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Taj, a monument of love or a brand to market?

Jul 05, 2007 12:53 PM IST India India
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Mumbai: The Taj Mahal is a symbol of eternal love and perfection, but those are not the only attributes that attract brands ranging from basmati rice to tea to hospitality to capitalise on the Taj's allure. Now as the campaign for the Taj to make it to the new Seven Wonders of the World list reaches fever pitch, the traditional caretakers of the Taj Mahal brand seem to be missing in action. Whether it's the century old, Rs 1000-crore hospitality major, the Taj Group of Hotels or Hindustan Unilever's Brooke Bond Taj Mahal Tea – both have chosen the Taj as a brand that's synonymous with India. But for the filmmaker who shot tabla maestro Zakir Hussein against the Taj Mahal over 20 years back, the challenge now is to find a new way to showcase the heritage monument. “You can't just take the Taj as a backdrop and shoot it there. That just makes it a postcard, you have to place in context or interpret it now,” ad filmmaker, Equinox Films, Sumantro Ghoshal said. And clients and their agencies are now seeing the brand association as a double-edged sword. “The Taj inspires creatives like me to do very classy advertising – whether it’s for Taj Hotels or the tea brand but it’s very restricting. Tomorrow if I want to do a funny humourous or tongue-in-cheek ad for my brand I can’t. At least not with the Taj,” Creative Director, O&M, Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar said. From Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore to teabags, the Taj may have inspired many rhapsodies, and it may just be revived as a marketing elixir, as soon as brands figure out what to do with it.