Saregama Carvaan: Tuning in to Nostalgia

Ashutosh Wakankar Design as Innovation

Saregama’s Carvaan offers customers a musical trip down memory lane while creating a relevant niche for itself in the present.

Somewhere in Indore, 67-year-old Pratap Deshmukh sits on his teak armchair to digest his dinner. To aid the process, he reaches out to his transistor and switches on his favourite programme – Binaca Geetmala. Amin Sayani’s dulcet tones set the context for the best songs of July 1975. Incongruously, the calendar on the wall is of 2017.

Inspired by the Past

The constitutional Emergency of 1975 has receded into the hoary past of Deshmukh’s youth, but why should he be denied the pleasure of revisiting a simpler time? Thinking thus, Saregama has launched its alluring new product – the Saregama Carvaan.

Equipped for the Present

Saregama Carvaan looks, feels and behaves like a transistor of yore. It is a storehouse of 5000 songs dripping with nostalgia and can serve up these melodies as per the mood of the listener. To convince us that we’re living in today’s digital age, the deliberately chunky product comes equipped with a USB port, an FM radio facility and Bluetooth features.

Packaging Nostalgia

Mr Deshmukh’s son gifted him this product during his last visit home. Ever since, the 300+ HD channels of the household cable go unwatched. Like Paperboat, which replicated the nostalgia and wholesomeness of age-old beverages, Saregama seems to have found a winning way to productize their database of songs.

As a brand consultant, I’m keen to see the emergence of more brands that have the soul of the past with the relevance of the present. Our pre-globalization consumption patterns throw up an untapped array of enduring cultural motifs that can be used for effective brand building and a superior customer experience.

Those who create such products realise serendipitously that their market is much larger than the ripening generations. Great content and packaging appeals across segments.

An Idea That Resonates

Nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than in literature. Some of the best-known Indian English writers of this generation write mythological fiction with a modern twist. Thus, Shiva experiences moral dilemmas and Sita is a feminist. Which makes one wonder: can Amar Chitra Katha revamp its delivery mechanisms to hold ground against the invasion of Disney and Marvel?

Perhaps we will re-experience the rotary phone, the tin geometry box, the sweet-and-sour candy and many such products. And if organisations operating in these spaces decide to build a nostalgic experience, they can take inspiration from Saregama’s Carvaan – price it low and design it without frills.

Because in the special space in our hearts where the past resides, we want things to be simple and authentic.

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