Ushering in 2015 with a bang!

(Article published in Hindustan Times Next) We are halfway through the cold month of December and the new year is just a couple of weeks away. London is one of the many cities across the world that welcome the new year literally with a bang, by organising massive firework displays at the city’s centre. Running in their eleventh year now, London’s new Year eve’s fireworks are a sight to behold and remain etched in one’s memory forever. Every year since 2003, the mayor of London organises a spectacular firework display on New Year’s eve around the London Eye alongside river Thames, overlooking the British parliament and the famous clock tower Big Ben located across the river. The cold and often rainy weather that is typical around this time of the year does not dampen visitors’ enthusiasm who usually start gathering near the venue to block a good viewing spot from late afternoon onwards. The fireworks are launched from and around the London Eye as the Big Ben strikes midnight. It is difficult to describe the scale of the show but imagine watching grand and colourful fireworks taking over the clear winter night sky as far as you can see. The sight is overwhelming to say the least and evokes a multitude of emotions at the same time. Given its popularity, the event has emerged as a unique space for companies to experiment with creative marketing concepts. For instance, last year’s display was promoted as the world’s first multisensory event where flavours and aromas of fruits were infused in the form of mist and snow over thousands of the people in order to create an association between firework colours and tastes. Vodafone had partnered with the organisers of London’s New year fireworks to create the theme as an effort to promote one of their initiatives. Newspapers reported that nearly 12,000 individual fireworks were set off during the 11 minute display last year, costing the organisers nearly £2 million. As many as 500,000 visitors are believed to have gathered around the venue last year. Nearly 14 million viewers watched the event live on BBC channel. To control the rush, a £10 (Rs 1000) ticket was introduced this year and almost all of 1,00,000 tickets are believed to have been sold out. While some question the big spending for this show in times of austerity, most people feel a sense of pride to watch their country host the spectacular fireworks show that evokes feelings of all things positive.
December 2014
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