The Big Promotion Budget
I believe there is a lot of sense in taking care of our credibility in every walk of our life. Whatever we say or claim, even when we advertise ourselves, it needs to pass the test of credibility. Without that we end up making ourselves appear hollow. It pays in the long run to believe that people around are more intelligent than us. Money alone cannot buy people’s trust, never. Arindam Chaudhury’s “Thorns to…” would have been released incurring a heavy promotion overhead. But, at the end of the day, what impression did it give? Well, it must have been seen as simple extravaganza.
Is there no other way to credibly advertise without such extravagance?
The other day I tried a low-cost advertisement for the sake of spreading environment consciousness. Yes, it was low cost but nonetheless effective. How?
That day, when I was buying a bottle gourd and two bitter gourds from Nilgiris in Coimbatore, I had this question to answer:
‘Do you have a shopping bag to carry all these? Or would you like to buy a polythene bag for two rupees?’
And I answered, ‘No’. And it was only too spontaneous.
Didn’t I prove that I was a miser? Until yesterday I was happily accepting a polythene carry bag because it used to come free…and it was convenient. And now that it came with a cost, I just refused to spare a pie! I needed some solid point to rationalize my action—why did I choose to behave the way I did? Did I refuse to use a polythene bag because I was an ecology conscious guy? Did I refuse to pay two rupees for a polythene bag because I was envious of the shop owner who was all out to fleece customers? By the way, was it not a case of earning profit, even in the name of environment? That I was not a miser—now, the onus of proving it fell on me.
And soon I got vindicated while I was walking my way back to my house. That was a walking circus—the Race Course Road as we call it—and it being a Sunday evening, there were good many walkers. As they passed me by, I found them looking at me. Nay, they rather stared at me, as if wondering, ‘Ah! A poor little walker with a big bottle gourd in one hand and a couple of bitter gourds in other! Is there any better way than this to boast that you’re the greatest health freak in the city?’ Well, I’m not concerned about them; there was nothing that I could have done to make them think anything more positive than that. But I'm sure, at least some of them who saw me going this way would have thought and found out the actual reason of my carrying vegetables in hand. They would have surely reached the conclusion that going to a shop without a shopping bag meant inconvenience. Out of them, if at least a few had actually resolved to carry a bag with them in their next shopping trip, this would mean less consumption of polythene. This would contribute to the betterment of environment.
So, what I did that day was like endorsing a message—and nothing less. I may not be a VIP but the message I managed to convey by holding vegetable in my hand while walking was nothing less than Shahrukh Khan endorsing T.H.O.R.N.S., or for that matter Amir Khan pontificating, “Atithi devo bhava’’. And the value of my ad was only two rupees. Nobody hired me for that, and as far as I am concerned, it was purely honorary. I was the one with a bottle gourd in one hand and a couple of bitter gourds in the other, who carried the message:
‘The next time you go for shopping don’t go there empty-handed like me. At least carry a reusable shopping bag if you want to avoid my kind of inconvenience, right? Note: You will save two rupees in the process (ha! ha!)…and your city will be richer and greener too.’