For Indians, escaping the eventuality of marriage is near impossible, more so for women. And, the arranged marriage format is still very popular.
Though there are no official statistics on arranged marriages in India, some estimates suggest up to 90 per cent of matches are made this way. Arranged marriages have changed dramatically in recent generations in India, with the advent of online matchmaking services.
And in all this, there remains the unending quest for compatibility of the partners. Finding the best match is a big challenge and the latest BharatMatrimony campaign gives a new twist to the concept of finding love.
Conceptualised and created by Lowe Lintas' Bengaluru office, the objective of the advertisement was to connect brand BharatMatrimony to happy marriages and explain the fact that the first step to a happy marriage is finding someone who understands one's priorities.
The 40-second film opens with a man having dinner with his aged parents. His wife is still at work, as revealed in the conversation that follows. His concerned father asks if it's necessary for the wife to work, since his son's salary after promotion should be enough to manage the expenses.
The ad is based on research conducted by BharatMatrimony, wherein 5,000 people were quizzed. One key point that majority of the respondents mentioned was 'The first step to a happy marriage is to find someone who respects the most important passions or priorities of the partner'. Further, the research suggested that most youngsters believed that for love marriage one needs to be lucky and in arranged marriage there are compromises.
Speaking to afaqs! about the idea behind that campaign, Kaushik Tiwari, vice-president, marketing, BharatMatrimony says that the company's vision has always been to generate good citizens, which comes from good parenting, which only happens when there is a happy marriage.
"Most women we surveyed responded that they wanted to work after marriage. Besides, most women in the survey expressed that they would like their husbands to respect the fact that they like to work even if they don't have to work. We thought, socially speaking, it was important to connect these views of women," he adds.
Marrying the priorities
One of the biggest issues associated with arranged marriages in India is to compromise on one's priorities. For example a woman who wants to work is not allowed to do so in many cases after marriage. And the issue, as per Tiwari, is much worse in small town India.
Besides, there are men who accept it if their spouses go to work, but just as a second line of income and not because they respect their wives' willingness to be a professional. It is also perceived that busy women can cause relationships to fall apart. Senior clinical psychologist and marital therapist Dr Bhavna Barmi, in an interview with The Times of India, recently remarked how closely intertwined family and work lives are today, and a partner who is too passionate about his/her job can bring about a sense of displacement in the family life.
Tiwari further elaborates on the same by saying that mutual respect is the biggest priority for people getting married. "And hence, with the commercial, we deliberately wanted to portray how the husband feels for and respects the wife's decision. Besides, there are a few insignificant priorities like tastes, favourite TV shows, favourite stars, which might not match and they can even be compromised on, but significant ones like willingness to work are directly related to the individual's preference of leading a particular kind lifestyle and that should be respected," he adds.
Just as women expect mutual respect, men, too have their own set of expectations, such as the groom's parents staying with the couple after marriage. However, since the online matrimony business is primarily based on women and their preferences, the company decided to create a campaign that showcases and targets women.
The marry makers
Online matrimony portals are adopting innovative measures to connect with the youth and coach them on living a happy married life. Measures like counselling services, free advice books, mailers and links to social media and blogs have been variedly applied to leave a mark with prospective clients.
The online matrimony market is valued at Rs 510 crore and is growing at around 30 per cent annually, according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). However, as divorce rates rise, a number of these companies admit there are problems that need to be addressed.
Besides, there are issues such as posting incorrect information online, most commonly regarding one's age, religion, salary or marital status. However, according to Tiwari, the biggest challenge for BharatMatrimony, at this point in time, is to get people to take online matrimonial services seriously and consider them a viable option.
"In arranged marriages, the chances of finding a spouse are restricted to the recommendations of relatives or astrologers, whereas the scope of finding a better match multiplies when one looks online. The biggest challenge for us is to create awareness among Indians about the serious opportunity online matrimony provides," Tiwari states.
BharatMatrimony.com currently has two million active registered users and is also planning to include its mobile products in its communication in the future. BharatMatrimony is a part of Matrimony.com Private Limited, a signature internet conglomerate, managing brands such as AssistedMatrimony.com, EliteMatrimony.com, CommunityMatrimony.com and Matrimonygifts.com.
The company has also established considerable retail presence with over 180 branches across India and has pioneered several new matrimony services such as and Tambulya, return gift stores.