It was not an informal get-together.
It was a product launch—Volini 360—by Sun Pharma.
This was not the first time I’d been invited to a Volini bloggers meet. Last month, I received an invite to join the Patna Pirates kabaddi team. A young woman from Delhi contacted me.
Sania Mirza at the 2009 US Open (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My initial reaction was incredulity and my first query was, “How did you get my email address and why am I on this list?”
I, of course, declined. It was bad timing, just one day in advance, and I was participating in a 10K run that same morning.
Making a dash from a run to ITC Grand Central, Parel, was out of the question.
This time around, the invite was accepted. The timing was bad this time too—less than 24 hours in advance.
My curiosity was piqued. I thought, “Why not? What else do I have to do?”
I reached the venue on time. As usual, the stars-to-be-unveiled-as-brand-ambassadors were not there yet.
A bespectacled gentleman was giving soundbytes to certain media channels.
And decided to chat with a couple of youngsters beside me.
They termed themselves ‘influencers’.
They were active on Twitter and one of them (Sagar) had over 14K followers.
“Wow! That’s awesome, I’ll be lucky to cross 300 on my account,” was my response.
The guys had an IT background and had travelled all the way from Vashi.
The number of bloggers were not too many and the sex ratio was about even.
Tea and biscuits followed but no sign of Sania Mirza or Sunil Chhetri.
(By then, the suspense had been cleared.
The bloggers were to be the last to meet the stars. Sania and Sunil had already met the media earlier.
Considering the number of writers present, it would have been simpler to combined the two interactions.)
Finally, at 10 to four, the stars arrived.
Sania appeared overly laden with facial cosmetics but , I guess, that’s to be expected having to face the camera throughout the day.
(Sania’s hubby Shoaib Malik announced his retirement from international Test cricket that very evening. No Volini for that!)
Sunil appeared dapper with Sania towering over him.
The bespectacled gentleman, (who I learn from today’s DNA was Subodh Marwah, VP and Head, Global Consumer Healthcare, Sun Pharma) gave us the usual spiel about Volini 360 and how it was better than the other sprays in the market.
He unveiled the commercials — one that compared Volini to other sprays and how the 360 technology allowed it to reach all areas equally well— and the other two featured Sania and Sunil playing with pain and then reaching out for Volini for relief.
I felt that they ought to have shown the first commercial once more—it was difficult to discern how exactly Volini 360 was better than the other sprays.
The other two commercials were in Hindi but there seemed to be a disconnect from the people who use Volini and these sportspersons.
The punchline seemed too simplistic.
Mind you, Volini is my preferred brand when it comes to muscle pain and soreness. It also happens to be the one my grandmother (now deceased) used for her arthritis.
Would these people, who suffer from non-sporting activities pain, relate to this commercial?
(The ads have not been aired yet nor are they available on Youtube).
Just a thought.
The event ended without any questions directed to Sania and Sunil.
I was unprepared.
I really couldn’t come up with anything except to query whether the questions were to be about Volini or sports-related.
I left but not before shaking hands with Chhetri.
A group photo with the stars would have been nice instead of wasting their time with numerous selfies.
Sagar and Shubam, influencers and IT graduates from New Bombay.
Selected tweets from the #Volini360 campaign:
Disclaimer: The writer is neither an employee with Sun Pharma nor does he own any shares in the said company. He is also not a member of BlogMint.