Saturday, August 15, 2020

upGrad’s New TV & Digital Campaign is a Clarion Call to the 100M Indian Workforce to Grow with Specialisation & Not with Licking

upGrad, India’s largest online higher education company, unveils its latest mass media campaign, which can be considered as one of the most clutter-breaking & bold campaigns done by a brand in the recent past. The TV commercial, featuring a donkey, draws from the cultural insight that in the corporate world, everyone wants to climb the ladder and choose various ways to get ahead - one of the most common being the tendency to ‘lick ass’.

Shot in Estonia, the humorous yet charming film has been developed by the creative agency, The Womb & has been directed by Shashanka Chaturvedi, a.k.a Bob, co-founder & director, Good Morning Films, who has worked on close to 100 ads in India and won two Gold Lions at Cannes - the first by an Indian filmmaker and a Grand Prix at Spikes Asia, the upGrad's film marks the first in his career where he directed the shoot crew, including the endearing animal, remotely from Goa, where he has been shooting ads since a month now. 

“Our primary objective is to define the kind of education upGrad provides, that is not constricted by the mode of learning - which just happens to be online. The next ambition was to compellingly summarise all the types of courses we provide - post-graduate degrees, certifications and diplomas. We chose the word ‘degree’ because in India, the concept of a ‘degree’ holds emotional and practical heft across all socio-economic classes. While degrees are available a dime a dozen, the conflict occurs when they tend to be generic, outdated and from not so credible institutions, that are ultimately not valued by employers. Thus, the genesis of ‘Sirf naam ki nahin, kaam ki degree’ - upGrad’s promise to provide outcome-oriented specialisations that help learners to achieve the ROI on education – job/profile switch, increment or promotion, in other words, Employability” said Arjun Mohan, CEO - India, upGrad.

Talking about the campaign, Kawal Shoor, Co-Founder, The Womb said, “upGrad and The Womb got together a few months back to start working on building its brand and business in India. COVID-19 has hastened the need for edtech as a category. upGrad is a very substantive brand in the midst of many lightweight educational institutions that have mushroomed all over India. It has a great culture, knows how to teach, and has tie-ups with some of the best universities in India, and the world. It can fulfil the learning needs of working professionals and undergraduates. We had to bring its various offerings under one, clear positioning idea for the brand that stems from and can influence culture. This spot introduces that idea, along with a clear proposition for working professionals."

"upGrad's Data Science and Management programs for working professionals have great pedigree with tie-ups with institutions like IIIT Bangalore, IIT Madras, and Deakin Business School. To make this resonate culturally, we borrowed from culture - work/corporate culture to be specific. We uncovered a very rich insight - in organisations, those who're not good enough to find other means to rise. We built our proposition around this insight. What was even more challenging was to find a way to execute this in a lockdown - so what you'll see, are Indian-origin actors from the UK, performing in an office in Estonia, being remotely directed from a villa in Goa. The clients at upGrad have to be complimented for believing,” added Navin Talreja, Co-Founder, The Womb.

The performance-driven media planning on TV channels is being executed by the agency DCMN and on OTTs and Google platforms by Tatvic Analytics. The mass media campaign will also be complemented by narrative-driven influencer campaign on social media, which the company officials has not revealed yet. In partnership with HTTPool & Twitter India, upGrad also has rolled out an emoji campaign wherein one of the key brand attributes (KBA) - a red arrow moving upwards will be automatically added to upskilling related hashtags when tweeted by any user worldwide during the campaign period.

Airtel’s Exciting Independence Day Celebration Offer – Get 1000 GB Additional Data with Airtel Xstream Fiber Home Broadband Connection

As part of Independence Day celebrations, Airtel has rolled out an exciting limited period offer for customers opting for its Airtel Xstream Fiber Home Broadband. 

Airtel is giving 1000 GB FREE additional data with the purchase of a new Airtel Xstream Fiber connection. The limited period offer is applicable on all Airtel Xstream Fiber plans and is available to customers across all top cities* where Airtel provides Xstream Fiber broadband services.  

India is witnessing a massive surge in demand for quality home broadband as people work from home, children take online classes and OTT based digital entertainment grows.  

Airtel Xtream Fibre offers ultra-fast broadband with speeds upto 1Gbps and serve the requirements of multiple connected devices in today’s homes.  

The limited period offer of 1000 GB FREE additional data adds even more value to Airtel Xstream Fiber plans that start at just Rs 799/month and come with exciting Airtel Thanks benefits such as 12 months Amazon Prime membership and Airtel Xstream content plus Wynk Music. 

*Offer not applicable on unlimited data and prepaid broadband plans. 1000 GB additional valid for 6 months. 

Vidyadhan Comes Forward to Support Kaushik for his Higher-Education

Vidyadhan, a flagship higher-education program under the aegis of The Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives (SFPI) on Wednesday announced that it would support the higher education of Kaushik Acharya (15), a differently-abled boy residing in Kanchikar Pete in Bantwal district near Bengaluru (Karnataka). Kaushik will receive a scholarship from Vidyadhan starting from class 11th until he completes graduation in any stream of his choice.

"We are humbled to have Kaushik join the Vidyadhan family and glad to support him further in achieving his dreams. By overcoming his physical challenges with sheer hard work and determination to clear the board exams with exceptional marks, he has exemplified that one can conquer all difficulties if one wants to. Such meritorious students who overcome all odds serve as an inspiration to us all," said Mrs Kumari Shibulal, Founder and Chairperson, The Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives.

The scholarship offer letter was handed over in person to Kaushik on August 12th, 2020 by Vidyadhan’s State Coordinator Vishwanath K S, on behalf of the foundation.

“I am very happy and proud to receive the Vidyadhan scholarship. This will help me to pursue my higher education and fulfil my dream of becoming a government officer. It will be a huge help for my parents since this is not just a one-time scholarship but will be available to me until I complete my studies. I am very thankful to Vidyadhan and promise that in the future I will also help students like me who need support to the best of my abilities," said Kaushik. His parents believe that  apart from the scholarship, mentoring and training provided by Vidyadhan will help Kaushik to make the right decisions regarding further studies.

Kaushik didn’t let his inability become a hurdle in studies and wrote the SSLC final examination with his toes without taking help from anybody else. He passed in the first division by excellentmarks, thereby becoming a role model for all those who rise above difficulties in pursuit of knowledge and education. He even received praises from Mr. S Suresh Kumar, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education (Govt. of Karnataka), who personally commended his efforts by visiting him and lauded his achievement on social media as well.

Vidyadhan is currently supporting over 800 students from underserved backgrounds in Karnataka to help them pursue their studies in a field of their choice. The application process to avail the scholarship for this year is currently open and eligible students can apply through their website at

About The Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives:

Born out of a sense of responsibility to society, the Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives has been actively supporting those in need through initiatives in education, healthcare and organic farming for the last 20 years, starting from 1999.

The Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives started with a focus on education, based on the simple belief that the founders – Mrs. Kumari Shibulal and Mr. S.D. Shibulal achieved what they did because of it. All its initiatives such as Vidyadhan, Ankur, The Samhita Academy, Vidyarakshak, ShikshaLokam, EduMentum are based on the premise of uplifting the underserved communities and providing them with the opportunity to build a better future.

Mrs Kumari Shibulal is the Founder & Chairperson of the Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives. Passionate about doing her bit for the underserved communities, her vision (and that of the Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives) is to spread knowledge and create an environment focussed on social change through a solution-oriented approach.

About Vidyadhan:

Vidyadhan is the flagship higher education scholarship program ofThe Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives. We identify students in need of financial assistance after matriculation, to support them through senior school and graduation of their choice. We have given over 17000+ scholarships through this initiative. Many have gone on to become productive citizens after completing the program over the years. 4300 students across 10 states are currently in the program.

To make this program more scalable and self-sustainable, a new model has been introduced called ‘Each One, Teach One’. The primary mission is to bring together academically brilliant but financially weak students and individuals and corporates interested in supporting these students to achieve their dreams. Launched in May 2015, this initiative facilitates need-based financial assistance to those pursuing degree courses such as medicine, engineering, nursing, etc.  The SFPI has pledged their support to Each One, Teach One’s vision is to increasing the impact from 17,000 scholarships in 10 States to 100,000 scholarships in all States in the next 5-7 years. Vidyadhan was launched in Karnataka in the year 2014 and currently has around 800 students in the state.

Friday, August 14, 2020

ZEE5 Welcomes India on HiPi; A Stairway for the Next Billion Indian Creators to Stardom


Platform for Stardom 

* ZEE5, India’s Entertainment Super-App presents a destination for all age Indian creators ~

* HiPi onboards 400+ influencers, with 70+ Zee TV celebrities and will add 100+ by December 2020~

An Atmanirbhar Bharat! A statement, a dream, a vision that many Indians today envisage to achieve. From Indian organizations to Individuals, all are aspiring to make this self-reliance mantra a reality. ZEE5, India’s very own Entertainment Super-App began this journey over a year and a half ago to make it a reality wherein, it could present to the next billion Indians, a platform to create fun and entertaining content – connect with their millions of fans and stand a chance to step into the real fandom world.

A platform which will be the official Home of Entertainment and Entertainers!

Today, ZEE5’s much awaited project, is getting launched with the Beta rollout of HiPi - the short video platform, that promises to engage billions of Indians to embark on a journey from just being a FAN to achieving FANDOM! In the era of the Atmanirbhar Bharat, where users can be themselves and have fun in a brand safe, extremely creative and happy environment. HiPi is a perfect platform for content consumers, to content creators.

The platform has been envisioned and created in India for the diversely unique Indian audience after extensive research. A home to multiple features, that enables the users to showcase their talent through various unique filters and effects, also discover, follow and appreciate content that is being created by others. The unique format and technology that HiPi has integrated with its interface and navigation will allow users to create videos up to 90-seconds. A full-fledged release will be done in a phased manner with the Beta version for Android going live today, followed by the iOS version in the coming weeks.

Speaking on the momentous launch, Mr. Tarun Katial, CEO, ZEE5 India said, “The launch of HiPi is a proud moment for us as the short video platform was developed in India keeping with the ethos of Atmanirbhar Bharat. HiPi revolutionizes the entertainment experience, by giving a universally accessible platform to unmask the latent talent present inside each of us, taking us from being a Fan to Fandom! Continuing with a focus on customer centricity, HiPi will help Indians to connect with their millions of fans and stand a chance to step into the real Fandom world. A platform which will be the official Home of Entertainment and entertainers! As we go live today, HiPi takes ZEE5 one step closer to its ambition of becoming India’s Entertainment Super-App!”

Echoing these sentiments, Mr. Rajneel Kumar, Business Head - Expansion Projects and Head of Products, ZEE5 India added, “The vision for HiPi stemmed from an idea to further grow ZEE5 as a one-stop destination for the new and dynamic India. And a lot of care has been taken to build this platform to enable a creatively charged environment which simultaneously empowers the creators, users, brands and viewers alike. The framework of the platform has been created to encourage more creativity and engagement while also making sure that the security and safety of our users are never compromised. It is a platform truly made in India, made for India.”

HiPi has added various security features to make sure that safety is never compromised. With the entire framework made such, it is truly set to empower India by giving the audiences a platform where their talent will get the stage and reach; and even allow brands to discover and connect with a diverse set of audiences across the length and breadth of the country.

HiPi promises to be a platform that will redefine content creation and curation. It will be a  platform where every Indian will have a chance to showcase their creativity and announce their arrival in the global creative arena.

MTV Brings a Beatbox Rendition of A.R. Rehman's "Maa Tujhe Salaam", this Independence Day

For the last two decades and more, this iconic song has been instrumental in instilling a sense of patriotic pride and national unity amongst millions. Even after garnering a Guiness World Records for being the song performed in the most number of languages, the legendary A.R. Rahman’s Maa Tujhe Salaam doesn’t cease to amuse us and infuse a plethora of emotions. As we step into the 74th year of India’s Independence, India’s No. 1 Youth Brand, MTV aims to scale up the celebrations with a musical innovation. In partnership with BBXINDIA, MTV is all set to launch a recreated version of A.R. Rahman’s iconic track Maa Tujhe Salaam, with a beatbox version.

This heartfelt rendition of Maa Tujhe Salaam, purely created with human mouth and vocal chords (vocal flute, Konakkol, and Beatbox only) for the first time ever, is a modern day tribute to the resilience of our nation on 15th August. Through this offering, the channel brings MTV Beatbox Hustle, an innovative extension to its flagship property, MTV Hustle- India’s first rap reality show. With this collaboration with BBXINDIA, an organization that has pioneered the culture of beatboxing in India, MTV brings a platform for all budding talents to showcase their expertise, create awareness about the subculture and give it a push that it rightly deserves.

This unique track owes its newness to three of the most talented beatboxers in India. Raka Vee, a Chennai-based beatboxer and founder of BBXINDIA, who with his decade-long expertise, has over 100 live shows worldwide to his credit. Ajinkya, a self-trained mouth musician from Mumbai who recreates the wind flute using his vocal cords only; Shivaraj Natraj, a well-trained Carnatic vocalist and Mridangam artist from Bangalore, also known as the Konnakol beatboxer who combines the oldest vocal percussion (Konnakol) with modern age beatboxing and brings the true mix of Indian beatbox flavor. 

This partnership would also entail a series of LIVE sessions with the founder of BBXINDIA, Raka Vee, who will be interviewing talented artists from the Beatbox community for 4 weeks from MTV Hustle’s Instagram page.

So, this Independence Day, rejoice in the spirit of freedom with a vibrant beatbox rendition of Maa Tujhe Salaam, only with MTV India.



“Main gaya jahan bhi, bas teri yaad thi

Jo mere saath thi, mujhko tadpa thi rulati

Sab se pyaari, teri soorat

Pyaar hai bas tera, pyaar hi

Maa tujhe salaam” 

A big Scam in the Making Unearthed: CSIR had Perfect Plan to Cordon Off Millions to BR Shetty

In what seems to be a massive attempt by the Indian government to cover up the misdeeds of the much maligned UAE business tycoon, founder of NMC health and many of its sister concerns, BR Shetty, and to bail him out of his financial woes, a big scam has been unearthed recently.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in collaboration with one of its constituent laboratories, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad had announced end April that they will now be setting up indigenous plants in India with an integrated pharmaceutical company LAXAI Life Sciences to jointly develop and manufacture APIs and its key intermediates. This announcement was made shortly after the government announced a Rs 14,000 crore package to incentivise production of APIs in the country and reduce import dependence of this key pharma input from China.

A person close to the matter revealed, “LAXAI Life Sciences was to be one of the first few to commercialise these products manufacturing APIs and intermediates at USFDA/GMP approved plants held by LAXAI through its subsidiary, Therapiva. Vamsidhar Maadi Patla, CMD, LAXAI Life Sciences and Nikhil Baheti, CFO, Therapiva were propped to provide just the ideal leadership with extensive experience and expertise in pharma to spearhead this breakthrough R&D, but it turned out that this was just a big show put up to mislead unsuspecting public into thinking what a grand deal this would prove to be. The real plan was to help BR Shetty regain a foothold in his crumbling empire.”

A closer inspection of their websites revealed only projections and capabilities with absolutely zero reference to any research and manufacturing that may have happened at their end. When these firms were contacted, however, no one came out in the open to comment.

An inside source, on conditions of anonymity said, “Since this was to be a collaboration with CSIR, these firms were projected to be much better than the others in pharma research and development. A lot of noise was made about the formidable credentials of these firms so that no one would question either their background or the basis of this deal. No one would ever suspect that the antecedents of these firms could be traced back to BR Shetty.”

Seemingly no due diligence was followed by CSIR in going ahead with this collaboration. When, Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited (ICRA India), an independent and professional investment information and credit rating agency, assessed Therapiva’s documents, it was ascertained that it was a firm immersed in debts with very poor net worth.

On further investigation, it emerged that both the companies were owned by a certain Omnicare Drugs India Private Limited, Hyderabad which had 61% stake in the companies. The parent company of all these establishments was traced to be Neopharma Holding Pvt. Ltd. based out of the UAE, one among the many business ventures of BR Shetty.

The source added, “Shetty has been closely associated with the RSS ever since the Jan Sangh days and has openly pledged his support to the PM Narendra Modi claiming that he will be investing billions of dollars in healthcare infrastructure in Varanasi as well as healthcare, education, agro products, tourism and film city projects in J&K proclaiming this to the PM in the many public events organised by BJP, that he participated in. With the PM having such an ardent follower in Shetty, it seems he is now lending as much covert support as he can to Shetty so he can go back to being the czar of his kingdom.”

Shetty flew to India in February to care for his ailing elder brother, who has since passed away. While Shetty claims that he has ‘launched his own legal and forensic investigations and will share the results with appropriate authorities’, he is grappling to pay off a debt of $6.6 billion, far higher than the $2.1 billion it had initially revealed. Creditors have moved against the top management, with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) as well as the bank of Baroda, India filing criminal cases against him and NMC having been placed under administration given that the real debt is approximately 3.5x the reported amount.

Since, the announcement by CSIR came just 10 days after ABCD filed a criminal complaint against Shetty and just about 3 weeks after London banks froze all his bank accounts, there seems to be an unmistakable nexus between the government and Shetty to not just keep him afloat but also to help him tide over his financial woes with the taxpayers money. There seems to be definitely much more going on behind the curtains, than what is meeting the eye!

SBI Further Empowers Farmers with YONO Krishi; Introduces Kisan Credit Card Review on the Platform

Kisan Credit Card (KCC) 

* Bank introduces KCC Review feature on the YONO Krishi platform which has been witnessing great response from farmers

* YONO KCC Review to enable farmers access their KCC limit on YONO in just four clicks

* YONO KCC Review to benefit more than 75 lakh farmers

* YONO KCC review will empower farmers to embrace digital technology and make them future-ready

* YONO Krishi platform offers a one-stop solution to all farmers’ agricultural needs

Country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) continues to empower its farmer customers by offering them technology backed agricultural solutions with YONO Krishi. The recently launched platform that caters to all the requirements of farmers – from sowing to harvesting and then selling – has been receiving significant traction from the farmers. In the current unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SBI is set to make lives easier for its farmer customers by introducing the KCC Review option on YONO Krishi. With this added feature, farmers will no longer need to travel the distance to visit the bank branch to apply for a revision in their KCC limit. KCC Review option on YONO Krishi will help farmers apply for the same in just 4 clicks from the comfort of their homes without any paperwork.

Recognizing the fact that not all farmers may have access to smartphones, SBI has also streamlined the KCC review process at its branches. KCC Review on YONO Krishi is expected to benefit more than 75 lakh farmers having KCC accounts with SBI. The feature of paperless KCC review will not only help farmers save costs and effort involved in applying for revision of the KCC limit, but also make the process quicker for them especially during the harvesting season.

Rajnish Kumar, Chairman, SBI said, “Introduction of YONO KCC Review on YONO Krishi is SBI’s yet another initiative to make our farmer customers, future-ready by offering them constant digital innovations pertaining to their agricultural needs. This new feature has been added keeping in mind millions of our valuable farmer customers’ convenience and safety. We believe that they will now be experiencing hassle-free application process for their KCC limit revision. With a Digital-First approach, it is SBI’s continuous endeavor to provide innovative digital banking solutions to all our diverse set of customers across the country.”

Apart from KCC Review, the multi-lingual YONO Krishi platform - which is bringing-in technology to farmers in more than 10 vernacular languages - is offering services such as YONO Khata, YONO Bachat, YONO Mitra and YONO Mandi to its farmer customers. These unique offerings facilitate farmers with Agri loan products, an online marketplace to buy and rent agricultural inputs and equipment, customized farming advisory, investment, and crop insurance products, instant agri gold loan, upgrade to scientific farming practices, and much more. With YONO Krishi, SBI has opened the doors of digital agriculture to farmers. In just one year of its launch, YONO Krishi has disbursed more than 14 lakh Agri Gold loans and has seen more than 15 lakh clicks on YONO Mandi and YONO Mitra

YONO itself has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two and a half years since its launch. It has seen more than 58 million downloads with over 26 million registered users. YONO has partnered with over 80 e-commerce players in more than 20 categories. The bank’s flagship banking and lifestyle platform – YONO is also tasting success in international markets such as the UK and Mauritius.

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