Aishwarya Ramesh
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Don't panic, urges BMC's OOH ads to Mumbaikars

In the face of growing panic over the spread of Coronavirus, the BMC is using the OOH medium to deliver a very important message - don't panic.

As of March 24, 2020, the number of Coronavirus cases in India has risen to well over 500. Maharashtra has emerged as one of the major epicentres of the pandemic in India, with more than 107 cases. Some of those who have tested positive have a history of international travel, while others came in contact with a carrier at social gatherings. One thing that all the citizens have in common is that they are scared, very scared.

To curb the spread of misinformation and panic among Mumbaikars, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wrote to all licensed hoarding owners in the city. The BMC instructed them to display awareness messages regarding the spread of Coronavirus (between March 16 and March 25). The messages were created by a Lowe Lintas team.

afaqs! reported earlier this month that there were about 1,200 hoardings all over the city. Here are some of the messages that can be seen along the Western Express Highway and other parts of the Mumbai. We also reported that the BMC would compensate hoarding owners, who would print and display the messages for the display period. As far as unruly hoarding owners go, the municipal body said that it won't remove their current display and hoarding structure, but cancel their licenses.

Sagar Kapoor, chief creative officer at Lowe Lintas, divulged that the team was very clear about the direction it wanted the communication to take. "The first motive was to calm the people down, and ensure that panic does not spread. We needed to make sure people weren’t viewing the virus through a lens of panic, and wanted to arm them with information, at the same time," he says.

Don't panic, urges BMC's OOH ads to Mumbaikars

When asked about the choice of medium for the awareness campaign, he says that out-of-home (OOH) was chosen because of its high visibility. "OOH gives us great visibility to spread a message to a large group of people. If you look at the situation, it is (only) recently that people (have started) working out of their homes. When we had erected the billboards, there were still people who were out and about, and the intent was to communicate with them. TV wouldn’t have given us that kind of visibility," says Kapoor.

The BMC and the creative agency had collaborated to create the communication in advance. The decision was on when to disseminate the information. The BMC also took to social media, earlier this month, to tell people what measures it was taking to deal with the rapidly spreading pandemic.

“I’m the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai and I want to use this opportunity to talk to you about the Covid-19 situation...

Posted by Humans of Bombay on Sunday, March 15, 2020