October 2nd, 2018 saw India celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s 149th birth anniversary. A lawyer, a revolutionary, a Satyagrahi – Bapu was many things. Mukund Govind Rajan, entrepreneur and former brand custodian at Tata Sons, says it best:
“During India’s freedom struggle, this was not just the name of a person, but a brand indelibly associated with the concept of satyagraha and non-violence, which fostered a hitherto unseen unity amongst Indians – rich and poor, Hindu and Muslim, Brahmin and Harijan, urban and rural. Leading by example, Gandhi demonstrated that he was prepared to ‘walk the talk’.”
During Gandhi Jayanti, brands try to reflect this ethos in their marketing campaigns. Whether campaigns make references to the Dandi march, Young India or the ‘charkha’ (symbolizing the spinning of Khadi), the feeling behind the efforts of Mahatma Gandhi - in paving the way for India to be free and independent - is expressed most creatively and thoughtfully.
The Dandi March
The Dandi March, or Salt Satyagraha, was the name given to Gandhiji’s non-violent protest against the British to give Indians the right to legally collect and sell salt. Even though many questioned Mahatma Gandhi’s motive (why such a simple commodity such as salt?), this iconic march was met with nationwide support and people all over India joined him in overturning Britain’s Salt Act.
The Simple Charkha
Some brand advertisements are built around the spinning wheel or ‘charkha’. This wheel represents independence from the British, Swadesh, and self-sufficiency. In these advertisements, brands have given their own unique and quirky twist to the spinning wheel.
The Three Wise Monkeys
The proverb ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ has been strongly associated with Gandhiji and his minimalistic lifestyle. A statue of these three monkeys that he possessed proved to be an exception in his otherwise non-materialistic life.
However, when it comes to advertising, brands have really spun this proverb according to their own tunes!
The Iconic Spectacles
Some brands have simply used a drawing of Gandhiji and his famous round spectacles in their marketing campaigns. The simplicity of this drawing says a lot in itself.
During Gandhi Jayanti, brands try to inspire and speak to their audiences just like Gandhiji did with his audience - the entire nation. However, whatever brands choose to say, it's good to always remember that - as Bapu said - "You must be the change you want to see in the world."