I got the opportunity to read Prasoon Joshi’s latest book recently. It is called, “Thinking Aloud: Refections on Emerging India” and was published by Rupa in January 2019. In today’s India, Prasoon Joshi hardly needs any introduction. He has become an extremely well-known personality, not just because of his achievements in the field of advertising, of which there are so many, but also because of his association with the Hindi film industry as a lyricist and screen play writer which have made him a famous figure in Bollywood. He also happens to be the current Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification, known more commonly in India as the “Censor Board” !
This book is a collection of 28 essays written over the last two decades which capture the changes Joshi saw in India with the advent of liberalization and thereafter a rapidly growing economy, which was fueled to some extent by the campaigns created by him and others in the advertising industry.
Joshi writes of the changes he himself experienced since the time he entered the world of advertising. He illustrates how the perception of the consumer in India changed over time and indeed continues to change. He was one of the earliest to recognize that campaigns designed for the urban, English educated part of our population had its limitations. It was time to turn his attention to the millions in rural areas and small towns who were fast emerging to be huge consumers of the myriad products now available quite easily in india. Joshi draws upon his personal experience of having been brought up in small towns in Uttarakhand to relate to the needs and aspirations of people from semi rural and rural areas. His successes in the field of advertising and his growth to hold positions of eminence in the industry are too well-known to be repeated here.
In his writing, Joshi speaks of the perceptions of the Hindi film industry, and his experiences in this industry. The essays also cover his thoughts about the future of advertising in India and the paths that advertisers need to take to stay relevant and competitive. The essays, as you can imagine, cover a wide breadth of topics but they all have one thing in common. They are thought-provoking and give you insights into one of the sharpest brains in the business today.
I would highly recommend this book to students of management in general and of advertising in particular as they contain some well written and highly educative insights into the trends that envelope India.