Sunday, September 2, 2012

‘Life in a Rectangle’ by Sujit Sanyal

Molten Gold

"One of the most exciting and successful campaigns of my career was developed and executed by TSA. We had been appointed by Gujarat Oil Growers Federation (GROFED) at Ahmedabad for handling the launch of their mustard oil, Arati. Gujarat is one of the major mustard-producing states in the country and Bengali cuisine is one of the biggest users of mustard oil; hence, the client wanted a Kolkata-based agency. GROFED ran on the lines of Amul and was headed by an IAS officer, Mr Samajpati. At the time of the launch schedule, Kolkata witnessed a major fracas as a large number of people had fallen ill by taking spurious mustard oil sold through the public distribution channel, and as it always happens, mustard oil was either being avoided or only accepted brands were being bought by the consumers. Awareness was high but so was caution. To launch a new mustard oil brand, that too made in distant Gujarat with the manufacturer having absolutely no identification, and for that matter credibility, in Kolkata was a rather tough task. The agency decided to drive hard on purity and also the fact that it was fresh from the farms of Gujarat.'

"Kamalika was assigned the campaign and she came up with the idea of 'Molten Gold,' since mustard oil has a golden colour and gold is the purest metal. The ad claimed that it was buying molten gold at Rs 28 as that was the price of a litre of Arati mustard oil. The team decided that the message had to be delivered with an impact beyond the regular media thrust. We thought of various means, till someone in the team suggested going for a teaser campaign and to which I suggested, taking the route Satyajit Ray had taken for the launch of his film Goopi Gayen Bagha Bayen, in which the city was plastered with the words 'GuGa BaBa?' Kamalika immediately scribbled out, 'Golani Shona Rs 28?' (Molten Gold @ Rs 28?) and a small posterette was designed with just these words. Basab Sarkar, our media head, was told to get some outdoor guys who could paste cinema posters, and one fine morning the entire city woke up to see the walls plastered with this message. Speculation began, everyone guessing, and like all good Bengalis, offering all kinds of explanations as to what this could mean. One local paper even suggested that it was a signal for gold prices to crash and how it will affect the gold market adversely. Bengali papers, I dare say, love to hype up anything they can lay their hands on and perhaps since this is what the populace feeds on (other than Tagore, Ray, Marxism and what have you), we actually had people talking about it in public transport and tea stalls."

(pp. 160-2, 'Life in a Rectangle' by Sujit Sanyal - Landmark)

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