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BBC World Service Trust stimulates people to talk on taboo issues with contest

07-December-2007
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BBC World Service Trust stimulates people to talk on taboo issues with contest

BBC World Service Trust has launched a contest ‘Jo Bola Wohi Sikander’, to stimulate conversation among men about any taboo topic. The contest will take place in the four states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. BBC World Service Trust, which is the charitable arm of the BBC, specialises in development communications, and has been implementing health campaigns in India.

The contest, which kickstarted on November 30, will go on till December 20, and is targeted at 50 million men of the four states through the mass media campaign. The strategy is to get men to talk by providing a stimulus, which is a riddle. The participants will be given a local number to call and on giving the correct answer, the lucky winners will receive mobile phones with free talk time – prizes that are also linked to ‘talking’. The contest is part of a two-and-half year project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Commenting on the initiative, Radharani Mitra, Creative Director, BBC World Service Trust, said, “The strength of the creative idea behind this campaign is that instead of an ad that tells people to talk, it actually stimulates them to talk. We believe the riddle posed in the advertisements is sufficiently enticing and tricky, such that people would have to talk about it with their friends in order to arrive at the answer.” Mitra further said that the image of a parrot as the campaign mascot, as it symbolised talking and smartness the two vales of the campaign.

According to Mitra, a 360-degree campaign has been launched for the contest, with visibility on TV, radio; outdoor, which would include hoardings, bus and train panels and kiosks; cinema; and print. On-ground activation with malls and video van activities, whereby leaflets will be distributed and participation will be facilitated, have also been lined up.

BBC World Service Trust has also produced a show for Doordarshan ‘Jasoos Vijay’, as well as a campaign ‘Haath se Haath Milaa’ that featured over 40 Bollywood filmstars and over 30 public service advertisements, for the national public broadcaster channel.

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