God loves Indian advertising & marketing: ‘myth’ or ‘logical’?

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It is no secret that India loves its Gods. And from the recent ads and marketing initiatives, it seems God loves Indian advertising. Imagine being referred to in a slew of ads, being relied upon to deliver TRPs for new TV channels and generally being seen as a sure-shot bet to deliver audience.

The latest Reliance Mobile ad, promises great network clarity in pilgrim centres. Brilliant marketing ploy – essentially a smart way to slice the market needs. Given that most pilgrimage centres are either up in the mountains or deep in the jungle, this does promise a benefit to a certain audience. Tata Sky has been promoting its Activ (don’t you hate it when proper words are misspelt to sound cool?) sub brands of late. It was the WizKids product a few months ago (that was a funny ad) and now its Activ Darshan. While the ad may get the laughs, some may feel that humour is not the right way to create interest in this kind of product. Others may say that a light-hearted, not-taking-yourself seriously approach on religion makes the brand memorable. What say? The live feed from pilgrim centres was also taken into mobile devices – Tata Sky won an award for it at the Visiongain’s Mobile Content Awards 2008.
Ramayan.jpg God has also delivered the numbers for NDTV Imagine. And even the dubbed version is topping the popularity charts in the Southern channels. Viacom’s Colors has also opted for the mandatory mythological in Jai Sri Krishna. What gives? Apart from the senior citizens who seem to be the targets for spiritual channels, why this sudden rush to religion?

My take is that growing consumerism and overdose of mindless entertainment is the trigger. When you have skin show galore on popular entertainment, focus on the trivial and sensational in news & entertainment channels it is likely to have some backlash. Consumers may feel that this dumbing down of news & entertainment makes them feel shallow & empty. At least I feel that way. Some may seek solace in religion as a way of atonement or entertainment that is useful in some way. Or am I reading too much on all this. Do comment.

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  1. I suspect that the profiles of viewers leads one to believe, that more viewers in the age group which will appreciate religion, ie, the old and the very young, than the middle group will see these programmes. The younger generation does not have time to watch television except perhaps for cricket, and have other sources of entertainment and information. I have no statistics to support this thesis, but is strictly a possibility that comes to mind.

  2. Sure. But I see a trend among housewives (not so old) who are completely vexed by most of the entertainment content. They automatically see mythology as a relief.

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