In 2003, I attended a fabulous 5-day seminar on advertising – Adasia, Jaipur. It had amazing speakers like Ricardo Semler (his idea of questioning the office working hours and employee attendance inspired how we shaped our working practice at Learning Curve 7 years later), CK Prahlad (‘when technology evolves, the middlemen die’), Scott Bedbury (his explanation of the #Starbucks insight I must have shared with hundreds since then), Santosh Desai…
The surprise package, however, was the first session, by Amitabh Bachchan. His name had been kept a secret and there was a palpable gasp in the auditorium filled with international delegates as he walked on to the stage!
Interestingly, Amitabh shared his understanding of himself as a #brand. How he understood the failure of his angry young man movies (‘the young generation was no longer angry’) and how he repositioned his brand basis what people needed (‘a benevolent uncle or even dadaji’) in his avatar as the KBC host.
From an angry, frustrated society in the ’70s, with liberalization, India had moved to a growing economy filled with optimism, but paying the price with weakening family ties. AB’s brand moved to plug in a gap the youth had begun to experience as the joint families gave way to nuclearization.