Lockdown impact: Coimbatore HAM users adopt reverse marketing technique in product distribution

L N Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on December 10, 2020

At a time when most people were stuck indoors, glued either to the television or mobile phone, 52 HAM (radio operators) users in the city were actively engaged in taking forward a Government-mooted project, which was aimed at saving Dabur’s “Real” juice from the grave.

The project assigned to the Coimbatore Amateur Radio Club (CARC) is said to be the first of its kind in the country; it involved distribution of 4,000 tonnes of packeted drinks by end-December.

CARC members said that the Government linked the manufacturer with the society for distribution of the products to those that had no access to such products. “We were a little apprehensive as the volumes were huge,” the member said.

The products were from Dabur stable and included among others “Real” juice – strawberry and Amla, Dabur Honey and Odonil and Harpic under hygiene category.

The society roped in around 500 volunteers, mostly Rotarians for distribution of the packets to 2 million families in Western Ghats area on August 15, after the packets were certified “safe to distribute”.

“It was our maiden attempt and we managed to do it successfully,” said CARC vice president M K Ananthakumar.

“In the aftermath of the lockdown, many branded products in the wellness space, with shelf –life of 6 months to a year had remained with the distributors/ dealers, as people by and large stuck to purchase of essential items.

“Further, establishments were open only for limited hours every day, air-conditioners were switched off and people refrained from picking packed food items/ drinks, which they considered was “old” (about 3-4 months from the date of manufacture). Such unsold stuff is normally returned to the manufacturer 30 days before the expiry date. Many such products are dumped as waste for want of takers on expiry.

“The government, in an attempt to clear those products (before expiry) identified our organisation for distribution,” Ananthakumar told Business Line.

Ananthakumar incidentally is among the oldest HAM users in this part of the country. “There are not many enthusiasts now, but we are trying to revive the technique, developed over a century ago,” he said.

Sitting with their wireless radio sets and antennas, a group of CARC members started work on their next action plan, as they awaited a consignment (2 tonnes) of Dabur Real – strawberry and Amla tetrapack to arrive.

“These “take away products” would have to be distributed by December 25. The product expiry date is Jan 6, 2021,” he said, adding “CARC is the world’s first non-funded organisation. We neither give nor accept donations, have no corpus or bank account.”

Published on December 10, 2020

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