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About the Back Page
The graphic design and editorial content of this magazine co-founded by Niyam in November 1990, was considered way ahead of its time by industry peers. Focussed on global entertainment, Connect tapped into the emerging ethos of a new India. The irreverent and rather infamous 'Back Page' with its bold and screaming headlines soon became a cult phenomenon. Proceed with caution. :-)

  1. Decaffeinated Karma
    Nirvana is just a new nintendo game.
    Aug 1995.

  2. Desire
    Attention all religions of the world: We desire.
    July 1995.

  3. Kiss Me
    Stop reading.
    Aug 1994.

  4. "   "
    Sprout plastic propeller wings and fly into the cosmos.
    Feb 1994.

  5. Plugged!
    The world comes with a built-in plug to your psyche.
    Dec 1993.

  6. Fake Orgasms.
    Are you experienced?
    Special Issue 1993.

  7. Take Away After Life.
    I need to order an after-life for myself.
    Jun 1993.

  8. SEX.
    The Bare Truth.
    Feb 1993.

  9. Past Life Experiences.
    Unlocking the zip code to my existence with a rubber duck.
    Nov 1992.

  10. Nostradamus.
    This saturday live. On MTV unplugged.
    Oct 1992

  11. Monkey Business
    Going nuts? Try our deeply spiritual banana shake solution.
    Sep 1992

  12. Forbidden
    Tip no. 69 on how to save the world.
    Aug 1992

  13. Live Dangerously
    Live life on the edge.
    Jun 1992

  14. Dream Called Reality
    Ignore the words on this page.
    May 1992

  15. God
    The Untold Story.
    Apr 1992

  16. Is Water Wet ?
    The buddha wanted to know the meaning of life.
    Mar 1992

  17. I Know the Secret of the Cosmos.
    And it will knock the socks off you.
    Feb 1992

  18. Take a Walk on the Wild Side
    This is truly amazing.
    Jan 1992.


Nirvana Is Just A New Nintendo Game

I've just received an appointment letter from Existence Inc., hiring me as Marketing Director for their flagship product, Nirvana. Actually, until now, I had never even heard of Existence Inc., much less apply for a Marketing job anywhere on this planet.

The company profile brochure that came with the letter simply states three things:

i) Existence Inc. is a Fortune Zero company,
ii) Existence is incorporated into everything,
iii) Nirvana is their only product.

Nothing is known about Nirvana, in fact, nothing can be known about Nirvana. The target audience is clearly defined as modern man. The attention span of this audience for any message from Existence has come down drastically to not more than 3.5 seconds. Until recently the message has usually been marked with strong visuals with a sense of total shock and total insight. For instance, Buddha had to only see a dead man once to get the message. The latest Bruce Wills' Die Hard III probably has a body count of more than twenty in the space of a two-and-a-half hour movie, and the message received by the target audience is not 'Nirvana Now', but 'Spectacular Special Effects'.

Marketing a product which is unknowable creates interesting packaging opportunities. As a cosmetics product Nirvana can be marketed as a Shampoo for the Soul. As a sneaker, it helps you "Just undo it." In beverages as Decaffeinated Karma. As an airline Nirvana Air promises you that Time is Everything. As a courier company it gives you instant deliverance. In computers Nirvana is of course, the Apple Macintosh, the computer with a rebel heart. As a pack of cigarettes Nirvana beckons the user to "Just Come. This is where the real flavour is." As a pair of jeans Nirvana never goes out of style. As a fashion house it is The Gap between things known, and things unknown. As a video game it is a Nintendo game. The objective of the game is to find an objective to the game, through as many lives as you want plus 10,000 bonus points for each karmic trap you avoid. As a passenger car Nirvana is The Ultimate Driving Machine on the Pathless Path. As a vodka Nirvana is Absolut Stillness.

The overall Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of Nirvana is quite strong, which is ironic when you consider it has probably a less than 1% market share today. Nirvana's biggest USP is that unlike any other product sold in the world that tries to carve out a niche for itself by fulfilling a need, Nirvana fulfils no need. Actually, that is exactly what it does. Some say it is really targeted at those whose needs are fulfilled. The reach and availability of this product is tremendous. Considered the world's most available product, it has no dealers, shopkeepers, wholesale resellers, showrooms, or door-to-door salesmen. Anybody who wants it just has to close his or her eyes and look inside.

A certain sense of urgency seems to prevail at Existence Inc. Its almost as if the world is coming to an end. According to Existence Inc., time-slots have been booked on all tv channels in the world for the simultaneous launch of their first ad within the next week. I've just finished e-mailing concept for the ad to Existence.

Opening scene: A spectacular aerial view shows a beautiful expanse of earth below small wisps of dreamy clouds. Diffused sunlight shows its almost dawn as mankind stirs itself from its sleep. Subdued chirpings of pre-dawn birds can be heard along with the sound of a gentle breeze. The opening shot establishes that all is at peace. Suddenly a large flash of light is seen near the horizon which quickly evolves into a thick column of smoke rapidly raising above. Simultaneously a very loud explosion is heard, loud enough to shake even the tv set. As the rumbling grows a large mushroom cloud seems to form as the light beings to grow brighter and brighter. Soon the entire scene is wiped out with the blinding intensity of the light.

Voice over: "This is the only way humanity knows, to lead itself from Darkness to Light. Allow Existence to show you another." Fade to black. The word "Nirvana" dissolves into the screen.

I've just received e-mail from Existence. It states that the same image ran across millions of tv sets and frontpage newspapers in 1945. Nobody got the message. The image has also been repeated hundreds of time in various media since then. Still nobody has got the message. Thee-mail states since my concept for the ad is such a non-starter and a total flop, Existence has been forced to cancel all the time-slots it had earlier booked. Oh, and by the way, I'm fired.

Ok, gotta go. I think it is time to go within.

Published August 1995.

11 September 2002 © niyam bhushan