11 March 2008

Western COOL and Indian COOL: Shaleen Sharma, JWT Planning, Delhi


The Super Brands UK, Cool Council defines that all cool brands have a consistent presence of certain values:

Cool is forever distinctive and is aspirational.
Cool generally goes against the grain (not necessarily rebellious).
Cool is itself - it doesn’t try too hard.
Cool is authentic, it doesn’t try too hard.
The subscribers of Cool behave like a tribe.
While these characteristics form the core of cool, the ramifications and manifestations of this cool differs across cultures. Cool is not culture-agnostic, instead it is culture-driven.

Western Cool - It is all about doing your own thing. It firmly anchors itself in individuality as the primary instrument of human exploration and creative fulfillment. An individuality that has to be unrestrained and unchecked and must press forward at all costs, even to the exclusion of the larger community.

Indian Cool, on the other hand is all about Me and my community. The Indian way of life has its roots in the ancient Vedic tradition and so holds true with Indian cool as well. It seems that in India if you are outside the ambit of the society, then unlike the West, you aren’t cool- you are an outcast! And nobody wants to be an outcast in a deeply collectivist society like India.

Western cool is all about rebellion, even without a cause
Indian cool is not about rebellion at all. Be a rebel, for a greater cause, when all else fails.
Western cool traditionally springs from bottom up.
Indian cool is mandated and not self-bred! Indian cool often comes from top down.
Western cool is about Expression, Indian cool is about Aspiration.

Emerging themes of Cool
One of the key emerging themes of cool will be the emergence of local movements and expressions, that shall seek to reinforce, re-interpret and re-vitalize local cultural and historical symbols. It could be either through pure play or through fusion.
The new cool will be about coming to terms with these developments and keeping your identity intact.
Human technology interactions will probably be the biggest dynamic that cool will play out on.
Cool will be about evangelism, philanthropy and filial affiliation. This theme will be more visible in developed economies.

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  1. dear friend

    guess you have got the vedic meaning of cool wrong. please read our scriptures thoroughly before getting into making interpretations particularly on powerful mediums such as blogs etc.
    what is top down about cool(ness particularly Indian) ?
    How is western style bottom up ?
    When was the last time an 'Indian cool' - a rebellion for bigger cause when everyone else failed and western cool a rebellion without a cause?

    You seem to be contradicting your point. On one hand you began by citing about Indian Vedic system and end by stating about Indian and on the other end up is stating it about 'aspiration'. The central thought of our system is about not having aspiration...

    Was Krishna about aspiration or an expression ?
    Sure he was probably the coolest 'dude' in your world of expression?

  2. I think there are two type of cool:

    1) A cool who has a pool of talents or inner strength that he or she doesn't give a damn to what goes around;

    2) A cool who is a fool and believes that certain tool or tricks gets him or her attention.

    It might very well be confusing, so is the idea of cool.