Benita Chacko

'Pushpa Impossible' campaign created to build brand 'Pushpa': Sony SAB’s Vaishali Sharma

The head of marketing and communications speaks about how the channel’s latest campaign is empowering women.

Sony SAB recently launched the 'Main Khush Toh Family Khush' initiative for its show, Pushpa Impossible. Through this, the channel seeks to encourage women to prioritise their own happiness alongside their family responsibilities.

In an interview with afaqs!, Vaishali Sharma, Head of Marketing and Communications, Sony SAB, SET & Sony MAX Movies Cluster, says it was created to build the 'Pushpa' brand and not merely to promote the show. She insists that it is not a mere campaign but an initiative to enable women to relate and resonate with Pushpa's journey.

"You don't have to do a corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaign or donate money to create value and happiness in people's lives. These are all ways of creating meaning and value in the lives of our viewers," she stated.

The campaign draws its inspiration from the insight that women often become so engrossed in caring for their families after marriage that they tend to overlook their own needs. This selflessness can sometimes lead to feelings of guilt when they consider doing things for themselves.

"The strategy was to ride on this insight and engage with women. We wanted to drive the message that it's equally important to think about oneself," Sharma added.

Launched in June 2022, the show narrates the story of Pushpa Patel, an uneducated yet self-made woman from Patan, Gujarat. She tirelessly juggles odd jobs to secure a brighter future for her three children. In her relentless pursuit of her family's happiness, In her struggle to keep her family happy, she has no time to pursue her own aspirations.

Regarding the timing of the campaign, Sharma explained that they strategically planned it to coincide with a pivotal point in Pushpa's journey.  This point marked the commencement of a new phase for the character, as she embarked on the journey of pursuing her own aspirations by launching a Patan Patola weaving business.

"Since this is about Brand Pushpa, it is a long-term campaign. She is at an important juncture in her life and she is not just taking a leap for herself but to empower many women. We want to continue pushing this insight. The entire objective of this campaign is engagement and outreach," she explained.

To amplify the message, the channel collaborated with a series of social media pages like Tweak India, She The People, SHEROES and popular influencers like Falguni Vasavda to bring out Pushpa's journey through interviews. The campaign specifically targets women over the age of 30 years in urban areas, selecting platforms and influencers that resonate strongly with female audiences.

"We chose women influencers or platforms that speak to women as women are more comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts in that space. We wanted to respect their privacy and have them in a comfortable space," she noted.

These platforms and influencers predominantly showcase real-life stories rather than fiction. Interestingly, these interviews were conducted not with the show's actor, Karuna Pandey Vaidya, but with the titular character, Pushpa Patel.  Vaidya spoke to the interviewees as if she had lived through Pushpa's experiences. For someone unaware of the show, it will take some time to figure out that this is the story of a fictional person and not real lived experiences.

"We are not selling an artist. We're selling hope, a dream, encouragement and empowerment. If I had to use Karuna, then it would be her story. Sony SAB wants to inspire people through Pushpa's story. It's a tool we are using to give our audience a message," Sharma explained.

Additionally, the campaign also created a vox pop for social media where real women shared their struggles in prioritising their dreams. "A research agency helped us identify women from different walks of life in a particular age group," she reveals.

In November 2022, Sony SAB moved away from being a comedy channel to becoming a family entertainment channel. Some of its other popular shows are Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, Wagle Ki Duniya – Nayi Peedhi Naye Kissey, Dil Diyaan Gallaan, Dhruv Tara – Samay Sadi Se Pare, Baalveer 3 and Vanshaj. In an interview with afaqs!, Neeraj Vyas, business head, Sony SAB, PAL, and Sony MAX Movie Cluster shared that television needs a new narrative and he believes that Sony SAB wants to be the flagbearer of it.

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