Cherrapunji, a hotspot for international product testing

PTI Sohra (Meghalaya) | Updated on October 30, 2012 Published on October 30, 2012

Earning their stripes in Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth.

Known for being the wettest place on earth, this sleepy town near the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya has attracted some top-notch companies of the world who test their products there.

The tag ‘Cherrapunji’, Sohra’s earlier name, is said to work wonders for the companies’ new products, which buyers instantly associate with trustworthiness and quality.

“Tested in the wettest place on earth in the monsoons” — so goes the blurb in an advertisement for Italian-made Geox waterproof shoes, an amphibious shoe line.

Sohra has an average annual rainfall of about 12,000 mm and by comparison, Hartley Bay, one of the rainiest places in Canada has an annual rainfall of about 4500 mm, which is less than half of what Sohra receives.

The highest recorded total annual rainfall was 24,555 mm in 1974. The maximum for a single day was recorded in 1876 in Sohra, when 1,040 mm fell in 24 hours. Sohra also holds the world record for a month’s rainfall when 9,300 mm fell in July 1861.

Venice Tour Guide Andrea D’Alpaos, Spanish lawyer David Subirats, Swiss photographer Claudia Leisinger and British ski instructor Rob Spears were recruited by Geox to test its waterproof shoe range in June, this year.

On the other hand, Yamaha sent three of their newly launched gearless scooters here to test the driving worthiness of their machines in and around Sohra.

While Yamaha is keeping the exercise under wraps, sources say the company is likely to feature it in their upcoming commercials.

Apart from this, there are a host of other companies lined up to exploit Meghalaya’s scenic beauty as an ideal location for shoots.

The reason behind this rush, Dr Pradip Sadarangani, an Associate Professor at IIM-Shillong said, was because Sohra is a name that everybody seems to know.

“Our human minds work on association with time, place, things and persons. When we associate a known place with a new product, it helps our mind identify the product easier,” he said.

A marketing expert, Pradip, however, thinks that there are other places in Meghalaya which could as well serve their advertisement needs.

“Advertisers can take note of places such as Mawlynnong, the cleanest village in Asia, and the serene 18-hole natural golf course in Shillong,” Pradip said.

While efforts are on to safeguard the natural beauty of Meghalaya, the state government has no control over mining which has threatened the green cover of the state to a large extent.

The Meghalaya Mining and Mineral Policy, 2012, approved by the Cabinet recently, has, however, failed to put a ban on unscientific mining activity due to the presence of a strong mining lobby.

Published on October 30, 2012
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