Aishwarya Rao
In a city like Chennai, the message on a hoarding is almost the primary means of communication. And with the proliferation of hoardings from 2000 in 2001 to 3500 last year, marketers seem to be having a ball of a time. Yet when one lives in a city which is true-to-its-name -' the city of hoardings', there is very little awe on seeing the skin of the sky-line change. Amidst screaming colors and repulsive messages, hoardings like these are the only saving grace!

Hutch Valentine Outdoor, Cenotaph Road

Koblerr, T.T.K Road

Apart from the above, I can recollect the Fitness One Get Into shape outdoor and the RMKV girl on a swing hoarding.You guys seen anything interesting across the city's landscape??
Aishwarya Rao

Parking Lot, Sathyam Cinemas, Chennai

If marketing as a practice itself is not intrusion enough here is a classic example of a creative marketing/branding effort. Diet Coke takes over the parking lot at Sathyam Cinemas. It is the ultimate activity for a mass brand like Coke. Considering the proximity to a majority of the city's population, the effort scores full points on brand visibility. So has Diet Coke hit the nail by reaching an attractive full and over-flowing market at the parking lot? How has this impacted sales/revenues/ bottle pick-ups for the brand is left to be answered. Nevertheless, it is a commendable market design and execution. I only wish they had not stopped with a still lay out. Take a look at this ambient advertising done in Europe.

Aishwarya Rao

Day 1 of the week long mega cultural event 'Chennai Sangamam' promised some amazing performances. Natesan Park, T.Nagar one of the venues for the event was a special sight.

I reached the venue when the 'Villu Paatu' was being staged. 'Villu Paatu' is an ancient form of musical story telling with very basic orchestra like the 'kudam' (drum) and a thala kattai. This particular group 'Velayudham, Sangeetha and co.' from Tirunalveli has been performing for the past 30 years. The group specializes in narrating episodes from ancient literature (Raja Harischandra being their most talked after ones). This evening they performed the story of the legendary Tamil heroine Kannagi who is alleged to have burnt the city of Madurai as a revenge on its King who falsely convicted husband Kovalan. Although a light hearted and entertaining performance, one couldnt miss the political undercurrents.

Villu Paatu was followed by a series of patriotic tunes rendered by The Madras Youth Choir. The 15 year old group that performs in over 30 languages emulated the Tamil spirit by rendering popular Bharathiyar Songs.

The star of the evening undoubtedly was Sudha Ragunathan. She enthralled the audience with some brilliant renderings; 'Alaipayuthe', 'Om Saravana Bhava', and 'Brahmam Okkate'. The shining star of carnatic music she is, she alone could have mesmerised the audience and recaptured the essence of M.S.Subbalaksmi's gems 'Kaatrinile Varum Geetham' and 'Kurai Onrum Illai'. One couldnt help smiling at the unique vocal style of ending the current number with the initial lines of the subsequent piece! Whether she was dressed in Pothys's Parampara Pattu, I have my own doubts!

And there could have been no better end to the first day of Chennai Sangamam at T.Nagar. Folk artistes from Pasumalai near Madurai had the audience almost speechless with their Karagattam, Maiyul attam (peacock dance) and a series of bizzare acts. Pazhani Kumar and his troop turned the park into a circus ring ; jumping through a fire ring, mocking bull fights, stacking several layers of flaming iron rods on their heads. The team that has been performing for over 3 decades now is fighting to revive the ancient folk form.

Says Pazhani Kumar "While we give several performances in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, France and South Africa, the demand in our own land has sadly fallen. We get paid a maximum of 5000 for each show. With over 25 artistes performing, the money helps us in a very little way!" Pazhani Kumar runs his school in Madurai where one can learn the folk form in a matter of 3 months by putting in 3 hours each day. It could be more inviting to women who get paid slightly higher than their male counterparts for leaving their homes and children behind!

Well all Kudos to Kanimozhi, the Tamil Maiyam and Tamil Nadu Tourism Department for conceptualizing and organizing such a wonderful showcase of art, culture, music, dance and drama.