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Give way to ambulances, urges Ola in humorous PSA

A look at #GiveWayGiveLife, Ola's new public service advert.

The scene from the Hindi movie Nayak where a patient is dying because the ambulance is stuck in traffic due to riots may or may not have been an inspiration for Ola's latest PSA.

Give way to ambulances, urges Ola in humorous PSA

Recently Ola, the app-based cab hailing service, released its digital film #GiveWayGiveLife to raise public awareness and bring about a social change. The ad has been conceptualised by Happy mcgarrybowen, a digital agency from the house of Dentsu Aegis Network.

Give way to ambulances, urges Ola in humorous PSA
While everyone on the road notices the frenetic ambulance sirens, very rarely are commuters able to empathise with the serious condition of the patient inside. Ola has taken it on themselves to generate a sense of accountability by creating a public service announcement (PSA) through this digital ad film. As part of the campaign, Ola is running the PSA across all key social media platforms to create awareness on the issue. The idea of giving way to transient ambulances will also be integrated in the training program provided to drivers at the time of on-boarding as well as regular training through driver training devices on how to acknowledge and act during emergencies.

Healthcare institutions like the Apollo Group of Hospitals have also come forward and supported Ola's #GiveWayGiveLife initiative, adding to the campaign's reach and enabling a potentially impactful social change.

Give way to ambulances, urges Ola in humorous PSA
Give way to ambulances, urges Ola in humorous PSA
Give way to ambulances, urges Ola in humorous PSA
Give way to ambulances, urges Ola in humorous PSA
Talking about the campaign, Raghuvesh Sarup, chief marketing officer and head of categories, Ola, says in a press release, "With presence across 102 cities, we at Ola are best placed to understand the unique problems faced by commuters on Indian roads on a daily basis. With this campaign, we hope to sensitize people about the importance of giving way to emergency vehicles. We are not only committed to building sustainable mobility solutions but are also devoted to becoming a worthy mobility partner for a billion Indians.###DOUB

We asked our experts about their views on the execution and idea of the ad film and this is what they had to say.

Shubho Sengupta, brand consultant and CEO, Pinkshastra (traditional Indian healthcare portal), says, "Loved it. Brilliant mix of rational and emotional. And such an unexpected twist in the end! This positions Ola as a time saver and yet gets a social message across. Wish I had done it."

Giving his views, Ravi Raghavendra, executive creative director, Thinkstr, says, "My take on the execution is that I really thought the dying man was Nana Patekar. Watched it a couple of times to know for sure. There, it ticked the repeat viewing box. Not sure if that was deliberate or inadvertent, but it worked. Overall, I liked the casting."

He adds, "It's a serious issue that has been pitched right. They've used religion and it didn't create any unnecessary controversy. That's deft."

Bikram Bindra, vice-president and strategic planning head, Grey Group, Delhi, says, "The execution is gripping and the tension and trauma the family is going through is palpable. The quick shots and the acting bring alive the pathos of the situation effectively, and one cannot help but feel the reality of what is happening."

Talking about the idea Bindra says, "Yes, the topic is a sensitive one, but it is an important conversation to have, and it is great that a service provider in the commuting space is choosing to engage on this subject. Of course, the reality sadly is that no matter how clear the intent is, our typically clogged and chaotic roads often leave little room for life saving ambulances to make their way through seamlessly. The humour is more irony than anything else, and helps in fact re-iterate the gravity of the situation, and the critical role co-travellers on the road can play."

Manish Bhatt, founder-director, Scarecrow Communications, feels the message is not delivered in the right spirit. He says, "This is a non-issue. Have you seen anyone inhumane enough to not give way to an ambulance, especially the kind of spiritual people shown in the ad? Besides, the ad talks to individuals but it's never individuals who hold up traffic; it's always more than that, like poor roads, collective lack of civic sense, etc."

He adds, "The ad makes you emotional for no reason. It's a rebel-without-a-cause ad. Ola may not really gain mileage from it. People may feel 'fooled' because the ad plays with their emotions. The graph of the film moves from serious and sad to a joke and a mockery of sorts. That's like 'half humour'. The tonality is not maintained. Also, the production value is not great."

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