Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The 'Brand' new Indian !

Mera joota hai Japani,

Yeh patloon Englishtani,

Sar pe lal topi Roosi…

Forget that it was circa 1955. Forget that it was Raj Kapoor á la Charlie Chaplin tramp.
Forget that he was a penniless vagabond, content with the ‘small things’ in life.
Wipe off all pre-conceived notions and sing again; probably the image you will conjure up is that of a modern-day yuppie. That is today’s Indian for you.

He is a walking, talking advertisement for the latest brands. He gives a new meaning to the phrase ‘brand ambassador’! Armed with a swanky mobile, latest four-wheel drive, and suitably decked in designer wear; he’s all set to take on the world.

Thanks to globalization, India has opened her floodgates to foreign companies and brands. With a burgeoning population of one billion plus and a booming economy, India is the market to capture. Consumerism seems to rule the roost. And no wonder. With the explosion of media, we are constantly at the receiving end of vigorous campaigning and advertising. And today, armed with a hefty pay packet, the yuppie has innumerable spending options. And surprisingly (at least for me), India has been pushed into the league of the most brand conscious countries globally. India comes at the third place in this survey, at the heels of Greece and Hong Kong.

A news channel recently termed this phenomena ‘affluenza’; and rightly so. We are becoming richer…too soon; too fast. The filthy rich have the ‘got it, flaunt it’ syndrome. The flip side is the increasing tendency to gravitate towards brands. And woes betide you, if you don’t know the brands. “Arma…what?” - and you will get disbelieving stares. “Gooki?”- (Gucci) and you will be ridiculed!

And that explains the booming ‘mall culture’. Everyone is out to grab a share from the ‘affluence’ pie. “Niche is the new mass”, screamed the cover page of a business magazine. Companies are targeting the ultra-rich in order to boost their bottom lines. Profit by increasing sales volumes is passé. Premium pricing and exclusivity is in.
Limited editions, anyone?

And move over adults and teens. Tweens are the next big thing. “Catch ‘em young”, goes an adage and the companies are taking it to heart. Disney has already struck gold with Hannah Montana and High School Musical. The collectibles are selling like hot-cakes and has left the tweens gasping for more. Add the passing on of guilt money, and we have a recipe for disaster. Quality time not spent with kids is settled with ‘pocket money’, leaving children in the driver’s seat. They are far more aware of choices at their disposal, and now have the resources to indulge. Subsequently, consumerism has trickled down to the very base.

What is more disturbing is what eventually comes out of this- exhibitionism. Everyone is fixated with showing-off their priced possessions. Add to this concoction, the off-shoots of such a lifestyle. Now we even have something called Oniomania (A medical term for a shopaholic). Oniomania, can now replace diabetes as a ‘rich man’s disease’. What more can happen, only time will reveal.

Back to the song:

“Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani…”

I leave that for you to figure out.

Thought for the day:" Life is wasted on the living."

1 comment:

  1. i have to diagree with u on some of the aspects of this brand thing.. I cant say that i am not a brand freak ...but there is something about these brands . U cant just say brands are brands because they are used by the rich.
    Lets put it in a different way.I ll rather say the non-brand products are exploiting the poor by selling low quality products to them which they have to repurchase frequently..i ll explain a case ..
    Take the case of a pair of shoes
    U can very well buy a local brand or a branded one.i bet the branded one would last thrice if not four times more than the local brand...its just because the branded ones go through a stict QA procedures which makes it less prone to defects...wheras the local ones are just the "local" ones. in terms of cost a local brand shoes my cost u 300-400 and a branded one would cost u some 2000... i know its five times and is contrary to time expense calculations still and the end of the day u are wearing a brand and otherwise u are wearing a local for all those 3-4 years hope u got the point...



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