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(3 min read)
Thursday's Episode: For God's Sake!

Dear <<First Name>>,


I'm back again after missing Tuesday's episode, due credits to me spending the entire Tuesday thinking it was a Monday. Sigh. But I bring to you the book we should have discussed on Tuesday: For God's Sake by Ambi Parameswaran

India is a country that cannot be detached from the concept of 'religion'. And, it is no surprise that from technology to advertising, this inseparable concept has been used to benefit marketing strategies. Mind you, this is not a debate of whether something is right or wrong, whether it is really a 'bias', but simply about consumer behaviour and marketing.
Ambi Parameswaran delivers exactly what he claims in the tagline of the book: the perspective of an adman on the business of religion.

Do you remember the Tata Docomo ad that featured a girl breaking the news to her mom that she got a dragon tattoo? Do you remember the familiar 'kaushalya supraja' background score of 'suprabatham' that formed an instant, undeniable, subconscious connect? Or do you remember traditional religious marriage scenes of Hindus or Muslims used to advertise jewellery?
There is no dearth of examples to show how religion and religious music has been used, and is still being used, as one of the most important marketing strategies. Hindu, Buddhist, Parsi, Muslim elements have been used forever in our ad and promotions industry, and For God's Sake gives plenty of funny anecdotes to explain the logic behind those marketing strategies. 
"What should the ad say? Well, a Morris Minor, 1952 model, in mint-fresh condition, single owner, well-maintained. Was that enough?

It was  then a wiser soul in the room asked a question, Katy, you are a Parsi, right? The group realized they had missed out on an important sociological trivia. In the Indian automobile market, a Parsi owned car always fetches a better price. A Parsi is supposed to be someone who loves history and tradition. 

So, the final ad read: A Parsi-owned Morris Minor, 1952 model for sale. Single owner. Self driven, self maintained. Mint-fresh condition. 

The car was sold in one day."
While religious music might be able to save an otherwise godforsaken ad, sometimes wrong moves can also break brands. As an example, let me give you the story of WorldSpace, that the author reminiscences. What happens when this satellite-based radio service that hosted over thirty channels ranging from jazz to carnatic and religious music uses the genius Rahman's endorsement to revive it's popularity? Did his endorsement help? Not really, it had to stop operations in 2009. Its audience might have been way different from those who listen to Rahman. Considering it hosted a huge number of carnatic and religious music channels, maybe an endorsement by a carnatic musician or a religious musician could have helped the brand better!

This book is exciting and interesting thanks to the author's words that are charged with true experience, and the book is loaded with numerous personal stories, anecdotes, and rich marketing insights especially for someone who is not exposed to this field.

Even if you have no interest in learning 'marketing', this book is a great read for the witty and nuanced observations by the author on the subconscious Indian mindset and how it changes with time. I loved this read. It was entertaining, insightful, and sometimes really funny. If you want a non-fiction that isn't heavy or boring, and has a splash of inspiration for your business sense, try this!

What to look forward to? Wait, do you want a very different, super entertaining travelogue with no dearth of quirky anecdotes? Let's talk about Truck de India: A Hitchhiker's Guide to Hindustan where Rajat Ubhaykar recounts his 10,000 km impromptu trip, completely at the mercy of kind truck drivers who accept to give him a ride, as he pens down his experience and their stories!
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As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts, experiences, perspectives, anecdotes, criticisms, and anything at all that you would regarding today's literary discussion or my piece on it!

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