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University of Manitoba
International Business
INTB 2200
Luming Wang

Media Living in Media Darkness There’s no surprise in learning that over 70%, (roughly 670 million) of India’s teeming masses live in rural areas. Of these, some 260 million live in almost complete media darkness, without access to TV, radio, and beyond the reach of newspapers and magazines. Widespread illiteracy allied with the multitude of languages and dialects puts the most of these people beyond the reach of conventional media planning. Yet the villagers are increasingly important as consumers. A survey by India’s National Centre for Applied Economics and Research revealed double-digit rural growth rates in a cross section of products ranging from scooters to confectionery between 1995 and 1999. For companies such as Unilever, Nestle, Glaxo, Lucky Goldstar rural consumers are a huge market opportunity. About 45% of soaps, 40% of teas and 60% of watches sold in rural India. Now that penetration for many consumer products in urban areas is high, the rural markets are growing in importance for both marketers and their agencies. Ogilvy Outreach, O&M’s rural arm, started with one employee supported by the head of the media division in 1994. Today it has a team of 1,000 supervisors plus another 5,000 people who work on a project basis According to D. K. Bose, Ogilvy Outreach’s president, selling in rural India is no longer restricted to using mobile vans with television sets screening Hindi film songs interspersed with messages about a product. New avenues include games (with the product being given as a prize), door-to-door sales, folk dances, wall paintings, and even putting up shoe racks in temples, putting tiles in village wells, plus occasionally painting the horns of cows, and putting up scarecrows. Tapping the rural market calls for new insights into what helps consumers remember and understand brand messages. Research carried out by Ogilvy Outreach discovere
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