Journal of MacromarketingThe online version of this article can be found at:DOI: 10.1177/0276146712442547published online 8 April 2012Journal of MacromarketingJulien Cayla and Mark ElsonIndian Consumer Kaun Hai? The Class-Based Grammar of Indian AdvertisingPublished by:On behalf of:Macromarketing Societycan be found at:Journal of MacromarketingAdditional services and information for Email Alerts: Subscriptions: Reprints: Permissions: What is This?- Apr 8, 2012OnlineFirst Version of Record >> at University of New South Wales on June 5, 2012jmk.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Indian ConsumerKaun Hai? TheClass-Based Grammar of Indian AdvertisingJulien Cayla1,2and Mark Elson3AbstractAdvertising proves to be a particularly useful source of images, stories, and vocabulary, to study the globalization of the Indianeconomy and the construction of Indian identity. The authors analyze how advertising executives and other cultural producers,such as magazine editors, try to answer the question ‘‘Indian consumerkaun hai?’’ (Who is the Indian consumer?) while trying todevelop narratives that can represent Indian ways of living. In a country as diverse as India, this is an extremely difficult task. Draw-ing from a content analysis of the Hindi and English versions ofIndia Todayas well as interviews with Indian advertising executives,the authors detail how cultural producers imagine Indian consumers. This work illuminates the striking differences, between theimagined cultural world of the English speaking elite, and their vernacular counterparts. By showing the importance of the Englishlanguage, and Western cultural references in indexing the ‘‘modern Indian,’’ this work contributes to macromarketing efforts tostudy globalization and its effects.Keywordsadvertising, advertising history, India, Indian advertising, globalization, social classIntroductionIndian consumerkaun hai? Who is the Indian consumer? It is aquestion that pervades the hallways and meeting rooms ofIndian advertising agencies. And yet, given the staggeringabundance of languages, communities, religions, and socialdistinctions in the Indian context (Venkatesh and Swamy1994), finding a suitable answer is a complex endeavor. Conse-quently, trying to elaborate national campaigns or a nationalpublication requires dexterous semiotic work, navigation of avast and perilous vocabulary in seeking to articulate ways ofbeing and living that can resonate with such a diverse nation.Our study looks specifically at the ways Indian advertisingexecutives and other cultural producers such as magazineeditors try to solve this riddle.