Spare a minute, requests Mumbai Police

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | October 07, 2013
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In its latest campaign, Mumbai Police broaches the anti-terrorism issue by requesting the city's residents to be alert of their surroundings, thereby attempting to bring about a behavioural change.

In a continuing effort to instil the concept of 'safe city' among Mumbai's citizens, Mumbai Police has launched a multi-media campaign on anti terrorism. The campaign, 'Mumbai ke liye 1 minute' (One minute for Mumbai), nudges people to be alert of their surroundings, thereby lending a supporting hand to Mumbai Police.

Mumbai Police

Mumbai Police

Mumbai Police

Conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather, the campaign is the second pro-bono initiative on the agency's part for Mumbai police, the first being the Women's Safety campaign that was launched in March. The television campaign featured real life police officials, giving out a dual message to women as well as perpetrators. Interestingly, the two-year long campaign is financially supported by ICICI Bank.

The idea behind the current campaign germinated shortly after the Women's Safety campaign. Considering the effectiveness of the earlier campaign, Mumbai Police wanted a similar focus on anti-terrorism as well.

The 'Mumbai Ke Liye 1 Minute' campaign, produced by Code Red Films on pro bono basis and directed by Gajraj Rao, comprises three ad films - Mall, Theatre and Train. All the locations are regularly frequented by a lot of people and are thus susceptible to terrorist attacks.

In all three films, the protagonists belong to some vulnerable group, with limited capability of movement. So, in 'Mall', there is a grandmother who bends (despite her obvious pain) to check below tables and ensure there is no unclaimed baggage.

Similarly, in 'Train', a visually challenged man checks the bags with his white stick to ensure there is no unclaimed baggage, while in 'Theatre' a pregnant woman takes the initiative to ensure there are no suspicious objects lying under or behind the seats. Interestingly, the protagonist in the 'Train' film is a visually challenged person in real life. The voiceover at the end of the film says 'Thoda aas paas nazar rakhe'. It asks citizens to call the police if they notice suspicious persons, objects/bags or vehicles.

While the television campaign was launched recently, the campaign was kick-started during Ganesh Visarjan with an on-ground activation. Ogilvy's team fabricated a larger than life teddy bear, dabba and backpack, which were moved around in a procession. The tagline on the objects read - 'Bada Khatra itni aasani se nahi dikhta. Aas paas nazar rakho'.

Sadanand Date

Harshad Rajadhyaksha

Kainaz Karmakar

Speaking about the campaign, Sadanand Date, joint commissioner of police (law and order), Mumbai, says, "Terrorism is a very complex and ill-understood challenge. Traditional systems of democratic societies to deal with crime need to be overhauled to fight it. It is a difficult challenge before society in general and law enforcement professionals in particular." He adds that if they can engage public, get their cooperation, make people and the police department see the reality about terrorism from the same perspective and convey to people as to what can be done and what are the constraints, it would help a lot. However, the task to convey it is a complex communication challenge. Date feels that a professional media house like O&M can make a difference and help Mumbai Police.

As for ICICI's involvement, Date says Mumbai Police wanted a corporate organisation that understood the need for this social message and would support the cause without any ulterior motive. "ICICI was very generous and accepted the whole concept and the government also appreciated the whole effort," he says, adding that what was important was the fact that people from different walks of life came together and engaged beyond their organisational boundaries.

"Also, I believe, people's participation is very important when we engage in a fight against terror. If 1.4 crore people residing in Mumbai become watchful, obviously, we would detect unusual objects, conduct and suspicious persons much better than if only 40,000 police men are vigilant. Through this campaign, we want people to cultivate this habit of developing situational awareness and notice odd behaviour, suspicious conduct and doubtful objects. If we can identify threat in advance, definitely we can handle it better," Date asserts.

This is not the first time Mumbai Police has partnered with an ad agency for an anti-terrorism campaign. Two campaigns on the issue have been aired earlier; the last one being around five years ago, created by Lowe Lintas.

Harshad Rajadhyaksha, group creative director, Ogilvy Mumbai says the campaign's intention is to create a behavioural change among citizens. He says a lot of discussions took place on what would be the best approach for the message to reach out to all sections of people.

Agreeing with him, Kainaz Karmakar, group creative director, Ogilvy Mumbai, adds that the team aimed to drive home the point not just in an interesting but in an effective fashion. "'Mumbai ke liye Ek Minute' was an idea developed by our team keeping these things in mind. One minute is not too much to ask, plus we are clearly showing what we expect people to do. Then the third layer is to do it in a fashion that people enjoy seeing," she says.

As a result, the message in the films doesn't burden the recipients, isn't intrusive, monumentally difficult to do or alarming. "People might feel what an ordinary person can do against terrorism, as police have guns and trained personnel. But that's what the campaign tries to address by saying that ordinary people can offer valuable input by just by taking a minute out on being alert and watchful of their surroundings," he highlights.

The films will be shown in cinema theatres across the city from the coming week, in-bus screens in BEST buses and on digital medium for now. Meanwhile, the video of the on-ground activation done during Ganesh Visarjan will be put up online, in an effort to tap the virality of the medium. "It will also refresh the message during the coming festivals," Rajadhyaksha concludes.

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