Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Emirates airline: Go, get wet in Kozhikode (Kerala)!

By John Cheeran
When you think of Kerala in June, what’s it that comes to your mind?
The Dubai-based Emirates airline has announced its third flight from Dubai to Kerala, to Kozhikode, after Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram.
And the print ad that announced the Emirates flight had three Kathakali veshangal (actors) to get across the message to prospective fliers.
Kathakali? Miens of Kathakali actors, of course, make for arresting visuals, but that is a clichéd advertising strategy.
Kathakali is far removed from the heart of Kerala. In contemporary Kerala, Kathakali exists only as a fantasy about a bygone era. It is a tragedy of advertising that the creative heads cannot come up with anything original that’s related to Kerala.
But is that really difficult?
As I tried to say in the beginning, this is the time of thunder and lightning in Kerala. Guys take an idea shower!
You go to Kerala in June to chase monsoon.
You could have better pitched the Emirates campaign with a slogan ‘Go, get wet in Kozhikode.’
That would have been a perfect lure for a Dubai crowd that is getting slowly stewed as temperatures rise in the desert city.
If you ask the passengers, who will eventually board the new Emirates flight to Kozhikode, have they seen at least one Kathakali in their lifetime, the answer would be a resounding no.
And, this advertisement, then amounts to, that classic admonition to man, woman and child who are brave enough to watch Kathakali.
Kathayariyathe aattam kanaruthu.
Don’t watch the kali (play), without knowing the katha (story).

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