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Gandhi: A brand the world flaunts!

Last updated on: October 2, 2009 

Gandhi: A brand the world flaunts!

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Satrajit Moitra in New Delhi

From Swiss luxury giant Mont Blanc to Bollywood blockbuster 'Lage Raho Munnabhai', Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace and non-violence, has now become a brand the world proudly flaunts.

To commemorate Gandhi's historic salt march in 1930, Mont Blanc recently unveiled an 18-carat gold nib plated with rhodium pen which costs Rs 14 lakh (Rs 1.4 million) -- making the Mahatma their brand ambassador.


Image: Mont Blanc's Rs 14-lakh pen with Gandhi as the brand ambassador.

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Gandhi: A brand the world flaunts!

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Yes, more than six decades after his assassination, the icon of India's Independence has moved beyond road signs, statues and artists' strokes to a modern and digital image, seen in promos and advertisements.


Image: The icon of India's Independence.

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Gandhi: A brand the world flaunts!

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On his 140th birth anniversary, Gandhiji, once called the 'Naked Fakir', lives on in luxury brands, tees and even many popular flicks - he's now very much a part of the RemixGeneration's psyche.


Image: Brand Gandhi on luxury brands.

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Sanjay Dutt-starrer 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' in 2006 was an instant hit with the Bollywood actor demystifying the ideologies of the 'Father of the Nation' with "Gandhigiri".


Image: Lage Raho Munnabhai with Gandhigiri.

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Adman Alyque Padamsee, who played Mohammed Ali Jinnah in 'Gandhi' says that "Brand Gandhi" is still the most powerful Indian idol celebrated globally.

"International leaders from Martin Luther King Jr to Barack Obama have all used Brand Gandhi to reach out to the masses."


Image: A powerful Indian idol celebrated globally.

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In fact, Italy's telecom giant Telecom Italiato, and Internet search engine Google have also helped Gandhi to take the centrestage in the 21st century.


Image: The legacy of Gandhi lives on.

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While Mont Blanc company claims the pen is an ode to him and his ideals, Gandhi's grandson Tushar Gandhi says: "We must learn to accept that Mont Blanc is not associated with being frugal as Bapu was. Still, they have felt the need to salute his image."


Image: The world salutes Gandhi.

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In a recent media interview, Tushar even recalled an anecdote when the makers of high-end Audi car had conceived of a campaign, only for Spain, using Gandhi's name.

"I asked them how would they justify the use of Bapu's image in that campaign. They replied it was the 'long-lasting untarnished image of Mahatma Gandhi' that they wanted Audi to be identified with," he said.


Image: Bapu's image makes campaigns click.

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In the 1990s, US-based Apple used Gandhi's meditating image to launch its Mackintosh range of computers.

"That's now a collectors's item," says Tushar adding even Telecom Italiato commercial using Gandhi's image helped it grab many awards.



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