Ashee Sharma

Godmen and folk singers: the new management gurus

What can Babas and folk singers tell us about marketing? "A lot", says Grey group's campaign for Dheeraj Sinha's book 'India Reloaded - Inside the Resurgent Indian Consumer Market'.

Grey group India has executed a new digital campaign to promote the book 'India Reloaded - Inside the Resurgent Indian Consumer Market', authored by Dheeraj Sinha, chief strategy officer, South and South East Asia, Grey. The book delves into the large, emerging consumer market in India and tries to resolve myths associated with it. To drive home Sinha's lessons in marketing, the agency has created two videos; one with a Rajasthani folk singer and another with Babas (Indian Godmen) in the boardroom meeting.

The first video, which features the folk singer, talks about insights from the book such as how the "bottom-of-the pyramid wants to be sexy in India", the fact that even the "masses here are waiting for an upgrade", and how "dosa and Karwa chauth are our national breakfast and national festival", respectively.

Godmen and folk singers: the new management gurus
The second video depicts a group of Godmen, which the author calls the 'baba brigade' barge into a boardroom meeting. They weave the wisdom of the book with chants of 'Alakh Niranjan' to make the executives understand that spiritualism and consumption in India go hand in hand; "Bina MBA, baba ka ghar ghar bikta corn flakes, soap aur manjan" (Baba, who has no MBA, sells his products to every Indian home). It goes on to discuss how the equation between need, demand and supply isn't linear in India, and that executives would do well to learn from this native way of marketing.
Godmen and folk singers: the new management gurus
Sandipan Bhattacharyya and Louella Rebello of Grey are among names that worked on the campaign. The songs have been written by Karan Raghav and the music is by Justin-Uday.

"India Reloaded is an attempt to cut to the real India, beyond the clichés. It captures the India in which the poor want purpose, aspiration trumps affordability and our diversity inspires a unified national popular culture," says author Sinha.

Godmen and folk singers: the new management gurus
He further adds, "These songs showcase some common-sense insights, which in India, can be discovered in the most unexpected places and from the most unexpected people. Creatively, in the Indian marketing landscape, one can roll the traditional, the modern, the intellectual and the spiritual, all into one."

The videos are being promoted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Other promotional activities around the book include press reviews, authored articles, launch event, posters at retail outlets, conversations in LinkedIn communities and a Twitter chat with Sinha that was organised on October 21.

Godmen and folk singers: the new management gurus
Sharing his thoughts about the book, Krishnakumar Nair, head marketing, Westland, which has published the book in India, says, "Sinha's India Reloaded brings out the real India, not just for the business and marketing community, but for anyone who is interested in understanding the emergence of new India at the cusp of consumption and culture. The book and its ideas have generated a fantastic response. This campaign does a great job of amplifying the buzz that India Reloaded has created around the myths and assumptions about India and its consumer market."
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