Saturday, March 28, 2009

How do you sell your cake?

Getting up at 3 in the morning to watch Test Cricket between the Indians and the Kiwis might be termed insane by some. But with someone like me, whose life has been defined and punctuated by insanities, what else would you expect?

Anyways, while watching this match, something strange caught my attention. The match was being broadcast on Set MAX, a primarily Hindi movie channel. The build up to the series was also primarily through advertisements in Hindi. The cricket dished out though had English as its language. The commentators spoke in English, the match presentations were conducted in English, the in ground advertisement boards were in English and even players, baring Dhoni with his tidbits of encouragement viz. Yeh achcha hain, stuck to English. The ad capsule in between the overs alternated between English, Hindi and Hinglish (a variant of the ubiquitous Hindi language where words of emphasis are spoken in English).

This got me thinking. Who was the intended audience for this cricket presentation and the related advertisements? More importantly, how do you decide what language to rely on to sell your product? Does using one language over other makes the product more saleable? Or you just shoot an ad, do a voice-over in all popular languages and thrust it across the audience?

While a lot of money is spent in making a product presentable and a lot of research goes in understanding how the consumers perceive a product; I could find precious little literature on the questions confounding me. One of the reasons might be that the industries and countries conducting these elaborate researches, unlike India, never had to deal with consumers spread across multiple language base.

So, here is the question to all my MBA, doing MBA and about to start their MBA friends (interestingly, these three sets cover almost all the people I know), how do you decide?