Posts by Rasika Fernandes - New Delhi

In India, Dulux Paints touts a safer way to be adventurous

dulux-paintDulux Paints recently ran a full-page ad in a national daily here indicating a fall in outbound tourism from India thanks to its “Colours of the World” range—they bring the mood and feel of Rome, New York, London and Paris to your home, so you never need to leave. The pitch cleverly appeals to anxious consumers who are cocooning; while spending more time at home, where they feel safe and secure, they still want a taste of adventure within the comfort of their four walls. The ad also comes at a time when a small but growing number of wealthy young travelers are becoming more adventurous and interested in other cultures than older Indians (a trend recently covered by Time). Those who are curious about the wider world but still somewhat fearful of the unknown can get a safe taste of it with an adventurous paint color.

Dulux’s initiative has nicely tapped into these needs, in addition to proving that paint doesn’t have to be boring—a lesson that other products traditionally not associated with adventure/discovery can perhaps learn from.

Virgin Mobile targets Indian youth with smart marketing

Where youth, especially students, are concerned, it’s always recession. Strapped for cash and addicted to their pretty gadgets, especially the mobile (aka their lifeline), they end up carrying a couple of SIMs so they can switch between them and save money. Virgin Mobile is doing a good job tapping into this need to save, along with showcasing the very Indian youth characteristic of being “jugaadu,” a colloquial Hindi word for an innovative fix. Its new campaign introduces “Get paid for incoming calls,” part of its GSM standard offerings, and features actor Ranbir Kapoor, who devises innovative ways to get incoming calls so he can save money and spend more time calling his girlfriend.

Through its communication and its tagline, Think Hatke (“Think Different”), Virgin clearly establishes itself as understanding what this audience needs and wants without compromising on the brand’s image as the youthful, irreverent contender in the mobile category. As it aims to become the mobile operator of choice for youth, Virgin is focused solely on wooing this audience, creating products and services exclusively for them. And unlike many brands that project a youthful image but do very little for youth, Virgin puts its money where its mouth is. Considering that India has one of the world’s biggest youth populations, this could signal trouble for the other mass mobile giants, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea.

Garnier, ‘Times of India’ seek to engage, empower youth on climate change


Indians are waking up to the reality of climate change, partly because of media exposure but mostly because we are seeing and feeling its impact. Extreme climate shifts are affecting agriculture and in turn the lives of farmers and their families—some of whom are even turning to suicide—and the end consumer, who’s seen food prices triple. Couple this with initiatives like Earth Hour and the ban on plastic bags in Delhi, and you’ve got a small but growing population (mainly youth) who understand the urgency of doing their bit for the planet, be it reducing their carbon footprint or starting green groups in schools/colleges.

Brands are slowly getting on the bandwagon and using green causes to engage with their audiences, as well as propel positive change. One example is Garnier, the mass-market brand of French cosmetic company L’Oréal, which has joined hands with India’s leading English daily, The Times of India, to promote green ideas among Indian youth. The “Take Care, Take Charge” initiative, which kicked off on April 22 (World Earth Day), seeks to build a greenhouse of ideas for a greener planet. For every idea received, Garnier and The Times of India will buy 10 kilograms of used paper. On June 5 (World Environment Day), the campaign will culminate with an entirely recycled special edition of The Times of India. The winning ideas will be shared with organizations aligned to the campaign and recommended to government bodies for further development.

I like this initiative because unlike some others (Aircel’s Save Our Tigers and Idea Cellular’s Use Mobile, Save Paper), it seeks to generate long-term sustainable solutions and put them into action with the help of relevant bodies rather than just asking individuals to do their little bit.

Photo Credit:

Media conglomerates in India and Pakistan promote peace

love-pakistan-print-adThe two biggest media conglomerates in India and Pakistan have joined forces in a novel initiative: to campaign for peace between the two countries. Indians are anxious about terrorism in general and Pakistani terrorists in particular, according to JWT AnxietyIndex research conducted last May—not surprising, given that the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai were carried out by Muslim terrorists based in Pakistan. Aman Ki Asha (Hope for Peace)—touted in a TV spot and this print ad—will see the The Times of India Group and the Jang Group honestly explore issues such as terrorism and the Kashmir dispute that have resulted in hostilities and mistrust between the two countries; the initiative will also promote cross-cultural exchange.

In India, trust in media has been declining—Edelman’s Trust Barometer Survey recently confirmed this—and so the promise of honest communication is a positive step toward changing negative perceptions of the media, which is known for sensationalism. All the better if the two brands can make some genuine progress in bringing about more goodwill.

Photo Credit: The Times of India Group Print Ad