Thursday, 1 September 2011

Text message marketing and the modern Indian man

One things I am having to get used to in Delhi is the volume of marketing messages - both text and recorded - that arrive through my mobile phone. On average I get about two or three of each type a day. In the UK, I'd get maybe one or two texts a week, and I don't recall ever getting a pre-recorded voice ad over the phone. But they seem to be much more popular in India.

I'm sure there is way to block these, but actually I find them quite interesting (the texts at least, since the voice ones are all in Hindi and I can't follow them yet). When I got the phone I had to share basic information about myself, so I assume the messages I get are based on what your average youngish Delhi male is thought to be concerned with. Here's a sample:

"Call ZatSe for your requirements of:

  • Property Agent
  • Computer Dealer-repair
  • Astrologer-Palmist
  • Coaching-training institute
  • Graphic designer"

I'm fascinated by this company and its eclectic set of specialisms.


Sic. Followed by about a dozen phone numbers. Sorry fellas, I'm afraid I have no idea.

"Scared of facing d public? Public Speaking, Prsntation skills course starting in DELHI, NOIDA, GHAZABAD & GURGAON"

I've had this one about seven times. I had no idea there was such a big market here for public speakers. What do they all need to speak about? Also wonderful to see that text speak abominations are thriving in India as much as elsewhere.

"Improve Your Height 2-5 inches in 90 days. JAPANI SOLE - 100% result (with money back card and yoga CD). Age 8-35 years."

Where to begin. Firstly, adding 5 inches to your height in three months sounds both implausible and extremely painful. Unless they just give you a pair of platform shoes (maybe that's what JAPANI SOLE means?). Secondly, what does a yoga CD have to do with anything? Thirdly, what happens when you turn 35? Maybe you just get too old to be able to get away with the shoes.

"SAUNA SLIM BELT. Reduce FAT up to 10 kg (100% result) + FREE YOKO + FREE home delivery"

Weight loss spam is not unusual, but I'm intrigued by the concept of a "sauna slim belt" - does it come with a portable steam generator? Also, the idea of having the loopy widow of a 60s pop icon delivered free to your door with your weight loss belt is, I have to admit, quite tempting.

Anyway, my conclusion from all of this is that your average 30-something Delhi chap is a short, overweight, chronically shy person in need of inspiration, computer assistance and a fortune teller. (He also has thinning hair, but those ads weren't interesting enough to share here.) And if scams that promise to add 5 inches to your height make enough money to keep going, he's pretty gullible.

Or at least, that's what the text message marketers seem to think. 


Sonya said...

And this is the beauty of "living abroad".. We are endless interested in ordinary things like advertising, train tickets, and bus stops. xx

Indiafreak said...

Mobile/text marketing is insane in India!

Working in a call centre is tough and, sadly, rarely rewarding... But after a thousand marketing calls, I got slightly annoyed.

Her: Could I take your name, miss?

Me: Doesn't matter

Her: Could you spell it for me, please?

Me: D O E S N T.. M A T..