Sunday, April 12, 2009

Uttarayan (Kite Festival) and Marketing.

If you grew up in Gujarat, India, one of your favorite festivals of the year is probably Uttarayan. Well lucky for me, it happened to be a much celebrated festival by the Gujarati community in Houston when I was growing up.

According to, Uttarayan (known as Makar Sakranti in other parts of India) is the day when the sun starts to travel northwards marking the decline of winter. The days become longer, the skies clearer and the breeze cooler.

Why am I posting about this? I was recently in Chinatown shopping randomly and came across a store that contained nothing but KITES. It was unbelievable, they had the most beautiful kites ever (see picture), and it jogged my memory of an event I use to look forward to every year (Btw... I suck at flying kites).

In the royal days of India, trained fliers were employed to fly kites for kings. Slowly, the art started becoming popular amongst the masses. Although we might think of kite flying as a leisure activity, in India (and other parts of the world), it is actually considered a sport in which you compete to "cut" another individuals kite string (this might sound familiar if you've read the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini).

Today, manufacturing kites is a serious business. It attracts big names in the corporate world as kites provide a cost-effective opportunity for branding.

Isn't that interesting? It's a great way to take advantage of air space, having your brand fly on millions of kites. Although kite flying is not as big in the US, it still might be a cool new marketing tactic to try, especially with the economy in shambles, and companies cutting marketing budgets like whoa.



  1. In high school geometry, one of our projects was to make a kite...and I learned so, so much. It seems simple enough, but getting a kite that you design from scratch to FLY - it's hard! A lot of my classmates had in mind to build really complicated kites (the 3D ones), but none of them took off.

    The aerodynamics of a kite always gets me. You need your equilateral triangles and perpendicular bisectors in there, perfectly calculated, for the damn thing to fly. And when it does fly, and fly HIGH, the tugging is one of the most OMG experiences I've ever had.

  2. More than just marketing! On kites and renewable energy: