Marketing of Durga Puja takes a step forward

October 8th, 2008 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 8 (IANS) Durga Puja organisers have long sold space on their marquees to commercial firms. Now the organisers of one Puja have sold the right to sell space, while another has sold TV transmission rights for the second year running, possibly pioneering a trend.The Badamtala Ashar Sangha in south Kolkata’s Kalighat neighbourhood has sold the outdoor advertising rights at its marquee to the Indian arm of US-based Manhattan Communications.

“We have sold outdoor advertisement rights to Manhattan Communications. Now it is their duty to collect sponsorship and market us,” said Suvajit Sarkar, a member of the puja organising committee.

Durga Puja, West Bengal’s largest annual festival, will end Thursday. It has become a symbol of opulence with different community pujas trying to add as much glitz as they can afford.

Badamtala Ashar Sangha has been organising Durga Puja for the 70 years, and this year has a budget between Rs.900,000 and Rs.1.1 million.

The organisers have this year also roped in Bollywood veteran Mithun Chakrabarty as their brand ambassador, and claim they are the first to float the concept of a celebrity endorsing a particular puja.

Bollywood stars including Preity Zinta and Sohail Khan are scheduled to visit Badamtala during the puja to promote their latest film ‘Heroes’, slotted for release Oct 24.

Manhattan Communications is the Indian arm of an NRI-owned company, Media Morphosis. Bennett, Coleman and Co Ltd had acquired a stake this May in Manhattan Communications, which specialises in total marketing solutions - advertising, branding, public relations, marketing and managing events.

Meanwhile, entertainment channel Zee Bangla has bought the right to bring all the action from south Kolkata’s famous Maddox Square Durga Puja for Rs.1.2 million.

Every day, throughout the five-day festival, it is telecasting every ritual of the Puja as well as the activities outside the marquee, where people gather and have a blast. This is the second year of the Zee Bangla-Maddox Square tie-up.

Marketing executives here predict that in the next few years, firms will start bidding with one another to bag advertising rights of the better-known Pujas.

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