Skymet Weather has launched a heart wrenching campaign titled #HelpTheFarmer which aims at reaching out to the masses in order to spread awareness about farmer suicides in India. The video has captured the insight that unusual weather patterns and aberrations lead to myriad problems for the country. One pressing issue which surfaces every year is that of farmers’ suicides.
Through this initiative, it hopes to inform and educate the Indian farmer and populace about weather and its implications on the country as a whole. As per the information available on the company’s website, farmers’ suicides in India are directly and/or indirectly related to the failure of monsoon. The numbers were at a staggering high in 2012 when 13,754 farmer suicides were reported by the National Crime Records Bureau of India. Mass farmer suicides in the country are mainly attributed to the unpredictable nature of Monsoon rains. But this problem can be tackled at a certain level, by the timely dissemination of such information which can actually help save lives. Skymet Weather is a weather forecasting and monitoring company which measures, predicts, and limits climate risk to agriculture.
KV Sridhar aka Pops, Chief Creative Officer, Sapient Nitro found the campaign to be a brilliant piece of work because it has got insights from the lives of real farmers and not an outsider’s view. “It has beautifully captured the vulnerability of families if the bread earner commits suicide. The fear whether there will be good monsoons, if they will be able to pay off their debts and whether their loved ones will survive this year. The beauty of the story however lies in the end, when the girl is hiding the rope, because she is in the constant fear that her father will also commit suicide.”
He further added, “The duration of the story, however could have been a little shorter. Right now it is a little more than 4 minutes, probably a minute less, would have been better. From the beginning only, people already know, that the video is about farmer’s suicide. Many wouldn’t actually sit through till the end, when the end is like the highlight of the film. The film is different, because it is told from the eyes of a young girl who belongs to a farmer family and is always in perennial fear of losing her father. Being a weather app, the brand has done a great job by choosing to talk to farmers. It had the option of doing other things as well, like ‘Don’t forget to carry your umbrellas today’, but by targeting farmers, it looks like it has a much larger purpose in life.”
Hashtag #HelpTheFarmer trended throughout the day on Twitter and got more than 10,000 tweets with people appreciating the move.
Excerpts of few conversations on Twitter:
In 2014, Times of India came out with a second part of the hard hitting campaign ‘The Farmer’s Family’ which spoke about how one Indian farmer commits suicide every half an hour. 3, 00,000 of them have succumbed so far, leaving behind families with no income and no hope. The outdoor innovation was handled by Milestone Brandcom. The creative was minimalistic on black background with the main theme message. Every half an-hour, from morning to night, framed and garlanded photographs of 48 recently deceased farmers were put up on hoardings in the same frequency in which the farmers killed themselves. The billboards placed at high traffic junctions such as Mahim Causeway in Mumbai and it ensured that thousands of people witnessed the activity daily.
To highlight the plight of farmers and their families, The Times of India had rolled out an awareness campaign in April 2013 with an exhibition. The traffic for this exhibition was driven by a print and outdoor communication campaign. As part of the communication, 12 portraits of dead farmers were created using dry, burnt hay. These portraits were displayed and auctioned and the proceeds from each portrait were given to the families of the deceased. In Cannes 2013, Taproot won four Gold Lions for this campaign.
Click here to view the ad: