugs enhance combustion for smooth, consistent power and reduced emissions
- Liquid and air cooling maintain consistent operating temperatures
- Engine and transmission feature built-in oil and water pumps, reducing the number of parts and reducing weight
- Single-pin crank for the desirable power-pulse feel and classic V-twin sound

Transmission / Final Drive
- A gear position sensor in the five-speed transmission sends signals to the ECU, further enhancing fuel injection and ignition performance
- Belt final drive is smooth, quiet, reliable and low maintenance

Frame and Suspension
- Steel double-cradle frame features large-diameter, box-section single-tube backbone for strength
- Engine is utilized as a stressed member of the frame to minimize chassis weight
- Steel pipe swing arm is simple and elegant
- Direct-action single shock features spring preload and rebound damping adjustment with 3.9 inches of travel for a smooth ride
- Large 49mm forks provide precise steering feedback and 5.9 inches of travel

Wheels and Tires

- 7-spoke, 16-inch cast aluminum wheels add to the Vulcan 2000′s high-quality look
- 200/60R series rear tire is the largest stock tire size fitted to a mass-produced V-twin cruiser
- Radial tires enhance handling and give the Vulcan 2000 a firm, “planted” feel

Brakes
- Dual 300mm front disc brakes with four-piston calipers and single rear disc brakes provide smooth, powerful stops
Styling
- Stylish Nacelle headlight cover gives the Vulcan 2000 a high-class look
- Powerful, four-bulb projector-type headlights brighten the road for nighttime rides
- “Stretched” 5.5-gallon fuel tank provides for long-distance road trips

Additional features
- Chrome instrument panel keeps the rider informed with a large-face speedometer, LCD display and warning lamps
- Bucket-type front seat and sleek passenger seat provide all-day rider comfort and style

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