Sunday, October 19, 2008

Marketing Nepal

I was jumping channels before I landed on BBC. It was five pm. I stopped for a while. I guess it was the classic BBC red and white. Then, something else in red and white struck me- Our National Flag. It was an advert, “Naturally Nepal- Once is not enough”. Except the background narration, I respected every frame of it, especially the slogan.

The only grand problem was the timing of the advert. Five pm NST is when Indians, Pakistanis, Sri-Lankans and Bangladeshis are trapped in their rush-hour traffic. The English will still be having their lunch and Americans will be dreaming ways to fight global economic meltdown. Besides, the BBC we have in Nepal is a South Asian relay. The programs may be Global, but the adverts are very much local. Why wouldn't the tourism board air it globally? Maybe they had, but not very likely. The cost of running a 15 second effective advertisement Globally in BBC for a month about 24 times a day (1 ad each hour), would equal to the economy of the tourism industry for about 2 years maybe more.

TV fails us then. How do we reach Global Audience? The internet? But If I read something like “Nepal is divided into three ecological belt where Terai is the breadbasket...” another time, I am going to puke. Kiran Khatri a professor from KUSOM would say something like, “If you want to market something, try associating it with the target audience”.

That’s pretty simple then. A global audience needs a global issue to relate to. What is today’s global issue? Terrorism? Yes. But not in this case. Poverty? They’re doing that already aren’t they? They market poor people in every political and NGO speech. This lands huge amount of money and a fraction of it magically disappears in Kathmandu.

Bhusan Tuladhar an Environment Guru proposed “Global Warming”. Why not? It’s easier. Al Gore, you know that bloke who lost the US 2001 election bitterly and started that documentary which got an Oscar. “The Inconvenient Truth” was a success because it used Global Warming as the focal issue. We use Global Warming and footage of Nepal from “The inconvenient Truth”. And add a small tagline. Bhusan Tuladhar suggested, “The glaciers are melting away, watch them melting, LIVE”. I liked that. Or maybe we can add something else, Like "The glaciers are melting, you children wont see them, you can. COme to Nepal, to escape the warming... OFFER VALID UNTIL THE GLACIERS MELT".

But say you’re not that ambitious. The whole globe wouldn’t fit in the small brick shaped country like ours. Okay, target specific populations then. More specific, the second most populated country in the world. How? You know the Char-Dham? Nepalese go on tour buses to India to walk hours to see a stone image of a god. DOnt get me wrong now. I am not an atheist, I believe in god just like the other person smoking pot beside me. I am more of a Nationalistic religious person. I worship Bhat-bhateni, not the supermarket, the temple. (Get that through your heads consumer cultured freaks.)

We market our Gods and Goddesses like the Indians did their Char-Dham. Why not We find our own Char-Dham. Gosainkunda, Mustang, Lumbini, I could probably go on, there may be 880 Dhams. And just add some marketing glamor to it, "There are 880 Dhams in Nepal, just go to 8 for a place beside any god you desire... After death".

Gods reside everywhere right? Use them, that's what they want from us right? remember "God helps those who help themselves"?? Dont curse your fate if you didnt get a Visa. IF it were the 60s you could make money stealing idols and selling it to India. But that's a crime now. And gods dont like people who commit crimes. How do you make money and not hurt gods? Glamorize gods.

Market gods. Research Nepal’s personal Char-Dham and Glorify it. That’s what the Indians did. You can make a lot of Money off them.