Kumbh Mela has always been a platform where marketers jostle for space in order to boost visibility for their respective brands. Remember the successful campaign by Hindustan Unilever for Lifebuoy, where the brand partnered with more than 100 restaurants at the Kumbh Mela to raise awareness about proper hand washing habits and Dettol’s ‘Kam Paani Mein Zyada Suraksha’ campaign last year.
This time as well, brands are trying various innovative marketing approaches to reach out to their customers, with up to 50-60 million footfalls expected at Ujjain Kumbh over a period of one month.
Airtel, Dabur, Patanjali, Oyo Rooms, Red Bus, Coke, PepsiCo, Nerolac and leading PSU Banks like Punjab National Bank as well as private banks are all out with their branding at the venue. According to sources, some of the other brands like Vodafone, Tata Capital, Realtycompass, CondomBazaar, YouTube, Myntra, Asus Mobile, Delmonte Foods, UB Group, SBI and ICICI Bank will also be promoting themselves at the Kumbh Mela. Signpost India has got the mandate for the exclusive branding and advertising rights for the event.
Commenting on the number of brands associated with the event, DipankarChatterjee, Managing Partner, Signpost India said, “It’s still on a take-off mode, however if we consider the prominent brands, we have a commitment of more than 20 as of now and counting. It isn’t yet the right time to name the brands, because they themselves are building in their strategic communication and spilling the beans before that wouldn’t be justified at the moment.”
Mediums attracting the interest of advertisers this year are billboards, LED Screens, Arch Gates, Pillar Branding, Balloons, E-Rickshaws, T-Shirts/Caps and various customised branding opportunities.
In terms of the money as well the sponsorships, Chatterjee states that, “FMCG category yet again dominates at the Kumbh, followed by BFSI and Hindi GEC categories. Kumbh Mela is a mega event held every 3 years, at 4 different locations on rotation. Hence, one location is getting an opportunity after every 12 years. The branding cost thus has gone up substantially visa vis the past, owing to a better and more organised event, giving space for more and better quality media and increase in types of media, added with increased budgets with advertisers over the period.”
Some of the marketing initiatives by prominent brands this year till now include:
The FMCG player Dabur has put up automatic toothpaste dispenser with the tagline ‘Kya aapne dant snan kiya?’ at hotel rooms and dharmshalas. Dabur Vatika is also promoting itself at a‘branded changing rooms’ on products like mirrors, combs, lights as well as assistance from beauty advisors for women pilgrims.
The telecom service provider has undertaken a beautification drive at all the major Ghats including Triveni Ghat, Gau Ghat, Sidhwat Ghat and Mangalnath Ghat located on the banks of the Kshipra River. Through paintings on the walls, inspired by themes such as sadhus and celestial figures, the focus is on promoting the operator’s 3G services. It has also installed over 500 recharge outlets for the convenience of the pilgrims.
In order to aid the authorities for managing vehicular traffic, Airtel has also provided more than 250 traffic barricades to the police, which will be used for maneuvering the huge traffic during the fair. Keeping an eye on the need of making necessary information available, more than 100 signage have been put up on the 50 kms Indore to Ujjain stretch, which would provide Panchayat information and contact details of the Village Sarpanch, information about nearest police stations and emergency contact numbers.
Vodafone has plans of coming out with a technology to help people navigate in a crowded place with the help of internet. It is basically there to help people to navigate without getting lost. Details of this technology and other plans will be revealed by the operator in the next few days. The company has also recently launched their SuperNet plan.
Coca-Cola has set up new outlets in Ujjain as well as temporary ones, to make the product easily available to the pilgrims attending the Kumbh Mela. Also keeping in mind the summer season, some other activation like placing the beverage dispensers at the venue will also be done.
Similarly, reportedly PepsiCo is also taking part in the festival by placing splash bars to dispense the beverage for the pilgrims.
PSUs and Private Banks:
Punjab National Bank has inaugurated an e-lobby and expanded branch at Simhastha area to help the devotees in their financial transactions. Mobile ATMs as well as prepaid cards have been introduced to enable the pilgrims to move without carrying huge amount of cash with them. According to reports, this is for the first time in India that banks have been asked to issue ‘Simhastha Debit Cards’ to the pilgrims to make donations as religious places. The administration had approached four banks, including SBI, HDFC and ICICI, to ease monetary transactions for the pilgrims by increasing their presence during Simhastha. Coin-vending machines will also be installed in various camps which will enable the pilgrims to exchange currency notes of various denominations for coins.
Oyo Rooms is providing easy booking for affordable and comfortable stay at around 30 hotels in Ujjain. It is promoting the information on their social media pages, including their own blog.
Red Bus is also using social media to encourage people to experience the Kumbh Mela at Ujjain and to plan a trip with Red Bus.
As part of the 'Suraksha Hai Sabke Liye' campaign, Nerolac is doing several activities at Kumbh Mela. It has organised for ‘Suraksha Wrist Band’- which are water-proof bands with local emergency contact of the police printed on them for senior citizen and children visiting the event. It also has a space to include the emergency contact details of relatives as well. It can also be worn during the dip because the information is not going to fade away. Its ‘Surakasha Tube’ is to be worn by divers and lifeguards, who patrol the area in case people wander into the deep end of the river. While, ‘Suraksha Lounge’ will have locker facility for safe keeping of belongings and clothes. Similarly, ‘Suraksha Lost and Found Centre’, a lost and found centre for commuters managed by the Railway police force has also been set up by Nerolac.