As India went into a border standoff with China, terms like ‘Galwan’, ‘Pangong’, and ‘Finger 5’ became household names which were earlier heard only by people involved or defence experts. It would not be wrong to say that these terms have an emotional connection attached to them for Indians. A Delhi-based shoe company came up with an unique idea to cash in on. It has launched a range of winter shoes named after these terms and this shoe range is gaining popularity across the Kashmir Valley.
The company advertised heavily in the Valley’s widely circulated English and Urdu newspapers showcasing its new range with models named after conflict zones including ‘Galwan’, ‘Doklam’, ‘Kargil’, ‘Pangong’, and ‘Point 5’ among others.
Wasif Ahmad, owner of a shop in Srinagar, says the marketing has definitely boosted sales. He said that the branding generates curiosity among the buyers and draws attention. Generally, the people of Kashmir are news enthusiasts and they find familiarity among these names.
Sajad Ahmad, a gym trainer, said that everyone has heard of ‘Galwan’ all through the year on the television, and have been aware of a bloody conflict between India and China, which has been cause of death of many soldiers on both the sides. When people get to flaunt shoes of the same name, it has an appeal.
The company which makes these shoes has set up special outlets in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag and Sopore and Kupwara in north Kashmir.
Hilal Ahmad, owner of Kohinoor Footwear in Pulwama, said that the names of these shoes attracted customers, especially youth, in the town. A salesman at his shop remembers that a customer said that buying these shoes reminds him of Ladakh, which was once a part of the erstwhile state and is now a separate Union Territory.
The brand’s strategy of hitting people’s emotions is seeming to be working considering the fact that the company has witnessed a spike in sales since the brand was launched in 2014 in J&K, especially in the rural areas of the Valley.
Pawan Kumar Lakra, Delhi-based proprietor of the shoe company, told The Hindu that there is a tendency among Indian companies to name brands after borrowed foreign names. He decided to name the range of shoes after the popular parts of India like ‘Doklam’, and ‘Galwan’. He believes that the quality of his shoes is attracting the customers but the branding is also helping locals to connect with it.