Invariably, there is a multilateral spin to the brainstorming sessions in the universal township of Auroville.
So, when Stephan Himmer who manages Auroville’s online storeauroville.comwanted to expand its social media footprint beyond the Facebook wall, the project soon grew into a multilateral effort with friends, volunteers and well-wishers from overseas, including Germany and the Netherlands, pitching in with ideas and technical expertise.
Fashioned out of this collaboration, auroville.com recently launched its own channel on YouTube (https://
The Auroville online store has debuted on YouTube with a 30-second promotional which is as quirky as it gets.
This is perhaps the first proper promotional clip coming out of the experimental township, Mr. Himmer reckons.
The tongue-in-cheek short (https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=D6OQYsIjuFA) features a young shopper with gift-wrapped boxes dodging cows and bristles, stumped by perplexing terrain, and enduring wind and rain.
“It’s a jungle out there, be safe, order onauroville.com”, the voiceover says before the closing shot shows the same shopper in a state of meditative heaven surrounded with Auroville products, which she no doubt purchased hassle-free through the online store.
The promotional was produced by Luise, a German who has spent the last few months as volunteer in Auroville.
“We have also uploaded an abridged 15-second clip of the video on Instagram,” says Ms. Luise, who also has plans to launch a blog for auroville-online.
“The idea is to convey the message that it is possible to collect all kinds of products and get them shipped from the comfort of one’s home,” she said.
The storyboard was conceived by Lisa, a production professional in Netherlands. Aurovillian Jeevatma was more than willing to play the hassled shopper’s part in the video.
Stephan Himmer’s brother Holger Jetter, a musician, and his associate Tina Suchanek composed an original background score at their Sunshine Music recording studio in Auroville.
The voiceover is by Thomas Eckelmann, who dubbed for French actor Pierre Brice in the Winnetou movies featuring the fictional Native American hero created by best-selling German writer Karl May.
The video shot in a high-definition camera was ready in a single session lasting for about four hours.
And, they didn’t have to look beyond sylvan Auroville to pitch the story’s “jungle” setting.
The YouTube entry followsauroville.comlaunching a Twitter handle as well as Instagram and Pinterest accounts.
These social media moves reflect the new ways in whichauroville.comis reaching out to the world.
In fact, it has always connected with the distant world than the domestic market since its launch in 2008 with hardly 20 per cent of the product range it now displays on its virtual showcase.
Of late, though, the thrust has been on focusing on potential buyers in India.
The team in charge of the unit processes purchase orders originating in overseas destinations such as France, Germany, Russia and cities across the US as well as cities all over India.
Today, the enterprise liaisons with more than 30 manufacturing units in the universal township and also handles customer experience management, from order confirmation through real-time consignment location updates and delivery at the doorstep.
The products range across books, body care, spirulina and jam varieties, homeware, children’s gifts and greeting cards.
“The bottom line of our social media ventures is certainly to direct more traffic to our online store,” said Mr. Himmer.
“We would be happy if more people who landed on our store through our social media platforms eventually ended up buying our product. But, we wouldn’t be disappointed if they didn’t. For us, it is good enough if people paid a visit and had fun exploring what we do,” he said.
As he put it,auroville.comis not merely an e-commerce portal; it is as much a virtual window to the concept of Auroville itself.
It’s produced by a German who has spent the last few months as volunteer in Auroville