Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Emirates, Benfica & Safety

Why would Emirates send their crew to a football field - to do a demo in front of 65K Benfica fans? It's one of those usual stunts (by sponsors) you could see in a football game, but this time it's awesome, simply coz the activation blends in with Football - in this case, with S.L. Benfica of course, its enthusiastic fan-base and Emirates! 

We are talking about a football club of Portugal, which has been in existence for 111 years, with an estimated 5.8 million+ fans in Portugal, and a total fan-base of roughly 14 million+ worldwide.

In May 2015, Emirates struck a 3-year shirt sponsorship deal with the Lisbon-based football club and Emirates would be adding a second daily flight to Lisbon from January 1, 2016.

Since July 2012 Emirates has carried 500K passengers on the Dubai-Lisbon' route, and the second daily flight will lift capacity on the route to 10,000 seats each week! As per the stats from Emirates, since flights were launched in July 2012, a significant increase in customer demand to and from the city with an average capacity growth of 15 percent per year have been recorded.

Benfica fans cheer for their team during the Champions League Group C match against FC Astana at the Estadio da Luz. Jose Sena Goulao / EPA
UAE's big three carriers are currently sponsoring some of Europe’s best- known football teams, with Etihad displayed on the shirts of Manchester City and Qatar Airways sponsoring Barcelona, while twenty of Europe’s top clubs are now sponsored in some way by Arabian Gulf airlines.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A journey with passion...building the brand 'BnS'

L - Bhathiya Jayakody -  R - Santhush Weeraman

Not definitely with a quest to build an entire 'Entertainment Empire', these two youngsters embarked on a journey, something catchy but dubbed with actions that attracted a lot of criticism from many corners in the society. They were singing/communicating to them Sri Lankans who were 'sandwiched' in the society, between those elite groups & hard-line extremists (in every aspect). 

Their products were unique & different, the impact was slow but steady, mesmerized some of the industry giants who believed the duo has a future ahead. A lot of sweat, tears and hard work went in, hours and hours wasted waiting to meet the big guns in media stations and record labels, to present their case.. one thing was obvious, with a bit of luck in their hands of course, they had a unique product on offer, backed by undying passion coupled with creativity, which meant "the future" for potential investors. 

As and when they get rid of one hurdle ahead of them, 10 new hurdles pop up. They had two options: to give up and remain as commoners or to fix it. They opted for the latter, and they never gave up. They understood their stakeholders, they had a strong sense of their value chains and potential partners. Backward integration was just one strategy, there are many more... but never compromised on their key strengths: undying passion for music & creativity, which helped them to achieve many milestones nationally and internationally. 

Today BnS is an off-the-cuff brand, which have been emerging during an era where no-one would even think, two Sri Lankan forenames, combined together would make a brand with high Brand Equity. Bathiya and Santhush (BNS) today have surely built a Sri Lankan entertainment empire, with over five entertainment companies (specialized in their own fields of operation) under the BnS group.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

NDTV's #TwitterFail paves way for a comprehensive look-out on Post PresPoll 2015

Following an interview with PM  Ranil Wickremasinghe, India's NDTV had tweeted (mis)quoting the PM "In principle, we have agreed to full autonomy to Tamil areas, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe tells NDTV". Interestingly such statement has neither been recorded in the video clip nor mentioned in the article published in their website. Amidst the continuous requests on NDTV to clarify the tweet, some did a simple look back on the things. 

Sri Lanka's 'The Republic Square' had transcribed the full interview (with SL's PM) as appeared on NDTV's 18+ minute documentary "Truth vs Hype: Sri Lanka - Hope or Illusion?" and there remains a clear blunder as NDTV tweeted something extra-ordinary as opposed to what's been told by Ranil Wickremasinghe. 

courtesy - 
courtesy - 

While many, by now have concluded that NDTV has "sensationalized" the interview with PM Ranil Wickremasinghe as there remains a clear difference between the actual transcript and their bloated message in tweets! The "sensationalized" tweet could be as a result of NDTV trying their level best to convey the message (but failed) in the limited character space of 140 no.s which has now fueled discussions amongst the Sri Lankans and its foreign allies.

As seen in the video, PM Wickremasinghe did not say the GoSL is saying no to international investigations, but no one would be tried in international criminal court (ICC) as Sri Lanka is not a party to the statute of Rome (as Ranil Wickremasinghe himself had not signed to the pact - read http://www.dailymirror.lk/12692/no-war-crimes-charges-can-be-brought-against-sl-ranil)

According to David Blacker: a Sri Lankan Author, blogger, a former serviceman of 6th Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army at Elephant Pass, all in all, SL PM, via the above statement has created space on several options for the new GoSL, such as agreeing on joint investigation with the UN, a local investigation with UN observation, etc, with the understanding that all evidence would be turned over to the SL prosecutors for action. GoSL could then decide to allow UN observers at the trial, or allow the UN to bring in witnesses. Many options. He also states, "The second tweet is a bit off but maybe down to NDTV not fully understanding the terms of 13A".

NDTV's tweet has already been widely shared by Pro-Rajapakse segments, several factions of social media who claim to be representing the 'Sinhalese Buddhist' factions, the website of former minister Wimal Weerawansa - lankacnews, who were seen promoting the fact that Ex-Pres Mahinda Rajapakse lost the election as his contender received "Ealam votes" ("Ealam votes" is a term used by Rajapakse himself and Pro-Rajapakse factions to represent all non-Sinhala speaking voter base, according to them, who are especially residing in the North and East parts of the island nation). On the contrary, Rajapakse too received votes from the above-mentioned geo areas, where his voter base in the Southern parts of the island has dipped in double digits as opposed to the numbers he received in 2010 Pres Poll.

NDTV's full documentary has also interviewed former Army commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka and  former President's son MP Namal Rajapakse who says "the war was won because of the bond in their family".

Also, TNA's R. Sampanthan states there have been discussions with Pres Maithripala Sirisena, but from the looks of it the TNA has not really received the "fullest endorsement" from the GoSL on the former's demands.

Former LTTE strongman, Col. Karuna is also seen in the documentary, stating he was not aware of the killings by the LTTE and he was not part of those!

Watch the full video below:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A master-mind behind the PM Modi's Election machinery to steer Pres Rajapakse's SM strategy

Arvind Gupta, head of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT division / IT Cell, a key figure in installing the former Gujarat Chief Minister Narenda Modi as India's 15th (Current) Prime Minister, has been hired by the Sri Lankan Government, in steering & strengthening President Mahinda Rajapakse's social media strategy. 

The nerve centre: Arvind Gupta inspecting his team in BJP's digital war room, located within the party's headquarters at Ashoka Road in Delhi. A team of 40 people, mostly professionals from IITs and IIMs, keeps a vigil on the latest voting trends and the mood of voters

Arvind Gupta was a master-mind behind the PM Modi's Election machinery, especially its Social Media strategy and campaign execution. According to Indian media "If you see a shot of a pensive Modi in Varanasi — with a maze of buildings behind him — or looking natty in a blue linen kurta while leading foreign dignitaries, you probably have to thank Gupta for it."

He started working for BJP after selling his software firm back in 2009 and was in charge of websites, uploading videos of rallies and meetings, sending them to media houses, posting comments and releases — and rebutting opponents on the Net. 

Reports say, Arvind Gupta and his four-member team have been active since the third week of November and operating from the temple trees. Gupta is known, especially for his skills and strategies in "rebutting opponents on the net" across multiple social media channels. Web media has reported that Arvind Gupta and his team have been hired for INR 100 Million, which is an amount close to SLR 211,861,742.00. 

He's a product of IIT-Banaras Hindu University and the University of Illinois. 

Image Courtesy - Parveen Negi

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The learnings from the "All-whopping" Burger King Sri Lanka

For the food, especially for Burger lovers, this has been the most amazing news besides all the somewhat great dining deals that are offered by Pubs, star-graded establishments, restaurants, tea lounges to coffee shops and other fast food joints, during this Christmas season. 

Burger King; which was teasing the Sri Lankans' taste buds for a pretty long time with their announcements of opening its Sri Lankan Franchise was made possible via Softlogic Holdings PLC's new business unit which was set up as 'Softlogic Restaurants (Pvt) Ltd'. The official announcement was released in September 2, 2013, highlighting Softlogic Restaurants (Pvt) Ltd as the master franchisee, which entered into a Master Franchise and Development Agreement with BK AsiaPac Pte Ltd - a subsidiary of Burger King Worldwide, Inc (NYSE: BKW), and the master franchisor for the Burger King® System in the Asia Pacific Region.

Accordingly,  Softlogic Restaurants (Pvt) Ltd would be developing, operating and establishing direct-owned Burger King restaurants in Sri Lanka, with the support from BK to provide the Burger King marks and Burger King® System, services and operational support. 

Softlogic Restaurants (Pvt) Ltd has already announced to open three restaurants in Mount Lavinia (Near Family Super / Cassarolle building), Rajagiriya (Near Barista) and Colpetty (Old Dankotuwa Building). As a preliminary move, the Mount Lavinia restaurant had a soft opening on December 24 and was operating as a 'test-run', well in advance to the official opening date of all three restaurants on December 28, 2013 (which is today - Saturday). 

With all the operational support, strong brand, marketing, reputational and financial backing of one of country's strongest conglomerates, Softlogic Restaurants (Pvt) Ltd would need to keep up with the unique taste and value proposition, Burger King offers around the world. Carrying a brand promise of "offering freshly prepared Grilled food with great flavor!" since 1954, Burger King® restaurants remains as the second largest fast food hamburger chain in the world. Burger King® is regarded worldwide as the "The original HOME OF THE WHOPPER®". Having marketing and branding brilliance embedded in statements that are accepted and proven around the world, Softlogic Restaurants (Pvt) Ltd, would continue to offer premium ingredients, signature recipes, and family-friendly dining experiences which have defined the global brand for over 50 years, via Burger King Sri Lanka. 

So far, the most commendable operation with relate to communications has been the careful management of its SM operations, especially the balooning Facebook page. Since Nov 28, 2013 it has a following of over 18K fans and has already started a number of competitions creating engagement and interaction with the possible cluster of 'innovators' in the target demographics. According to news off the record from its SM team, over 90% of the inquiries are about the operation and food are being HALAAL certified. 

Burger King - Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka (Courtesy: Foursquare/Farhan B.)

The test-run via the Mount Lavinia would give interesting insights into the Burger King Sri Lanka operation. Is it unfortunate to mention Burger King Sri Lanka is on the verge of converting itself into a possible successor of an almost lost TGI Friday's? Although its too early to comment on the overall service perception & experience against the delivery, Burger King Sri Lanka is battered for offering insanely small portion sizes. The 'innovators' have started questioning "THE KING STATUS" of the Burger King Sri Lanka operation as they continue to offer the thinnest patties, tiniest buns, while the signature whoppers turning out to be a disaster. The unhappy consumers, in essence are currently positioning Burger King Sri Lanka operation as "The food is nothing like the picture, no juicy, no grilled taste, nothing...- NOT WORTH THE HYPE!". 

As at present, Cargills who has been awarded the franchisee status of TGI Friday's is being questioned for maintaining and uplifting the basic service levels in matching with its global status. It's about time, Softlogic Restaurants (Pvt) Ltd re-look at the overall operation of Burger King Sri Lanka and seriously put some tangible restructuring in place. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Michael O'Leary hits it out again, this time does he mean to say negative publicity is sustainable?

According to O'Leary; Short of committing murder, negative publicity sells more seats than positive publicity. Charging for toilets continues to be the number one story that resurfaces in the press and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Although this radical CEO + Marketing Director claims that they’d never done it, he claims it keeps coming up on social networks every three or four months, the media picks up on it and then someone writes a story on it.

Negative publicity generates so much more free publicity that it sells more tickets. 

Ryanair had 12 of its cabin crew, posing in bikinis to a calendar that is intended to raise up to £100,000 for Polish charity TVN; known as 2013 Ryanair girls charity calendar!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

IIHE to celebrate Software Freedom Day 2011

IIHE's team of ICT students: Club ICT have made arrangements to celebrate The Software Freedom Day, on Saturday the 17th, at the university premises. 

According to the organizers, the event will comprise of four major lecture sessions. The lectures are to cover the following areas:

  • Why Free and Open Source software and Why people should care about it
  • Install GNU / Linux with a demonstration done via Hanthana Linux
  • Making use of Linux in a productive way
These lectures are to be delivered by well-regarded personalities in the industry such as Mr. Buddhika Siddhisena, Mr. Suchetha Wijenayake and Mr. Gaveen Prabhasara. 

The organizers will also be opening up an on location Open Source Game Zone on Saturday coupled with many more interesting stuff to be discussed, shared and learnt. 

The Software Freedom Day (SFD) is a worldwide event organized by the Software Freedom International (SFI). SFD Wiki has already registered three organizers in Sri Lanka.

Club ICT of IIHE, with the utmost mission of "Gathering hands to win the IT Revolution" would be spearheading such an event in the country, with a vast array of activities organized in assisting those who are interested, especially the newbies in Open Source Software, Linux, Linux based apps and many more.

Interestingly, this would be the first ever project organized and executed by the ICT students at IIHE.

The event is scheduled to kick off at 10:00 hours tomorrow (17) following the registration of the participants, which will start at 09:00 hours. 

You also can RSVP to the event by visiting the official website of Club ICT here: http://www.clubict.org/

Their Facebook Event page: https://www.facebook.com/clubict

Check-in at Foursquare: http://4sq.com/mQ8A5K

Contact the organizers via Jude on 0773 798 470 for more details