Kathmandu, Sep 26 (Calcutta Tube) Ayurvedic giant Dabur India‘s subsidiary in Nepal, Dabur Nepal, has received an unexpected ‘divine’ boost after being targeted by a relentless smear campaign in the country.
Dabur Nepal’s Mango Nectar brand of fruit juice had been at the heart of a growing row with a section of Nepal’s media alleging that cartons had been found containing insects and other impurities.
The campaign was joined by Nepal’s opposition Maoist party, a section of lawmakers and some consumer groups.
However, on Friday, the Real brand got a shot in the arm after a weekly, the Nepali Times, carried a photograph showing one of Nepal’s ‘living gods’ sipping from a Real carton.
On Wednesday, Nepal celebrated Indrajatra, an ancient festival to appease the rain god, attended by the president of Nepal as well as foreign dignitaries.
During Indrajatra, Kumari, Nepal’s fabled Living Goddess – a pre-puberty young girl chosen and reared as an immortal – rides through Kathmandu in her chariot and is worshipped by devotees.
Also worshipped with the Kumari are Ganesh and Bhairav, two young boys worshipped as the gods of success and strength.
The Nepali Times published a photograph showing Bhairav peeping out at the crowds from the traditional palace of the child god, holding a small carton of Real in hand.
The providential support comes at a time Dabur Nepal itself has launched a media campaign against the slur.
In the first phase, advertisements featured Karishma Manandhar, one of Nepal’s best-known actresses, who said as a mother, she put her faith in Dabur Nepal’s fruit juices. The ad also prominently features the Mango Nectar drink.
The current phase of the ad campaign has roped in celebrated Nepali entrepreneur Min Bahadur Sherchan, founder of Bhat Bhateni, the mega department store in Kathmandu that is among one of the landmarks of the city.
The ad shows Sherchan saying he has been selling Real juices for 12 years and has faith in the brand’s quality.
The anti-Dabur campaign started after the company allegedly decided not to advertise with some media organisations.
It led to the Indian Embassy in Nepal issuing a statement, warning such vindictive gestures would deter Indian investors.
The warnings were repeated by the Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)