In Mumbai posters claiming to sell NaMo tea (with blessings of Modi-ji) are facing the wrath of the BJP. According to a Telegraph report, the posters which can be seen in Annie Besant Road in Mumbai have slogans like "NaMo jaise sphoorti ke liye," meaning for energy like NaMo. The name of the chai: NaMo Chai, of course.
And the distributors might claim to have Modi-ji's support in this chai-business. One distributor P Zaveri told the paper, “We have Modiji’s blessings. NaMo tea is a product which has been brought to the market by Take India Beyond Merchandising — the company that runs thenamostore.com — the official online store for merchandising brand NaMo in India and abroad. This is part of Mr Modi’s personal PR campaign.”
While Zaveri plans to go full out with plans to promote his NaMo chai, BJP's Mumbai unit is seeing red. BJP's Mumbai chief Ashish Shelar told the paper, “I have heard that such hoardings have come up. Personally, I am totally against all this. Who has given these people the right to use Mr Modi’s name to sell things commercially?" Shelar wants action taken against people like Zaveri and has promised to raise the issue with senior leaders.
Sadly for Shelar, NaMo tea isn't anything new. The NaMo online store had managed to gain some serious attention during election season. In fact as we had noted in an earlier report, "the NaMo online store saw sales worth a little over Rs 50 lakh."
According to a Business Standard report "Rs 25 lakh came from offline sales of 250g NaMo Tea which is priced at Rs 60 and 10g NaMo Balm which is worth Rs 24 each." From the sales figures the two biggest hits on the store had been the tea and the NaMo balm whatever the says about the particular appeal of the PM.
In fact as the report had pointed out the company was keen to open an offline store once the BJP was in power. One team member has said that in time , "The NaMo Store will also be launching their own retail stores across different cities in India for wider reach in near future. The stores will be opening in major cities in India."
Zaveri isn't the first one to capitalise on Brand Modi. In fact as Firstpost editor Sandip Roy had noted in his piece, Modi is "a text book case study of how to sell a brand. In this case, the brand being himself."
From kurtas with the words NaMo Mantra embroidered on them (30,000 of these were distributed at a rally in Surat) to Modi Lion a toy that was catered to children, Modi has benignly allowed brands that are centred around him to flourish and thrive.
As Roy had noted, "Brand Modi becomes an act of reflection with the multiplying effect of a hall of mirrors. As Modi stands at the rally, beaming, waving to the crowd, the jubilant crowd gazes back at him draped in NaMo paraphernalia – Modi masks, Modi t-shirts, Modi-kurtas."
While BJP might be seeing red against NaMo tea, the fact is that the PM has fanned this 'commodification' when he criss-crossed the country trying to build name recognition for himself with voters. NaMo Tea is just one in a long list of products that bear his brand. It's just that this one is not quite his party's cup of tea.
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Updated Date: Sep 03, 2014 16:02:36 IST