May 2, 2006

Honda Shine local launch

The culpritsYesterday, I had the rare privilege of visiting the Mumbai launch of the Honda Shine. A relatively low-key, low-class event organised by a bunch of dealers it would seem. Or at least, it seemed that they paid for it, at the behest of Hondas's regional sales team. It was held at Lotus Suites, a 5-star hotel near the Mumbai International Airport. At the roof top. My, that sounds cool. But it isn't. Because Mumbai is never cool. And second because if does nay matter if you switch off the twelve tall neon sign that looms over the proceedings and screams darkly,'Lotus.' A floating password to some sinister event in the middle of the dark sky...

The stage is set for the Honda ShineThe event began with a dapper (sic) young (sic) compere opening the proceedings with the usual blast of be-still-your-beating-hearts, never-befores and the like. In a dash of personally added enthusiasm, our man strayed from the type written script and claimed that the Honda Shine would satisfy every need of a motorcyclist. Not even the R1 does that, if you know what I mean...

Then came a really classy Honda AV on the Shine. Showing lots of young riders, all with Bajaj or similar motorcycles, and all complaining of either backache, or poor ride quality, or poor fuel economy or some such. They all buy Shines and live happily ever after. Except that the thing was shot before the bike was called the Shine, so everyone refers to the bike as MC-2. Which, come to think of it, is actually a better name than the one they picked. Never did take a shine to that name, heh heh.

The girls. And the boys, unfortunately
Then, inevitably, out came the dancing girls, followed shortly by the dancing boys. The speakers were turned up from ear-bleed to drum-explode, and the show was on. The photog they'd hired was having trouble, because the organisers were pumping enough smoke on to the stage to outdo one of our faded, old two-stroke rickshaws and sometimes, horror of horrors, the awestruck audience could not even see the girls. Big oops.

Then out out a box jumped the Shine, and after two confetti blasts (one of which nearly blew our compere apart), the girls did a jig around the bike. A few disappointed faces in the audience resulted, for the girls were now firmly behind the bike, rather than in front.

The girls hide behind the bike, much to the audiences display. Rider plays L-O-N-D-O-N statueOne of the first to book the Shine, even?Then, all the dealers were called on stage to give away 'Sucker!' bags to customers who were the first to book the bike, some long before the final specs or news came out, even. Trust, is a thing of wonder, really.

A hilarious vote of thanks rounded off the ceremony, with the poor chap sporting a Deepak Malhotra like voice (remember? 'Pallo!') and an accent born in deepest Gujarat. Sweet.

Then, and this does not happen at press conferences, the girls were called out from three back-to-back non-stop item numbers. A whole bunch of people cheered. This time round, the speakers were so loud, I swear I saw the huge neon sign rock in rhythm to it.

Job well done, yeah?I snuck out just before the official dinner call, which saw tumultuous mob of the recently suckered and other eminent guests head for the buffet, clutching the giveaway bag, which contained a six buck Honda baseball hat, a twenty buck t-shirt and a classy wooden key chain.

I gave the giveaway to office boys the next morning.

Other posts about
All the 125s: Table
Hero Honda Glamour FI: Release
Yamaha Gladiator: Images Launch Expo photos Expo text Compared to the Shine
Suzuki Heat: Expo text Expo photos Zeus Ride Report
Honda Shine: Mumbai launch TVC criticism Launch Compared to the Gladiator
TVS Victor Edge/GLX: Launch

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