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Can a wedding be monetized? The big fat Indian wedding reaudited

A large enough crowd, a desirable mix of people and ideally some excitement in the air are key requirements for a potentially successful marketing campaign. That said, these exact components can be found at any swanky Indian wedding too. So could a wedding be the backdrop of some imaginative marketing activity? Here is a freewheeling conversation between two wedding planners and a client…

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Founder of E Factor Entertainment, Samit Garg organizes the biggest weddings for India’s affluent. Sitting alongside equally accomplished wedding planner Rajeev Jain, founder of Rashi Entertainment and Dinesh Jhunjhunwala, executive director at S Chand And Co, the trio discussed the possibility of ‘Monetization at weddings’ at the International Convention for Wedding Fraternity on 23 July 2017, as Ashish Pherwani, partner at Ernst & Young moderated the debatable conversation.

Putting the pedal to the metal Pherwani sought the views of the panelists on the principal premise of ‘monetized weddings’.

Jhunjhunwala remarked, “Weddings are considered a private affair. The only way a wedding can be monetized is if done in a subtle manner, else one stands a great risk of coming across as cheap.” Putting his own spin to the subject Rajeev Jain believes that monetization of weddings is the way to go and, although the start has been slow, in the future people will be adopting various ways to recover their exorbitant spends at weddings. Resonating Jhunjhunwala’s views, Garg exclaimed, “Weddings are an inherent part of our culture, and people save all their lives for this day, if you have to do it with another’s money then you rather not do it at all. A smaller scale wedding would be far more acceptable than a large one that has clearly been monetized.”

Exploring the possible ways in which monetization can be done Jhunjhunwala expressed, “Giveaways or favors by high-end brands can be promoted to guests in a subtle manner so it appears that the host has gifted them.”

Adding to this Jain commented, “There are multiple ways one can cut cost at a wedding. One way is to tie up with film producers who are always on the lookout for authentic settings for shooting. Or perhaps partner with travel agents who can extend the experience of an Indian wedding to curious foreigners across the world. Luxury brands like Chanel or Dior would also be delighted to set up shop at a high-end wedding.”

Stepping into the conversation Garg exclaimed, “Advertising at weddings has been employed by band-wallahs or alcohol companies for the longest time. There could perhaps be an interesting ‘chai bar’ setup that is funded by a tea brand. Or a ‘cigar lounge’. The key is strategic integration.”

Pherwani pointed out that a lot of couples and their families are looking for publicity and perhaps that could be an area where monetization could be explored. Jain commented, “Being featured on Page 3 of a national daily is significantly important for some couples. One could take it a notch up by tying up with television channels and get paid in return.” Jhunjhunwala disagreed by explaining that the sanctity of a wedding can be hurt by making it a public affair. To this Garg added that while publicity is important to many people it is mostly about social recognition in the family and circle therefore the media angle does not truly serve the purpose.

Outnumbered but vehemently maintaining his stance, Jain proceeded to explain that while the client is supreme, wedding planners need to project success at all times. “The client will only give you his money when he can trust you to handle that kind of money. So it is up to you to handle his money intelligently, and that is what will earn you respect”. Concluding the conversation Garg said, “I charge my clients a substantial fee but I justify it by delivering happiness that is equal in worth. I don’t think the client expects any other form of repayment other than this.”

Well, while we would all want to bring down the outrageous cost of weddings, monetization still seems to be a brazen step. And those who are able to achieve it while going unnoticed- We salute you!



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