Lead India – the movement to improve society initiated by The Times of India – hasn’t only inspired consumers (and Cannes jury members) into action. It has started a movement of sorts in the media fraternity as well. A few months after the Lead India campaign, DB Corp. Ltd (DBCL) is out with a campaign for its Hindi daily, Dainik Bhaskar – the first national campaign ever for the brand. Earlier, Dainik Bhaskar has had tactical/ promotional campaigns on matters like circulation and readership, but on a regional scale. The closest it came to a brand thought was in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh (in Rajasthan, for instance, the core thought was that of a new, improved Rajasthan, with creatives like ‘You used to wait for a phone connection; now wait for a phone call’).
“Yes, this is our first national campaign. Dainik Bhaskar has now come of age, and with its rapid expansion, the time for a consolidated thought has come,” says Sanjeev Kotnala, associate vice-president and national head, communication, DBCL.According to Kotnala, the past 10 years have been eventful for the newspaper: Its readership has gone up from 30 lakh to 2.53 crore. “As a brand, we wanted to be numero uno from Day 1 of our launch and people used to laugh at us,” says Kotnala. “But the paper had this stubborn streak to prove its mettle, which forms the basis of our national brand premise.”Euro RSCG, Dainik Bhaskar’s agency for the past three years, has devised a campaign featuring the new brand ambassador, cricketer MS Dhoni, which revolves around the thought, ‘Zidd Karo, Duniya Badlo’ (‘Insist and Change Your World’).
The ad opens on the shot of a small boy looking longingly at a toy in a shop, even as his mother drags him away and buys him balloons instead. Dhoni, the narrator, says that from childhood, we are taught to be satisfied with what we have and not ask for more. If the roads are in a bad condition, we will simply drive slower; if eveteasers dot a street, we are taught to take another route. But Dhoni advises us against this cowering; he says, ‘Zidd Karo’ (‘Insist on what you want’). In the next shot, Dhoni is seen protecting a girl at a bus stop by standing between her assailant and her. Next, a lady firmly gets herself a seat on the bus by making a man vacate it. One sees a handicapped man make a perfect dive into a pool, while another man hugs a tree (akin to the Chipko movement). Dhoni then joins hands with other Indians and finishes on the thought that when children are being obstinate, adults should simply tell them to wait until they are older. “Dainik Bhaskar. Zidd Karo, Duniya Badlo,” Dhoni concludes.
Satbir Singh, national creative director, Euro RSCG, admits that the word ‘Zidd’, as we know it, bears a negative connotation. “But it need not be that way, is what we’re trying to say,” he says. “This negative can be turned into a really strong potent weapon to right wrongs.” In other words, ‘zidd’ can be interpreted as stubbornness on one hand and conviction on the other. Kotnala elucidates with an example: One may suddenly decide not to use plastic products any more and this may lead to a movement in society which changes things. “So, ‘zidd’ leads to change,” he says, “and whatever anyone has ever achieved in life is because of some ‘zidd’ or the other.” Dhoni fit the bill as he is a small townie (much akin to Dainik Bhaskar as a brand), who achieved beyond his means, beyond the expectations from him. What carried him forward was his conviction. “Dhoni is also all about controlled aggression and confidence, which is what ‘Zidd Karo’ and Dainik Bhaskar stand for,” says Singh. Kotnala clarifies that ‘Zidd Karo…’ isn’t a tagline for Dainik Bhaskar; it is only a campaign idea, a reflection of the way India is headed. Euro will first test reactions to this campaign and later think of converting it into a larger brand positioning. “We want to shake people out of the ‘chalta hai’ attitude,” says Nilesh Vaidya, creative director, Euro RSCG, and also the script writer for the commercial. The idea struck him whilst he was stuck in a traffic jam near the Mumbai airport. Singh adds, “The idea is to create disruption. It’s about time we stopped cribbing and started doing.” The various media vehicles used in this campaign include print, OOH, radio, cinema, the Internet and TV. Dainik Bhaskar plans to see the campaign through by taking up some social causes that affect society, much akin to what TOI did with Lead India. However, Vaidya says that’s where the similarities end. “”We’re not asking anyone to be a leader. We’re simply asking them to be themselves and yet make a difference,” he says, explaining that Dhoni has been reduced from a celebrity to a commoner in the ad, as opposed to Lead India, which made celebrities out of commoners. Further, while Lead India focused only on improving society at large, ‘Zidd Karo’ is also about personal achievement (like the handicapped swimmer sequence). The film has been directed by Ravi Udyawar of Ravi Udyawar Films.