Desi experiential marketing for instant connect


A paradigm shift is discernible in experiential marketing strategies of mega companies that are adopting desi style campaigns to attract customers. Religious festivals have also become a hub of all creative activities where versatile but simple methods are created to lure customers. One of the venues to entice huge turnout of companies was the Kumbh mela in Allahabad, in 2013. The official figures of Infinity Advertising Services estimates that 52 brands took part in the mela with tempting offers and discounts.

1. Lifebuoy

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Lifebuoy had a tie- up with innumerable restaurants and dhabas during Kumbh Mela 2013. With each order, the first roti had the brands’ message for people to wash their hands before eating, thus making an instant connection. They had placed Lifebuoy soaps in the washrooms of all eateries. It not only delivers a message but also creates an awareness and a strong position in the consumer’s mind.

2. Airtel

On the other hand, Airtel gave away instant special tariff plans with live audio coverage of Kumbh besides live discourses from ‘akharas’ and helped pilgrims with boats to ferry them to the Sangam for free. This created a positive feeling about the brand in the mind of the consumer.

3. Vodafone

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Vodafone set up stalls with the name `Vodafone Ki Dhoom’ to resemble cinema theatres and screen mythological videos on the history of Kumbh Mela and Samudra Manthan for pilgrims. Vodafone created an instant rapport with devotees by distributing earmuffs with audio devices attached to play devotional songs to appeal different people from various social strata of the society. This helped them reach the most inaccessible areas of Indian society at a fraction of the cost.

4. Nokia

Nokia carried out a road show in 13 cities of Uttar Pradesh for a month in 2007. The idea was to promote Nokia 1100 and 1600 with a built-in Hindi Messaging Facility. They entertained the crowd with vocalists and guitarists playing Bollywood songs to attract the crowd to their roadshow van.

5. Veet

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Veet created a visual delight with Bollywood actress Nargis Fakhri and six models besides other 10 finalists from ‘Veet Be the Diva Contest’ in a walk of confidence in February this year. Adorned in white and pink, they boarded the metro at Patel Chowk and disembarked at Chandini Chowk. They took a cycle rickshaw to the Red Fort where the walk and grand finale were held.

6. McDonald’s

The new Masala Grill burger was launched by McDonald’s India by putting up billboards and revamping the bus shelters in `desi’ style. Ronald McDonald across all the McDonald’s outlets was seen sporting a pagdi (turban) besides the employees and delivery boys. It was customized to appeal to the religious diversity. Stalls were set up and interviews of consumers taken by the promoters on questions about their awareness on the new spicy delights and their views on Ronald’s new avatar. McDonald’s at Kalyan Mall in Mumbai created a circular platform with three mortars and pestles set up at the central atrium. A group of ladies clad in traditional Indian attire were inviting people to grind the spices on the podium. To make things more exciting, pictures were clicked and given as a compliment to make it a ‘Pakka Indian’ experience to cherish.

7. Duracell

Duracell wanted to increase awareness about their alkaline batteries lasting ten times longer and more powerful than any ordinary zinc battery. Urban population in metros in Delhi and Mumbai were the target audience for this campaign. It decided to launch Duracell Powered Auto Rickshaws. Images of Duracell batteries were superimposed on the fuel tanks at the back of the vehicle with a message, 'Powered by Duracell. 10x Stronger'. This created an illusion that auto rickshaws were actually being powered by Duracell batteries. Over 2,000 auto rickshaws in Delhi and Mumbai were branded for this campaign.

8. Bollywood

Film promotion in India was earlier limited to trailers, posters and hoardings. Filmmakers and actors have now given up outdated methods to try out something new. Celebrities are using different ways to promote their films. For `3 Idiots’, Aamir got stickers pasted on the back of auto-rickshaws in Mumbai to market his film. The stickers read `Capacity: 3 Idiots Only.’ The makers of the movie `Luck by Chance’  started a campaign in Mumbai by branding some auto-rickshaws as `Auto By Chance’ and those, who spotted these autos, were given free rides anywhere in the city.

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