the man getting his eyebrows shaped at the local beauty salon? Surprised?
Well, you're hopelessly behind the times (the recent times, actually),
but that's another story.
Remember the news reports about the flash mob
a few kids organised in Mumbai last month? To jog your memory, a
group of 80 gathered outside an upscale Mumbai mall, pretended it
was a stockmarket ring and yelled buy and sell instructions, broke
into an impromptu jig, opened up umbrellas and melted away into
the crowd that had gathered by then.
Heard the buzz about The Matrix Revolutions?
Warner Bros released the movie in India on November, 5, the same
day as its global release.
The common thread that runs through this tapestry
is time (Tempus in Latin).
The man in the saloon-never mind his neighbour
who believes the moustache-sideburn-thing is an in thing in the
West, unaware that most people who sport the combo are gay-is a
metrosexual, a term that was coined by writer Mark Simpson in the
Independent in 1994. The Word Spy (wordspy.com), a site that tracks
neologisms defines a metrosexual as a dandyish narcissist in love
with not only himself, but also his urban lifestyle. In July 2002,
Simpson, in an article for Salon titled Meet the Metrosexual, wrote
about the phenomenon of metrosexuality (and named footballer David
Beckham as the ultimate metrosexual). In June 2003, The New York
Times carried an article called Metrosexuals Come Out about what
was still an emerging trend. On the same day in June, ad agency
Euro RSCG put out a news release provocatively headlined Metrosexuals:
The Future of Men? based on a study it had conducted. That was when
the trend really caught on. So, if you, Constant Reader, first heard
the term a few months ago, that's when most people in the world
heard it too. The short point: here's a global trend that broke
in India the same time it did in other parts of the world.
The Matrix Revolutions' release is a first;
never has an English motion pic been released in India on the same
day as its global launch.
Flash mobs-A large group of people who gather
in a usually predetermined location, perform some brief action,
and then quickly disperse, according to The Word Spy-are a recent
phenomenon. They were first spotted in style Mecca New York in mid
2003; within a few months the trend had travelled to Europe, and
now, Mumbai. The event is set up through a chain of SMS and e-mails
and the Mumbai thing (the city police, in a strange and inexplicable
show of proactive stifling, has since banned flash mobs) is an obvious
manifestation of the fact that at one level, there isn't much that
separates Mumbai from New York. What was that?
India's lovin' it: McDonald's
simultaneously launched its ad campaign in 100 countries including
India, and says its research found that the tagline was 'just
right' for the local market
The Big Apple and The Big Mango
We'll say this again: There isn't much that
separates Mumbai from New York, for a certain section of the populace.
This section-its numbers grow by the day-is that of global Indians,
people who are in sync with urban trends (and with trendy urbanites)
in Sao Paulo, Shanghai, or San Francisco in terms of social mores,
consumer preferences, even fashion quirks. Blame it on the speed
at which information traverses the globe (blazing), exposure to
popular universal media (uniformly high), or anything else (quite
likely), but fact is there is a class of global with-it citizens
mushrooming across Indian cities.
"Oh, I absolutely agree that there is
a growing class of urban Indians so clued into western trends that
they have the same frames of reference that trendy consumers the
world over have at any given point," says Prasoon Joshi, the
creative head at advertising agency McCann Erickson. Ironically,
Joshi's claim to fame is advertising that is wholly Indian in its
nuances. "Thanks to the internet and the explosion of media,
those frames of reference are not alien anymore," he adds.
"And we are beginning to see the appearance of universal ads."
According to Joshi, the buzz in Mumbai's advertising circles is
that Nike is considering the release of an international ad campaign
in India soon. McDonald's has done one better: The company's worldwide
ad campaign with the tagline 'I'm lovin it' was simultaneously launched
in 100 countries, including India, a couple weeks ago. "We
did a lot of research before the launch and found that the tagline
was just right for the Indian market," says Amit Jatia, Managing
Director, McDonald's India.
Marketing consultant Rama Bijapurkar tends
to agree with Joshi. "I think these trends are only logical
given the proliferation of technology and media," she says.
"Look at how cheap SMS is; I have a daughter in the US, and
I know what she ate for dinner last night."
That could explain the Warner Bros release.
The fact that The Matrix Revolutions is out in India is indicative
of a growing trend among entertainment, lifestyle, and apparel companies
to incorporate India into their global-launch blueprints.
New revolution: The
first English motion pic to hit Indian screens on the same
day as its worldwide release
If you hadn't noticed the metrosexual phenomenon
catching on in India (and how), others have, and they're wasting
no time cashing in on the trend. Clarins, the Paris-based skincare
products major unveiled a range of moisturisers, hygiene products,
and 'fatigue fighters' that apparently rejuvenate the skin in India
Other companies are cashing in on other trends,
such as the craze for Italian food across Asia, be it Singapore,
New Delhi, or Hong Kong. "We've started to closely monitor
lifestyle products particularly in Hong Kong because the Indian
metros have begun to mirror those preferences," says B. Chatterjee
who handles the marketing activities of Mumbai lifestyle store Premsons.
And Vikramjit Roy, the man in charge of publicity and acquisitions
at Columbia Tristar India claims Charlie's Angels-Full Throttle
enjoyed one of the most successful opening weekends for an English
motion pic in India, all because, it was released here barely a
week after the US release, and well ahead of the UK one. "A
US release creates a lot of hype; the movie is discussed threadbare
on the internet; the reviews are all over the place and the Indian
audience is completely clued into all that hype," he adds.
Like we said at the beginning of this article, we are, some of us,
at least, completely with it.