Tradition to suit the times
It is Diwali time in India – the festival of lights – and also the time when boxes of sweets are given to friends and family, dry fruits and nuts are consumed and offered to guests (October-November marking the onset of winter) and gifts are exchanged.
This is traditional…
And this is what Cadbury has on offer…
I was walking along the market a few days ago and was stuck by the amount of advertising that Cadbury had all over. Mainly posters and those little cardborard hangers. “Superstar” Amitabh Bachan in festive attire, smiling at people from these posters and telling them how good Cadbury was for such occasions. And stalls in front of every single large sweet shop worth its name with young girls and boys acting as salespeople, brandishing those attractive packs in front of customers who walk in and out… making it very hard to resist picking up some of those boxes… These packs have actually been around in the market for the last couple of years but it is now that I have noticed them, thanks to being bomarded with images of these boxes with the gorgeous come-hither looks…
Now chocolates are not “traditional” in India. But thinking of this idea, everything else is… And that is why I am stuck by how Cadbury seems to have pressed just the right “hot buttons”… The Indian consumer is looking for “new” things this and every festive season (something different, eye-catching, that makes me and my gift stand out from the rest of the boring stuff) and is willing to pay more for it.These chocolates (small round bite-sized things) come in great packaging (looks more expensive than it is – which is always a great thing in gifting), and most importantly, for me, this stays – long after the other sweets have been consumed or cleverly passed on someone else (oh, I cannot bear to see another box of sweets).
I wwas wondering about when these Cadbury packs had been launched and as I googled for it, the results on the first three pages told me yet another reason why these packs make so much sense – they are ideal for sending home as gifts – that huge monied community called the NRIs – or the non residential Indians who want to send stuff back home during festivals – the more “exotic” the better!
And in all this, these boxes do not represent a huge shift away from what is “acceptable” during this season – the idea is built around the basic value of gifting that is endemic to this festival – and they are sweets after all, and contain dry fruit and nuts; just the manifestation is different… and more suited to the times. As the popular line goes, phir bhi dil hai hindustani (after all, the heart is still Indian!!)
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