The cover pic for this post, featuring the Israel (Tourism) logo and lead-in text
Cover pic for this post, with Meena Tai in the logo saying, "Baseline mangta..."

Irfanvertising | Meena Tai’s, Meena Tags

Irfanvertising LogoAs an ad guy and a branding- and logo-lover, I not surprisingly find myself scrutinizing the same in ads I view. And as an ad consultant, I often find myself emphasizing the need for this to potential clients. However, perhaps because the potential clients at my level and stage of working – I started out on my own just about a year ago, that too in an Indian metro not really known for its ad industry (Chennai), compared with the earlier metro I was in, which is considered the Mecca of Indian advertising (Bombay / Mumbai) – are “relatively small”, I find them not quite getting the necessity of having a baseline to emphasize their promise to their potential customers, or at the very least, to accentuate their branding.

So, when I get a chance to come up with the baseline / tagline of a brand, that too of a category I love (food / hospitality), that too for a restaurant I have been to, loved and blogged about, how can I pass up the opportunity?

The logo for Meena Tai's, the newly opened Maharashtrian restaurant in ChennaiThus, when the relatively new upscale Maharashtrian restaurant, Meena Tai’s, announced a tagline contest on its FB page, I dove right in. Into my scribbling pad. I sweated and swotted over it for a few days, then as the end date approached, decided to go for gold by not just putting it in the comments section of the post as most folk seemed to be doing, but creating a PPT for it. Complete with a ToC, notes, routes (Maharashtra-based, Tai-based, Maharashtra- and Tai-based, Marathi-based), and yes, even an end Thanks slide. Any surprise then… that I ended up winning!?! That, and the fact that I love the restaurant, and was born and have lived in its source state for the better part of my life.

Below are some of my entries, the one that won, links to the blog posts I’ve done on it (from a vegan perspective, of course) and the site’s own links. Check them out while I go do nom-nom. The prize is a dinner for two.

A few of my entries for the Meena Tai's tagline contestThe acknowledgement post for my winning entry for the Meena Tai's tagline contest

The first of my two blog posts on Meena Tai’s, this one a prologue: Meena Tai’s – Prologue

The second of my two blog posts on Meena Tai’s, this one the main post: Meena Tai’s – Vegan / Friendly

Meena Tai’s on FB: MeenaTais

Meena Tai’s on the web, or should I say, bheb: meenatais.com

Apparently the new Tamil Nadu Tourism logo

Irfanvertising | Enchanting… Disenchanting…

Irfanvertising Logo

Has Tamil Nadu Tourism changed its branding, or is about to? For I came across a new logo and new baseline for the state-run enterprise.

The earlier/present logo is a lower-case ‘t’ forming a type of ornamental umbrella typical in South India, with the baseline ‘Enchanting Tamil Nadu’.

Present/Earlier Tamil Nadu Tourism logo

But this morning, while on my way back from my walk, came across a taxi with a new logo and baseline. Caught my eye, walked back to look at it properly.

New Tamil Nadu Tourism logo

Love the new logo, for its clever use of this letter and sound exclusive to the Tamil script/language (or at the most shared with one other language, Malayalam). In fact, it’s the last letter of ‘Tamil’, and the ‘l’ is actually not an ‘l’, or rather, a very palate-filled ‘l’. In English, it’s written as ‘zh’ and pronounced like a very heavy ‘l’.

Tamil/Tamizh written in Tamil/Tamizh script Illustration of how to pronounce the three 'ls' in the Tamil/Tamizh script/language

The closest sound I can think of in another Indian language is the infinity-looking ‘l’ in Marathi.

The rolling 'l' in Marathi

So, the ‘l’ of ‘tamil’ and the ‘n’ of ‘nadu’ form this letter in the logo. Very tamilian, or rather, very tamizhian. And very clever.

The baseline seems to have changed too, or rather, there seems to be a baseline now. But pity. It’s similar to the Kerala Tourism baseline (‘God’s Own Country’): ‘God’s Living Country’. Waters down the efforts of the clever logo. Why base your promise on that of some other brand/state? You had built a promise – enchanting. Why not use it, for something like ‘Enchant Your Soul’? Works perfectly for a place where people come for things spiritual (temples and Auroville), artsy (Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music), and relaxation by the sea (from Marina to Kanyakumari).

Hope this is a test run then. For that gives them time to fix this.