Effies 2008: Lead India continues to lead

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | November 21, 2008
The campaign that could be carried off only by such a large media owner: Dhunji Wadia


India, the social initiative by The Times of India Group, got JWT a shortlist in the Corporate Advertising and Integrated Advertising Campaign categories at Effies 2008.

Lead India, an initiative started by the largest read English daily of the country, marked the 60th year of India's independence. The first part of this initiative, India Poised, had the front page of The Times of India carrying a long copy heralding the 60th year of being free on January 1, 2007. A small TV commercial followed, with a long copy read by none other than Amitabh Bachchan. The TVC spoke of the existence two Indias. One was ready to lead, and the other - ready to follow.

"The response to this ad was overwhelming and The Times of India followed it up with Lead India," explained Dhunji Wadia, managing partner, JWT Mumbai, who presented the case study at Welingkar Institute, Matunga in Mumbai. On August 15, 2007, the second phase of the initiative was launched and this too was marked with a full front page ad that highlighted 'DO'ing something.

The TVC had actor Shah Rukh Khan calling for some action. A call was made for volunteers who wanted to effect some change and lead the country. The motto of the campaign was to empower the common man to lead.

More than 37,000 people volunteered. On October 2, 2007, coinciding with Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, the search for the one who would Lead India began. The reality show was carried on STAR Plus. The final eight contestants were given tasks to fulfil, with deadlines.

The entire campaign used 20 TVCs (many celebrities came forward and lent their support to the cause for free), 100 press ads, the Lead India reality show, blogs, radio spots and outdoor and mobile advertising.

The campaign gained about 13 lakh hits on the website. A significant number of YouTube hits were also recorded. The winners are now at the London School of Economics, where they are studying political leadership.

The campaign also won India its first Grand Prix at the Cannes 2008, as well as an Integrated Titanium Lion. Lead India won at the GoaFest and the AME Awards, and also picked up the WPPed Cream award by WPP.

Effies 2008 is organised by Ad Club, Mumbai, and is based on the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. The event has been sponsored by Yahoo India, Marico, Vodafone and Brand Equity.

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