People are dumbfounded at Kerala appointing retired tennis legend Steffi Graf as the state’s brand ambassador for Ayurveda. Aren’t there enough eligible Mallus in Malluland to promote Ayurveda? Why Graf when we have Sreesanth? (OK bad joke).
The reason is simple. She is selected to promote Ayurveda (and Kerala) outside India and not within the country. Kerala Tourism, the state’s tourism department whose ace marketing techniques (including the “God’s Own Country” tagline) have made the state a tourism superpower, have since inception focused on international tourists as their primary target audience, as their extensive ad campaigns abroad show. Domestic Indian tourists are not on their radar. When was the last time you saw a high-profile official advertising campaign for Kerala Tourism in India?
Ayurveda is a big, big thing in Germany, followed by the USA, and a large bulk of Ayurvedic and otherwise tourists to Kerala are from these two countries in addition to UK. And a huge chunk of these consist of people of Steffi Graf’s generation, which will make her the best target influencer. Since she is married to an American and lives in USA, two birds with one stone and all that.
To reiterate, Steffi Graf was chosen to promote Ayurveda and Kerala in the west and not in India, which clueless outragers seem to be oblivious of. And rest assured, she won’t be coming to India to promote Ayurveda here, nor will you be seeing any ads of her anywhere here. There is no need to outrage. This is real marketing (and foreign exchange earning), which most Indians unfortunately do not ‘get’.
Brilliant strategy. Now waiting for Andre Agassi to be appointed brand ambassador for Kalaripayattu.