Thursday, 21 April 2016

Are you with the brand managers of Shiva Pale Ale?

Let me start with an interesting incident from the Shiva Purana, one of the 18 genre of Sanskrit texts in Hinduism.

When the gods and demons were churning the ocean (Samudra Manthan), Halahala (deadly poison) was produced and its venomous poison started killing both the gods and demons. To save them from the consequences, Shiva drank the poison. 

A can of  Shiva Pale Ale. From Anand Chaudhary's Facebook post.

Now let me relate this with Asheville Brewing Company’s Shiva India Pale Ale.

I came to know about this after one of my friends posted a picture of the ale can in his Facebook timeline. As soon as saw the image, I was scouring the Internet to know more about the drink.

Here is what I found.

The brewing company’s website says:
A crisp, citrusy India Pale Ale with a light color, Shiva will destroy all your preconceptions of an I.P.A. A transcendentally simple malt bill accents a generous helping of Columbus hops, lending an intense floral aroma with hints of grapefruit and a pleasant bittering quality. Your palette will be lifted to higher planes of consciousness with a bittersweet finish.
It seems the brand managers in the West have a fascination with Hindu gods. Earlier, owing to protests from Hindus, Burnside Brewing Company, a Portland-based American brewery, postponed the limited release of "Kali-Ma Beer" in 2012.

Rajan Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, had called for an apology and the removal of Shiva’s image from the ale’s packaging.

Likewise, a petition was filed in for the removal of Shiva’s image from the beer bottles and cans.

So, while knowing the consequences, why are brands created around religion?

Is it the fascination for the powerful gods as described in the holy books? Or is it all about cooking a controversy and build a brand around it?

For me, the first and foremost thing, it gives the brand a strong personality and it’s easier to explain the product benefits.

Shiva, the god of gods, connotes power and the drinker (if he or she knows about Shiva) would be elated to grasp a can of beer named Shiva. For those who don’t know anything about Shiva, it’s always some fascinating Hindu god. And obviously, it fascinates the drinker. But for Hindus, using the image of a revered god is a complete No-No.

So, did you get the message?

Be cautious and respect others’ sentiments before creating a brand around gods and goddesses.  

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