With spiritual ads, free samples, brand building begins at Kumbh

  • Sruthin Lal, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 25, 2016 01:14 IST
Naga sadhus and others take a dip in the Kshipra river in Ujjain on the first Shahi Snan on occasion of Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. (Shankar Mourya/HT Photo)

With the Kumbh mela kicking off in Ujjain on Friday, various brands have come up with innovative ideas to market their products among crores of people expected to attend the religious fair.

While some companies are giving away free samples of their products, others have put up hoardings with catchlines resonating with the theme of the festival.

“Activating a brand here means more than just a promotional event. It means war,” says Sandeep Kataria, director – commercial, Vodafone India.

Without giving out details, the company says it is planning an “initiative to help people navigate in a crowded place using the power of internet.”

Major FMCG company Dabur has put up automatic toothpaste dispensers with the tagline “Kya aapne dant snan kiya? (Did you bathe your teeth today?)”

“This occasion provides exposure to the influencer segment in the rural population and lend the companies a chance to engage with new customers,” says KK Chutani, executive director, consumer care business, Dabur India Limited.

Dabur has also set up ‘branded changing rooms’, which have products like shampoo as well as assistance of beauty advisors for women.

“Our experience is that people exposed to our products during these unique engagements become potential buyers as well as opinion leaders or brand ambassadors. They help us gain social approval quickly, supported by positive recommendations,” Chutani says.

For Yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali, Kumbh is a natural venue. “We will spread awareness about Swadeshi and healthy products, yoga and Ayurveda,” says SK Tijarawala, spokesperson for Patanjali.

Telecommunication giant Airtel has installed over 500 recharge outlets besides placing its advertisements with spiritual themes at the bathing ghats.

Soft drink brands like Coca Cola and PepsiCo have, as usual, installed their splash bars to dispense beverages for the pilgrims.

The mega event has also provided relatively new companies with business opportunity. Oyo Rooms has tied up with about 30 hotels offering discounts to pilgrims while Redbus has started a social media outreach to attract travellers.

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