Friday, October 22, 2010


Once again it’s that time of the year when the world gets into a festive mood. It’s going to be Christmas soon and marketers are already, ready with their plans and their campaigns. Back in India, Dussehra just got over, but festivities have only just begun, with the grand-dad of all festivals – “Diwali”, just around the corner. It’s that time of the year when everyone goes on a buying spree. Consumption reigns supreme this time.

However at the heart of all this frantic activity lies a simple thought – “the power of giving”. Yes gift giving is central to Diwali. It’s a way of paying homage to the deity of wealth – Goddess Lakshmi. No wonder Diwali is the largest gift giving and shopping festival of India. Gifts symbolise one’s prayers to the almighty for the prosperity and well being of the recipient. “Giving” is at the heart of all festivities, and “giving” should also be at the heart of all marketing activities.

Friday, October 8, 2010


There was something very interesting that happened at Christie’s (the auction house) in London on September 29, 2010. The auction was very unique. The room was packed and beyond – people had even formed queues outside Christie’s; the heightened interest made the authorities shift the auctioning to a bigger room. People were bidding not just inside the room, many were on telephone, many more were registered online, from countries all over the world. From New York to Dubai, nobody wanted to miss the action… It was the auction of 300 items from Lehman Brothers’ London headquarters – paintings, miniature battleships, et al. It’s interesting to note that while not many were interested in the sale of Lehman’s European business (which was bought by a Japanese company Nomura), this auction was evidently different – and the most interesting bid was for a large metal nameplate that used to adorn Lehman’s London headquarters. An anonymous bidder bought the sign over telephone at an exorbitant price of £42,050. It was symbolic, for these letters symbolised the beginning of something new. The collapse of Lehman Brothers had ignited the global financial crisis, which changed the world forever.

Incidentally, Lehman Brothers’ mission statement was another sign that fetched record prices! It read: “We are one firm defined by our unwavering commitment to our clients, our shareholders and each other”!
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