Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Mont Blanc-The new !

What does a brand stand to get when they associate with icons?

Instant fame and image transition?

Easy recognition and differentiation, particularly in cluttered categories?

Aura diffusion from the icon to the brand that gets associated?

And what if the answer to the question is "all of the above "?

Can they go ahead… ?....theoretically it seems YES is the answer but in practice though a yes may not suffice, always,,,….
Mont blanc limited-edition commemorative fountain pen in honor of Mohandas Gandhi, is the brand in question (and for the uninitiated,) German luxury pen maker Mont blanc launched the $24,763(12 Lakhs in Indian rupees) pen just in time for the 140th anniversary of the birth of the Mahatma, the man who shunned foreign-made products, and stood for simple living and austerity … Just 241 commemorative fountain pens will be sold — a nod to the number of miles Gandhi walked in his famous 1930 "salt march," a mass protest against salt taxes levied by the British that dealt an early blow to their control over the subcontinent.

The pens are handmade, adorned with Gandhi's signature and a saffron-colored opal. Made in18 K gold, rhodium-plated nibs display an intricate hand-engraved depiction of the 60-year old Gandhi (quite a work one must admit…) They come with an 26-foot golden thread that can be wound around the pen to invoke the spindle Gandhi used to weave plain cotton cloth each day.(What an Idea sirji!!) The pens also come with a commemorative booklet of inspiring Gandhi quotes. And of course to ward off allegation of sumptuousness and opulence, the company launched a cheaper line of 3,000 roller ball and fountain pens which retails for 167,000( $3,205 ) to147,000 ($3,642).

Even that is stratospherically so out of contact for the vast majority of Indians, many of whom don’t know how to write, leave alone a Mont blanc… Over 450 million Indians struggle by on less than $1.25 a day…. Remember India is 134 th in Human development index in a recent world wide ranking…Gandhi successors and their Trusts have been taken care of in terms of big donations and hence they don’t find any fault in the product idea… but needless to say, debates, discussions, controversy and litigation is already on air…

Ok ! Now the ethics in the product idea, design and the positioning apart, does this match really makes any sense…?

Purely from Marketing and Marketing Communication angle isn’t it an imperfect alliance?

For me it looks like a bad marriage as it don’t gel… Gandhi and opulence is as stupid a combination as Elizabeth Taylor and parsimony … !!! Why it is that, two distinct brands with two different and diametrically opposite brand values have to be super imposed? Gandhi is a powerful icon, a brand that has its value that stems from the basic DNA of the brand –austerity and self rule…. Mont blanc Gandhi edition is just a misnomer, king of all the mismatches,,,,,….

No I am no Gandhian who opposes the use of Gandhi in Advertising,, why should I when Tushar Gandhi thinks it is ok? Why should I when I have seen and felt good with such ads like the one that you can see here...

I am just against the mismatch but who cares..?

Now I am waiting , for Johnie Walker( keep walking!!!) to come up with Gandhi special edition of their stuff.. after all he walked all the way to Dandi for the salt march…

Tail piece :-

At a local coffee bar, a young woman was expounding on her idea of the perfect mate to some of her friends."The man I marry must be a shining light amongst company. He must be musical. Tell jokes. Sing. And stay home at night!"

An old granny overheard and spoke up, "Honey, if that's all you want, get a TV!"

1 comment:

Dinnath said...

I like that Johny Walker Stuff..

"Keep Walking Like Gandhi" It will fetch them more fame than Walk of Roberto Baggio.. You just gave them a great idea.. :)

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