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‘The Greatest Indian’ campaign sets Twitter ablaze

History TV 18 and CNN-IBN’s ‘The Greatest Indian’ hunt generates a buzz thanks to Twitter and Facebook

Ananya Saha | Delhi | June 19, 2012

The power of a tweet is no less when it comes to creating the right buzz. ‘The Greatest Indian’ campaign by History TV 18 and CNN-IBN aimed at allowing viewers to vote for who they think is the greatest Indian since 1948 after Mahatma Gandhi, was launched on social media and online on June 4.

In just over a week, The Greatest Indian (TGI) has proved to be a remarkable success story with an overwhelming five million (50 lakh) votes just over two weeks million votes and generating phenomenal buzz on social media.

Interestingly, within a few hours of announcing the initiative on social media, the poll set Twitter and Facebook ablaze generating interesting conversation. The vote count even before the show launch had reached the 10,000-mark.

Sangeetha Aiyer, GM, Marketing, History TV 18, said, “The general perception in most marketing campaigns is that budgets have a direct correlation with the buzz created both online and offline. But sometimes there is that rare occasion when a campaign redefines existing perceptions and with scale and substance making marketers rethink strategies. Twitter can be a powerful tool for marketers, if used wisely.”

With prominent influencers on Twitter, and their subsequent discussion about the initiative with hashtags #TGI and #TheGreatestIndian rooting for their ‘greats’ and asking their ‘followers’ to vote for them, led both the hashtags trending on Twitter for over 24 hours. The word percolated in the inner circles of smaller towns as well. “This is an interesting disclosure, as these small towns devoid of any direct reach of media influence, i.e., restricted penetration of channels including History TV18 and social media influence. Thus, with such limitation, it cannot trigger such a humongous amount voting, accounting only from smaller cities and towns,” Aiyer added.

Talking of the limitations that other social media have compared to Twitter, Aiyer said, “The beauty of Twitter is that it is inexpensive, and unlike in other social media, you can get influencers on your side and trend about topics after you have created a talkable idea.” But she adds a word of caution, “It is imperative that you release your campaign first on Twitter than anywhere else, even if it means a gap of few hours.”

Aiyer, sharing the Twitter insights for TGI, said, “India has always been identified as a cricket and Bollywood crazy nation. However, unexpectedly Dr B R Ambedkar is leading the poll with a huge margin. APJ Abdul Kalam has sky rocketed to second place, which shows the topical nature of the property replicating the buzz on Twitter followed by names like Vallabhai Patel, Kanshi Ram, AB Vajpayee. These names are much ahead of popular and current sensations like Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan. The initiative has also led to fascinating development on Facebook and creation of fan pages rooting for their icons. Within a week since the campaign, fans rooting for Ambedkar have created pages and have acquired an estimable number of fan base and likes.”

With TGI, the idea is to create one topic or questions every week to be trended continuously.

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