By Ruchika Kher
New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) While political parties are gearing up for elections to the 15th Lok Sabha, garnering the attention of the people are thought-provoking and crisp television ads urging them to vote -- and vote responsibly.
Campaigns like Lead India 09, Tata Tea "Jaago re" and UTV Bindass "Ungli Utha Vote Kar" are aimed at motivating Indians to vote in the coming elections starting April 16.
These campaigns have assumed significance, given the fact that a huge chunk of voters prefer to stay away from polling booths.
"The whole initiative of the Lead India campaign is to raise the abysmal level of basic citizen knowledge about the working of the world's largest democratic polls and thus making the common man feel more in charge of his and the nation's destiny," Taproot India Chief creative officer Agnello Dias told IANS.
"The irony is that one of the most intelligent gene pools in the world knows more about IT, science, markets, economics, culture and other things than how their own future is decided every five years. So no criminals, voting and voting right, these are all different legs of the campaign," he added.
Dias along with partner Santosh Padhi was the creative mind behind the campaign that shows a number of people taking a vow to vote this year against injustices and corruption.
With a change in people's mindsets and a growing urge to be more participative, especially after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, there wouldn't have been a better time to give airtime to ads which stimulate the feeling that one should vote.
Also, these ads that primarily target youth reaffirm the growing dominance of the youth population of the country.
According to Zarina Mehta, CEO, Bindass, 30 percent of the voting base of India is constituted by its youth (aged 18-30).
"We believe that it is the young people who have the power to transform society with their passion and energy and we want to provide them the opportunity to do so," she said.
"There were two reasons why we decided to come up with the UTV Bindaas "Ungli Utha Vote Kar" ad. First when 26/11 happened it created a huge change in the attitude of young India who realised that they have to be more involved.
"The second was that at the Gateway of India rally that took place, we saw that youth is misdirected. They were blaming others, not realising their responsibility. There is a quote by Mahatma Gandhi: 'Be the change you want to see in the world'. We wanted them to realise this and vote sensibly and responsibly," added Mehta.
The idea for the UTV Bindass campaign was given by Bollywood actor John Abraham who also stars in the commercial, and it was given body by the in-house creative team of Bindass.
The fact that ads around the theme of elections get tremendous mileage is not unknown, an apt example being the Idea cellular "Janta ki awaaz" campaign that stars Abhishek Bachchan and is hugely popular. The ad not only stressed on the subject of democracy but also did wonders for the brand.
The Tata Tea "Jaago Re" campaign which started with the common man questioning politicians about their capabilities, popularised the need to vote in their second continuation ad, changing the way a tea brand was positioned in the market.
"The 'Jaago re' ads we created were completely for the brand Tata tea. Since in the first ad of the series we asked questions to the politicians, the second ad of the campaign was about making people realise that if they want change then they should go and make a responsible choice. They should awaken to the situations around them," explained Tarun Chauhan, executive creative director, Lowe.
"We wanted to take Tata Tea, a tea product, to another level. Tea as a category for years has been a wake up product. We changed that, conceptualised ads that had an idea - not just wake up with a cup of tea but awaken.
Tata Tea has also tied up with Janagraha, a Bangalore-based NGO working on urban governance, to convert the ad into a nationwide voter registration drive.
(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)