MTV India urges youth to press the button

By Raushni Bhagia , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing
Published : December 09, 2013
The campaign will have three phases, urging the youth to register as voters, then vote and finally, attend the concert to show pride in voting.

Vote and enjoy Honey Singh, Live! Does that sound like a trap to you? No, it's not. In addition to creating a lot of awareness among the young people about voting and election procedure, MTV India is also tempting them to a dose of their favourite music. The channel plans to organise a concert with Honey Singh, wherein entry will be allowed only if the person has the 'voter's mark' on his/her finger.

Aditya Swamy

To lead the youth through the elections and encourage them to vote, the youth entertainment channel from Viacom18 has launched a campaign called 'Rock The Vote', which has different phases to educate, encourage and make the youth aware of the significance of voting.

The campaign starts with urging the youth to register as voters, and closer to the date of election, it will remind them to vote; in the third phase (after elections), the concert will ensure that they have voted.

Why this campaign? Aditya Swamy, EVP and business head, MTV India, explains, "There are about 12 crore new voters this time, which is more than the votes that the winning party got last time. Also, 32 per cent are below 30 years of age, 12 per cent of these voted. The number 12 has to go up and we will know that we have succeeded. I won't say that all the change would be because of this campaign but a fraction would definitely be."

The channel has decided to speak to the youth in a fun way and it all starts with the tagline, 'Dabao na...button'.

In fact, ad-films made for television are not about dollar pricing or economic reform. The films rather talk about how a boyfriend can afford just one ice-cream and hence the couple shares it, how the scooter stops in the middle of the road (due to fuel shortage) and two friends start cursing each other.

The channel has taken aboard two ambassadors for the campaign, Honey Singh and Ranvijay Singh, such that both will feature in all the communication. Honey Singh is also making a song for the campaign. With the concert, it is assumed that the youth will feel peer pressure to vote.

As Swamy puts it, "How cool it is to have a tattoo, we want to make that voting mark equally cool. We want youngsters to show off their marks."

These preparations are for the General Elections which are scheduled to be held in May, 2014. Isn't it late to launch a campaign urging the youth to register? MTV India feels this is the right time. The campaign is 30 weeks long and there are plans to keep it live throughout by launching something new almost every week. "If the campaign was too long, the impact would have died," states Swamy.

While the commercials were released recently on TV, there will be animation based films and consumer engagement initiatives. Later, the channel will release a song and a music video/on ground activation.

Sumeli Chatterjee

Sumeli Chatterjee, head, marketing, media and insights, MTV India, says that a lot of crowd sourced content is in the pipeline. "There is a study on political learning. This includes videos that clarify the fun facts about voting that we didn't know or basic knowledge about the elections. For example, who are you voting for, legislative assembly, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and that you can't vote for Prime Minister, you elect the people, who in turn elects the PM."

The crowd sourcing part will include videos, T-shirt designs and interpretation of Rock The Vote. The channel has partnered with Twitter and there will be a new initiative with Twitter by the end of December.

To promote the campaign, the channel is tapping its campus ambassadors' network. These ambassadors are college students across 300 colleges in 10 cities (one student per college). The Roadies audition will also include a few questions about voting. VJ Bani, host on MTV Roadies, could also wear a Rock The Vote T-shirt.

The campaign urges the youngsters to register for voting. There is an option on the website which diverts the user to the website of the Election Commission of India. The channel is also trying to get clearance from the commission to organise camps for registration at various colleges.

Hero has partnered with the channel for the initiative. The bike brand had earlier launched campaigns relating to India like Desh Ki Dhadkan and Hum Mein Hai Hero. The company also partnered with Hockey India League to create impact. On the other side, the channel has also partnered with Rock the Vote, a global non-profit organisation based in the US and four other cities.

There will also be a half-hour weekly show, a satire to clear doubts and prejudices about voting, elections and hierarchy. There are plans to have panel discussions on-ground, which could be taken on-air or online.

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