Thursday, June 22, 2006

An ode to "José + 10"

José + 10 is an advert that is run by Adidas during the FIFA world cup soccer 2006 as part of its "Impossible is nothing" campaign. Purely from a marketing mix point of view, we are still long ways from judging the efficacy of this commercial - assuming that we can measure it. But, from a sentimental perspective, this advert has caught the imagination of millions of adults. You can watch this promo at google video. In short, it is about 2 kids who are selecting a dream team to play for them and the moment they selected their hero, he comes to life and joins them in the dusty make-shift soccer field.

The way the emotions were captured were right on spot. Inside every adult there is a latent child. Especially for men, there is a dormant rebellious kid yearning for fufillment of a dream - conceived in childhood, fabricated against the backdrop of his favorite sport. Two kids challenging each other on a lazy afternoon, the seriousness with which the toss is handled, the macho mind games, the larger-than-life authoritarian disposition displayed when dismissing players and bringing the backups from the bench and the million dollar argument on whether it was a 'goal' or not - the producers had nailed the psychic excitement of an afficionado right on the money.

Last but not least, all this drama comes to a premature end when the one adult - his mother in this case, whose decree he cannot veto calls it a day with the death knell, "José!!!!!, Aa Casa!" with no respect or sympathy for the kid's dream. That is an absolutely brilliant end to this already excellent short film. As it happens in real life, when the kid who owns the gear goes home, the game is over. No one resists, calls him name or disparages his mom. An absolute melancholy congeniality prevails and other players empathize with José as this premature end is an unavoidable externality.

Hats off to you Adidas for touching me and the million other individuals at a personal level. Hopefully along the way you also will make some good shoes that I find worthwhile to buy from your outlets :)

Peace out

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At 9:20 AM, Blogger Gaurav said...

The ad also touched my heart because most of the people will probably have already fantasized about playing with the best players in hot summer afternoon. I remember just sitting after playing some games trying to figure out what to play next.

I also like the exchange between the mother and the son. The mother is frustrated or angry due to some reason or for the fact that the kid is not studying..."JOSE!!" the look in Jose's eyes knowing that the game is about to be over and the cautious "Keee" hoping that she will say something except calling him home and the "Aaa Casa" crushing the child's hopes to continue on with the fantasy game. And of course at the end, the guy with the equipment has to take the expensive equipment and the game has to end. There is no question. Back to drab dreary afternoon. Simply amazing ad. I love it.

At 11:43 PM, Blogger mihir kulkarni said...

The ad is a perfect 10. perfect in every department.
Searched more on the background music and found this:
and then searched on Jim Noir's Eanie Meany and found the actual sound track ....

Its cool, enzoi! Soccer Rocks!


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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Geography bee and a dose of reality!

I watched the 2006 National Geographic's Geography bee contest hosted by Jeopardy! game show host Alex Trebek. I liked this twist to the bee better than the spelling contest. The kids were amazing. A 4th to 8th grade kid has more geography IQ than I have and that's humbling.

After rounds and rounds of elimination, when Bonny Jain from Illinois scribbled 'Cambrian' on his card for the question "Name the mountains that extend across much of Wales from the Irish Sea to the Bristol Channel", he won the $25,000 scholarship prize and the national champion title over the other finalist Neeraj Sirdeshmukh who took home $15,000 in scholarship prize. Alex Trebek was very professional and he did not make any comment on the fact that the top 5 participants were all of Indian origin. Call me ethnocentric - I dont mind. I was as proud as their parents when I saw the top 5. Inspite of the fact that I didn't know the answers to 3/4th of the questions asked, a strong current of euphoria swept over me!

That euphoria lasted but for a few moments until the kids started getting eliminated. While these kids answered stumpers like "The Kikuyu, who led the Mau Mau uprising against the British, are the largest ethnic group in which country in East Africa?" with such poise and ease (Ans. Kenya), 3 of the top 5 made atleast one mistake on simple questions about India. "A religion which is a hybrid of Hinduism and Islam requires that its followers wear head turbans; which religion is this?" was the question and Suneil Iyer responded "Buddhism". Even the hate mongers in Arizona who shot the Sikh cashier at the seven-eleven shop would know the answer now!

"Onge tribe is native to which chain of islands that are part of India but close to Burma" (Ans. Andaman & Nicobar). Yeshwanth - the 3rd place winner blew it up. These kids are brilliant. They might have used focused preparatory materials for sure; but brilliant nevertheless. But it would be a huge mistake to identify them as Indian kids. The similarities cease to exist beyound their names and color of their skins. Apart from these superficial similarities, they are just akin to other highly competitive bee participants who passionately memorize any curios factoid and data without internalizing the passion. Again, call me mean, narrow-minded or provincial - I dont mind. But the euphoria was no more when the competition got over!

Parochially yours,

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At 9:35 AM, Blogger Gaurav said...

Absolutly. I don't think they do anything but hold onto the knowledge. They are just short term containers of facts and trivia. The only impressive part is the capacity to hold rather than internalize the knowledge.


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Monday, June 19, 2006

End of quarter!

My spring quarter MBA exams got over last week. I have only a week's breathing space before the craziness starts all over in summer. Not much of a splash; but enough time for some retrospection. 1 year spent on finishing the core courses has been really fruitful. When I started MBA, I ne'er thought I had any interest in Finance. A combination of good professors and interesting content made me rethink about my position and I will be doing my concentration in Finance in addition to Marketing and Managing innovation and Technology.

That means, preparing myself to brace for extra time in school. I need to get more organized so that I can have a personal life after school and work. I have forgotten the directions to Gym and have not pursued any activities of my passion such as photography. Paragliding has been relegated to the bottom of my todos list for quite some time now! Ok! that's enough lamenting in one blog entry!

We spent the weekend meeting friends and watching world cup football with them. I am glad that - unlike Olympics, we get a chance to watch football live. Nothing beats the feeling of waking up early to catch a glimpse of the action that is happening exactly at the same moment. The pleasurable inconvenience is part of the whole fun.

We went to the Bayland park to watch airplanes take off and land. Felt like we were kids again. We watched 'Swades' - may be for the 20th time, at Ragu's place. Then, we watched 'The Ring' movie at Kedar's place. The reporter's son creeped me out more than the Ring girl. As Kramer says, the girl is just "a normal, mischievous, rambunctious kid" :). I couldnt help but cogitate the fact that what would have been easily dismissed as 'time-pass' when I was a kid now qualifies as quality time with friends. I like it this way. The older one gets, the simpler life becomes :)

Two weeks to go before we take up the week-long camping trip to Yellowstone. Looking forward to checking out the Big Audacious Hairy Grisly tete-a-tete! I will post the travelogue as usual unless the super volcano blows up when we are there :)

So long,
The splash photograph is the work of professor Davidhazy. Many thanks to him for allowing me to include the photograph in my site. You can view his site @

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