How to Use Traditional & Folk Art to Make Indian Rural Consumers Sit Up & Take Notice

Engaging customer interest in the rural market also involves appealing to them through media that they can easily identify and associate with.  India has a veritable treasure trove of traditional art forms that can be used to advertise products and services in the rural market while giving the advertising campaign a desi touch.

The best part about using folk art and traditional art forms to capture the interest of the rural consumers is provision of employment to folk artists and artisans who need the support as well as the platform to showcase their art.  Here are some ideas that come to mind…
Street Art
If graffiti is the buzz word for subvertant advertising in the West, then street art in India can has options like the rangoli, a traditional art which involves drawing designs and patterns in colored powder on the floor.  The rangoli is an inherent part of celebrations in India and can be adapted to create advertising messages in a run up to festive celebrations in India.
Wall Art
Wall art is something that has been a big part of the cultural identity of most Indian tribes and village folk.  Warli paintings have caught the eye of many art enthusiasts in the country and the best part about these simple drawings is that they can be used to convey an advertising message with a rustic touch.
The art of storytelling is something that never fails to create an impact wherever it is applied.  Be it in the classroom or a café, a good story always holds the audience spellbound.  Chitragathi, an audio-visual medium in which an artist holds a handmade painting depicting scenes from epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata can be used by advertisers seeking to make an impact on rural consumers.  Vivid narratives, dialogues, drama, musical instruments and enthusiastic performers add to the magic of the performance.
An adaptation of storytelling with puppets to add to the allure of the presentation, puppetry is not the sole preserve of children as the audience.  Puppetry can be used as a medium to inform and educate people about products and services at village fairs and events.
Every Indian state has its own forms of puppetry like the Zaiti or Kal Sutli, a traditional form of string puppetry from Rajasthan wherein the inter play of dextrous fingers of puppettteers brings to life wooden and cloth puppet dolls to unfold a story set in times of kings and queens.Another form of shadow puppetry with leather puppets which originates from the Adivasi community in Pinguli, Maharashtra which leaves audiences enthralled by tales peppered with action, drama, emtion and war.  
Man & Beast as Entertainers
Certain art forms bring man and beast together to entertain, inform, educate and celebrate life as it were.  For instance Pangul Bael,  performance where man and beast (decorated bullocks) come together against the backdrop of beating of the “dhol”, traditional drum.
Such performnaces create better impact and stand out in the crowd of the usual media of advertsing.  When in Rome do as the Romans do, marketers would do well to use this approach when they reach out to the rural audience.  Attracting the rural populace is with these art forms makes more sense simply because they are a part of their lives.  
The advantages of using these art forms is dual…getting the message across effectively and promoting traditional and folk art forms that are in danger of dying out for lack of patronage. 

[The article has been contributed by Mariam Noronha.She is a teacher with over eight years of experience. She has taught a wide range of Management related subjects and has authored and presented papers at national and international seminars and conferences. An avid reader, researcher, writer and blogger; she has authored numerous articles in the fiction, web writing and travel writing genre. ]

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