With an objective of Customizing Communication Solutions for the Development Sector and Rural Markets, Thompson Social & Rural, the development sector & rural advertising specialist wing of JWT, these days is busy helping Unicef for increasing the community attendance for the oral polio vaccination day in various districts across Uttar Pradesh.
The project rolls out on the 23rd of Dec.2002. Apart from TS&R, the other agencies that had pitched for the account were Linterland (Lowe), Ogilvy Outreach and Ogilvy Healthcare (O&M), and Rashtriya. The project has been split between Ogilvy Outreach and TS&R.
Talking about the project Rajat Ray, VP, TS&R, says, "This is not just about reaching rural audience in a short time about effectively breaking their myths and misconceptions. We have to reach 3000 villages in 11 days!"
The entire project will have two phases. The first phase will kick off on the 23rd Dec. 2002 and will end on the 3rd of Jan 2003, before the first polio vaccination day, which is on the 5th of Jan 2003. The second phase of the campaign will start in mid Jan 2003 and will end in 10-15 days' time, before the second round of vaccination.
Besides Unicef, Thompson Social and Rural has a healthy client rooster. The names include Maharashtra Health Systems Development Project (A Maharashtra Government project funded by the World Bank), Punjab Health System Corporation - Another World Bank funded project focused on the Health Sector.
Talking on the need of such divisions, Ray says, "Conventional mass media does not always reach upcountry target audiences. Therefore, we need an innovative and intelligent mix of mass media and below the line." He further adds, "Below the line in rural usually means a much higher cost per contact. Therefore, we need to figure out ways to tap the target audience when they congregate. We need to develop new channels of communication that are cost-effective and relevant for upcountry India. The media planners, creative and servicing personnel do not possess sufficient knowledge, hands-on experience and rapport with rural implementers to undertake such projects."
TS&R claims to contribute to the development sector through active participation in workshops and research initiatives. Says Ray; "We work closely with various Rural Management Institutes to conduct rural studies on a regular basis. We are also working with Work Bank officials from Washington and Delhi, to popularize IEC-led interventions in the various states by presenting case studies, learnings and methodologies to NGOs and senior government officials at national-level meets."