Ashwini Gangal

NACO: Donate blood; feel good

The TVC is the third in an ongoing series of advertisements that first broke in October 2009

NACO (National AIDS Control Organisation) has recently released the third leg of the campaign that broke in 2009. Part of a long-term initiative that encourages blood donation, the present advertisement is a 40-second TVC that was released on TV channels on October 1, 2010, National Voluntary Blood Donation Day.

NACO: Donate blood; feel good
The previous two phases of this blood donation campaign were executed in the form of two TVCs, one that broke on October 9, 2009 (
) and another that broke around February this year (

These two films served to promote the act of donating blood, as does the current film. The difference is that while the earlier ads communicated the message from the donor's viewpoint; the present ad does so from the recipient's point of view.

The campaign has been created by the BBC World Service Trust. The firm has been working as the creative agency for NACO in the designated thematic areas of condom usage, STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) and blood safety.

In the film, a little girl is seen approaching a gentleman at a public eatery and thanking him for donating blood to her. She tells him that she is suffering from thalassemia and that adults regularly donate blood to help her out.

NACO: Donate blood; feel good
The gentleman responds by confessing that he has never donated blood. After a moment's hesitation, the little girl shrugs it off, saying he could do so the next time. She then moves on to another person while he looks on, deeply touched. At the end of the ad, both the characters reveal the tagline of the campaign, 'Karke Dekhiye, Acha Lagta Hai'.

This tagline was also used for the aforementioned film released earlier this year; while that for the film released last year was: 'Sochiye Mat, Karke Dekhiye, Acha Lagta Hai'.

The production house for this campaign is Chrome. The film has been directed by Nikhil Rao. The copy writer is Mansi Jain and the music has been composed by Bobo.

Sharing details about the campaign with afaqs!, Radharani Mitra, creative director, BBC World Service Trust says, "Everyone knows that donating blood is a good thing to do; but there exist several barriers to actually coming forward and doing it. Often, people view it as a thing to do only during emergencies, rather than on a regular basis. The task of the campaign is to make blood donation look good."

She goes on to explain that the BBC World Service Trust monitors the barriers and motivations associated with blood donation and creates campaigns accordingly. "This is the reason why the previous ad focused on the issue of how girls feel donating blood makes them weak," Mitra informs, adding that the insights used for that ad were the myths people harbour regarding girls donating blood.

"The current film shows the recipient of the good deed of blood donation saying 'thank you' and warming the cockles of someone's heart. This 'thank you' is the stimulus, and the man is shown honouring what the little girl says, by going forward and donating blood. This behaviour change is the desired response we want to generate amongst viewers," Mitra states.

Besides TV, print and radio were also used for this phase of the campaign. The print medium was utilised for just one ad that appeared in a leading newspaper (on October 1, 2010) and radio was used for one spot.

Does it warm hearts in the industry?

For the most part, industry experts approve NACO's communication efforts.

NACO: Donate blood; feel good
NACO: Donate blood; feel good
Nilesh Vaidya, executive creative director, Euro RSCG India, is of the opinion that guilt is one of the biggest motivators one can use in communication. "Using a cute child as an afflicted patient, who needs regular blood donations, is bound to melt many a heart," he says.

He adds that the commercial is well-directed with "neat performances" from both the grown- up and the child. "It is several notches above the usual 'sarkari' public service commercial. In fact, you don't even expect it to be 'sarkari', till you see the clutch of logos fighting for space at the end," Vaidya remarks.

He continues, "But will it make anyone donate blood? To get me to roll up my sleeve, you'll have to answer one big question: How safe am I donating blood at the average blood bank? Not very, I'd wager, if the National AIDS Control Organisation has to do a commercial telling people to donate blood."

Govind Pandey, president, McCann Erickson, is of the opinion that the ad serves to stir viewers' conscience and successfully instils the realisation that blood donation is something that one can actually do.

"The basic point that the ad manages to get across is that one small step can make a big difference in someone's life. The good feeling that one experiences after donating blood has been highlighted well." He adds that the girl has performed well; that the ad is an honest attempt sans gimmicks; and that it has neither been overdone nor underdone.

Will the film make people get up and donate blood, though? "That's a gradual process. The ad certainly helps build a certain mindset in that direction," Pandey answers.

"They aren't trying to change the world; they're trying to tell each individual that he/she can make a huge difference in his/her own small way. This has been nicely done without wagging an accusing finger," Pandey concludes.

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