Jugaad in Indian advertising
Crowdsourcing is a great way to cement the bond between the brand and the consumer. The Hindi word Jugaad literally means an improvised or jury-rigged solution. To my mind, Jugaad or the Indian way of improvisation is hilariously summed up in the 2002 TV commercial for Peugeot. The officious white Ambassador car is beaten & battered into a Peugeot to fulfil the aspirations of a ‘sadak-chhaap’, ‘starry-eyed’, ‘small-town’ Indian youth to own and flaunt a Peugeot. (In reality, it was an international commercial, that was made by Tarsem Singh; but that’s not the point). Those from the northern part of the country, largely UP, would identify ‘Jugaad’ as the van-auto-tractor-jeep hybrid that is used for ferrying passengers short distances. The April, 2010 edition of The Economist terms Jugaad as the Indian way of doing business which has whipped quite a debate in the corporate world given the recent economic downturn. It goes as follows: “Indians often see frugal innovation as their distinctive contribution to management thinking. They point to the national tradition of jugaad – meaning roughly making do with what you have and never giving up and cite many examples of ordinary Indians solving seemingly insoluble problems.” This was also ably demonstrated in the hit movie 3 Idiots, where Aamir Khan is seen to create an Invertor drawing power from the batteries of cars and in fact delivering a baby using a vacuum cleaner as a suction pump. Later in the movie, we also see other innovations from everyday material – scooter motor used for wheat grinding for example. The point is that ‘Jugaad’ is almost always seen in a positive light by Indians, almost applauding someone for his smartness. On the flip side, Jugaad has negative connotations as well. It could mean cutting corners, letting go of the aesthetic aspect for the sake of functionality to arrive at a sub-optimal solution. Speak to any advertising agency about client deadlines in...
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