Ashee SharmaPublished: 16 Dec 2016, 12:00 AM
Digital

The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate

We spoke to J. Walter Thompson's Senthil Kumar about the mobile-first effort.

Try a simple Google search using the search terms 'Bangalore', 'Garden City' and 'Lake City'. Unfortunately, the results that pop up will be news articles/studies such as 'Bangalore: from garden city to garbage city', 'The shocking story of Bengaluru's dried up '1000 lakes', and the most distressing one, 'Bengaluru won't die in five years; it's already dead'. While the media is guilty of exaggeration, it is also true that no conversation with a Bangalorean today is complete without a mention of this painful reality.

But this does not change the fact that Bengaluru is a beautiful city, albeit neglected. So, while the government and civic authorities do their jobs, The Hindu, has launched an initiative - #spiritofbengaluru - to invoke the residents' love for the city and invite them to do their bit every day to preserve its beauty and tranquillity.

The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
The mobile-first campaign, conceptualised by JWT India, consists of a 'switchable video' which can be viewed on an exclusive site, spiritofbengaluru.com. The video shows two different sides of the city. The execution of the campaign is interesting particularly because of the digital innovation which allows desktop viewers to switch perspectives by clicking on a switch icon. Mobile users can use auto-rotate to 'see the change'.
The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
Senthil Kumar, chief creative officer, JWT India tells afaqs! that while the target audience for this campaign is everyone who resides in Bengaluru, the decision to go ahead with a mobile-first approach was taken to appeal to the youth.

"The digital landscape has put the consumer empowered with the mobile phone at the center and that’s the key to engagement today. It no longer becomes advertising but a case of creating a relationship with a consumer. That's why participative campaigns always do best. The JWT team along with the marketing head of The Hindu, Dr. Sathya Sriram and her team decided to break the campaign as a mobile first initiative followed by digital, and finally reach out to this audience through the mainstream television campaign via news channels, radio reminders, postcards in print and musicals to captive cinema audiences across the city," he shares.

The insight behind the execution was derived from another campaign, #whatsyourissue, where The Hindu readers and people in general were asked to share their thoughts on the city and the issues that they think are important.

The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
The reactions were mixed. While there were complaints on one hand, on the other, people were talking of the good things about Bengaluru, for example the greenery that should be preserved. That was the origin of the idea behind this 'switchable video' which has been directed by Ayappa KM of Early Man Film.
The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
"The video is a 'tale of two cities'. While Bengaluru has its own woes, if you look at it positively, it has beautiful landscapes too. Hence, in the video, we kept the landscape view positive, and the portrait view negative," explains Kumar.
The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
Taking us through what conspired on the tech-end of making the video, Kumar shares that the agency put together a team of young coders to build this mobile technology because no such app or technology existed. After the code was cracked, the next challenge was to find a platform to host this kind of a video. Through its digital agency Mirum, JWT collaborated with Vimeo to host this 'experience' of playing two videos at the same time on one platform in a seamless manner.
The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate

"I have a strong belief that technology is the true enabler of ideas to come to life as mind blowing executions. It all begins with wanting to create something that’s never been done before. That’s why it’s called a creative solution," he insists.

The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
The background score is also a result of a similar collaboration. The song is originally a poem called 'Baro Sadhanakerege' by celebrated Kannada poet, Late Dr. Da Ra Bendre. He penned it down on returning to his village. The song was rewritten in a new avatar for Bengaluru by Vasuki Vaibhav. Finally, for this video, it was composed, performed and produced by Kannada folk-rock singer Raghu Dixit.

Kumar calls it the voice of the Spirit of Bengaluru. "It is the soulful cry of mother nature," he says.

The campaign comprises a full three-minute-long video which will be played in theatres. There are two 30-second videos showing each sides of the city. Additionally, there are 10-second videos showcasing Bengaluru's evergreen destinations including Ulsoor Lake, IISc Campus, Nandi Hills, Cubbon Park, Manchanbele Dam, Malleswaram, Hebbal Lake, Lal Bagh, Chitra Kala Parishat, Basavangudi, Freedom Park, and Central College.

Different Perspectives...

The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
The Hindu shows 2 sides of Bengaluru, with a little help from auto-rotate
Sudhir Nair, co-founder and CEO, 21N78E (ex-senior vice-president and head - digital at Grey Group), finds the idea simple, yet powerful.

"Though am not from Bengaluru, I have experienced a very visible change in it given my regular travel for over a decade. The contrast is very well captured. The execution too is relatively seamless; at least on 3g/4g," he says adding that the video could have been optimised better for varying speeds.

According to Nair the switch works well, not just for a mobile-first audience, but for everyone because that is how people prefer to watch videos. "It is a fundamental behaviour and the format for most of us while watching videos on any device. The concept appeals because of the messaging and particularly the contrast. The switch will get people to think about their own actions," he notes.

As someone who spent the first 24 years of his life in Bengaluru, and has witnessed the "heart-breaking transition", Charles Victor - national creative director, Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi, says "my eyes swelled with nostalgia watching this. As a creative piece, I loved it. It's just the classic 'two sides of a coin' approach. And today, technology lets you flip the coin when you want to."

Victor believes that this isn't an innovation just for the sake of it. "The switch mode works great for this particular creative because it is about the two sides of the city. It brings that contrast to life. While it could've been the old school mashup edit, this draws me deeper into the creative and lets me control the contrast," he points out.

Prashant Puri, co-founder and CEO, AdLift (a digital marketing company), also finds the execution innovative. "I think the idea is great! 80 per cent of online video ads are abandoned within the first half. Incorporating digital innovations like switchable video would definitely help lower that number and increase engagement," he states.

Sharing some numbers, he adds "If viewers find a video ad interesting, the purchase intent goes up by 97 per cent and brand association by 139 per cent. This one has a very strong message that was delivered subtly. In my view, it's going to have fantastic brand recall."