Magazine article New Internationalist

All That Glisters

Magazine article New Internationalist

All That Glisters

Article excerpt

Coming up to poll time in 2004, the Indian Government decided a no-expenses-spared advertising blitz to manufacture happiness was in order. And so was born (via the brainpower of the Indian section of advertising giant Grey Global Group) 'India Shining', a mantra that was soon on everyone's lips.

With a lavish $20 million spend, 9,472 ad spots on all television channels in December 2003 and January 2004 alone, and blanket ads in the print media, to say nothing of glossy posters plastered everywhere, this paean to India's economic successes was difficult to avoid. The appeal was to big business and India's middle class, telling them they'd never had it so good, what with the market thrown open and the IT sector booming.

Ostensibly the campaign was supposed to be a vague shot in the arm to promote India internationally and give Indians a boost. Prathap Sultan, who coined the slogan, declared that '"India Shining" is all about pride. It gives us brown-skinned Indians a huge sense of achievement - look at the middle class and they tell a story of a resurgent India.'

But opposition parties to the ruling hardline Bharatiya Janata Party complained that the ads were a surrogate form of election campaigning and a gross misuse of public money. …

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