BMC ups Instagram game to spread COVID-19 awareness

With quirky memes centred on popular shows, the civic body has managed to capture the attention of the youth

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Published: Apr 14, 2020 8:33 AM  | 5 min read

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or BMC may seem like an unlikely candidate for youth-centric Instagram content. But its increasing appeal among Mumbai's millennials tells a different story. The social media arm of the civic body knew that the fastest way to catch a youngster's attention is a quirky meme with pop-cultural references. Armed with this knowledge, BMC has revamped its social media game during the lockdown to spread the message of social distancing, staying at home and other safety techniques.

The municipality that already has a strong presence across social media platforms upped its game on their Instagram handle and is a posting quirky series of posters urging people to stay at home.These posters are inspired by popular TV series titles and references to gain audience attention and spread awareness. The creatives have also been re-posted by many celebrities including comedian Rohan Joshi and have more than seven thousand likes. The first one in the series was posted on April 7, with the two popular show reference, Modern Family and House of Cards.

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You may or may not agree with Tokyo and her ways but you can’t differ when she says, “After all, whats more human than the fight for survival?” They won all their wars by staying indoors, surely we can #stayhomestaysafe in this #WarAgainstVirus It’s just a matter of time after all! #lockdownspiritsup #NaToCorona #stoppingstartswithyou

A post shared by My Mumbai My BMC (@my_bmc) on

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A post shared by My Mumbai My BMC (@my_bmc) on

According to Sunchika Pandey, who handles the social media page for BMC, “Every social media handle has a different kind of audience and has its own characteristics. And every social media handle has a purpose that it could captivate the attention of its target audience in whichever way possible. The BMC's prime focus right now is to keep the home-stuck people engaged and informed.”

Pandey points out that during the lockdown, the online medium, especially social media, is the easiest way to reach out to people as other channels of communication have limitations.

She said, “Right now, online medium is the biggest one to reach out to people for awareness; for teaching them, warning them, guiding them or helping them. Currently, all other channels like OOH, print, and TV, have their restrictions.”

Pandey who also handles the Twitter handle of the civic body informed that creatives are limited to the Instagram handle of BMC because the medium has the majority of youth as followers. “Our Twitter handle is very data-oriented with lots of fact and figures around COVID-19, which is there on our Instagram page as well. But, on Instagram, the majority of our followers are youngsters who have to be kept engaged. The long lockdown has brought a bit of gloom in our lives and through these creatives, we are giving them something to look forward to.”

She added that it is also a way to bring the audience back on the page again and again. “There is a lot of data and information, regarding COVID-19, which is regularly updated on the page, which is important for people to access in order to stay aware. But, with a lot of free time and unlimited access to content, it is difficult to bring the attention back on useful information. These creatives became the reason for people, especially the youth to come back again and again on the page and access useful information in the process”, she said.

Pandey informed us that she’s working under the direct guidance of BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, who has a clear mandate that people are kept informed and any misinformation is prevented from spreading. And she agrees that humour is the best way to do so.

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