Of late, ads from The Hindu have created a lot of buzz – the previous campaign took a stand against junk news consumption. The taunts against the Page 3 culture of The Times of India may be seen by some as a holier than thou attitude of The Hindu. The ‘Behave yourself, India. The youth are watching‘ ad released by The Hindu last year, went on to become a viral hit. What worked was the surprise element – the juxtaposition of a classroom with our parliament and the rowdiness which immediately follows the request for ‘proper parliamentary behaviour’.
So in a way, this year’s campaign from The Hindu was a hard act to follow. The TV spot takes forward the ‘Behave yourself India’ idea. However, I felt the spot lacked the surprise element and subtlety of the last year’s spot. For example, did they really the need the dialogue to spell out things towards the end? Even a super saying ‘preparing for the parliament session’ would have sufficed. To that extent, the ad suffers from sequel trouble, where the original sets ups expectations and forces people to make a comparison, often unfavourably.
The print ads take a different approach, keeping in mind the campaign possibilities in social media. The ads urge readers to pose questions with the hashtag #DearMrPolitician on Twitter. The questions pertain to issues of concern to the common man and are framed in a fairly direct (non-offensive), straightforward manner.
Siddarth Varadharajan, editor, The Hindu, says:
Our campaign shines a light on the errant and discourteous politician, wedded to privilege and power, whose fate now lies in the hands of voters, many of whom are young and who will be exercising their franchise for the first time.”
I doubt if the questions will make a material difference to the lives of our thick-skinned politicians. But the #DearMrPolitician hashtag has potential to create buzz on Twitter where some famous politicians (and party mouthpieces) are active. Also it does create talking point around ‘The Hindu’ brand.
Do comment in with your thoughts on the campaign.