Call it social message, public service endorsement or simply a campaign, the private channels would start airing public service ads. Supported by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the first set of public service ads has been devised around the theme of communal harmony, called ‘Stop The Hatred: I’m an Indian’. This theme will run for six months (July to December), and then another would be worked out.
The four 30-second spots, that have been made so far in the ‘Stop The Hatred’ series, feature superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, among others.
Produced by Rohena Gera, ‘Stop the Hatred’ campaign is also being shown in cinemas nationwide. Sponsorship by Bajaj Auto covered the production costs of these ad films.
In one of these ads, Amitabh Bachchan strikes a rapport with the viewers as he goes, “Main Vijay hoon, main Anthony hoon, main Iqbal hoon, main Amitabh Bachchan hoon, main ek Hindustani hoon...” And then Zakir Hussain asks: “Saaz ka koi dharm nahin, sangeet ka koi dharm nahin, to ansuon ka kya dharm hai?”
These public service ads are being seen as a significant development in the industry, as these may set a trend for the times to come. With liquor and tobacco advertising on TV being banned in all forms, there could be a possibility of public service ads getting sponsored by liquor/tobacco companies. But the government has not yet given a go-ahead to broadcasters on such a proposal yet.