Deepashree Banerjee

IAA rolls out 'MyFirstVote’ campaign to combat voter apathy

The digital-led campaign has already garnered a fair amount of support from the marcom fraternity.

In a bid to encourage first-time voters to cast their ballot, the International Advertising Association (IAA) has rolled out a digital campaign titled #MeraPehlaVote aka #MyFirstVote.

Ramesh Narayan, former president, IAA India Chapter, says, “India has more than50 per centof its population below the age of 25. Encouraging them to be part of the greatest festival of democracy was our goal at the onset.”

IAA rolls out 'MyFirstVote’ campaign to combat voter apathy
Ramesh Narayan

We catch up with Narayan for a quick chat to get an idea about how the idea germinated.

It all started five years ago, during the 2014general election, when the Ravi Shankar-led Art of Living Foundation sought the advertising entity (IAA) to help counter voter apathy.

“In Mumbai (especially South Mumbai) voting percentages were really low. So, we approached WPP's CVL Srinivas who requested one of their creative agencies to help us create a campaign to combat this apathy,” Narayan recalls.

IAA rolls out 'MyFirstVote’ campaign to combat voter apathy

The result was a seemingly provocative poster (which reads Adult Content, Only if you are 18+) with a QR code. When scanned via mobile, a video was downloaded and it started off on what could be considered a risqué note. However, it quickly came to the point that you needed to lift your finger and vote and this is how the 'Ungli Uthao'campaign came into being.

IAA rolls out 'MyFirstVote’ campaign to combat voter apathy

The posters could be spotted inside wash-rooms at Inox theatres apart from being run on social media etc.

“The result has not been measured, but voting rates increased and the campaign bagged an Abby,” Narayan informs.

So what boosted the idea of re-running the same campaign around this year's ongoing general election?

“That was around the time when the Prime Minister publicly appealed to influencers like Punit Goenka (managing director and CEO, ZEEL), to urge everyone to vote.

Being the president of the IAA’s India Chapter, Punit felt we should carry such a campaign. After brainstorming, it was felt that given the demographics, which were overwhelmingly in favour of the younger voter, we should carefully target first-time voters only,” says Narayan.

The Lowe Lintas-created (the agency being ZEEL's creative partner) campaign was launched at the Olive Crown Awards function on the April 18.

The campaign has already seen a fair amount of support from the marcom (marketing and communications) fraternity.

“The creative will be driven on social media and on Zee 5’s platforms. Hungama's Neeraj Roy (an ex-president of the IAA) spontaneously offered to run it on their platforms. Anant Goenka of the Indian Express (managing committee member of the IAA) has also offered to run it on the very popular digital platforms of the publication,” Narayan shares.

However, this is not the first time IAA as an industry body has taken up a needy cause. Some endeavours from the past:

IAA rolls out 'MyFirstVote’ campaign to combat voter apathy
Artworks created to raise funds for a flood-ravaged Kerala
IAA rolls out 'MyFirstVote’ campaign to combat voter apathy
Teaming up with Laadli (an NGO) for their media awards on gender sensitivity
IAA rolls out 'MyFirstVote’ campaign to combat voter apathy
Flexi-timings to save lives (Live to Work To Live campaign)

According to Narayan, the marcom industry needs to constantly reiterate the 'Communication is a force for Good' mantra. He raises a strong point saying, “We have the creative talent in abundance. We have the media linkages that anyone would envy. So, why can't we regularly take up causes and amplify them?”

The campaign will see social media-centric creatives showcasing youngsters celebrating after voting for the first time.

Sagar Kapoor, chief creative officer, Lowe Lintas, shares, “There are more than eight crore first-timer voters this election. We thought, at a young age like that, you experience and celebrate many firsts of life - firstdrive, first love, first job etc. What then should stop you from celebrating your first vote?”

From automobile to QSR - brands across segments are seeing this as an opportunity to stimulate sales and boost participation of voters.