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Thursday, November 23, 2000



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Corporate `anthem'

Shyam G. Menon

MUMBAI, Nov. 22

`Asli peeo, taazi peo, Tata chai peeo bhai

Apoon ko to nasha hai iska

Ek paani kum cutting chai...'

>cf301>Corporates want you to sing. Not once but several times over so that an imprint of themselves, tactfully buried in the lyrics, stays put in your mind.

It has happened in Indian films before, the leading pair doing a song and dance on a studio set awash in the colours of leading soft drink brands, often baring the brands themselves.

Music is following suit, venturing beyond visible co-branding to embedding marketing themes or brand names in the lyrics itself.

On Tuesday, car maker Ford India Ltd (FIL), currently celebrating the first anniversary of its best selling Ikon, toasted the occasion with a difference by unveiling the `Josh Anthem'.

`Josh' is the basic marketing theme of the Ikon, the car being positioned as the choice of the young at heart. Centre stage now is the number `Aao Josh Mein', penned by Javed Akhtar and sung by Shankar Mahadevan.

The host album bears the same name and has in toto ten songs, ranging from Mr Mahadevan's earlier `Breathless' to Kishore Kumar's `Dekha Na Haye Re Socha Na' and Asha Bhosle's `Rang De', besides the title song jammed with `josh'.

A music video, featuring the Ikon, is underway and will be aired by month end.

Ms Sweta Agnihotri, Marketing Manager, Gramaphone Company of India Ltd (GCIL), which has brought out the album under the HMV label, said the seed idea came from FIL. Working with Shankar Mahadevan who had signed up with HMV, the `josh' song was made.

Its copyright is jointly held by HMV and FIL, Ms Agnihotri said. The rest of the album was filled with songs conveying the same emotion, drawn from HMV's library.

``This is perhaps the first such effort,'' she said on the album conceived on the strength of FIL's original idea. But there is a lesser known earlier case, albeit with a small twist.

Some time ago, HMV released `Ek Cutting Chai', a co-branded album with tea major, Tata Tea Ltd.

Here, the song came first, Tata Tea later. Ms Agnihotri says the tea company heard the song and wondered if the lyrics could be rewritten to include the brand `Tata'. And so, the `cutting chai' (popular tea stall reference to a small measure of tea) got Tata-branded.

``We thought it would help us communicate to a younger crowd, like that in Mumbai,'' a Tata Tea official from Calcutta said, when contacted a few weeks ago after the album was cited on shop shelves.

So, what's next ? Techno rhythm for the laundry while your clothes are bang-washed with branded soap?

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