Outlook Business Best Buddies 2017: Venkat Prasad And Sameer Pitalwalla

How The Culture Machine founders hit it off over their common passion for creating video channels

For an Indian millennial with an internet connection, Culture Machine’s work is hard to miss. From ‘Being Indian’ to ‘Put Chutney’, its channels are creating content for a generation that has replaced the quintessential Idiot Box with YouTube. Founded in 2013, by Sameer Pitalwalla and Venkat Prasad, Culture Machine’s website claims to have around 22 million subscribers with an average of half-a-billion views per month. The story began when Pitalwalla and Prasad met at VidCon, an annual event held in the US for those who love online video streaming. Few conversations and 72 hours later, the duo chalked out a plan to start Culture Machine. What sets the company apart is its strong investment in technology, resulting in multiple revenue streams. Its analysis software, Intelligence Machine, sifts through video data and trends to acquire a treasure trove of data for brands and creators telling them how well their content works. Their other product, the Video Machine, creates high impact videos at scale from audio and text. Pitalwalla and Prasad are similar to pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that fit perfectly. While Pitalwalla is from a business and media background (thanks to his stints at Disney, UTV and Times Internet), Prasad is a pure techie who has worked at Yahoo and Google. Pitalwalla is aggressive and hot-headed by his own admission, while Prasad is soft-spoken and thus, the calmer influence. They play the perfect foil for each other. Their partnership has solidified with time and the work Culture Machine does reflects on the same. Continue reading “Outlook Business Best Buddies 2017: Venkat Prasad And Sameer Pitalwalla”

Outlook Business Best Buddies 2017: Sameer Seth And Yash Bhanage

How a small chat at a bar led The Bombay Canteen founders to spice it up with a desi restaurant venture

The camaraderie is evident right from the word go at the India-inspired restaurant, The Bombay Canteen (TBC) and it is not just between its owners — Sameer Seth and Yash Bhanage. As Seth and Bhanage bustle about getting things ready for the photo shoot, curious looks are shot across the room between the team as they go about doing their job. The bonhomie is quite evident at the place. Seth and Bhanage were classmates at the Cornell University and the idea to start a business together was something they toyed with, way back in 2010. But the thought gained steam only around a year and a half later, when they decided to pursue their passion for food and set up a restaurant back home. By this time, Seth had also met chef Floyd Cardoz, the man behind many successful restaurants in New York. With Cardoz as the culinary director, TBC was set up at Mumbai in 2015. With its bungalow-inspired interiors, desi-themed cutlery, and a simple, yet sophisticated menu on regional Indian food, TBC is a quirk-flavoured ode to India. Talking to the duo feels more like a casual conversation with a friend rather than an interview. Their motto is to make work fun. But that doesn’t translate to being flippant about what they do. It is easy to believe them when they say, “We take what we do seriously. Ourselves? Not so much.” They share a common vision of offering the best experience to their guests, which makes TBC a happy place to be in.

Continue reading “Outlook Business Best Buddies 2017: Sameer Seth And Yash Bhanage”

Branching Out

Nilkamal’s TVC announces its expansion in the home furniture category

Nilkamal SEAs a brand, Nilkamal needs no introduction. The name is synonymous with plastic furniture that no public gathering or function would be complete without. But did you know the brand also offers wooden home furniture? If you didn’t, the company is now making sure that everyone does with its all new campaign. The ad that aptly says ‘Ab Plastic Furniture Se Kahin Zyaada’ showcases the range of Nilkamal’s wooden home furniture.

Talking about the campaign, Manish Parekh, president (Furniture), Nilkamal India says that while over the years the brand has diversified into products made of wood and steel, the public image has not moved beyond plastic furniture. “Our range of wooden furniture is retailed pan India, however the equity of plastic is very strong. Therefore it was our endeavour through the new piece of communication to create awareness that Nilkamal is not just plastic furniture but provides complete home furniture solutions,” he says. Continue reading “Branching Out”

A Potpourri Of Workouts

With a diverse network of gyms and studios, Fitpass is attempting to lure fitness freaks with its variety

Fitpass SE“We Indians prefer to have options,” starts off Akshay Verma, co-founder, Fitpass when asked about how the start-up was conceptualised. “Whenever we go to a restaurant, people love to order a thali. They like to try a lot of things,” he says. But when it comes to working out in India, there weren’t many options available. The lack of proper running tracks or parks coupled with poor air quality rules out training outdoors. Thus gyms were the popular choice to get fit, which again, were not devoid of challenges. “One workout doesn’t solve all needs; there has to a be a mix of a lot of workouts. For example, marathon runners need to hit the gym for strength training while they need CrossFit and yoga for flexibility,” says Verma. Continue reading “A Potpourri Of Workouts”

Caramel Bliss

Cadbury 5 star’s popular duo are back promoting the all new variant

five star SERamesh and Suresh are back with their goofy antics. The endearing duo that has been the face of the Cadbury 5 star’s advertisements have returned to the small screen in a new avatar via the new TVC that promotes the chocolate brand’s extra caramel variant.

Talking about the campaign, Prashant Peres, director-marketing (Chocolates), Mondelez India, says the latest ad was in sync with the brand’s larger vision of making the product synonymous with the urban youth. “The pitch to Ogilvy was to get young urban Indians to wear Cadbury 5 Star as their badge. Our iconic brand assets Ramesh and Suresh have a lot of consumer affection but we need to continually make them more aspirational and cooler,” he says. Continue reading “Caramel Bliss”

Long-Haul Players

Truckkers is ushering in transparency in truck trailers

Trukkers SEWhen Mohammad Illiyaz quit his job at Amazon to start something on his own, he wasn’t clear on where he was headed. But when he heard about the problems his friend faced in getting a good transporter, he decided to venture into logistics. He started his own transport company in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh to understand the issues in the industry. During the course of business, he met Gouri Patil who was also running her own logistics company then. With an initial investment of 20 lakh, they decided to launch Truckkers, an online trailer aggregator.  Sometime after the start-up was launched the third co-founder, Naveed Ahmed, joined the team. Continue reading “Long-Haul Players”

Social Warrior

Starting out young, UnLtd India’s co-founder Pooja Warier’s unrelenting perseverance has helped her succeed

The first thing I notice when I walk into UnLtd India’s office is a poster of Apple’s legendary ‘Think Different’ ad — the commercial that talks about the ones who see things differently; the round pegs in the square holes. An hour later, after meeting Pooja Warier, I couldn’t help but wonder how appropriate the quote is for the lady herself. After all, she was just in her mid-twenties when she co-founded UnLtd India, India’s first incubator to provide both financial and non-financial support for social entrepreneurs. In eight years, the company has supported 132 unique fellows, created 390,000 jobs and has reached out to more than 2.5 million beneficiaries through their ventures. Continue reading “Social Warrior”

Purely Business

IDFC Bank’s new campaign BankingNibhao focuses on delivery of quick banking solutions

IDFC SEDo customers need a friend or a banker? While banking ads are currently promising to be a friend, philosopher and what not, the need of the customers is an efficient banker. The new BankingNibhao campaign from IDFC Bank attempts to convey the same, reiterating their position as the ‘Bank of now’.

The objective was to place the customer’s needs in the centre and create appropriate solutions such as swift account opening, seamless management of saving and current accounts and provision of banking at ration shops in rural areas says Rajiv Lall, CEO, IDFC Bank. “The customers’ requirements today have evolved and this reflects in their expectations from a bank. Hence, we have taken a differentiated approach – one that is focused on solutions and customer convenience,” he says. Continue reading “Purely Business”

Back In Action

‘Only Vimal’ is back after eight years with a new TVC to woo youngsters

Only Vimal SEWhat do Vivian Richards, Allan Border and Kapil Dev have in common? Three things— they were captains of their respective teams, world cup winners and were featured by Reliance’s textile brand, Vimal in their ads during the cricket World Cup in 1987. The brand, well known for its star-powered campaigns, is now back to claim its space on Indian television after 8 years with an all-new campaign targeting the young buyers.

Interestingly, unlike the brand’s previous campaigns the new TV series is more product-based. This change in representation is part of the company’s makeover to make Vimal more relatable to the younger generations says Vivek Mehta, head-marketing, Reliance Textiles. “Vimal is positioned completely on innovation and technology, this in itself is a unique thing. We represent the ‘Man of action’ much like the youth today, who handle multiple roles in life with comfort and ease, “ he says. Continue reading “Back In Action”

Being Proactive

ICICI Lombard’s latest ad is about offering fitness-based solutions

ICICI SE1472726381Every year, getting fit is an item that features in the New Year resolution list for a major sect of the population. Ironically, it is also a task that always gets pushed to the next year. Stemming off the trend, ICICI Lombard, in its new campaign, is exhorting its customers to lead an active lifestyle by providing health solutions that include benefits like yoga and gym reimbursements, fitness and sports therapy.

The motto was to remind the consumers about ICICI Lombard’s core value, ‘Nibhaye Vaade’ says Talha Bin Mohsin, senior creative director, Ogilvy & Mather, who worked on the creative inputs with Mahesh Parab. “The brief was to refresh this proposition and take it forward in a new way that could make the brand more proactive where it’s involved with the fitness or health of the customers,” he says. Continue reading “Being Proactive”

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