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October 27, 2001 - October 27, 2001

Have fun at IIM fair as corporates watch you Saturday, October 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Last year, while you were merely having fun at the Indian Institute of Management's marketing fair, Insight, major corporates were trying to put their finger on your pulse. What you thought was just an innocuous game, developed by students, was in fact a way for ICICI to test consumer attitudes to Net banking and peripheral financial services.

Other corporates, too, doing the same exercise. Procter & Gamble wanted to know how their traditional brand, Vicks, was perceived by housewives and mothers. Coca Cola, on the other hand, was looking for ways to increase share in eastern Ahmedabad, while ITC was working out feasibility of an office-to-office distribution model for enhancing sales and adding value to consumers. Britannia, Hometrade, Titan, NIIT, and Omega were other big names to take part in the fair.

Insight has become a major draw for many corporates to analyse buyer behaviour and customer-based brand equity in various product segments, test effectiveness of current product positioning and communication strategies, and gauge consumer preferences.

This year, however, the annual event will have a new feature; additional local flavour. To be held on November 4, the students are talking to at least 15 firms in Ahmedabad to persuade them to put up stalls.

"We have tried to rope in local firms to build up on the mela part of the fair," says co-ordinator Babitha George. "For the common man, research would not be of any interest. This will be just another fair where he can come and have fun with his family. So, it has been an interesting experience trying to find out what we can do in the confines of this fair to bring in the local crowd."

They are trying to get a few popular stores in the city, including restaurants, retail outlets and a multiplex, to put up stalls and come up with interesting crowd-pulling material, apart from the usual food and game stalls.

For the students, the focus will remain academic. The fair's primary advantage is its ability to elicit less biased responses from what researches call the 'target audience', by making research more fun for the respondent. "It offers us valuable learning in terms of qualitative market research. This is an excellent opportunity for us to find and test out what works with people, what would get them to come to a fair like this."

Adds Pramod Shenoi of the student activities cell, "Insight is a forum where students develop innovative methods to find solutions to various marketing research problems that companies have. Consumers are invited to play games. The behaviour that they display while playing these games is interpreted to understand their underlying preferences, which is then used to advise the company on solving the problem that it faces."

The exercise begins with a company presenting its research problems to the students. Student groups then make proposals outlining the approach that they would like to undertake. The company chooses the group that it perceives has the best approach. Later the groups do some exploratory research and, design the games they plan to administer at the fair.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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AMC officials raid sweet meat factory Saturday, October 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: In a bid to ensure hygienic sweets and snacks during the Diwali festival to citizens, AMC health officials on Thursday raided a sweet meat factory in Amraiwadi area reportedly selling adulterated eatables.

The officials seized 15,000 kilograms of sweets and snacks worth Rs 15 lakh from Jain Chavana Mart on Bhilwada road. The officials also took samples of the raw materials and oil used for the preparation of the edible products for testing.

"We came to know that the cooking oil used was collected from the offerings made at city temples. The oil had a mixture of 'sindoor'," Narendra Brahmbhatt, health committee chairman said.

The health officials seized 10 cans of adulterated oil, 30 cans of palmolein oil, sugar bags, chilly powder, turmeric powder and wheat flour from the factory premises.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Gujaratis put worries behind to rock 'n' roll Saturday, October 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Parul Patel (18) has blisters on her soles, her calf muscles are aching, lungs choked after taking in all the dust, eyes drooping with sleep and she has cut her wrist _ the culprit here was a broken bangle _ while dancing.

The 'fafdas' and 'jalebis' which her brother got early in the morning on Dussehra were the only consolation. But there is an emptiness after nine days of dancing as she watches the wooden stage erected for the orchestra in the compound of her high-rise apartment complex in Maninagar being dismantled.

Her next door neighbour Nanubhai Shah (70) is, however, pleased as punch that finally it's all over. He is also drowsy _ the sleeplessness caused by all the cacophony. Tonight, he will have a sound sleep. He won't have to park his car 400 metres away _ the parking lot had been turned into a dancing arena.

And Nanubhai won't have gaily-dressed strangers coming into the compound late in the evening, behaving as if the place belonged to them! Nor would his teenaged granddaughter insist on going barefoot to a Sarkhej club before quietly slipping back into the house in the wee hours.

The nine-day festivities split generations down the middle and it meant different things to different people. For some, it is the end of fun, frolic and freedom. For others, peace and sanity is finally here! On 'Navami' even the police relaxed their 1.30 am deadline and allowed the revellers to exhaust themselves till 5 am before reluctantly heading home.

Looking back, all apprehensions that the Afghanistan war, quake and recession would prove to be a damper on the festivities were rather unfounded. Gujarat was in full cry during the Navratris , albeit after a slow start, and the 10 pm ban on 'dandiyas' in Mumbai did help bring festivities in the native state to centre stage. The 'garbas' were performed at those very apartment complexes which were completely deserted after the quake. In Vadodara, the 'garba' venues were chock-a-block with enthusiasts that dancers were treading on each others toes.

And recession? Ask the promoters of Chameli 'machis', a new matchbox brand which rubbed shoulders with leading auto-makers and soft drink giants to catch the eye at venues which
had crowds of 20,000 plus on an evening. Even 'Kyunki Saas Bhi...' unfolded before empty drawing rooms and the exploits of Virender Sehwag against Kenya also went unnoticed because prime time TV programmes clashed with the celebrations. People were unconcerned about how many bombs Bush was dropping on Kabul, but were really bothered about where to get those free passes for the evening's best 'garbas'.

So what happens to Parul and Nanubhai next? Parul says she is looking forward to an encore during the 'Sharad Punam garba' next week before finally stashing away the 'chania cholis' in the closet. And Nanubhai hopes that the next biggest threat to his eardrums _ the Diwali crackers _ would be a mute affair, going by the Supreme Court's 10 pm ban.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Petrol pump gutted in mysterious fire Saturday, October 27, 2001

VADODARA: A mysterious fire broke out at Swagat petrol pump near Sarabhai office in the wee hours of Friday. Though no casualty was reported, the petrol pump was completely gutted. Fuel stock worth lakhs of rupees was destroyed in the fire.

Police suspect that the fire broke out when a tanker allegedly filled with solvent was emptying its contents in one of the underground tanks at the petrol pump. However, this theory is yet to be fully established even as the petrol pump owners have refuted the charges of 'solvent tanker' emptying its contents. The petrol pump owners have said that it was a petrol tanker which emptied its contents.

"We are working on this theory. However, we have registered an offence against the petrolpump owners for ignoring safety standards and risking the lives of people in the vicinity," Sayajigunj PI M S Patel said.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Music band contest prior to film release Saturday, October 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: E-City Entertainment(I) Pvt. Ltd. has announced the nationwide Indi-Pop Band Competition under the promotional campaign preceding the launch of the movie Tere Liye.

The contest is open to all music groups playing as a band and entries could be sent in the form of a recording to E-City by November 7. Six bands will be short listed and invited to play at a gala event to be held at Fun Republic.

The winning band gets an opportunity to perform live at two public shows and may also get a commercial break with a music company to cut their own album if the selection is of exceptional quality.

Commenting on the release of Tere Liye, Zee's first movie after Gadar, E-City Films Head, Ajay Gupta said, "We hope that Tere Liye, the movie about a music group, shall encourage lot of passionate Indi-Pop music bands to take part in this contest. The idea behind it is to unearth music talent which has the potential to be India's next Silk Route."

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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