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  • Suman Shrivastav

What standing in line @ PVR told me about Consumer Behavior

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

October 13, 2011

Day : Saturday

Time : 8:30 pm

Location : Ticket Line, PVR Phoenix Mills

The ticketing system at the counter was down for 15 mins so everyone, me included, waited (not so patiently). Standing next to me were the following people:

a) A middle aged couple (40-45 years old)

b) A young college girl (typical Xaviers’ look – denims slightly torn at the knee, a simple t shirt and a sling bag)

c) A group of 3 guys, not college kids but young, 25-28 years

Here is what all of us were choosing from:

a) The Girl in Yellow BootsA thriller tracing Ruth’s journey who comes to India to search for her father – a man she hardly knew but cannot forget. Without a work permit, desperation drives her to work at a massage parlor and hardships follow.

b) Mere Brother Ki Dulhan – Luv Agnihotri breaks up with his long-time girlfriend. Heartbroken he asks his younger brother Kush to find him an indian bride. Kush sets out on the mission to find his brother’s bride and finds Katrina Kaif only to fall in love with her himself. Confusion follows.

c) Bodyguard – Balwant Singh is Sartaj Ranas’ loyal and highly competent bodyguard. One night Balwant, along with his pregnant wife, get into a car accident. While Balwant dies on the spot his wife is rescued by Sartaj and she later gives birth to a child named Lovely. Lovely Singh grows up to be Sartaj’s daughter’s bodyguard. A complicated love triangle follows.

d) Contagion – A medical thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak.

As boredom threatened to take over, me and my friend started playing a small game – Match the Following. Who was going to watch which movie?

This was my guess.

Was I right? FAR from it. Here is what finally happened.

I was stumped. But as I thought about it a little more I realized that I had made the same mistake we make as Marketers everyday – Stereotyping. We assume that people who belong to the same demographics (age, gender, where they live – metros, small towns) will behave in a certain way.

This leads to broad conclusions like the ones I made – old people like ‘arty’ movies, Young girls watch movies for cute actors, Guys like action.

But the fact is that people from similar demographics sometimes make different choices and behave in completely different ways.

The answer is in HOW THEY THINK ie Psychographics.

As I put on my planner hat things became a little clearer. Lately we’ve (@MUL) been toying with defining consumers into two groups based on how they think.

Briefly put, we define ‘Bharat’ as people who are traditionalists and resist change while ‘India’ comprises of people who like to move ahead, welcome change and are prone to experiment.

And when I look at the above situation through this lens, things become a lot clearer.

Here is why each movie caters to either a Bharat mindset or an India mindset.

The Teenage Girl and the group of guys were INDIA while the middle aged couple was BHARAT and that explains their choices instead of their age or gender.

Had I taken the time to speak to these people for a little while or had I known them from before I would have known whether they had a ‘Bharat’ mindset or an ‘India’ mindset and my guesses would have been a lot closer if not complete accurate.

And no it isn’t magic.

All those who have looked at a piece of a clothing and said ‘My sis would love that’ or read a book and recommended it to a close friend with a ‘I’m sure you will love it’ know what I am talking about.

We have been able to make those statements with confidence not because we called those people and asked them what they like but because we know how they think and therefore can predict what they will like/dislike.

Anyway. Me and my friend were watching ‘Mere Brother ki Dulhan’ and even though the planner in me spent most of the movie trying to put together the above logic I enjoyed the movie thoroughly.

But then ofcourse I would. I’m so ‘Bharat’. ?

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