After launching the second phase of its Farmer Suicide campaign this January, Times of India has now extended the campaign on out of home media. Terming it the Live Outdoor Hoarding, the campaign hoists garlanded pictures of deceased farmers in busy city streets in Mumbai.
This time, with a view to generate some awareness and donation for the famers' families, hoardings were booked at prime high-traffic locations in cities. Photographs of deceased farmers were kept ready with garlands over them.
Right in the middle of a busy day, these photographs were put up on the hoardings in real time, one every half an hour, to signify the frequency at which farmers kill themselves. The innovative outdoor creative caught the attention of passersby in a big way.
As per The Times of India, the attempt is to generate funds for the farmer community and thus the campaign aims to reach affluent people living across metros and encourages them to donate more. The proceeds will go towards helping the community learn alternative means of livelihood and to support families of the bereaved. Besides the hoarding, an online video depicting the making of the hoarding was also put up on various social platforms.
This year, the initiative is being implemented with support from Samaj Sevak Charitable Trust, an NGO working for the same cause. It has also elicited the support of NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) to ensure effective implementation.
Speaking about the campaign, Rahul Kansal, executive president, Bennett, Coleman and Company, says, "The objective of this campaign is to raise awareness of this issue so that steps are taken to support the farmers. In addition, the campaign will also attempt to provide an alternative source of income to the farmers' families that have been affected."
Speaking of extending the initiative to other cities, Kansal says that Mumbai was chosen as it is the financial capital of the country and also has keenness towards donations. However, if this succeeds, the brand will definitely think of extending the initiative.
More than 300,000 farmers in India have committed suicide till date, plagued by crop failure, drought and debt. The Times of India Farmer Suicide campaign attempted to raise support for those affected by a plague of suicide in 2009. While the issue came under the government scanner and measures were taken to try and stop more suicides, the large, illiterate families of those already dead were left to fend for themselves.
The campaign began in April, 2013 and the brief was two-pronged: firstly to sensitise people to this harsh reality and secondly, to raise funds for the impoverished families. Taproot India created the portraits using actual photographs of 12 deceased farmers as a reference; facial features and expressions were captured and recreated using dried hay. This symbol of ruined crops became the canvas on which their faces came alive. The portraits were displayed at exhibitions and auctioned to the highest bidders. The money raised was distributed amongst the families of the deceased.