The Tiranga connection

Chitra Narayanan | Updated on January 19, 2018

Pic: Cress Bistro

When brands get on to the One Day Mataram bandwagon of instant patriotism, does it really connect with the consumer?

It was brands’ day out on January 26. All painting the town orange, white and green. And by Jove, the brands did seem to be in a schoolmarmish spirit – telling us how to spend the day.

As soon as we woke up, we had marketers directing the day for us — from what to eat for breakfast to the attire we needed to don to the direction we needed to drive in.

There was PayTM exhorting us to turn Republic Day into Recharge day. As if that was not enough, it helpfully added, “Stay fit, stay charged.” Our charged up Desh ka Wallet seemed rather anxious to make our bank balance lose a little flab.

But then on the other end, restaurateurs were cooking up ways to add to our calories. Open any paper and tiranga menus screamed at us. One could start the day with tri-coloured idlis or tiranga burgers. Or go for a green, white and saffron barfi then at some point? Most airlines seemed to think that serving multicoloured biryani was de rigeur as a Republic Day repast.

E-commerce joined the fun with serving tricolour panna cotta in a fancy dessert jar.

And if you listened to our retailers on social media, the nation had to stroll out sporting luminous white kurtas teamed up with some bright orange and green accessories. The ethnic wear brands were in great form weaving fine lines on the diversity of democracy.

Though celebration wear brand Manyavar, which had spun a nice creative on Independence Day, appeared to be having an off day of sorts giving us a tame United We Stand, Divided We Fall line.

The cute little Vodafone Zoozoos kept it simple saluting the nation smartly while youth haunt Monkey Bar pulled a cheeky one, telling us that as the Monkey was headed to the parade, the bar would be closed and we could rejoin the party on Wednesday.

Café Coffee Day decided to give us the preamble of coffee in a chirpy take on the Constitution. Videocon also thought along the same lines though it turned it into an excruciatingly boring quiz on the Constitution asking us the number of Articles and Schedules. Yawn!

One must really pity today’s marketers who now have to think beyond Diwali and make every day a day of celebration. I-Day, R-Day, V-Day, here we come! Forget the brand fit!

Look at the valiant way Kajaria Ceramics said, “ Hum he Desh ke saath.” So what if most Indians identified Desh ki Dhadkan with Hero Honda with its consistent brand of patriotism as opposed to the One Day Mataram – as that pithy video had sardonically pointed out some time ago.

The paint brands were naturally opportunistic playing the clichéd colour codes. Dulux simply said Let’s Colour!

Maruti Suzuki wanted to drive India to a better tomorrow. But Ola only wanted to drive us to the Parade, offering us free rides. In a sweet little twist, the apps turned their cars into tricolour cabs.

Just two thoughts

“Ninety per cent of what we saw was force-fit,” said Anaggh Desai, Mumbai-based consultant on brand behaviour.

As he observed, most ad agencies given the responsibility of a Republic Day campaign had just two thoughts - give a 26 per cent discount/ cashback or doodle with the three colours of the national flag.

“What is the end result? Is the consumer even interested?” asks Desai.

The consumer probably had switched off and was enjoying the national holiday!

Published on January 28, 2016

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