Ganpati festivities go hi-tech in Mumbai

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | September 08, 2008
Bus shelters and a hoarding get converted into mini Ganpati pandals, with one of them being Bluetooth enabled

It's that & #BANNER1 & # time of the year when Ganeshotsav transforms Mumbai. Pandals (makeshift worship areas) and people's houses bear beautifully crafted Ganpati idols and are adorned with colourful decorations in different hues of red, gold, blue and purple. Families, friends and devotees get together to perform 'aartis' and chant 'Ganpati Bappa Morya'. Bright orange marigold flowers and 'modak' prasad encompass the entire city in the spirit of festivity.

While a lot of branding initiatives happen around this festival, Mudra has done something new and refreshing for Cycle Agarbatti, the brand of incense sticks from the Mysore based NR Group. Team Mudra, along with its OOH arm Primesite, turned six bus shelters and a hoarding in Mumbai into mini-pandals, decorated with cut-outs of the Ganpati idol and audio tracks of aartis being played twice a day. The brand's incense sticks are also being burnt from 8 am to 9 pm. All this has given the commuters a feeling of being in a temple while they wait.

Click on the image to enlargeThe icing on the cake, or should we say modak, is that one of the bus-shelters has been made Bluetooth-enabled. The entire area within 100 meters of the bus-shelter is a blue-zone. With opt-in permission marketing, anybody can download more than six Ganpati wallpapers, one ring tone and two videos, audio tracks of the Cycle Agarbatti radio spots and even TV commercials on their mobile handsets. The entire promotion took almost three weeks from the idea to the execution stage.

Manish Sinha, senior vice-president, Mudra Marketing Services, tells afaqs!, "Cycle Agarbatti won a bronze lion at Cannes 2008 for a radio spot with the devotional song, Jai Jagdish Hare, being played on a cycle bell, ending with the line 'Bhagwan Aaye Cycle Se'. This time, we thought - why not Bhagwan Aaye Bluetooth Se!"

This ensured that even the young, who are more tech savvy, could take part in this branded promotion. The promotion was kept subtle and low decibel, keeping in mind the religious sensibilities.

The idea for this promotion came from the thought that since many office-goers miss the nine day festivities associated with Ganesh Chaturthi because of their work schedule, they would love to participate in the aarti. Cycle Agarbatti's promotion fills this gap among the devout.

Arjun Ranga, managing partner, NR Group, says, "We have always looked for media innovation in our communication strategy to reach out to the consumers. We have done many such region-centric activities across the country to create awareness among the people. Ganeshotsav is an important event for Mumbai and we identified this as an opportunity to create a brand salience in the city by involving the consumers using this activity."

High-traffic locations have been aptly chosen for this promotion. The bus shelters chosen to carry out the activity include the one at Dadar Plaza (which gets the crowd from Dadar station and Shivaji Mandir), the one at Prabhadevi (near Siddhivinayak temple, the most popular Ganpati temple), the third near Worli's Peninsula Corporate Park (which is a commercial area), one near the Andheri station, one near Chembur's Shoppers' Stop and the sixth, near King's Circle, Sion. The billboard is at LJ Road, near the Sitladevi Temple.

Mudra's technology partner, TELiBrahma, installed the Bluetooth device. Sinha shares that since the device is large, it had to be placed in a chemist's shop behind the bus shelter.He also points out that with Bluetooth, people are a little wary since some messages may have viruses. However, people are aware about who has sent the message as the brand name, Cycle Agarbatti, is mentioned in the message.

While the company didn't share details on the total spend for this promotion, it is known that a "modest budget" was involved since setting up Bluetooth devices are not very expensive. Ranga informs that the promotion has received a good response with more downloads than expected.

These mini pandals obviously will not compete with the popular ones such as Lalbagh Cha Raja, but Ganpati devotees are just as happy, and so is the Cycle brand.

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