When the government paves the way for brand engagement
We are all quite aware that the governments of the country, current and previous have always focused on the social development in the country. In a country that has too much population, with literacy, electricity, and sanitation yet to permeate many corners, this has not always been an easy job.
Governments have had to resort to catchy taglines and advertisements for the message to resonate with the masses. With economic liberalization and greater access to technology, the government has had to change the approach. While the intention has remained the same, the methods used to spread it is up a notch.
The idea of the cause commercial is to make sure that people take some sort of action without directly asking them to do so.
On paying close attention to the recent trends, it can be seen that the government itself has created a category for brands. The category has been so made that the brands can pave a way for themselves into people’s consciousness while retaining their and the audience’s conscience.
We list out a few advertisements that have captured the audience’s attention through a social cause while at the same time promoting their product.
Swacch Bharat and Hindustan Unilever Limited
The state of sanitation in India is well known. As of 2011, about 31% of the rural households do not have access to toilet facilities. Moreover, lack of proper sanitary education means that people do not follow proper hygienic habits and thus fall sick often. One of these habits includes not washing hands with soap after attending to one’s business.
As part of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan of the government, Hindustan Unilever released its catchy Haath, Munh aur Bum, Bimari Hogi Kam. Featuring children, the campaign was focused on encouraging adults and everyone else around them to start using soaps. Only then will they be able to maintain a proper health. The Swachh Abhiyan, Swachh Aadat generated a lot of interest amongst the audience while at the same time promoting its own hand wash.
Digital India and Samsung
Samsung might have been an exploding news for some time due to malfunctioning phones. But in India, it used its technology to further the cause of Digital India. Its #SapneHueBade has its heart and message in the right place. Instead of an urban center, Samsung promotes itself in the rural areas.
The commercial, with a young protagonist, is about using the digital advancements to further one’s education. And then use that education to give back to the community. The progress of one individual with right intentions implies the progress of many.
Cashless Economy and PayTm
Since November 2016, the buzzword in India has been demonetization. The first brand to cash in on it was PayTm, the mobile wallet company. A window of opportunity opened for this company as the focus moved away from fighting corruption to a cashless economy.
To promote its product while lauding the move was the ads that it released post-demonetization. They kept the commercials simple-using PayTm is hassle free.#PayTm karo started trending and with more merchants and consumers downloading the app every minute, the trend will not be stopping anytime soon.
It must be noted that the governments prior to 2014 were based on Nehruvian socialism. But the current economic set up is extremely capitalistic paving gateways for private companies to make their presence felt in people’s lives without being too aggressive.
With the encouragement provided by the government, the advertisements of the brand are almost like ready to eat packaged meals. They just need to build in the message of the government along with their product and viola! A social cause campaign is born.
The conversations are not limited to the TVCs’. If the commercial is good enough then a number of people talk about it on Facebook. Hashtags (#) trend on twitter. Moreover, this blitzkrieg of commercials is not just limited to social media. The government as well as the brands rope in celebrity ambassadors to provide even more depth to the message. The cycle of popularity continues.
P.S. Cause-brand marketing can be traced back to Tata Tea. One of its Jaago Re campaigns revolved around asking people to go vote on the day of elections.
Such cause marketing shows no sign of stopping. We just hope no one suffers from brand dilution.