Ananda Bazaar Patrika (ABP) Group is inviting everyone to come and shop in the City of Joy. ABP and activation agency 141 Sercon are organising the Kolkata Shopping Festival, a month long initiative, which will last from December 19 to January 17, 2009.
Kaushik Banerjee, vice-president, ABP Group, tells afaqs!, "We want to create positive sentiments in the minds of the retailers in Kolkata. If, through this initiative, our advertisers see an upsurge in their sales, their dispositions will change towards the city and, ultimately, it will benefit us. Two, over a period of time, we plan to make this festival into a major tourist attraction. Three, we hope that the festival will kickstart sales in this lean economic period."
The festival has been conceptualised jointly by ABP and 141 Sercon and aims to involve a wide spectrum of retail outlets in Kolkata. Banerjee says invitations are being sent out to all the merchant establishments in the city.
The festival will be held in the respective shop premises. To give a uniform look, all the participating outlets will be decorated in the same style with similar danglers and hoardings. The danglers and hoardings will be put up all over the city as well during the festival period.
141 Sercon has worked on two other festivals earlier for the ABP Group. The Kolkata Gold Festival and the Wine and Dine Festival were held in the city just before Durga Puja.
Kapoor says, "After the success of these two festivals, which saw the sales of the participating outlets go up by 20-25 per cent, ABP wanted to do something big. It gave us a brief to make Kolkata the hub of advertisers and we jointly came up with the idea of creating the country's biggest shopping festival."
ABP is using all its media channels, such as print and radio, to promote the festival, drive registrations for it, and inform the general public about it. 141 Sercon is doing its bit by sending out people to meet retailers and give them brochures about the festival.
To avoid complications, the agency has divided the retail outlets into four categories - Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond - and the registration fee is being charged accordingly. A Silver category outlet, for instance a small departmental store, has to pay Rs 5,000 to register for the festival. The registration fees for the Gold, Platinum and Diamond categories are Rs 15,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively.
The festival will start with a grand opening ceremony. Talks are on with celebrities such as Sourav Ganguly, Rani Mukherjee and Bipasha Basu to add a touch of glamour. Invites are also being sent out to the finance minister and the chief minister of West Bengal to grace the opening ceremony.