Sunday, September 09, 2007

The World Is Really Getting Flat

Today's DNA has an article that says 50% of online shoppers in India are from small towns. A couple of months ago, the Times of India had an article about e-tickets in India which said that 73% of air tickets in India are booked through the internet. Which is amazing since the internet penetration in our country is 3.7%. Also in the same article is the story of farmers in a village near Tirupati buying e-tickets through an enterprising jeweler who had quickly become a travel agent.

So suddenly the big story all around us is about the various Buntys and Bablis of the world who no longer have the patience for the trickle down effect to work. They are keen to grab that new mobile phone, travel to that new destination, live the new dream, as quickly as the Sids, Akashs & Samirs (remember Dil Chahta Hai?).

This much is quite obvious. What is not obvious is how we are going to appeal to these people. What vocabulary will we use to talk to them?

It is clear that the Anglo-Saxon style of communication with the understated elegant humour does not appeal to this lot. Even when expressed in Indian languages. So advertising has gone to the other extreme and is using, so called, "small talk" language to talk to them.

I think this is insulting to them. It is like New Yorkers doing advertising to Indians and using a "Peter Sellers" type language and visual imagery full of Taj Mahals and snake charmers. We would be insulted and so, I believe, are todays Buntys and Bablis.

What we need to develop is a new remixed vocabulary to talk to them. A vocabulary of words & images but also a new vocabulary of dreams, aspirations, humour and relationships.

This flat world is quite challenging. But the rewards are so much greater.


blakkkobera said...

At the other end of the Bunty Babli spectrum is the whole gang of brown americans created by the flattened world--I first realised this when I moved (for a brief while) into a new apartment complex in Bangalore last year--ALL the kids in the neighbourhood, without exception, spoke with American accents--and two percent were actually American--the rest were children of USA returned techies (who were still shuttling regularly between silicon valley and bangalore.)
Chak De India--its time for our Big Macs and Sambhar. Welcome to Mc Khichdi in the new India !!!!

narendra shenoy said...

An interesting question is , how rooted is humor and the concept of "funny" in ethnicity?

Education and extensive reading can increase the number of "funny" triggers, as most of us can testify. We find Wodehouse funny. We find Dave Barry funny too, who lives on the other side of the woods, in humor terms. But I still find Govinda hilarious. Would a non-desi find him funny? Is that "Indianness"?

I agree that a substantial number of these intriguing questions are most properly debated over produce of Scotland, and a summit meeting is in order.
Shailesh is in town (on a long term basis, starting this week). We shall rope him in, too, and evaluate the possibility of having the Pow - wow 15th-16th Sept.

Bhaskar said...

Are we sure these people need to or want to be spoken to in a new and different way, to say that of the Sids, Akashays & Samirs.

I'm not saying their dreams or value systems are identical but then, how different are they? I have been suspicious that they consume the same content as ‘everyone’ else [I think that tells me a lot about them, their reasons to be so, and where they’re heading] their use of the web kind of strengths that.

I would like to understand who these Buntis & Bublis would ‘like to be’, for all I know they don’t’ wanna be spoken to in a new and special way because that’s not who ‘they wanan be’, but then again I don’t know much, do I 

I think the medium to reach them needs some thinking. [ way we deliver our message]