Campaign India Team
May 10, 2010

Boobquake, pink chaddis and Mercedes Benz

Just for the record: I’ve written so much about the Abby’s mess that I decided to give myself a break. I guess most readers needed a break as well.

Boobquake, pink chaddis and Mercedes Benz

Just for the record: I’ve written so much about the Abby’s mess that I decided to give myself a break. I guess most readers needed a break as well.

And I was wondering what I could write about and a colleague, in another context, interrupted by thoughts on what I thought about Boobquake, the movement that Jen McCreight, an Indiana, US, nerd initiated in response to a moronic statement by Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi that immodest dressing by women was a cause for earthquakes. Sedighi is Tehran’s acting Friday prayer leader. McReight wanted to test the theory and provoked women to dress ‘immodestly’ simultaneously and check what happened.

I just got onto boobquake’s Facebook page.The current status update throws up these crazy stats: 814 people like the post, 200 have commented. Other updates have similar numbers, with a few that are even larger.

100,000 people ‘like’ the Boobquake page.

I leave the boobquake story and go to Shanghai. I learn that over 600 volunteers who are proficient in English are to change over 10,000 public signs with misspelling and misinformation thanks to a poor command on the language.

And I read the amazing story of 115 individuals from Aurangabad who got together and negotiated with Mercedes Benz and, thanks to the power of collective bargaining, got whopping price-offs for themselves

A story from the United States, another from China and a third from India. All stories have a common thread – the power of a community.

The Mercedes story is, of the three, the most exciting one.

In the early days of the Internet, one heard of the ‘possibilities’ of the web; how like-minded people could contact each other at zero cost and help each other in achieving goals.

There were wonderful stories of car pooling becoming easier and more efficient, of the potential of collective bargaining, and so on.

Yet there are very few ‘real’ stories that we stumble upon.

Even the Mercedes Benz story is not quite a dotcom story; our very own Rishi Darda of Lokmat kicked off the ‘movement’ by calling up friends.

There is no doubt that we have a sizeable consumer base which is internet connected – and it is surprising that brands like Mercedes Benz wait for an ‘Aurangabad Group’ to find a knock on their doors, rather than help create more Aurangabad groups.

Or could brands find – or even create – someone like Jen McReight, whose idea was powerful enough to propel hundreds of thousands of like-minded souls to support her cause? We’ve seen it happen in India with the Pink Chaddi campaign and I wonder, did any individual or brand try and talk to this collection of supporters? The ‘group’ was created in no time and with no money – and were available intelligent marketers. For one, almost all, I presume, who supported the campaign would have been women. That’s a great filter.

And if the brands are incapable or disinterested in taking the trouble, could someone else fill the void? Could Campaign India, for example, get together 500 prospective consumers for the next MacBook Pro and then sit across the table from the Apple sales guys and get a crazy deal?

Once we’re on the verge of number portability, could some subscriber get 10,000 subscribers together and get a better deal on roaming and text messages?

It’s reading the three examples that I set out at the beginning of this article that got me to thinking about the power of the Internet in the context of the ability to get people together all over again.

And getting back to the Abbys, it looks like all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will find it very hard to glue Humpty together again.

Campaign India

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