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Posted on 03 August 2011
CULTURE & SOCIETY  
TELE-MARKETING

Yoga guru assumes tele-asana to sell yoga products

Illustration: Vikram Nongmaithem

Avesta Choudhary
New Delhi

Can there be a pill for success? Perhaps it is yet to come, however, selling performance-enhancing pills could definitely prove to be successful. And what better way could be to market one’s products through omnipresent mobile phones.

Around 103 products are on the offering, ranging from Rs 30 to Rs 499. The store has products for literally everything. From memory gaining syrup to stress relieving pills to weight loss pills and so on.

“We have never done rigorous marketing,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said about his modest approach to market his products. “We are conscious of product quality. Production is just sufficient to meet our in-house needs.”

Marketing Director of Telemarketing at Art of Living (AOL) Foundation, Prasana Prabhu said, "More than trying to sell the products and make profit our aim is to make people avoid popping pills for every small problem."

Joginder Sharma, a distributor of Sri Sri’s products in Safdarjung area of New Delhi said, “There are not more than three to four people who buy these products.”

There are more than 50 “divine shops” and over 100 distributors of such products in India. Products are sold under the category of yoga and ayurveda. The foundation claims its annual turnover is Rs 8 crore. In a world going crazy after yoga and ayurvedic products, the spiritual gurus are pitched against each other to sell their ware.

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Each yoga guru — Sri Sri Ravishankar or Baba Ramdev — subtly modifies elements in their products and services to make their brand ‘different’.

Prabhu said, “I would not like to compare the two. People who make these medicines in our foundation are those who do sadhana here. The potency of these medicines, which we make here is very high and really helps people.”

AOL has carved a niche for itself in countries outside of India with ardent followers swearing by Sri Sri’s philosophy. The sister concerns of AOL take care of exports.

A general secretary of India Pharmacological Society who did not want to be named said, “At present 60 to 70 per cent people depend on Ayurvedic medicines or other traditional medications. If the product has the tag of spiritual gurus like Sri Sri or Ramdev who are such impressive convincers the sale automatically increases.”

Avesta Choudhary is Trainee Correspondent with Tehelka.com.
avesta@tehelka.com


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Posted on 03 August 2011
 

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