With the election campaign hotting up, party
supporters can be seen flaunting trademark AAP caps, NaMo T-shirts
bearing images of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi or
sipping coffee from a mug bearing a picture of smiling Congress
Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.

With the nine-phase Lok Sabha elections less than a fortnight
away, supporters are not shying away from wearing their political
preferences on their sleeves, with the trend catching the eye of
the young, the old and also those who want to make a style
statement. So, apart from T-shirts with catchy slogans, one can
buy cups, wall clocks, mobile covers and even laptop sleeves.
Saurabh Kochhar, co-founder at Printvenue.com, a web portal that
provides printing and stationery needs, said that the trend is
nothing less than “fantastic”.

“This reflects strong affiliations and the people are being so
vocal about it. So, you wear what you speak,” Kochhar, who has
sold customised poll merchandise like posters and mugs, said.“It
looks like we are slowly going the US way –you either support the
Republicans or the Democrats,” he added.

So now one can see slogans “Saara zamana hai AAP ka deewana”, “AAP
jaisa koi meri Dilli mein aaye toh baat ban jaaye”, “India First-
Youth for the Change” and “Main Nahi, Hum” boldly printed on wall
clocks, T-shirts, mugs, mobile covers and even laptop sleeves.

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Amit Kumar, a 28-year-old media professional, feels the trend
garnered huge response due to smart marketing coupled with the
need to flaunt your support.

“Smart marketing, coupled with the need to show your support like
they do in the US, has ensured that Modi jackets, (AAP leader
Arvind) Kejriwal mufflers and Rahul Gandhi’s patened ‘look’ find
takers across the country. As for the youth, they are the new
brand ambassadors it seems,” he said.

And cashing in on the growing trend are the various e-commerce
websites, with their target audience being those between 20 and
40.

“When Aam Aadmi Party came to power, the rules of politics were
redefined. Politics became the hottest topic of discussion among
youth. At that time we realised the potential for political fan
merchandise in India,” said Sahil Baghla, co-founder,
bluegape.com.

Bluegape, a customisation platform, is replete with political
merchandise with a caricature of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal
smiling at you on the website’s homepage. Baghla shared that
designers like TheFilmy Owl, K?N Balraj among others did the
designing for political merchandise.

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“We first understand the brand positioning and then design
merchandise around it. Manufacturing is done in-house,” Baghla
said.

Agreed Tony Navin, vice president – business development,
Snapdeal.com, an online marketplace, which started selling
election merchandise a few months ago.

“Due to the upcoming elections, we have seen a surge in sellers
who are looking to sell political party merchandise,” Navin
said.He added that though the site makes available products like
wall clocks, ipad and mobile covers, T-shirts remain the most
sought after product.

Interestingly, the sale trends reflect that Modi and Kejriwal
surge way ahead of Gandhi. According to Baghla, while NaMO
(Narendra Modi) merchandise is popular in cities like Mumbai and
Hyderabad, AAP wins in the national capital and Bangalore.

“In Hyderabad, out of 10,000 users, 8,360 users bought NaMO
merchandise. And in Delhi, out of 10,000 users, 7,165 users bought
AAP merchandise,” shared Baghla.

Baghla further revealed that 78 per cent of those opting for AAP
merchandise are males, while 87 per cent of those purchasing NaMo
products are also males.

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“About 68 per cent of AAP users are in the 20-28 age-group ,
whereas 63 per cent of NaMO users are in the 27-34 age-group,” he
explained.

For Madhur Dhyani, the trend is a welcome change.

“I have friends supporting a particular party, while I support the
other. We wear T-shirts and caps that reflect our respective
political preferences and indulge in healthy debate. It is all in
good spirit,” the 32-year-old engineer said.

Snapdeal , which started selling ‘NaMo’ brand of phones, is now
offering merchandise for followers of the Aam Aadmi Party. They
offer among other things wall clocks and covers for phones and
tablets. The platform claims to have seen a few-fold increase in
sales of political merchandise since the announcement of Lok Sabha
election dates.

Tradus seem to be the first one to be off the blocks when it
started retailing Aam Aadmi Jhadus (brooms) for Rs 5 each. It was
virtually a roaring success as nearly 2,000 brooms were sold in
the first couple of hours. #KhabarLive

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