Indian Police tote memes & pop culture references to fight COVID-19

Knowing that mere presence on social media won’t be enough, law enforcement forces have been leveraging everything from old ads to movies in a bid to keep people informed

e4m by Sanstuti Nath
Published: Apr 21, 2020 8:55 AM  | 6 min read
jaipur police

The prompt dissemination of COVID-19 information and curbing the spread of misinformation have become of the biggest challenge for authorities. To counter this problem, police forces across the country are arming themselves with social media tools.

Knowing that increasing presence on these platforms won’t be enough, law enforcement forces are leveraging memes and infographics for maximum traction. The overarching themes in most of these communications are on staying at home and practising social distancing.

Take for instance the Jaipur police, who warned city dwellers to stay indoors or risk listening to the ruined AR Rahman classic Masakali 2.0 at the police station. Mumbai Police have been using popular ads from the 90s to get people to pay attention to topics such as "PSPO Kya hai?"!! These creatives have attracted the attention of not just the immediate target audience, but of people across the nation.

While Mumbai Police have been using old ads, altered movie posters and references from iconic TV shows, the Maharashtra Police's page have been referencing international web series in their social service messages. Pune Police have used altered book covers and movie posters to appeal to their audiences.

Sunchita Pandey, who handles the social media for Mumbai Police, Pune Police and Maharashtra Police as a whole, said: “Strong presence on social media helps a great deal because idea is to connect with maximum people across the ages and spread the awareness. The challenge is to keep up with the audience's attention span and give them a reason to return to the page, where we keep regularly updating information regarding COVID-19. The mandate is to connect with a maximum number of people and relate to all age groups.”

Pandey added: “We work for content which looks relevant to almost everyone, and it has really helped in getting people's attention and winning their faith. The relatability and prompt reply has helped Police in winning the people’s faith. That’s the whole purpose of the pages, to become more accessible and people should not hesitate in contacting them.”

All three pages that Pandey handles are distinct in content and language. “Every city has a different feel and vibe. Pune Police and Mumbai Police react differently to things. The Maharashtra Police page addresses the entire state. That’s how we decide on what language to use. There are very clear guidelines about what we post. Our creatives can be quirky but they can’t be disrespectful to anyone”, she added.

Apart from Maharashtra, law enforcement of other states like Punjab and Karnataka are also making their social media presence felt. Bengaluru city police celebrated their CP heroes and showcased the impact created during the COV19 lockdown on social media. While Punjab Police joined TikTok and Sharechat to reach the maximum people.

Surendra Lamba, Staff Officer to DGP Punjab, said the reason behind joining the ‘informal social media platforms” like TikTok and Sharechat was to engage the youth. He said, “The idea is to engage and inform a maximum number of people regarding Corona crisis and establish a two- way communication between the police and people so that they can come to us for any help rather than venturing out themselves.”

Lamba informed us that they already had a presence on social media, but due to Corona crisis, creative agencies like DesignBoxed have come forward to help the law enforcement reach out to a maximum number of people.

He said, “With DesignBoxed on board we have increased our reach and engagement to a large scale. This gives us better access and branding and we plan to use this social media conversation as a powerful tool in implementing our day-to-day activities even after the health crisis is over.”

“COVID 19 - has made this need even more necessary, and has created both the opportunity and the necessity for Police forces across the world to take to social networks, to inform, and care for their citizens”, said Subramanian, Director of Business Development of Mirum India.

He added, “The responsibility of a socialist function like a Police force is not just created to enforce Law and Order, it is to build communities. Today, communities are not just those that exist in our neighbourhoods, or building complex, or even right next door; today, communities exist online. We love to share content with, celebrate with and nowadays even host 'Watch Parties' with our friends and communities online. So it only becomes logical that the same logic is applied to online communities so that people have the freedom to connect and communicate freely.”






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TV has been the backbone of brand-building for decades: Panel

At the e4m Pride Of Brands – North, a panel of experts discussed the all-pervasive power of TV even in the age of digital

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 20, 2023 1:14 PM   |   7 min read


The e4m Pride of India - North awards were preceded by a day filled with engaging sessions, featuring industry stalwarts from across media, brands and beyond. The first panel of the day, moderated by Amrutha Nair, Head - Entertainment Ad Sales & Strategy, Disney Star, featured Charu Malhotra, VP & Head of Marketing, Hindware Limited; Jaikishin Chhaproo, Head Media & PR, ITC; Samir Sethi, VP & Head of Brand Marketing, Policybazaar; Archana Agarwal, VP- Media, Airtel; and Priti Murthy, President, GroupM Nexus, around the topic of “Power of TV in building brands and successful Indian businesses.”

Nair began the discussion by sharing a personal anecdote. Like most Malayalis, she and her family love football, and on the occasion of the FIFA World Cup final, they all decide to gather at their home in Kerala to watch the finals - Argentina versus France. Even though the tournament was hosted on a relatively new channel families in Kerala chose to watch the tournament on linear TV and she believes it’s a true testimony of the power of television.

Replying to a question on how large companies like ITC, with multiple brands, can make the most of the big screen impact of television, Chhaproo said "If you look at how mass brands go on their media journey, they normally go with a media mix of TV, print and OH. Once a certain level of awareness is reached, the focus shifts to getting your message recall done on a regular basis. Television plays a big role in getting your message recalled, and does it in the most cost-efficient way."

He added that consumption patterns changed, that more people, especially younger cohorts, were moving away from linear TV towards streaming TV, and that live events and other marquee events were consumed on large screens, whether on streaming platforms or linear channels.

“As advertisers, it’s our job to grab eyeballs, through whatever medium. We’ve observed that the youth also has a shorter attention span, which explains why short videos are gaining in popularity. That being said no one can deny the large impact TV has had on creating brands,” said Chhaproo.

Nair went on to ask Sethi how digitally native brands like Policybazaar could harness the power of TV, to which he replied, “Apart from a digitally native brand, we also represent a segment which is quite under-penetrated and over the past few years we have been investing heavily in expanding knowledge of the category, and TV has played a massive role. You can’t do a category-building job to this scale without television. It is still the single largest reach medium in the country.”

Sethi added that TV had been seen, especially by traditional advertisers, as a long-term brand-building medium, noting, “On the other hand we’ve also seen TV as a great performance medium as well. Apart from a long-term brand-building medium, we’ve seen it give immediate returns through ROIs on marketing spends, and we can track visits to our websites as we air campaigns on TV and see their effectiveness.”

Agarwal wryly noted that while people have been saying TV is dying for the last 15 years, “If you want reach for any product launch or any new campaign, no other medium is as impactful as television. Within a couple of days of a campaign being launched, you would have reached 70-80% of your audience.”

"Both TV and digital go hand in hand. However, when we want to increase our upper funnel to drive our performance marketing, my marketing team comes to me and says 'please, please, please do TV because that's what causes largeness for the brand' and that's what gives them a blip in search volumes and lowering their cost per acquisition and in getting quality acquisitions. From my time at Airtel, and even previously at P&G, TV has been critical for the brands,” she said while adding that different brands obviously use TV in different ways, whichever best suit their targets and needs.

Speaking more specifically about her category, the buildings material segment, Malhotra said that up till a couple of decades ago it was more of a commodities-driven industry. “Now it is a sector dwelled by established Indian players and some international ones. It's a category which doesn't want to follow a generic code of communication but wants to build brands. Is aimed at well-travelled, well-read consumers who have travelled around the world and want to have those brands and products they've seen abroad. This is of course the bath space industry, which was ignored till a couple of decades ago and now perhaps has the biggest flaunt value in houses. If you have guests coming over, the first thing you see is that your bathroom is clean and well decked.”

“And for Hindware, which is a trusted company and has built its brand over decades, TV has been the backbone of that brand building. People have grown up around Hindware, and TV has been vital as it allows us, and so many other brands, to do the kind of storytelling that helps build that brand in the long run,” added Malhotra.

Nair noted the importance of consumers’ mental availability in a cluttered media environment and asked Murthy, who has had a prolific career in building a wide range of brands, an interesting question, “Linear TV’s singular role is to provide entertainment. We create content, put it up, and expect nothing except for consumers to tune in and watch it. Meanwhile, mobile devices are clearly goal-oriented, from making calls to reading and sending messages to buying products online, besides consuming entertainment.  In that context, what is the power of collective audiences on television in driving mental availability or attention for brands? What are the advantages to advertising on TV?”

Murthy observed, “I think a lot of the answers lay in what the others spoke earlier. Each of these brand custodians has spoken about how linear TV has given them returns. Interestingly, there have been several studies on screen size globally, and there are players talking about attention deficit versus attention planning now so there has been a whole shift in that matrix. Where do you get more attention on a media buy or media plan, and whether it’s on a large screen or a handheld device? I think they will both co-exist as they complement each other and bring value. However, I think the value TV brings is far more intense and has a long-term impact, as compared to a handheld device.”

“That’s from a brand perspective. From a consumer’s perspective, which I always think of first, it’s different. Younger people are especially addicted to their handsets and use them to watch all their OTT content, etc. But an 18-19-year-old is watching content on their device, not so much out of choice, but because they don’t have a TV screen for themselves, and it is being hogged by other family members. So the evolution of linear TV will happen based on the impact it will have on the consumer. An 18-19 year old will be addicted to their handset for now but as they get access to their own TVs, the consumption pattern will change, and hence the brand impact will change,” she added.

The panel went on to discuss how “big screen” viewing experience brings families together and builds shared experiences and brand conversations. TV's superior entertainment quotient gets brands to emotionally engage with audiences like no other medium can. They also agreed that TV’s powerful characters offer disproportionate associative value to brands on TV and beyond, and a presence on TV brings inherent trust in brands.

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Sovereign governments decide news media laws, not tech companies in the US: Paul Fletcher

The former Australian Minister for Communications will speak at DNPA Future of Digital Media Conference 2023 today

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 20, 2023 9:33 AM   |   3 min read

paul fletcher

At a time when Big Tech monopoly has been throwing a spanner in the works of news media houses world over, the world applauded Australian goverment's moxie for bringing out the News Media Bargaining Code in 2020. The Code became a gold standard for the world as a tool to keep tech giants in line and to create an equitable environment for the dissemination of digital news.

A person who was instrumental in bringing the Code to fruition was Paul Fletcher, the former Australian Minister for Communications, along with Australian PM Scott Morrison.

Fletcher, who is in India to attend the DNPA Future of Digital Media Conference 2023 as a speaker, spoke to e4m about his experience in developing the code, his admiration for India's digital revolution and DNPA's role in taking on Big Tech.

He explained how the Australian government dealt with resistance from Google and Facebook when the draft of the code was first shared with them. "There was a bit of turbulence along the way. Google at one point threatened to withdraw Google Search services in Australia. In response to that, the PM and I met with the global experts of Microsoft who said they will be interested in expanding BING (Microsoft's search engine) in Australia. We didn't hear much more of the threat," he quipped.

Facebook, in retaliation also shut down pages of vital community services like Australian police, ambulances and the Red Cross, a move that turned out to be a PR mistake for the tech company.

"In the face of that, we held firm and there was a strong political leadership from Josh Frydenberg (Former Treasurer of Australia) and the legislation passed parliament. I am pleased to say that both Google and Facebook have since negotiated commercial deals with news media businesses nearly 20 (times) from Google and 13 from Meta," he stated.

Fletcher reiterated that his visit to India has two purposes: first to share his experience in bringing the code to fruition and second, to learn more about the extraordinary success of Indian tech companies like TCS, Infosys and Wipro. He also had some words of praise for India's tech sector, which he describes as "world-leading."

He also expressed his admiration for India's tech revolution: "To deliver services to citizens who only five or ten years ago may not even have had mobile services or a bank account, what's being achieved here is extraordinary."

Fletcher attributes the success to the Indian government, the country's IT sector and the telecom operators who stoked the digital revolution in the country.
Calling the big tech monopoly in news a "competition policy issue", Fletcher highlighted the injustice in Google and Facebook's actions. "They have got extraordinary success in digital advertising. In so doing, they are competing with news media businesses. The content they are using to successfully attract eyeballs includes content by news media businesses."

He emphasised that every country needs to make its own laws to deal with the inequality of news dissemination. "It's a very important principle for governments of sovereign countries to make, but a corollary of that is that it should be a decision made by a sovereign government, not tech businesses in the US. In a liberal democracy, you must have a diverse media."

Speaking about DNPA's role, Fletcher noted that it will help make a case to define the issue and to advocate public policy solutions. "There will be no doubt that the government will be interested in the views of DNPA like other stakeholders."

"When global companies come to a country to operate, they need to comply with the laws of the country," he signed off.

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e4m-DNPA Future of Digital Media Conference & Awards today

The day-long conference will bring together the best minds from across the world to explore the future of digital news media and the various challenges it faces

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 20, 2023 8:43 AM   |   2 min read


The Digital News Publishers Association of India (DNPA) in association with exchange4media Group is organising its first annual conclave in India today, January 20, at Hyatt Regency, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi. The day-long conference will bring together the best minds from across the world to explore the future of digital news media and the various challenges it faces. The conclave is a platform for cross-pollinating ideas and thoughts and sharing the latest technological developments in digital media. Industry heads and experts will also discuss regulatory or policy challenges and other issues that the media has been facing.

The speakers include international and Indian thought leaders from the fields of digital publishing, media regulation, competition law, technology and governance. Through various keynote sessions, panel discussions and expert presentations, the event will decode the issues involved in creating an ideal relationship between news publishers and Big Tech platforms in rebuilding the business of journalism.

DNPA represents the digital arms of the country's top media companies working in the areas of print and television. The chief guest of the event will be Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology and Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Some of the eminent speakers include Mr Paul Fletcher, Member of Parliament, Australia Former Minister of Communications, Australia, Mr Pierre Petillault, Managing Director, Alliance de la presse d'information générale (APIG), Mr Owen Meredith, Chief Executive Officer, News Media Association, Ms Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, Dr Pavan Duggal, Chairman, International Commission on Cyber Security Law among others.

Later in the day, the e4m-DNPA Digital Impact Awards ceremony will be held where the winners will be honoured for their cutting-edge digital initiatives that deliver on-demand governance and services to citizens in various fields. The awards celebrate the digital technology innovations that have improved citizens’ lives and promoted nation-building.

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There will be a lot of acceleration between sales, marketing & IT: Sir Martin Sorrell

Sorrell was speaking to Rahul Kanwal, News Director, India Today, and Aajtak, India Today Group at the World Economic Forum in Davos

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 17, 2023 4:32 PM   |   3 min read

martin sorrell

In a conversation with Rahul Kanwal, News Director, India Today, and Aajtak, India Today Group at the World Economic Forum in Davos,  Sir Martin Sorrell, the Founder and Executive Chairman of S4 Capital plc, weighed on a variety of topics. 

The longest-serving chief executive of any FTSE 100 company shared his thoughts on advertising and marketing trends, the future of print and TV in the age of digital, Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover and his vision for India. 

On quizzed about the ad trends that he will keep a close eye on this year, Sorrell had this to say: “Two things – One is moving down the funnel as we call it to activation and performance. So there will be an emphasis on volume, revenue growth, ROI, media mix modelling, and digital spend which is easier to measure.”

The second thing he will keep an eye out for is digital transformation. “Because margins are going to be under pressure. Most analysts are forecasting that earnings will be down this year. There will be a correction on earnings and there will be pressure on margins.”

He noted that there will be a lot of acceleration between three functions: sales, marketing and IT. “They’re coming together and they have to come together to make a case to procurement and finance – which have more power inside corporations.”

Sorrell boils it down to two crucial goals: “Top line growth and getting the cost down.”

Kanwal also asked Sorrell about his outlook for traditional media, but the advertising wizard said that his forecast is “pretty gloomy.”

By 2025, he believes that the ratio of advertising earnings to GDP (as per the US) will be around 1.5% and a large chunk of the same will come from digital media. 

He added that the grip of traditional media on younger viewers is loosening and clients have been shifting their ads to platforms that are accessed more by the young. 

“So the clients are saying ‘why am I spending an inordinate amount of money on classical TV or analogue TV and repeating the problem?’ Why don’t I cap it and move money to digital?’” he added. “Digital as a medium is easier to monitor, measure and perfect. Ultimately, everything will be digital in some way, shape or form.”

Kanwal also quizzed him about the growing relevance of AI in marketing. “Do you think that in the way marketing is evolving, that ultimate distribution comes down to artificial intelligence?”

Sorrell responded by saying that it will take some time. He also explained the distinction between artificial intelligence (AI) and artificial general intelligence (AGI), stating that AI is more mechanical and AGI is more sophisticated. 

He also agreed with Kanwal saying that one day a programme like ChatGPT can do the media planning and it would be very effective. 

Sorrell also weighed in on tech-dominated ad marketplaces that are calling the shots in advertising in recent years, especially in the age of Google and Meta and Twitter.

He also noted that Elon Musk should have stuck with a 10 per cent shareholding at Twitter, “because the upside is very little for him,” while commenting on the Tesla CEO’s struggle with advertisers. Sorrell also said that he’s “quite bullish” on India. “Two reasons, Modi has been an inspiring leader and has made brand India a greater force.”

The other reason for Sorrell’s optimism is concern about security around Taiwan and China. “India naturally benefits from this equation. It becomes the primary beneficiary of the redistribution of the supply chain.”

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Chrome Pictures expands team of directors, producers

The production house has so far produced over 5,000 ad films

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 16, 2023 3:15 PM   |   2 min read


Ad production house Chrome Pictures is expanding its team of directors and producers. After producing over 5,000 ad films and carving a niche in the advertising world in their 19-year journey, Chrome Pictures is all set to include a few new names to their list of directors.

The list begins with “Secret Superstar” and “Laal Singh Chaddha” fame director, Advait Chandan. The list also goes on to name Debanjolie Bhattacharjee, Aman Rai and Roopali Singhal as in-house talent, who has grown into becoming a known TV Commercial Director.

Since the success of Chrome Pictures’ feature film debut, the National-Award winning film “Badhaai Ho”, directed by Amit Sharma and his Ajay Devgn-starrer “Maidaan”, they have branched out to avenues such as production of films, OTT and more.

Their upcoming feature film production “Trial Period”, directed by Aleya Sen is set to be released in 2023. To take the new avenues ahead, Prachi Thadhani joined the team as Creative Producer, who has a career spanning over a decade and half in the Indian and International entertainment industry.

Chrome Pictures is all set to take on a much larger team of producers for meeting the high demands of the ever-growing advertising sector, along with their success with its digital wing Minikin DGWorks. Having led the TVC department for 10+ years, Napolean Daniel Amanna and Abhishek Notani are now joined by Kush Malhotra and Rajat Gulati. With more than 14 years of experience, Rajat was the Vice President, Account Management at McCann, Delhi. His prior experience also includes account management positions at agencies such as Leo Burnett and Ogilvy.

Some of the recent ad films made by Chrome Pictures are for brands like Truecaller, Netflix Cherrapunji wali Diwali, ‘Titan Raga- #BoldlyBeautiful’ starring Alia Bhatt, ‘Vi’, ‘Epigamia’ - Want to hear something new?, ‘MakeMyTrip’ starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, ‘Catch Masale’ starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar, ‘Fogg’ TVC, ‘Urban Company’ & ‘Uber’.

Speaking about their roadmap, Hemant Bhandari, Co-Founder, Producer & Director- Chrome Pictures, says, "Chrome Pictures felt the need to expand our team to accommodate the high demand that we are facing. We felt the need to introduce these individuals who will bring a fresh outlook and help achieve larger goals for Chrome Pictures. Change is constant, thus the need to explore newer ways to connect with the audiences is a must.”

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Streaming a big hit in 2022 despite cinemas making a comeback

According to’s ‘State of Mobile Report’, riding high on cricket, Hotstar attracted the most active and engaging users in India in the past year

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 16, 2023 8:17 AM   |   2 min read


Leading streaming apps continued to dominate Indian consumers' attention in 2022 despite the reopening of cinema halls, businesses and workplaces. Mobile video remains a key trend to watch for marketers, suggests’s “State of mobile report”. 

The report further says homegrown OTT platforms like Hotstar, SonyLiv and Zee5 have seen tremendous growth in 2022 over 2021 in terms of downloads, active users and user monetisation. 

The 91-page report is the annual overview of app performance trends, highlighting all the key developments in 2022.

While globally spending on mobile has slowed down, in India it is still growing. Moreover, the time spent on mobile phones in India has gone up to 4.9 hrs in 2022, from 4.5 hrs and 4.7 hours a day in 2020 and 2021, respectively. 

As per the report, India is the second largest mobile spending market ($28 billion) in the world after China ($111 billion) and the US ($20 billion). 

OTT platform

Avg Active Users/month 2022


In million (increase over 2021)

Avg Active Time/month 




133  (+15m)

5:57 hrs


25.8  (+4m)

2:14 hrs


37.4  (+5m)

2:00 hrs


50.3  (+3m)

4:55 hrs

Prime Video

57.4  (+2m)

2:24 hrs

Jio Cinema

15.6  (+5)

1:38 hrs

MX Player

176  (+2 m)

6:00 hrs


2.62  (-1m)

0:34 hrs

(Source: State of mobile report 2023)

Coverage of major sporting events can be a highly effective way to add new users and keep them engaged on popular streaming services, the report said. 

Hotstar added close to 99 million downloads in 2022 with two peaks - in September’s first week and October last week - thanks to the live streaming of two cricket tournaments - Asia Cup and ICC Men’s World Cup. 

The OTT platform of Disney star group, which has been the streaming partner of the Indian Premier League, (IPL) tops the chart in terms of active users as well. The service added 15 million new active users taking its total active user count to 133 million. They spent close to six hours every month watching the content on the platform. 

MX Player, the Times Network’s platform, has been the most downloaded OTT app in India and the third most downloaded app worldwide across 2022. 

The Indian OTT audience universe stands at 424 million people, according to The Ormax OTT Audience Sizing Report 2022. Of these, 119 million are active paid OTT subscriptions in India.

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Prashant Singh of Zee Business Digital joins ET Now Digital as Sr. Editor

Singh has over 16 years of experience across Print, Electronic and Digital media.

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 8, 2023 8:04 PM   |   1 min read

Prashant Singh

Prashant Singh former Deputy Editor Zee Business Digital has joined ET Now Digital as Sr. Editor.

Singh has over 16 years of experience across Print, Electronic and Digital media. He has been part of leading media houses like Financial Express,, Dainik Jagran, DD News in the past. 

Prior to joining ET Now, Singh was associated with Zee Business Digital for close to four years. He has also worked at Financial Express Digital as Assistant Editor for almost two years and Zee Media as Correspondent and as Chief Sub Editor apart from other leading media houses.

Singh hold post graduation in Journalism from Punjab Technical University and MBA from IMT Ghaziabad.

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