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It is great to be in a position when you have to exceed your own benchmark: Sumanto Chattopadhyay

09-January-2018
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It is great to be in a position when you have to exceed your own benchmark: Sumanto Chattopadhyay

In 2017 Star Plus and The Ogilvy Group India delivered fresh and new outlook on gender equality with the Nayi Soch campaign. And for this ‘Nayi Soch’, Ogilvy Group India won the Grand Effie on Friday night. O&M went home with four golds at Effies 2018, two of which were for this campaign.

The 2017 campaign video starred Aamir Khan who played a small town sweet-shop owner and a progressive father. By naming his store ‘Gurdeep Singh & Daughters’, father not only attributes the success of his venture to his daughters but also hands the legacy of the store to his daughters. The 2016 Nayi Soch campaign saw Indian cricketers like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane wear jerseys with their mothers' names on the back, instead of their surnames which typically are passed on from fathers. The Star Plus Nayi Soch campaign has been challenging societal stereotypes that deny women equal rights and hold them back.

The campaign is the brainchild of Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Soho Square, The Ogilvy Group. He spoke to exchange4media about the campaign, brands riding the wave of women’s issues, and more.

Edited Excerpts:

How did Nayi Soch become the effective campaign that it is?

Earlier, there was a campaign for Star Plus called ‘Rishta Wahi Soch Nayi’. It was a zeitgeist of that era; it reflected the woman of that time and her thinking. Today, the thinking has changed and the woman of 2018 is not trying to compete with men or play a game of one-upmanship.

In the Aamir Khan campaign, the daughters are seen succeeding because they have the same ability as a son. The father establishes that if you give a level playing field to women they will achieve everything that men can and more; they will achieve what they want for themselves.

There was a message for the men as well which was that men should get out of the way of women. As long as men are not an obstacle, women can reach great heights.

The Wear Her Name campaign came from the insight that the world over, surnames come from the father. But the mother’s contribution is at least as much as the father if not more. Getting cricketers like Dhoni to talk about a mother’s role, hits home. Especially because it was not just a TV commercial, we got cricketers to wear their mother’s names on their jersey for a day.

These messages hit home and resonated not only with the woman of today but everybody because there is a growing realisation in India that woman have the capability to do everything and more. You just need to give them the opportunity and recognise the contribution of women like our mothers. The effectiveness of the campaign comes from the message which is the right message for the time.

The topic of gender equality has been picked up by almost all brands. How did you break the clutter to deliver an effective campaign?

Whatever the topic may be, you need to talk about it in an authentic and relevant way. If you are simply paying lip service to it then the campaign may even flop. With both the Nayi Soch campaigns we went out of the ‘idiot box’ so to speak and did something on the ground. Cricketers are such big brand ambassadors in our country when they literally put the message on their backs, that gave the campaign a lot of credibility. So it was a coup on the part of Star Plus to get the cricketers to endorse this powerful message.

Additionally, Aamir Khan who is known to have certain beliefs, playing a father who is proud of his daughters, adds a lot of weight and sincerity to the campaign. If we instead had a star who has never been known to champion anything, then maybe it would not have been as effective and successful.

While the channel’s logo still appears at the end of the campaign, if you look at the message, it is not trying to hard sell the brand; it is not a commercial proposition. All that it says is that as Star Plus, we stand for this philosophy.

What next now?

In 2018 the task for the team will be to figure out the next level to which we can take it. We have set a benchmark for ourselves in terms of effective messaging. As my client, Gayatri Yadav, President Consumer Strategy and Innovation, Star India said, ‘This is history, now we have to plan ahead for what is next. We have to exceed our own benchmark.’ And I told her: It is always great to be in a position when you have to exceed your own benchmark rather than somebody else’s.

What role do brands play in leading social change?

When a powerful brand like Star Plus gives out a message like Nayi Soch, the message reaches a huge audience. We should give out as many positive messages as we can. Finally, the change has to happen on the ground, but it is equally important to give out that message. It is not enough to give out a strident message like beti bachao, beti padhao. When you find a creative way to give that message, suddenly the penny drops for people. One can then just hope that the message will hit home, and that it will make people change.

Schools, government, society all need to play their part. But advertising can also play its part in a nuanced and sensitive way to drive this change. An ad cannot change the world, but it can play a role in this journey.




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