Sanjeev Kotnala: Not Just a Silly Envelope

23 Dec,2015

By Sanjeev Kotnala


I have started liking Indigo as an airline. They have business like efficiency and humane behaviour. The planes are neat and clean. The stark blue spruced up seats welcome you. There is no garbage and the support craft always smiling. They keep you busy by sharing irrelevant information as what city the Pilot belongs to and what languages the hostess can speak. But some how you start liking them.



The food service is nice. You can preselect your options before boarding or you can make your mind referring to the last section of the magazine that is always there in the seat pocket.  Everything seems nice. The brand blue with the 21 dotted plane, the trivia on the sandwich boxes and the reusable cookie boxes everything seems to be in sync. It would be good if they update the trivia on the boxes frequently and have some sandwich options without corn.


But, I am not complaining, if there was a loyalty card in Indigo, I would have signed for the membership.


This time, while flying Mumbai–Nagpur I decided to change the regular jungle sandwich I have been ordering as breakfast. Scanning the list in addition to veg biryani etc. what caught my attention was the Samosa.


“It will be cabin temperature sir,” the smiling hostess informed me.


“It’s Ok”. I could have eaten it frozen old for that smile.


I got my two pieces of samosa in a paper envelope. I liked it- sandwich in folded paper packs, cookies in reusable cylindrical boxes and samosa in paper bag. Someone was really particular about things. Close inspection showed that the bag was reprinted paper image and not the real newspaper for originality; I would have preferred the actual newspaper. The lead in the ink and mixing with food was not a problem as the packs were laminated form inside. But printing had the advantage, the additional information about content – cost and nutrient values were printed in the pack this avoiding need for additional sticker.


I was enjoying the packaging and the detail the agency and client had looked at. It was all-good, till I started reading the news item on the pack. And then I realised in all its fineness and originality- in the marketing scheme of things- it was just a silly envelope for samosa. And surely after concept has been approved, no one had given thought to the final content that will feature in that reprinted newspaper packs that are stamped ‘ Chandani Chowk to the sky ‘.


How tough was it to get it right. How could someone go wrong? Wrong or right is any way subjective. And that is for you to decide.


The pack that I got- had an article titled ‘With time the relationship will improve’ – by an ex-test cricketer. Then just above where they mentioned MRP and nutritional values it read ‘ they use this for the terrorism acts in India and other countries- so does it men we…’ Somewhere else it said ‘The situations between the two countries is not conducive enough for cricket’. And right next to it ‘the common man in India believes that any money secured by any means that reaches Pakistan is used for terrorism in Indian and other countries. So, how will BCCI explain providing Pakistan such funds raised by cricketseries’? The side sleeve of the packet talks of ‘The fear of hell in heaven’.


I am sure this is not a packet that Indigo really wants people to read while they are being served at 34000 feet. Any thing better feature-oriented that could bring smile would be better. Otherwise I have every reason to appeal that there is sheer discrimination. Rest all of the food items have their own colour packaging- it is only the Samosa served at cabin temperature that has to do with black & white envelope with a blue brand sticker closing the pack.


Indigo can change the envelope and gets some good positive news or some humour feature instead of terrorism. Having my favourite Kangana Ranuat image may even help acceptance of cabin temperature samosas.


It is consistency, innovation and service that make a brand. And Indigo is doing damn good work. So, this small lapse in judgement or oversight hurts. No element is small or big. Everything that the brand uses to interact with its customers is important- even this silly envelope.


I wait for the day when some brand will use these paper envelopes for promotion and change the game.


Sanjeev Kotnala with 28 years of corporate experience is the Founderof Intradia World. A Brand, Marketing & Management Advisor, hefocuseson IDEATION (Harvest and Liberate) and INNOVATION (InNoWait) process and workshops. He is devoted to enhancing human potential. He is also a certified Life & ‘Mid life transition’ tweet @s_kotnalaweb:,


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