<English version below>

Học tiếng 3 năm bỏ dở qua học “truyền thông” được 2 năm ra chả biết làm gì. Giờ đến lúc tìm việc mới cong đít lên học với thực hành để có cái vốn đi ngửa tay xin việc. Mình học không xuất sắc, cũng chẳng có mấy vốn liếng để bắt đầu nên cái tuổi 25 này cảm giác vật vờ, chông chênh lắm. Muốn cái này, muốn cái kia nhưng trong tay lại chả có gì để đánh đổi nên rốt cuộc chẳng có được cái gì. 2 tiếng nữa là phỏng vấn, được hay không không biết, chỉ biết là phải cố hết sức mà thôi.

I was studying Korean in university for 3 years when I quitted, came all the way to Korea to study Media. After 2 years of studying, I graduated but knowing close to nothing. So I started from 0 and decided to teach myself how to marketing. I’m 25 now and it feels like I’m in the middle of the ocean, not knowing where to go and what to do. I want this, I want that but in my hands I have nothing to trade, so in the end, I have nothing. The interview is in 2 hours, I don’t know if I would nail it, all I know is that I need to do my best.

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‘Kumbh Mela’- Where Spiritual Nirvana meets Marketing!

Recognized by UNESCO as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ in 2017 and popularly known as being the largest human congregation on the planet ‘Kumbh Mela’ is attended by millions from all over India as well as from other countries. This annual festival which lasts for a couple of months gets humongous footfall and is considered to be a sacred Hindu pilgrimage where pilgrims or tourists come to witness the sheer spirituality, some with the hope of atonement from their sins marked by a dip in the holy rivers.

In the past few years, there has been a significant shift towards better governance, a cleaner environment, and making it more welcoming for people from across India and foreign tourists. Detailed arrangements are made to ensure a safe, secure, and conducive environment for such a large congregation.

So how does marketing get involved with something so sacred?

Well, numerous brands have been leveraging this festival ground for the past many years by advertising and promoting their products to the pilgrims, tourists, visitors, etc. During the festival, the huge acres of land becomes a marketing carnival for brands- small and big.

In 2019, 150 million people attended the ‘Kumbh Mela’. It also got bigger in terms of amenities, investment, brands’ engagement, etc. Approximately 100 brands took part in the festival to create, awareness, interest, desire, and action. Amenity areas like rest zones, mobile charging booths, selfie zones, changing rooms, etc were the hot spots for brands to build their presence.  FMCG brands, banks, Telecommunication, fixture-fittings, and also first-time advertisers such as Welspun and Brooke Bond promoted their brands and products at the event. Marketing activities included digital and mobile activations, apart from hoardings and sampling activities.

Brands try to build real experiences during this festival while also trying to make efforts to build consideration and drive usability. Brands that need awareness driving campaigns look at OOH opportunities. In 2019 ‘Kumbh Mela’, brands were looking to build relevance and increase usage, they tried to engage with the audience through product trials such as toothpaste dispensers (Dabur Red Paste, Colgate), Charging points (airtel), hand wash (Dettol), food stalls (lifebuoy), laundry facility (Wheel and LG), etc. Some also went beyond their brand benefit and acted as enablers like lost and found (RFID by Vodafone), giving away water-resistant saris to women for safety (HUL’s #GoSafeOutside campaign), etc. Dabur (Red Toothpaste) and Red Label Tea had taken up the context of Kumbh to television commercials as well. Both showcased different aspects of Kumbh with cultural insights. The upcoming Bollywood movie ‘Brahmastra’ released its logo at ‘Kumbh’ with a light show in the sky which was a live event.

Thus, we can now imagine how far brands can go to connect with consumers at such an event by spending money, time, and effort on a large scale. All these advertising campaigns, promotional activities, aiming for high trials and sales make me ponder upon a few questions like

How does a brand create unique interaction and therefore impact with people when there are hundreds of brands talking to the same audience? 

Do the tourists/pilgrims take home any of the brand conversations post the interaction? 

Does the core idea of spirituality and devoutness at a ‘Kumbh Mela’ gets diluted with so much of commercialization?

Well, I urge you to think on these lines until I come up with my next article on Spirituality and Marketing.