Archies: The Way Indians Greet
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"It (Archies) is a phenomenon that touches your life from womb to tomb."
- An Archies Retail Outlet Owner, in December 2001.
A Company in Trouble!
In February 2002, the Delhi High Court dismissed an application for injunction filed by leading Indian greeting card and gift company, Archies Greetings & Gifts Ltd. (Archies). The company wanted a stop order to restrain Hindu fundamentalist groups - the Shiv Sena, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal - from 'interfering in the Valentine's Day celebrations and sales promotions in its showrooms and outlets.'
However, by late 2001, the company made archiesonline.com a paid service. Youhan Darrab Aria (Aria), Chief Officer (Logistics and Finance) of the portal commented, "E-commerce was not happening from our site as expected and ads were also not forthcoming. We wanted to increase our revenue and charging users was the solution." As expected, a large number of the 0.6 million registered users stopped using the service.
1] The fundamentalist groups claimed that the concept of Valentine's Day was against Indian culture and hence companies should not be allowed to use sexually explicit images/words and make money from it. Reportedly, these groups resorted to vandalism and violence in various parts of the country to stop celebrations associated with the day.
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