Guerrilla Marketing and Oily Food.

28 Mar

Picture this. You are McPonalds. Burger sales are falling. And due to new localized burger players having come on the scene you are forced to lower prices. And burger prices are at their lowest since 2009. Your CEO passes away and his son takes over. He is a marketing type, sharpish suits, nice cologne, slick smile, you know.

He thinks that all McPonalds really needs is some marketing. Nothing else. But he studied about guerrilla marketing in his fancy B School. From the kind of one step evolved B School professors who say that you wont learn marketing “here” but you will learn it from the street vendor in Brazil who sells here product for a few cents.

So what does the CEO son do ? He hires lets asks his McGoons to go to the factory of the SmallFry burger chain and vandalise it and create a fight. Incidentally (yeah right) all the trucks carrying the McPonalds burgers have to pass through the corner where the SmallFry factory is located.

His social media team, already being primed for this, takes to Twitter and tells the public that since all McPonalds items come from the factory, and supplies could be affected, burgers are in limited supply. Moreover since the SmallFry factory is located in a volatile region which produces burgers, maybe every burger company Overnight, tens of thousands of people que up at McPonalds stores and it can price its burgers higher. Voila. The son rises.

Of course I don’t really mean that McPonalds is Saudi Arabia and SmallFry Burgers is Yemen. How could I ? I mean really? So what if oil prices went from 54 to 58 in two-three days.

Saudi Arabia produces 11 million barrels/day of petroleum. Simple use of a calcualator will reveal that 11 Million Barrels a Day multiplied by 4 Dollars is about 44 million dollars. A day. So the air strikes boosted revenues by 44 million dollars daily! As per Aviaton Week an F16 costs $24,000an hour to run. CNN says a 100 jets were involved in these air strikes for an hour. Thats 2.4 Million dollars a day for airstrikes. As such, like any self respecting Marwari bania will tell you, that’s a net profit of more than 41 Million Dollars a day. Yup, about 1.7 Million Dollars an hour.

Thats Guerrilla Marketing for you. Pardon the not knowing who the real guerrillas are.


Heres wishing you a luxurious christmas break

24 Dec

Deval Tibrewalla I CEO + DIRECTOR I Polo Towers Group

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Why the excise hike on fuel is good for you.

14 Nov


Know the feeling where you were expecting a raise and end up with a pay cut instead? Yes, the double whammy when both future expectation and past conditioning gang up to gong you on your thick head like a mugger in a Brooklyn back alley. Or is it ?

At least that`s what the current excise hike of Rs. 1.5/litre seems like to most ‘normal’ people. As discussed earlier here, global oil prices have been on the slippery slope to US$ 80 a barrel from their hallowed perch of beyond US$ 100. That has resulted in six back to back reductions in fuel prices since August. The heightened expectation about lower prices was just people wanting more of this less business.

However, the audience will be happy to know, that far from a tragedy, this twist is actually good for our economy. And how exactly is that? For very long, our government has played the populist messiah, doling out oil subsidies like Facebook rolls out privacy invading measures. Which meant that when oil prices were high, the government (thats French for you – the taxpayer) absorbed it and when they were lower, they cut prices. Antics which lead to a bloated fiscal deficit, and an emancipated country.

This government on the other hand is doing what any sensible person would do – save for a rainy day ! And God knows we as a country have enough of those. The additional Rs. 14000 Crores that the excise duty will mop up can be used to reduce debt, thus interest rates.

But, wait a minute, you right wing jumper to obvious conclusions – don`t high fuel prices literally fuel inflation too ? Yes, but unlike Kim Kardashan, inflation is not inflamed only due to one thing. As you may know, inflation in India is more supply push than demand pull. Which means that higher interest rates cause higher interest payouts which cause higher prices since companies that make things need to pay banks that make loans.

So how does an excise duty cut reduce interest rates for companies ? Hmm. The most indebted Indian is not Vijay Mallya despite popular perception. It is in fact the Government of India. What the hell, since we are busting popular perceptions lets bust another one too. You would accuse the government of being many things but not of being credible or creditworthy, right ? Wrong. Due to a certain John Maynard Keyne, our economic systems automatically consider (non Greek) governments less of a credit risk than any private (i.e. non government) organisation. Thus your friendly neighbourhood Shylock banks would rather lend to the government than to you. Which means the only way to get them to lend to you or your company is to pay them more interest than what the government is willing to pay.

Ok, so ?

So, if the government returns Rs. 14,000 crore to banks and doesn’t want to borrow it back, it does two things. One, the bankers have money to lend without lending which they will not make their fancy bonuses. Two, the governement coffers are in a better state which causes bond yields to go down, thus reducing the general interest rates. Put the One and Two together and average folk like you and me get easier access to funding.

So, tomorrow when you are scowling at the pumpwallah when tanking up, know that the Rs.1.5 extra may just save you 1.5 percent on your next car loan interest rate. Now, thats good for you in a way that green tea can seldom claim to be.


13 Nov

A cup of insipid tea
A distant honking cab

The noises of a days end
Sky like faded black ink

An overflowing mind
To empty with Tonite

Sighs of a morning that never was
On a vaguely warm winters night

Who loses with Low Oil Prices ?

10 Nov

big_oil_excuses notap_oilprices_down

As you drive to the pump and gleefully see the price of diesel below the Rs.60 mark, you exult thinking of the many Louis Vuitton bags the Rs.2 saving will buy you. Oil prices are at a record low. As low as they have got in 4 long years. So, are the Sheikhs scrambling to replace their Rolls Royces` with mere Bentleys or is it more about Arab Economies than Economising Arabs ? Is there more than just meets the Eye(raq) ?

Aren’t oil prices controlled by a ‘few’? Isn’t the ‘demand supply theory’ just like one of those ‘Big Lies’, the kind that middle class middle Americans apparently live by. Isn’t it really all a conspiracy? Well yes, OPEC controls the oil prices to an extent. But then the fly in the oily ointment is that of late, the Yanks have been churning out a fair bit of their own dark stuff. Due to the so called Fracking revolution no less. (Yes, technology has more mundane uses than just allowing you to watch Miley Cyrus videos without waiting for endless buffering.)Now, fracking wasn’t viable sometime ago since the cost of extracting the oil was more than what people were willing to pay for it. Then someone came up with the concept of horizontal drilling and fracking became viable.

While we will come back to fracking and shale etc., lets go East (my friend). The Middle of it. As even the laziest foreign policy aficionados would know, apparently the ruling Saud family (of Saudi Arabia,duh) made a (dirty) deal with the Americans (who else) to stay in power forever. The Saud`s would allow American Military presence, and generally be civil to the Yanks while in exchange, the Americans would support the Saud`s by keeping them in power mainly so they can continue to buy neon Lamborghinis and private jets with rotating prayer rooms.

Like the first few pages of a Bengali novelist detail the family tree explaining who the pishi is and so on, now you are aware of the players in this big unhappy family, the frackers, the Saudis and the rest of us.

We forgot the evil aunt, the ISIS. The start up Terror Outfit ? What have they got to do with Oil prices? Oh yeah, terrorists drive oil prices up since they give newscasters reason to use the words ‘geopolitical tensions’ with the half smile. But that was long ago, this startup uses oil as a funding source by selling Syrian oil on the black market (which other colour could a market for oil be?) to Turkish traders. Now, the Saud(i)`s dont really like the ISIS. A neon Lamborghini only has space for close friends, let alone managing to stuff 35 AK47`s into the alcantara interiors, you know. So for the first time in the history of the Middle East, lower oil prices are actually beneficial to the Saudi`s. Talk about perfect alignment with American Politicos.

So who loses?  The frackers with the highest marginal cost will soon go bankrupt, or atleast the banks backing them will. The new American oil boom towns will soon be less El Dorado and more Detroit. The Saudi`s with their Arab Spring led inflated wage bill may get into big trouble. The renewable energy boom may come to a premature end as ‘conventional energy’ becomes cheaper. The ISIS, now they`ll have to sell more oil to Turkish oil traders to buy the same amount of olives and guns. Lastly,the government, who will have to bail out the banks sustained by the global debt boom which in turn was sustained by the global commodities boom.

Less isnt always more, isnt it ?

TEAM SHILLONG only North East team to complete RAID DE HIMALAYA 2013

7 Nov

Team Shillong, supported by Hotel Polo Towers completes one of the toughest rallies in the world. 


Shillong: TEAM Shillong, which consists of Shillongites Shanti Prasad Choudhury, Vandana Jalan Chaudhury and Deval Tibrewalla completed Raid de Himalaya 2013, one of the toughest car rallies in the world. They braved the treacherous terrain, extreme weather conditions and poor infrastructure to complete the  Rally in the Adventure Category.The event saw the highest number of participants in its history, thus making Team Shillongs achievement even more laudable.800 people are involved directly and indirectly. 300 competitors.

Shillong team was the only team from the North East of India to participate. The team is supported by the Hotel Polo Towers group, which is the most prolific hotel group in Eastern India.

The rally through the highest motorable road in the world began on October 4 and continued until October 12, 2013 . This was Team Shillong`s first participation in the rally. It participated in a Toyota SUV driven by Deval Tibrewalla and navigated by Shanti Prasad Choudhury.

Speaking of its support of Team Shillong for the Raid de Himalaya 2013, Mr. Kishan Tibrewalla, Chairman and Managing Director of Hotel Polo Towers Group, said: “Raid de Himalaya is a stimulating and adrenaline packed event and in continuation of our groups support of sport, we are very pleased to be part of this great adventure.”

The rally proves the qualities of strength, resourcefulness, physical and mental resistance of the participants, as well as the vehicle. The rally began at Shimla and crossed through Kaza, the difficult monastery necklace, Keylong, Debring and finally ended at Leh. The initial two days were for the administrative and technical control of vehicles in order to ensure compliance with the safety regulations issued by Federation International Automotive, which is the elite global motor sport Federation.

Is Kora Kagaz possible and all ?

17 Oct

I have always held the (rather facetious) view that no one any longer has a mann that is a Kora Kagaz anymore. And I dont just mean it from A Rajesh Khanna romantically inspiring Sharmila Tagore way. In any way. With being connected all the time, there is something thats always on our mind. And Mind, ofcourse equals Mann. As such, QED.

However, an earlier than early morning Parc Ferme at Tabo Helipad where it is so dark that you can hardly see your own car in the (meagre but promising) light of dawn does a lot to make your mann a kora kagaz.

Parc Ferme at Tabo Helipad. Raid de Himalaya

Parc Ferme at Tabo Helipad. Raid de Himalaya

The Himalaya`s as anyone would tell you are imposing, monumental and all that. Similar personality traits to dominating people, dont you think? So not only do they make wipe the slate of your mind clean, they also imprint themselves on you. This is either Wari La or Khardung La Pass as we head back into Manali via the Leh Manali Highway.

20131013_174008Enough of the soppy symbolism et al. Have a flight to catch and the strange Spicejet woman will not take too kindly to me being “later than 45 minutes prior” just because a blog was being writ by moi. (Yes,yes, presumptuous use of improbable old English and a lone French word is my way of adding literary value to this.)


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