Of Marketing, brands etc.

The Karan Johar in your product

If you find yourself in Lodhi gardens or the lawns surrounding Qutb Minar in the morning hours you will see couples cavorting around the greens, walking hand in hand or lying down under a tree. So what’s new you may ask. Well, these couples romp around the garden, with a photographer in tow shouting instructions asking them to be more candid. And if you manage to stick around watching this theatre of the absurd you will see multiple photo or video sessions with costume changes (rented, of course), make-up, props et al.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last hundred years you probably don’t know what candid pre wedding photography is. These are photographs where you don’t pose, well, more like you pose as if you haven’t posed. So no photographs where the bride and groom stand dazed, moribund; Atul Agnihotri-like piece of furniture in the living room.

Pre wedding and wedding photographs and videos are now candid; casual, playful and colorful. There are blogs on poses and positions couples need to try (for the photograph, you dirty mind), packages offered by wedding planners, photographers who charge by the hour and exotic destinations booked for the photoshoot. A good pre wedding photo session is the new dowry Maruti 800.

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Candid pre wedding is not simply a big city phenomenon, it cuts across tiers; from Jamnagar to Jorhat and Jammu to Jolarpettai. So what’s driving this?

Well, blame Karan Johar or his ilk in Bollywood, if you want to be more charitable.

Remember the big fat Indian wedding in Yeh Jawaani Hain Diwaani, (or pick any recent Bollywood flick) fancy locales, designer clothes (heavens, even the maids looked chic), choreographed sangeet,  chandeliers, champagne flutes and cuisine from so many countries that it looks like the United Nations on the table. You couldn’t afford all this, of course. So what? Get a candidwala photographer and Instagram your Bollywoodish pre wedding photoshoot. Share it on Facebook and in the million WhatsApp groups you are part of and savor ‘likes’ and comments from around the world.

In this world of pre wedding photographs you instantly get out from your home in Chandni Chowk to Champs-Elysees. Some pre wedding videos even go viral (google ‘Cheap Thrills wedding video’). And, yes if you cringed watching it, don’t worry, you are not alone my friend, there is nothing like Dhinchak Pooja to help you recover.

Well, blaming Karan Johar for this ludicrous trend may be simplistic. If you peer closely, some of the things behind it are proliferation of digital photography with online tools that allows everybody to edit, crop or add effects, social media fueled exhibitionism and changing attitudes towards marriages. But at its very core is a reflection of aspirations, of looking good, feeling good and making a statement on social media away from tut-tuting of the old Taayaji and Mousiji who are thankfully absent here.

This phenomenon of candid pre wedding photography offers many lessons for marketers. Lessons in making purchases into events, enabling avenues for consumers to Instagram or showoff on social media, personalization and product presentation – make the product look good, damn good, tapping into the world of Bollywood and escapism.

So the next time you make a new product, a product refresh or a new communication check if you have “Karan Johar inside”. Your consumer is probably looking for him.

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