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Smiles of India campaign similar to, but not inspired by, Humans of New York: Himalaya Drug Company

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | July 21, 2016
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A look at the recently concluded 'Celebrating Life' campaign, for which Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste tied up with street photographer Siddhartha Joshi, who visited 10 cities and clicked 1,000 photographs.

Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste, a brand from The Himalaya Drug Company, concluded its campaign 'Celebrating Life' recently, a photographic journey launched last year with street photographer and travel enthusiast Siddhartha Joshi.

The aim of the campaign was to capture stories of hope and joy spread across India. Part of the spread-a-smile drive called Smiles of India, Himalaya conceptualised 'Celebrating Life' to spread happiness and positivity by capturing extraordinary stories of hope and resilience on a single platform.

Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste's 'Celebrating Life' campaign

'Celebrating Life' was launched in December last year, which saw Joshi travel to 10 cities -- Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Jaipur, Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Varanasi, Ranchi, and Guwahati - and click 1,000 photographs.

Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste's 'Celebrating Life' campaign

Joshi met people from the above-mentioned cities who defined the culture and tradition of that particular city and were working to keep it alive for future generations. Their fascinating stories coupled with their passion to embrace life each day with renewed vigour and enthusiasm was the essence of the campaign.

Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste's 'Celebrating Life' campaign

From the time of its launch, the microsite (www.smilesofindia.com) has been getting 12,000 views per month with the average time spent on the site being one-and-a-half minutes.

Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste's 'Celebrating Life' campaign

Some of our readers would know that Smiles of India is similar to Humans of New York that was started in the year 2010 as a photography project by photographer Brandon Stanton. His initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the streets, and create an exhaustive catalogue of the city's inhabitants.

Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste's 'Celebrating Life' campaign

Stanton not just took photographs of his subjects, but interviewed them as well, including quotes and short stories from their lives.

Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste's 'Celebrating Life' campaign

We asked Sushil Goswami, category head - oral care, The Himalaya Drug Company, if Smiles of India was inspired by Humans of New York. "Not really," he says. "It is inspired by all the news that we see around. After it was thought through and it came into existence, we realised there was some kind of similarity there, but it is different in many ways. Considering the anxiety and negativity all around, we are about aggregating all the happiness around India," says Goswami.

Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste's 'Celebrating Life' campaign

He further adds, "It was all about aggregating news throughout mediums which were going unnoticed by the traditional media. But, 'Celebrating Life' is not just about aggregating news. It is going out in search of news. Joshi went to different cities where he got photographs and stories about what brought smiles on people's faces."

Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste's 'Celebrating Life' campaign

When we asked him what Smiles of India has done for the toothpaste brand, Goswami says, "Smiles of India is a process of engagement. We don't have a commercial interest at this point in time. It is much more noble and bigger than just looking at what it can do for the brand. It is a long-term initiative."

Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste's 'Celebrating Life' campaign

Sushil Goswami

He further adds, "We want to scale it up in the future and do something good for society. It is not about commercial interest all the time; more and more brands today are engaging with the right content."

Although Stanton travelled across the world, starting from New York, to post on Humans of New York, and got stories and photographs of people from 20 different countries, Himalaya's aim is not to capture the rest of the world, or even Indians staying abroad.

"Since it is Smiles of India, we want to restrict ourselves to India. We have no plans to take it outside India at the moment," says Goswami.

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