Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Marketing WTF: Häagen-Dazs

Via Times of India:

My friend Ramit (name changed on request) called me late Friday night. He sounded quite agitated. “You know, Haagen Dazs has opened its Delhi outlet”. I reacted with a joke. “Good, now you can spend a lot more on an ice cream than you normally would. But why are you agitated?”

“Because I am not allowed to enter”, he said. Now, Ramit is not like one of the politician’s son or into drugs, the sort who are often in news in India’s capital for all the wrong reasons, nor is he the kind who will shoot someone down because she refused to serve him a cone of ice cream.

He did not waste much time and said he has taken a picture and is mailing me the reason. I switched on my mail, and clicked on the attachment. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Was I in India, 62 years after gaining independence, and years after South Africa officially ended apartheid? The banners outside the outlet said: Exclusive Preview for International Travellers. And under that, in an even finer print, the real bombshell: Access restricted only to holders of international passports.

This raises a couple of questions. The lesser being how they would expect foreign nationals (of Indian origin or otherwise) to be carrying around their passports while strolling around a mall, in case they are asked to prove their nationality (unless they intend to judge nationality by appearance). The greater being why on earth a Häagen-Dazs franchise would make their first entry into the Indian market by specifically excluding Indian nationals.


  1. Mmmh, that might be one of these new 'Street Marketing' way to advertise fast and strong, moreover when you are in your first entry into a country market... I wouldn't have known about this franchise without this 'buzz'.

  2. Yeah, but I happen to believe that there IS such a thing as bad publicity.

  3. I agree, but good or bad, this doesn't seem to make the difference for them.
    Btw, I read that the banners had been removed a few hours after... just on time to allow the medias to begin the buzz...

  4. This is ridiculous...isn't that discrimination?