Cashing in on Indian politician Narendra Modi with themed-phones

With the BJP party's Narendra Modi securing his candidacy for the upcoming 2014 general elections in India, it was only a matter of time before political propaganda material was to be produced. But a Gujarat-based group has taken it to another level.
Written by Nitin Puri, Contributor

Gujarat is also the Indian state Narendra Modi is from, and currently he is also the Chief Minister there, where he enjoys a large following, constantly expanding with his rallies across the country.

So perhaps it's no surprise that a Gujarat-based group has decided to cash in on the sudden fame by introducing not one, but two, Narendra Modi-themed smartphones. According to The Times of India, they are called SmartNamo Saffron One and SmartNamo Saffron Two. The Saffron One comes in both a 16 GB and 32 GB variant, priced at 18,000 rupees (US$290) and 23,000 rupees (US$371). Available for delivery by the second week of October, both devices run the Google Android 4.2 platform with a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor.  It also comes with 2 GB of RAM, a front camera of 5 MP and a rear camera of 13 MP. Great to take pictures of the man himself, I would imagine.

Narendra Modi-themed smartphone on sale.
Narendra Modi-themed smartphone on sale. (source: smartnamo.com)

The Saffron One will have a 5-inch IPS screen with 1920 X 1080 pixel resolution, and will be available in either black or white. Other standard connectivity features include 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi, BlueTooth, and microUSB. As for the Saffron Two, the screen will be 6.5 inches, making it one of the largest displays currently available, with 1920 X 1080 pixel resolution, and internal storage of 32 GB.

Great, so now we know details and specs of the phones: what's the relation to Modi? Simply branding and marketing. Both phones come preloaded with apps, wallpapers, and videos related to Modi. If you think about it, any diehard Modi fan could simply download all of this content and store it on their phones.

Furthermore, while a different and unique idea, it's not officially endorsed by Team Modi, but then at the same time, are they really going to oppose it? Certainly not; the more exposure, the better, more so as Modi is quite active on social media, especially Twitter. Speaking of which, the name SmartNamo was chosen as Modi is commonly referred to as NaMo on social media, Na for Narendra and Mo for Modi.

So let's say people go out and buy these phones, in support of Modi. What happens next year if he loses? Will people simply stop using these phones or throw them away? By the same token, if he wins, the exact opposite could happen and these phones produced by the Smart Namo group and Gujarati businessmen could be onto something that could set the precedent for other elections across India. Not to be undone, the group admitted they got their idea from China, after seeing MP3 players and smartphones branded with their leaders' names. Novel idea, but clearly, not unique. 

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