Monday, February 22, 2010

Who needs Bollywood when you've got Obama?

Among the more interesting sights you will see in Agra these days is a hoarding for men's underwear:

Spotted in Agra: O-bamaa underwear.

With sales of $200 million, Rupa & Co is the single largest branded underwear company India. They have different brands for different market segments, endorsed by Bollywood stars.

Their biggest selling premium brand is called Frontline, and it is endorsed by a chubby 40-something Sanjay Dutt.

Before Sanjay Dutt took on the Frontline contract, they had an even chubbier Govindaa wearing a vest and RSS-type khaki shorts, and smirking "Yeh aaram ka maamla hai" (It's all about comfort, baby!)

In 2007, they signed up another super-star - Hrithik Roshan - to endorse Macroman, their upscale line targetted at younger age groups. They've also signed up Saif Ali Khan, Aishwarya Rai, and Lisa Ray, for some of their other brands.

Clearly, Rupa & Co has a thing about celebrity endorsements.

But what do you do when you have a line of underwear that cannot afford celebrity endorsements? The Jon line is Rupa's downmarket brand, meant for lower income groups. The briefs are 100% cotton, functional and plain, with the focus on toughness and durability (won't stretch after multiple washes!)

I wonder which creative guy decided these were just the right attributes to name this line after the President of the United States :)

But the deed is done, and there are now O-bamaa hoardings everywhere. I wonder if sales are booming.

- Deepa

P.S. The hoarding photo was clicked by sharp-eyed Sara Williams, from Harvard Medical School. Way to go, Sara!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

February smiles on us

January was cold and foggy, with people huddled over coal fires, swathed in thick blankets. But now that February is here, the days are warmer, and the smiles brighter.

People still find comfort in the coal embers, but everyone knows the winter is going away soon, and spring is on its way.

Couple enjoying a light moment - parking lot, Hauz Khas Village

Basant, the season of blossoms, of bright flowers, of courtship and love, is just around the corner. Delhi waits for the coming of Holi.