Harish Bhat of BL has a nice article on the topic.
He says upcoming Kumbh Mela is a paradise for marketers and their brands. Which brand wins the show is there to see. So much so instead of saying devotees immersing in River Kshipra, it is consumers immersing 🙂
Millions of people will come to the Kumbh Mela to immerse themselves in the River Kshipra, but marketers should visit Ujjain for a different sort of immersion – in the world of Indian consumers.
For marketers who are serious about India, who are curious about people, and who wish to develop insights about consumers from the heartland of the country, the Ujjain Mela is the place to be. Here, you can roam around freely, observing people, speaking to them at leisure, eating with them, seeing how they converse and shop, taking in the apparel or jewellery that they wear. You can choose to interact with men or women from Maharashtra, or Uttar Pradesh, or Rajasthan, or Andhra Pradesh, or indeed with all of them.
Most Indian marketers tend to live in large cities such as Mumbai and Bangalore, so a visit to the Mela also offers you an opportunity to step out of these urban ivory towers and take a good look at small-town India in its best finery. In addition, a visit to a town such as Ujjain, which has such a central place in the Shaivite traditions of Hinduism, offers wonderful perspectives on Indian society and culture. I think every marketer who visits the Ujjain Kumbh Mela with a curious mind will go back to his or her workplace with at least a couple of unique and actionable consumer insights.
Earlier, all these melas were projected as an exercise in crisis management, urban economics, logistics and so on. Now a marketing one too.
Wondering what the Gods are making of all this? Not much perhaps as mela basically means a fair/local market where people come and meet (mel in hindi) and buy/sell stuff. So, perhaps nothing wrong with all these new modern management techniques to study Indian consumers. It should get thumbs up from the Gods too..