Thursday, May 1, 2008

60 Years of Independence – The Celebration of a Marketing Opportunity

BSNL and MTNL launching their IPTV service on the occasion of 60 years of India’s independence is, perhaps, not entirely inappropriate. IPTV is a new technology. A very few countries have commercialized this technology. This technology has the ability to deliver rich television content to any location with a telephone connection. Television on-demand can revolutionize the way we watch television.

However, just flip through your newspaper of the 15th August,2007. It appears that every company in the country is celebrating India’s 60th independence anniversary - to sell its wares. The front page of The Times of India (Bangalore) has a prominent builder offering a free car park with a flat booked only on the 15th August – an Independence Day offer! I dare say that they will offer this sweetner even on the 16th or the 18th August or even later – for at-least as long as it takes to sell the required number of flats. The sub-prime crisis in the USA, I understand, is going to dent real estate sales. Therefore, expect more offers in the days to come.

Damas – the jewellery brand uses the fig leaf of Independence Day to launch a Shop-and-Win scheme. The National Insurance Company is offering a “Freedom @ 60” insurance scheme to “honour our esteemed senior citizens” .Citibank says nothing in its half page advertisement (TOI) except that it has been around in India since 1902. Does this matter to the Indian customer, except as a piece of trivia? Perhaps, they are selling some jingoism or commitment to India. While the Citibank advertisement is well formatted – one cannot even say this for the Indian Bank advertisement which is just below the Citibank advertisement. Well, at-least, I now know that Citibank started its operations in India 5 years before Indian Bank did – thanks to the two half page advertisements celebrating India’s 60th year of independence.

Aquaguard says “millions of people celebrate Total Health, Total Freedom from water-borne diseases”. What about those millions who do not have access to safe drinking water even after 60 years of independence? Indigo Airlines is celebrating 60 years of freedom and 1 year of flying. Pray, what is the connection? IFB is offering an “upto” 25% off to defence personnel. The advertisement does not clarify whether non-defence personnel are excluded from the offer. I guess, as long as you buy, they will not ask you for a defence service ID card.

There is an advertisement released by DAVP (Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity) for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This advertisement neither informs nor entertains. I wonder what is the I&B Ministry’s objective was in releasing this advertisement?

The Bajaj Electricals advertisement in Brand Equity has copy in Hindi, English and Hinglish – asking us to celebrate… I am not sure what. Tangent – The Furniture Mall (in Deccan Herald) is offering 15% off (conditions apply) to celebrate 60 years of freedom. 60 years of freedom gets you just 15% off with strings attached! Alan Paine is more generous with its offer – upto 75% off on the occasion of our 60th independence with a 5% additional discount for “defence folks”.Thank god for small mercies.
Jai Hind!

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