The Egg-scape

I remembered this interesting technique I saw quite a few years ago... this was back when I was a teen (I DID say quite a few years ago!). I was a helping my Mum in the kitchen and we were going to make Deem'r Daalna - a Bengali gastronomical delight of Eggs in a spicy sauce. You had to boil the eggs first, so I reached out to get some eggs. Back then, eggs were stored in square plastic cases, that held 12 eggs at a time. So I got the eggs out, balancing them precariously, when I noticed something on each egg. No, not yucky muck - it was actually something printed on the egg shells.

So I set down all but one egg and looked closer. What I saw made me smile and marvel at the idea :-) Printed in light blue, was the name of a local store, followed by a line announcing a Sale with x% off. This store carried every rainbow-colored-dream an Indian woman might wish to drape herself in - the Sari. And the Indian festival season was soon going to grip the whole country - a time when most folks make some fabulous and often annual additions to their wardrobes. So here was this store, delivering it's message - directly to the person it wished to woo - Women. Now don't get all 'equal opportunity' on me - the time I am referring to (and even today, by large) it is the woman who does most of the cooking in Indian kitchens).

My verdict: 5 out of 6 stars
I think this was a brilliant idea - and I wonder why we never saw more of this medium being used? Brilliant, because it was totally unique - up until 2000 (which is one I moved to the US), I never saw any sort of messaging on individual items meant for mass consumption. Also, it zeroed-in on the Target Audience with pin-point accuracy. The timing was perfect, thus compounding the impact of the message by delivering it at a relevant time (the annual Sale to coincide with the festival season). And BEST of all - the medium (the egg shells) are 100% biodegradable! Does not get better than that!

Few reasons why I am withholding the last star on this idea: I have no data on how cost-effective this technique might have been - you have to factor in the risk of breaking the shells while imprinting messages... Also, I have no idea if the dye used was safe for use on eggs - who knows if it permeated thru the shell and contaminated the eggs? Of course, we had no ill-effects from eating the Deem'r Daalna that day, but still... Another thing was the hue of the dye - it was hard to see against the white and did not pop the message right out at you (may be they used the light dye because it was safe to use on eggs??? Don't know).

Overall tho a simple, brilliant idea that will permanently stay in my mind!


Harini said...

How did you manage posting it at 6.53am??

I like this one ! I think it was a brilliant idea, wonder how many people actually walked in the store with the sale% coupon(or was it only an info and not a coupon?) But it was good...

Keep writing.

archita dasgupta said...

I have no idea where the timestamp came from – but rest assured – it does NOT represent where the sun was in my time zone :-)

No, there was no coupon, just info. on x% off. It would have been interesting to see the Conversion rate, but then again the logistics of Customers bringing in the eggs or egg shells might have been a bit of a challenge :-) But while I still lived in India - and on recent trips - I have not seen a whole lot of use of coupons... A sale is a sale, and the discount is extended to everyone who makes a purchase during that period... Some stores – like Shoppers’ Stop – have started to offer loyalty points, but I cannot remember seeing the use of coupons really.

Which brings up an interesting contrast: In the US (and other countries too, I am sure), one sees the concept of 'swipe your key-card and get an extra y% off if you are a member', especially in grocery stores – where one would buy the ‘FMCG’ type products (food, detergents, bath items, creams, first-aid and OTC stuff, stationery etc...). In these cases, the ‘free’ (in many cases) membership allows marketers to actually collect data in exchange for the discounts they are extending to buyers. The widespread prevalence of such memberships in countries like the US is feasible in large due to the extensive use of UPC codes in product/ produce labels and UPC scanners at the check-out. The main intent though is data to establish and track consumer buying patterns – so it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison of the Egg-scape, I admit…

It would be great to get the insight of someone currently living in India, on the subject of sales/ coupons etc., wouldn’t it? Thanx for the encouragement :-)

Neel said...

This is a terrific & effective idea especially for localized marketing. I remember having used this "advertising on egg" method during campaigning for our institute president at our B-school. At the crack of dawn, we used our mess/cafeteria secretary to gain access to the egg store. We then used sketch pens to write "vote for so&so" on every egg. During breakfast, the students were supposed to pick up an egg and walk to the cooking area to have the egg made the way they liked. It worked beautifully - come breakfast time, the campaign message was there for anyone who had egg that day.

archita dasgupta said...

:-)) That's a neat idea! Esp. if you did not have to pay to put your message on the egg.

One thing that just struck me though is that the egg precludes all non-egg-itarians... While the novelty if the idea still would help in a college setting (word-of-mouth about the neat idea), I wonder what the store with the Saris did about that?