Posts by Vishal Sharma - New Delhi

Two Indian brands connect with Delhi residents during dengue fever outbreak

radiomirchiThe outbreak of dengue fever in India’s capital, Delhi, has led to panic. With government agencies already overstretched due to the upcoming Commonwealth Games, two brands have taken it upon themselves to help protect citizens and relieve their health anxiety. All-Out, a mosquito repellent brand, has teamed up with Radio Mirchi, a well-known radio station, to launch an “anti-dengue” drive: People call in to the Radio Mirchi studio numbers anytime during a live show to give details on areas where they feel government agencies have failed to check mosquito breeding.

mosquitoAs a part of the drive, All-Out is carrying out free fumigation of the reported area, while Radio Mirchi radio jockeys are using the power of their medium to escalate the matter with the authorities. The drive, still in progress, is generating goodwill for both brands among Delhi residents. By providing truly useful solutions when governments falter—as we’ve seen in Pakistan and South Africa, among other places—brands can forge respect and trust with anxious consumers.

Photo Credits:, tanakawho

Indian media tycoon tells rivals to unite behind Commonwealth cause

toi-7-8-101Delhi will host its biggest sporting event yet, the 2010 Commonwealth Games, in October, but nothing seems to be going right. With news channels ferociously digging up every real or potential issue related to the Games—from exposes about corruption within the Indian Olympic Association to the city’s unpreparedness for the mega event—Delhi citizens are braving a series of anxiety attacks. Enter the tycoon Subrata Roy Sahara of Sahara Samay, a national news network, who wrote what he called an “Emotional Appeal,” carried on the front page of a leading daily.

Sahara, who’s synonymous with the Sahara brand, charges that while the media “has done its duty,” his fellow news networks and media owners have also “overdone it,” causing “absolute negativity” among Indians and leading to bad PR for India. He asks the media to withhold further negative coverage until after the Games, “for the pride of our beloved country.” It could be argued that his patriotic-sounding appeal is an effort to cover up his network’s inability to come up with an expose to match that of his competitors. But either way, through this well-managed PR exercise, Sahara succeeded in building his own reputation as well as that of his news channel. Sahara Samay comes off looking mature and nationalistic by choosing to allay public anxiety at a time when other brands have been fueling it.