HT coaxes Mumbai to speak up

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | April 23, 2010
The campaign connected with more than 10,000 Mumbaikars through more than 300 outdoor locations in the city

Hindustan Times attempted to instigate Mumbaikars to 'speak up for a better Mumbai' through its recently concluded city specific campaign to capture the issues and solutions that the city faces every day.

Launched on March 28, the campaign, in a span of about 20 days, reached more than 10,000 people in the financial capital of the country and asked them to voice their thoughts on the issues faced by them in the city as well as their localities.

Salil Sadanandan, business head, West and South, HT Media, says, "We attempt to create a platform for the people of Mumbai to voice their issues and possible solutions to build a better Mumbai. The endeavour is to initiate positive change by taking feedback from those that understand Mumbai's issues the best - the people of the city."

'Water' emerged as one of the most critical issues that Mumbaikars are grappling with every day, according to the responses received during the campaign. With 20 lakh litres of water wasted every day, plugging leakages, re-using water and considering water-metering projects is the need of the hour. Cost of living was the second most important issue for 67 per cent of the people; jobs came third, with 55 per cent people voting for it; and power problems plague 53 per cent of the city population.

Apart from highlighting the grievances of the city, the campaign also brought forth the reasons to celebrate Mumbai. While Bollywood emerged as the long-standing source of pride, Mumbai also showed its preference for the entrepreneurial spirit and the cosmopolitan nature of the city.

The initiative pointed out some dos and don'ts for the authorities as well. While 96 per cent of the respondents routed for strict implementation of hawker free zones by BMC rather than unplanned skywalks, 68 per cent voters wanted separate lanes for BEST buses and restriction of vehicular movement on certain days.

The campaign was divided into two phases. In the first phase, the English daily solicited responses from the people of Mumbai by direct contacts, emails and SMSes. The second phase involved the announcement of the results of the survey, followed by key stories emerging from the survey.

To promote the campaign, the media house took the outdoor route, with more than 300 sites including hoardings, bus shelters and bus panels. The execution has been handled by Primesite, the ooh division of Mudra Max.

To exploit the radio medium, a special tie up was entered into with Fever 104 FM. For a period of 20 days on the breakfast show, RJs (radio jockeys) picked up an issue and discussed it with the listeners. Daily SMS polls were conducted, whose results were published in the Hindustan Times Mumbai edition. HT journalists participated in live interviews to give their expert opinions on the topic. Radio spots announcing the initiative were also run.

Sadanandan says that the objective of the campaign was to table the issues to the concerned government bodies and civic authorities - for their attention, suggestions and actions in a conclave planned by HT Media in June.

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