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- Let’s talk about branding. plus, World cup in a shoebox!

The greatest example of successful branding is the United States of America and branding power alone has made it the strongest nation, observed the panelists at an interactive session on ‘The Artistry of Branding and Consumerism’, held at the Oberoi Grand on Sunday.

The discussion, organised by Ballantine’s, Oberoi Grand, NVD, Ahava and Open Doors, also threw light on the current challenges in branding, prospects and limitations.

Panelist and actor Victor Banerjee pointed out how branding not only impresses adults but also influences children and their choices. “For instance, two bags of French fries were placed before a group of children. One bag had the McDonalds logo on it and the other did not. When asked about their preference, nearly all of them went for the bag with the McDonalds sign. Both bags, however, contained the same product from McDonalds. This shows how brands influence young minds.... Today I shopped, therefore I am,” he said, playing on the philosophical statement made popular by René Descartes.

Ad man Suhel Seth said no matter how brands are marketed, they still need to be ethical and responsible.

“Brands need to identify three things — target audience, the right way to approach them and when to approach them. Consumers are now more aware of their rights. I believe there would be more consumer courts in the future,” he said.

Industrialist Harsh Neotia also pointed out how consumers spontaneously choose branded items without even making a conscious decision. The other speaker was Raja Mukherjee, the chief executive officer of NVD. The session was moderated by film director Bedabrata Pain.

Swati Tewari

Pictures by Anindya Shankar Ray


Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management organised a sports quiz as part of their ongoing diamond jubilee celebrations. “IISWBM is the oldest management institute in India. We started a diploma course in sports management 10 years back and it’s approved by the University of Calcutta,” said Subrato Datta, a senior professor of the college.

The sports quiz was held in the college auditorium. Arjuna Award-winning Olympian Jaydeep Karmakar was the chief guest. Sixteen teams participated and four made it to the finals. The quiz hosted by Sujit Bhar, a former sports journalist with The Telegraph, featured well-crafted questions that stumped the finalists. Here’s a sample: “Where was the FIFA World Cup trophy hidden during the outbreak of World War II?” and “Who was the first Calcutta-based footballer to feature in a television advertisement?” The competition was close. Sports 7, represented by Varun Sharma, Rushi Pinge and Kenneth De Souza, emerged winners with 25 points. The evening ended with Karmakar sharing his thoughts about the big investments going towards cricket and not any other sport in India.

Now it’s time to make you stop guessing the answers to Bhar’s questions. Ottorino Barassi, the then vice-president of FIFA, took the World Cup trophy from a bank in Rome and hid it in a shoebox which he kept under his bed. And the first Calcutta-based footballer in a television ad was Jamshed Nassiri. It was for a clothing range.

Ritwik Sen