Thursday, April 26, 2012

Misery Marketing

An oft stated mantra of marketing in the Indian context is "Jo dikhega, woh bikega" (That which is seen, will sell)

No one knows this better than the beggars on Mumbai's streets. (In the interests of political correctness, perhaps I should use something which sounds better - how about Livelihood-challenged?)

The regulars learn their lessons fast and quick, for the city is ruthless at weeding out the inefficient, be it billionaire or destitute.

Wounds are not covered or stowed away discreetly. They hit you in the eye, in your face, bared for display; Just the right amount of gore to stimulate your lachrymal glands (C'mon sonny, show me some more of that burnt skin, that deformed stump where an arm should have been; I want value for my money)

Facial expressions assume the most gruesome proportions (Look at you, you worthless India shining types sitting in your AC vehicles while I dehydrate in the hot sun outside. Inequality's increasing. Yep. Ask me.)

Then there are, of course, the ladies with babies (Much better if its a baby girl, goes down well on my FB status you know; Affirmative action always gets the likes)

Go for the open window vehicles first. Bikes? Yes. Autorickshaws? Hell yes. BMW with closed windows? Forget it.

Trigger my impulses, as I make my "purchase" decision.

Old and disabled? Give.
Child? (depends - but its all a racket, you know, there are these dadas who teach them to beg..)
Eunuch? (Uhhh...How intimidating is he...she...whatever...)
Glazed eyes? (Uh-oh! Drug addict, only food, no cash)
Arbit stuff seller? (Give, at least hes not really begging)
Car wiper (Ditto, but fast: Don't want him to spoil the windshield)

Signal about to turn green; Quickly now; If its fated he will get it...