afaqs! news bureau

Over 1 lakh Indians participated with selfies and videos in TOI's #MaskIndia campaign...

Conceptualized by Wunderman Thompson South Asia, the campaign encouraged Indians to make and wear homemade masks and share it online...

Wearing a mask is one of the most effective measures we can take to halt Coronavirus' spread. But, healthcare workers saw an acute shortage of masks that created a roadblock in their ability to treat patients infected with the virus.

Thus, this led to many public health organisations including the CDC to promote the use of homemade masks for the general public so that healthcare professionals and frontline workers don't suffer.

The Times of India, India's leading English daily, in response, launched a campaign called #MaskIndia. Conceptualized by Wunderman Thompson South Asia, it encouraged people to make their masks at home and then to share pictures of them wearing it on social media with the hashtag #maskindia.

Launched on April 6, 2020, the campaign saw the participation of over 1lakh Indians with videos and selfies of their homemade masks and a nod from prime minister Modi too.

Sanjeev Bhargava, President, Marketing, The Times of India, said, “The Times of India has always stood by its motto: “Change Begins Here” and the #maskindia campaign is another link in the long chain of initiatives that we have launched in the recent past. What makes it special is that it has an immediate relevance and benefit to everyone in the country. We strongly believe it can play a critical role in our fight against the pandemic. I would like to specially congratulate Wunderman Thompson for not only turning around and developing the campaign from scratch within 2 days but having done so in the times of a complete lockdown!”

The entire campaign culminated into a film made by Wunderman Thompson which features "...a thousand different images of a thousand different homemade masks in a breathe in breathe out the composition of history and culture."

Senthil Kumar, Chief Creative Officer, Wunderman Thompson, India, said, “The edit has been painstakingly crafted to lock the eye line in all images so that the transition from one homemade mask to another is seamless. The simulation of eye movements is designed to invite a live face-off with audiences who are watching the film on their mobile or television screens. Experience the emotion of a thousand eyes talking to you to deliver a powerful narrative through the masks."

He continued, "All the cultural folk masks and ancient mythological masks have been carefully chosen to share only wearable masks made from jute, coconut husk, bamboo, wood, leaves, paper mache and natural fibre. It’s time to revive our cultural habit of wearing a mask to fight the evil virus, whenever we leave our homes for work and play, for life and family, for our country and the future of humankind. It’s time to turn the humble ghamcha, dupatta, pallu, turbans, urma, lungi, dhoti, angavastram or any clean cloth into a mask and wear it for India. It’s time to dig deep into our cultural roots and create popular culture, inspiring every Indian to wear a mask like a warrior.”

An interesting fact about the film was the soundtrack: Ustaad Taufiq Qureshi and his team of vocal percussionists and sound engineers recorded all the sounds for this track using only breath and breathing while wearing a homemade mask.

“The idea is to inspire every Indian to Make their Own Mask and share their mask selfie to inspire every other Indian. With over a hundred thousand unique homemade masks already uploaded, the MAKE YOUR OWN #MASKINDIA movement will be amplified further with this interactive innovation”, added Kumar.

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