Google hails the power of every voter

The film narrates the story of 97-year old Shyam Saran Negi from Himachal Pradesh, who is India’s very first voter, and urges Indians to come out and cast their votes in these general elections

e4m by Twishy
Updated: Apr 1, 2014 8:24 AM
Google hails the power of every voter

With the elections round the corner, Google India has released a campaign that urges Indians to vote with a true and inspiring story. The film tells the story of Shyam Saran Negi, a 97-year old retired school teacher from Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh and India’s very first voter.

As the story goes, India’s first general elections were held in early 1952. But an exception was made for Kinnaur in anticipation of snowfall, and hence, the elections were held there in October 1951. That’s when Negi, lovingly known as Masterji, got a chance to cast his first vote. Since then, Negi has voted in every single election, including each of the 15 Lok Sabha elections. The years haven’t diminished his belief in democracy and the power of elections.

Commenting on the campaign, Sandeep Menon, Director, Marketing, Google India said, “The 2014 general elections promises to be a landmark in the history of this nation. Perhaps more than any other election in the past, these elections are about capturing the imagination of millions of both first-time and experienced voters. This video has been developed to inspire Indian voters to vote this election. The story of Shyam Negi is testimony to Indian voters’ belief in the power of democracy.”

Abhijit Avasthi, National Creative Director, Ogilvy India said, “While all of us have cribs about the state of affairs in the country and a cynicism about the government, we forget that the only weapon of change we have in our hands is our vote. Like so many others, Google too wants to motivate people, especially youngsters, to exercise their right to vote. But rather than being preachy, it wants to do it the inspirational and emotional way. And who better to inspire us than Shyam Negi, who has diligently and with pride carried out this duty since 1951. We are all fortunate to have him present amongst us.”

The campaign – #PledgeToVote – urges citizens of the country to vote in these Lok Sabha elections. The film works alongside the Election hub, where one can pledge to vote and tell the country why he/she pledges to vote in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The hub also has a trends section that enables voters to know the Google Score, which reflects the amount of search activity for a person in the previous 24 hours using Google Search and YouTube, combined with the amount of engagement with a person’s name on Google+. Voters can also join the hangout series with the popular leaders by submitting a question to the leader on Google+.

Watch the film here…

Expert take
Commenting on the campaign, Naresh Gupta, Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle, remarked, “Really involving storytelling. It raises the pitch for democracy, it really motivates people to go out and vote. The greatest thing that this film does is that it makes you realise that there is a duty that we as citizens of the country have to perform. If the 97-year old Mr Negi can do, then we all as younger, abler and erudite people need to do the same. I particularly like the fact that the film does not sermonise, but tells the simple story of a man’s commitment simply and honestly. I for one am taking the #pledgeforvote with Mr Negi. You did make me feel very small, full of doubts and cynicism. This year, I am with you.”

Our take
Google’s campaign is an attempt to attract the first-time voters and the internet savvy urban Indian. It is extremely important to capture the pulse of the urban internet user before the elections. The campaign urges Indians to take part in selecting the right leader for the country through the inspirational journey of Shyam Saran Negi, independent India’s first voter.

The beautiful locations featured in the campaign makes it more real and helps in bringing alive the story. The insight is powerful and portrays the belief in the power of elections and democracy. It is difficult to bring about a change in the mindset of people on voting, but this real story might encourage a lot of voters. The Election hub is also an innovative concept and will help spread awareness about the balloting system in the country.

Google has established an emotional connect with the audience through its reunion campaign last year. This campaign also has an emotional angle and will inspire both the seasoned as well as the as first time voters. If a 97-year old man can vote, then why can’t we?

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