The shameful 2G scam, heinous Muzaffarnagar riots and the ruthless Delhi gang rape truly make us believe that we are living in a country paralysed with greed, hunger and discrimination. There is a need for the youth to wake up and heal wounded Mother India. To stir up the conscience of the Indian youth, English daily The Hindu has launched an extension of its successful ‘Behave’ campaign in context of the upcoming elections.
Being a young country, India has the largest number of young voters, with as many as 150 million first time voters. Corruption, dereliction of duty, bad behaviour and inadequate infrastructure are some of the concerns of the voting youth. They have innumerable questions for candidates standing for elections and they want their answers now. The Hindu’s new campaign boldly poses these questions to the leaders of the country and urges them to behave, for the youth are watching and more importantly, voting.
This is the next phase of The Hindu’s ‘Behave’ campaign, which earlier drew attention to politicians’ bad behaviour. This time it goes a step further by not just rebuking bad behaviour but reminding politicians that the power to re-elect them undoubtedly lies in the hands of the youth.
While the film uses dark humour to hold up a mirror to a political leader’s bad behaviour, the print and outdoor campaign uses stark facts to bring the issues that the youth face to the forefront. Eventually, it aims to become a crowd-sourced campaign by asking people to send in their own questions via social media which will be featured as ads in the paper. Going forward, it hopes to address some of these issues so that the youth can make an informed decision when they vote.
The film opens with a man dressed in a white ‘kurta’ sitting in his living room. An old lady of the house walks by with an ‘aarti’ plate. After seeing her, the man throws a paper ball at her which lands on the plate. She throws it away casually and continues with her ritual. He then screams into the phone at his son, bangs it on the table and smiles. He then throws a ‘chappal’ at his domestic helper who walks in with tea, and then climbs on top of the table and starts speaking. The domestic help clearly ignores the man. But watching him doing these weird acts, his daughter asks her mother what’s wrong with him. The mother tells her that there’s nothing wrong and the man, who is a politician, is just preparing for the budget session. It ends with the message, ‘Behave India, The youth are watching’.
Siddarth Varadharajan, Editor, The Hindu said, “The Hindu’s ‘Behave Yourself, India’ campaign cherishes the spirit of parliamentary debate, which is the true test of a functional democracy. Every Indian has a right to be heard – but that right is only as effective as our ability to listen, engage and disagree courteously with each other. Sadly, the space for tolerance and free speech is narrowing in our republic. This is no surprise because many of our elected representatives – who hold a candle to the rest of society – have failed to debate policy and politics with their peers in Parliament in a civilized manner.”
Varadharajan added, “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. The idea has been brought alive through print and a television commercial, beautifully executed by Prasoon Pandey of Corcoise Films.”
On the idea behind the campaign, Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, Ogilvy South Asia said, “With a huge youth population and our ambition to be a shining nation in the world, there is a great need for us older people in positions of responsibility to set a better example for the young. I have closely followed cartoonists who have a very effective way of using satire to shame people. I know that campaigns cannot change behaviour overnight, but I would be very happy if some people are not able to sleep well for a few nights at least.”
The campaign will be on TV, cinema, print, outdoor across the country and social media.
Does the campaign strike the youth?
Nikhil Pandey, Senior Creative Director, Dentsu Creative Impact said, “The ad keeps me guessing till the very end as to why this man is behaving the way he is. It’s shot really well, with an interesting character in the center. So, from the creative angle, yes, it keeps me hooked and I want to know what happens in the end.”
“Through news channels and other media, we all know how politicians behave, on or off camera. So, it is an insight I can relate to, for sure. Also, if I am not wrong, last year’s film also had a similar thought. So, they are being consistent in their message,” he added.
On connect with the youth, Pandey said, “The youth is a very loosely used term. I am not sure if college students (on an average) care for the country. But young executives and people in their 30s would surely relate to it; and after 49 seconds, would share a chuckle.”
Kurt Cobain once said, “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption”. And this is possible because the youth has immense untapped power, which if properly channelised can be a source of great power to the nation. It’s the only remedy for the current disillusionment in the country.
India is a young country with maximum youth voters, so it is important for the leaders to become role models and not hooligans in front of them. Hence, the campaign is based on a very powerful insight, urging the politicians to behave, for the youth are watching and voting.
The print ads have been crafted very well with bold messages such as ‘How come rising fuel prices worry a single car-owner and not someone with a 20-car convoy?’ and ‘Why does my tax money keep you safe on the streets and not my sister?’ The message on the print ads like ‘Make sure you have the answers they are looking for’ can be an eye-opener.
The Twitter and Facebook ads invite questions from the followers which will be published.
The TVC has been executed in an engaging manner, just like the earlier one. The insight is relatable and the ad has very nice characters to drive home the message. It shows how politicians behave in an unruly manner at home, practicing to be the most rowdy one in the sessions of the Parliament. It uses dark humour to portray the realities of these tainted men and their behavior at work. It is amusing to see how the family members are used to the behavior of this politician. However, it disturbs the daughter, who is a young girl and this shows that the politicians should behave because the youth are watching and ultimately they will decide their fate in these elections. The instrumental soundtrack of the ‘bhajan’ is icing on the cake.
This ad will certainly resonate with the youth and inspire millions. It’s time to wake up and rise above greed and give the country in the hands of visionaries who can make India a place where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.