It’s 11:30 am. You are walking past Sydney’s iconic Darling Harbour as your Ipod croons M.J’s ‘Black or white’. You suddenly see a whole lot of people coated in colour from head to toe playfully spurting water on each other. As you revel in this moment of contradiction, you realise the synchronicity of Australia and India during the month of March.

On one side there is a vivid and beautiful autumn bloom of Orange — the Color City of Australia. On the other side in India, it is the spring time festival of colours — Holi.

Holi celebrations include lighting of bon fires to signify the death of the demon and throwing colours at each other in a playful spirit. In countries like South Africa, Trinidad, United Kingdom, United States, Mauritius, and Fiji.  March is also the time for advertisers and marketers to put their thinking caps on to maximise on the buying power of their large Indian diaspora. The Citibank NRI ad last year targeted the Indian audience in America with the line ‘Holi to Halloween and Lassi to Latte’.

Metlife, a leading global insurance provider also punched in some colour with a campaign featuring six T.V commercials showing profound cultural occasions in a South-Asian American’s life.

The angle was quite simple, it is important to pass on cultural values and  traditions to future generations, as it is important to pass on a secure financial future to your next generation. Metlife realised this in their marketing messages “With you in your life”.  

When it comes to reaching the multicultural audiences, culturally relevant ads are an excellent avenue, however experiential marketing and community event sponsorships are other forms of direct marketing reaching the audience, when they are most receptive to such messages.

By Priya Rao

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