Advertisement targeting kids – is it fair?

My son was asking me to put on his favourite YouTube channel. I selected one video and treamed it on the TV. It looks like a very usual video and I allowed him to watch it but just after 10 minutes of watching he came back and said he wants to buy eggs, gems and gold fish! I was surprised hearing his requests and enquired how he came up with them and he showed me how in the video a father and son make a pizza using all these stuffs. The video explicitly advertises Ben and Jerry ice creams by Unilever, some jelly stuff which I haven’t come across in India. (Don’t ask me why they are putting these things as pizza toppings!)

A video that at first looked very usual YouTube for kids turned out to be an elaborate advertisement getting kids to ask their parents to buy stuffs they shouldn’t be. The video that followed this one was all about two Kids trying to make McDonald’s burger and ice cream for a dinosaur.

Advertising for adults is good because in a way it educates consumers about goods. But consumers are mature enough to make decisions for themselves but kids are not. Search elaborate advertisements should be mark as spam by parents and should be removed by YouTube.

Note that there is a YouTube app for kids – it’s curated but still needs monitoring.

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Every work that passes through me gets my stamp

Mr. Joe was pulled into a meeting early in the morning. Mr. Joe wasn’t too excited about the work nor was he too keen but he couldn’t say no to it. So Joe decided to just sit through it and did ‘class participation’.

I was in a meeting where my colleagues was complaining about the agenda not being circulated in advance. The required data was not available. He was complaining that he is clueless why he is there in the first place! I hushed him and asked him to drift along in the meeting… afterall we had senior executives in the meeting and if their time could be wasted – we can’t be complaining!

Does the above happen to you?

While most of us react this way for work we are not transparently accountable for, this leads to poor organisational performance. We take our work so seriously, we go carefully to select people for advise and insight. So when we are pulled into a meeting- someone else is in our position seeking advice.

What goes around, comes around! So participate in every meeting carefully and give your best. Your presence in the meeting is not accidental. If you don’t understand need for your presence, ask! But once in, give your best.

Seeing through the clutter

A year ago when I was in London, I read an article on how Unilever would move from a dual headquarters, UK and Netherlands, to a single one to become more agile. The article also made it amply clear that Unilever would choose London as their only home given more employees sit in London and for a bunch of more reasons.

Today in Bangalore, I read that Unilever has decided to rather choose Netherlands as their home. The tone of the article was more about London loosing than Netherlands winning. It spoke at length how Brexit has gotten UK into this looser position and how Prime Minister May’s vision to make UK more global after Brexit is backfiring. The article also spoke about the CEO being a Dutch, which is ridiculous given today more top officials consider themselves global citizen. Another ridiculous argument was that the current Prime Minister in Netherlands was earlier working in Unilever. I call all these as clutter.

My reading of articles from a dozen newspapers is rather simple:

  1. Having dual HQ was causing Unilever agility

  2. Unilever’s biggest concern is hostile takeover (Kraft foods eg)

  3. Netherlands gives better protection over hostile takeover. Netherlands CM worked closely with Unilever to make it more ‘at home’

Unilever decided to go for the decision that was more favorable. Period.

A lot of articles today are adopting a storytelling approach and in doing so they add all kinds of information to make the story compelling. Don’t fall for it.

When winning, even a WRONG often looks RIGHT!

In cricket, a fielder is should never try to field using legs. One should dive if absolutely required but not try doing the football. This is basics.

But in a match that India went on to win, the indian skipper and bowler applauded Ashish Nehra for doing just that. When winning, the wrong looks quite ok and when loosing these things start to sting.

click to Watch the clipping:

Link: https://mobile.twitter.com/BCCI/status/925764820128882688/video/1

So it’s very important that one sticks to the basics and does the right thing.¬† ¬†Afterall one never know when we get on the loosing side!

Driven by Rules or Values

I was watching the famous movie Bahubali recently and was wondering where the Queen Sivagami went wrong; apparently she follows the rules of the land, which of course are framed very carefully but is left ineffective in doing true justice. Was it just the deceit by her son or something more at play? Also Bahubali seemed not too keen on going by the book but is actually doing justice and the right thing all the time. Is it just the movie or did he get something right?

I pondered over it and stumbled on my all time favourite, Krishna; difference in the way Ram and Krishna conducted their lives is perhaps the difference between the Queen Sivagami and Bahubali. While Ram followed all the rules, well almost, Krishna flaunted many. Ram was from a generation where society made rules and people stride to abide by them. Things worked back then. But later as human mind evolved and some started taking advantage of man’s predictability created by the templatised way of life; things stopped working.

For instance would you cross the road in India just looking at right for first half of the road and then left during second half just because if everyone followed the rules that would work? no right… same way is for life. People flaunt rules, some for their own benefit while others for society’s but flaunting rules has become the way of life. Expecting everyone to follow rules doesn’t work. Then what would work? Krishna paved the path by saying one should follow values and not rules. Values are more important than rules. Values create rules and therefore values are more fundamental then rules. While rules can be bent and one can get confused values are quite straight forward and intrinsic.

Does this have relevance to how corporate world functions? I think yes!

During last century companies would formulate policies and rules and distributed it among staff (put it in notice board) expecting them to follow. In low cognitive environment this worked quite well. For instance in a manufacturing company where people are repeatedly doing a particular function and only top management is paving the way; doing the High cognitive role.. system worked.

In this century repeated task are being done by robots or outsourced. Companies are left with only High Cognitive work with highly specialised staff and in this environment HR cannot expect that rules distributed through self help portal will ensure compliance from stuff. More engagement, more education is required. More value driven; culture driven engagement can only yield compliance from staff. This trend is very visible today among corporate in the west.

In conclusion, if you observe that your employees are not complying to something that is desirable then rather than creating a new policy or rule try identifying values that are not being met. If no values are being flaunted then perhaps you are on the wrong side and if any values are being flaunted then bring it up to your stuff very passionately.