Just came back from an official trip to Mumbai last week and what a nostalgia it was to be in Mumbai after all these years during Ganpati Festival. Mumbai was full of music, dance, colors, vibrancy and fun! I anyways love festivals and ganpati festival of Mumbai, oh wow!!! The merriment and feelings are just unexplainable in words. After work, every day I went for Ganpati puja at night to the nearby pandals. While the divinity remains the same but like many other things, even Ganapti Festival has undergone sea change in all these years. Well, every festival is getting commercialized but Ganpati is not only commercialized in Mumbai rather has gone completely high-tech too 🙂. Marketing and tech suaveness of these events just left me amazed. Here are some of the interesting incidences which I observed in Mumbai:
- No more those yellow or pink pamphlets with black ink which were printed for puja and arti schedule. The residents of the colony where I was staying have received interesting html mailer invites with schedules and details. Not only that, even reminder emails are being sent for the key events.
- Even a localized pandal like that of the colony was quite jazzy and full of sponsorship banners. Ah quite interesting banners and standees having interesting ganpati messages followed by promotional offers and almost all of them starting with “this ganpati bring home XYZ…”. Noticeable one was the ending messages after the arti songs in the CD which was also in the tone of arti song only (in hindi), “for success and prosperity, start your day with ganpati aradhana and mantras, buy now and avail N% discounts. Offer valid till ABC sept’08”
- Move out in the city and there is not even a single brand who is not giving you Ganpati wishes including my company :P. Every other hoarding, bus shelter, bus back and posters are full of Ganapti messages followed by promotional messages establishing the connect between the festival and the need to buy that ABC product. Looks like today’s consumer needs to buy everything on this earth to have an auspicious and prosperous ganapti.
- But the best was the “bhagwaan aye bluteooth se” promotion of Cycle Brand Agarbatti. They have converted six bus shelters and a hoarding in Mumbai into mini-pandals, decorated with cut-outs of the Ganpati idol and audio tracks of aartis being played twice a day. The brand’s incense sticks are also being burnt from 8 am to 9 pm. Not only that, they have made the bus shelters Bluetooth enabled wherein user can download ganpati related wallpapers, ringtones, videos, audio tracks etc. Very innovative and creative OOH promo strategy from Mudra I must say. Have a look on this interesting pic
- Like every year even this year the talk of the town was “Lalbaug Cha Raja” who is one of the most popular Ganesh idols of Mumbai. But unlike earlier years, this year Raja was discussed for very different reasons. Lalbaugh Cha Raja turned 75 year this year and for the first time in its 75-year history, Raja’s massive marquee have been insured for a whopping Rs.26.5 million (nearly $600,000). According to Sunil Joshi, president of the Lalbaugcha Raja organisers, the insurance cover has been taken in view of security considerations for the devotees – comprising people from all over the state, foreign tourists, VVIPs, top industrialists and Bollywood personalities. The Ganesh pandal – as the marquees are known, its decorations and lighting have been erected over the past two months at a cost of nearly Rs.26.5 million. In case of any mishap, this will be fully covered by the insurance company as per its usual terms and condition. Rs. 26.5 million for a Pandal, quite an insurance amount by any parameter :O! (Source of this figure: DNA dated 3rd Sept08)
Bhagwaan coming through bluetooth and emails and getting the pandal insured for the safety of his bhaktas! Isn’t that interesting :D?