Whenever the urge to contribute to a cause overwhelms Capital Advertising, the Delhi-based agency pools its talent to create a piece of communication that is unfettered by commercial interests. It's a stand that the agency proposes to have taken a while ago - to give back to society, to help keep nation's collective conscious awake. So the award winning public service film on the Kargil War, for the Veer Jawan fund. And the 'Ram Rahim Nagar' spot that followed last year's communal riots in Gujarat.
This time round, the agency has attempted to send across the message of communal harmony by plying the nation's passion for the game of cricket. Capital has produced and funded a three-ad campaign on 'cricket harmony', and the films are currently being aired on STAR News. The idea behind the films - which showcase Qaisar Jahan (Mohammed Kaif's mother), Krishna Sehwag (mother of Virender Sehwag) and Avatar Kaur (Harbhajan Singh's mother) - is to bring the country together in a manner that transcends the barriers of religion.
The films open on Qaisar Jahan, Krishna Sehwag and Avatar Kaur - individuals who profess allegiance to three different religions, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism - offering prayers in their respective prayer rooms. The twist in the tale is that Kaif's mother (a devout Muslim) is praying for Sachin Tendulkar (a Hindu), Sehwag's mother is praying to Lord Shiva for Zaheer Khan (a Muslim), while Kaur is seeking blessings from Guru Nanak for Rahul Dravid. By showing the unexpected (each mother praying not for her son, but for somebody else, that too of a different religion), the films underscore the need to venture beyond the myopia of communal differences and embrace the bigger identity of being an Indian.
The agency believed that the game of cricket was a good opportunity to express the bigger reality of us being Indians - and it helped that the current Indian squad has a good admixture of players from different communities. Naturally, the World Cup was the point of convergence for the agency's creative expression. "It was very clear that we wanted to use cricket for a larger cause," says Sunil Sachdeva, director, Capital Advertising. "Most of the advertising during the World Cup is about the passion for the game, and that's about it. However, we felt that cricket could also be used to send across the message of harmony, since the game gets the people of this country together."
An email message from Escotel said, "Whenever India plays, people get together to support it, irrespective of their religion. The TVC brings out that how the players of this team and their mothers put the national interest first forgetting their own personal (and their sons) interests and the differences in their faiths."
However, sans national coverage, any public service campaign is only half-done. The agency had footed the bill for creating the three ads, but airing them nationally is a bigger task. Luckily for Capital, it once again found an ally in Escotel (the 'Ram Rahim Nagar' film too had been sponsored by Escotel). In fact, Capital has been always been fortunate in finding a willing partner for its social campaigns - the Kargil film had been sponsored by Maruti Suzuki. Sachdeva is grateful to Sonjoy Mohanty, chief officer, customer acquisition and retention, Escotel, for the support the agency got in airing the three films, and hopes the 'cricket harmony' campaign is able to "touch the hearts of Indians as did the Kargil campaign, which managed to collect a few hundred crores of rupees for our jawans". © 2003 agencyfaqs!