When our house help’s third daughter was getting married my father asked me to give him five thousand rupees off my salary. I had just about started earning and it was one of those early life lessons that my father decided to offer me as a way ahead into money and employ-ability.
I was pretty annoyed. Because I knew this money is going into pandal, dinner for fifty guests and a so called lavish reception for the attendees. The bride and groom will get a big fat night of sweat and embarrassment in return.
With 1,00,00,000 weddings each year, the ‘business’ of weddings in India is pegged to be somewhere around Rs 100,000 to Rs 110,000 crore. Out of which the major chunk goes to the bride’s jewelry and clothing. Followed by food and hotel accommodations.
In this growing business trend, banks have decided to take their own pound of flesh.
Quietly noting that approximately twenty to twenty five percent of the personal loans taken off their shelf was done so to support wedding expenses, they found a marketing idea.
Which are by the way nothing but personal loans re-branded for few.
A friend of mine visibly unhappy about my views on subject said.
“It is not like people don’t take loans for weddings. They do.”
A market research company in USA published that tomorrow if someone wanted to understand evolution of a given society they will simply collate all print ads into a book and read. The ideas and changes will be perfectly mirrored in them.
Do we tomorrow want to be remembered for this print ad?
In a society such as India where money spending in wedding has already attracted laws (Dowry Act) and a million broken families, promoting an idea such as this is pretty irresponsible. We spend hours on social media and offline trying to seed the notion that money and weddings are not the discussion to be had in same breath.
Do you know even today families of bride and groom sit across the table and decide a figure. A figure which shall be spent by the girl’s family as expenditure. And that figure becomes ear marked as the statistics for family gossips and further pride (or not).
Brands have decided they will keep business ahead of society values. Visibility as opposed to breaking free.
These loans can be branded as seed capital for the couple’s life ahead. Employing a different idea. Maybe a positive campaign where families decide to save money on actual wedding expenditure and allot that money to the couple’s welfare.
There is so much that organisations can do through their own products and associated visibility.
But they choose this.
Am I saying wedding loans as a product should be discontinued? No.
Should they be re-branded and pitched differently? Yes.
What do you think?
Connecting with #MondayMusings.
Post was also inspired by an impromptu twitter conversation with Harini Calamur who herself wrote a post questioning the idea here: