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Subtle promotion

Our Bureaus | Updated on March 08, 2018 Published on September 04, 2016

B:LINE:Baba Ramdev during a press conference on the growth of Patanjali and its future plan, in New Delhi on 26-4-16. Pic:Ramesh Sharma

There’s nothing like a senior minister becoming your brand ambassador. Baba Ramdev doesn’t need to spend on advertising his Patanjali Ayurved products — he has senior government officials endorsing them at public events.

At a recent industry event, a senior minister urged companies to focus on developing credibility and consumer trust. He went on to give the example of Patanjali Ayurved . “I am not saying their products are good or bad. But ,they have managed to create a perception that they offer shuddh (pure) ghee and unadulterated products,” he said.

What is ironical is that Patanjali Ayurved has been pulled up by the Advertising Standards Council of India for several misleading ads in recent times. And Baba Ramdev has threatened that Patanjali Ayurved will consider filing a defamation case against the ASCI.

US potels

A high-level delegation from the US was in the capital recently to discuss a host of issues, including how to promote travel between the two countries. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had organised an ‘India-US Travel and Tourism Partnership’ cocktail evening which was addressed by US secretary of commerce Penny Pritzker and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

The hope was expressed that that India and US would receive 5 million tourist arrivals from each country in three years.

Kant talked about growing investments in travel with American hotel chains seeing a fast growth in India. “Moreover, the India story in America is that all motels are owned by Patels from Gujarat. It is the Gujarati Indian who has made the American hospitality industry, with the result that they are now called ‘potels’ instead of motels,” Kant said, leaving the audience in splits. Too true.

Back in circulation

One must hand it to Harun Rashid Khan, former RBI deputy governor, for his wit.

At an industry event last week, where he was asked to chair a technical session on risk management, Khan began his talk by thanking the organiser, Assocham, for “bringing (me) back into circulation”.

This sent the audience into peals of laughter as most of those assembled knew that Khan had retired in early July after nearly four decades of service at the central bank. Khan was appointed as deputy governor for a term of three years in 2011. He got a two-year extension in 2014.

Old habits die hard!

His prior experience as secretary-general of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) came in handy for West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra at the recent meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers with industry chambers and trade representatives.

Mitra, who usually hosted the seminars organised by Ficci and is now chairman of the empowered committee, kept a sharp watch on each of the speakers, allowing them to ask additional questions and informing them when their allocated time was over. Industry representatives found it a refreshing departure from the norm, recalling his Ficci days.

The bitter truth about sugar

While policymakers spend sleepless nights over rising sugar prices, Narendra Murkumbi, the managing director of Renuka Sugars, has joined the common man in enforcing self restraint. At a conference to announce the company’s revival plan after selling off its Brazilian unit to cut debts, Murkumbi was asked by a member of the staff how many spoons of sugar he would like in his coffee. A visibly exhausted Murkumbi said with the hint of a smile, “No sugar please, I have had enough of it in my life.” With a mounting debt burden, is this a reflection of the state of the sugar industry? Only time will tell.

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Published on September 04, 2016
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