Viewers attend Indian television's first ever live wedding

By Chhavi Tyagi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | July 27, 2009
The channel invited the general public to come and attend the protagonist's wedding through on-air promotions as well as on-ground activities

Archana, the protagonist of the show Pavitra Rishta, got married on July 25 in a live setting and Zee TV invited its viewers to come and attend the wedding. The channel shot the wedding sequence in front of a 700 plus live audience at RK Studios in Mumbai.

The episode will be aired today as a one-hour special at 9 pm, with shots of the live audience blessing the on-screen couple. Akash Chawla, head, marketing, Zee TV and Zee Cinema, says, "The show is going through the highest story write-up, with the girl getting married and instead of shooting a lavish pre recorded episode, we thought it a great opportunity to engage with our viewers in a live environment."

The channel sent out wedding invitations to the viewers both through mass media and on-ground initiatives. It employed its entire bouquet of channels to ask people to come and bless the couple on-ground. Heavy promotions were conducted on radio (Big FM) for Indian television's first ever live wedding. Zee TV claims that it received 50,000 SMSes from people wanting to be a part of the experience.

Chawla says, "An on-ground activation is the best way to connect with your audience and this kind of a live television wedding has never been done before, so we thought of sharing this experience with as many viewers as we could. We needed to break away from the usual format and invest in our viewers."

However, the most interesting part of the promotions was the on-ground initiatives taken to invite the viewers. Savita Prabhune, the actor who essays the role of Sulochana, the protagonist's mother, commuted in Mumbai's local trains from Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus to Dombivli station, distributing the wedding cards to fellow travellers, asking them to come and bless her daughter. Also, the actor paid a visit to a few viewers' homes in different locations of Mumbai to invite them personally.

"An interesting thing happened when Prabhune visited these homes. The ladies of the building came out and welcomed her in traditional Maharashtrian style and conducted an impromptu Otee ceremony by giving her 'haldi' and 'kumkum'," says Chawla.

Ekta Kapoor, the producer of the show, also visited the Dagru Seth Halwai Temple in Pune to present the first wedding card. She also invited several devotees of the temple for the wedding. Additionally, the channel also tied up with several mithai-walas (sweet sellers), who presented their consumers with wedding cards, along with a box of sweets.

Since incorporating all these people was impossible, the channel selected 700 people on random basis and flew them, along with their families, to the venue of the wedding at the channel's expense. Viewers were flown into Mumbai from cities such as Pune, Nasik, Indore, Delhi, Kanpur, Amritsar, Lucknow and Rajkot.

As for the regular promotions, the channel advertised in BEST buses and distributed leaflets asking viewers to watch the special episode on Monday. The special episode was also advertised on print.

Zee TV also entertained the audience with live performances by the participants of Hero Honda Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champs and Lux Dance India Dance.

© 2009 afaqs!