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Ogilvy’s giant step hopes to eradicate filaria

The TVC is dubbed in nine regional languages to ensure widespread comprehension so as to achieve the goal of eliminating lymphatic filariasis from India in the next two years

Ogilvy’s giant step hopes to eradicate filaria

The TVC is dubbed in nine regional languages to ensure widespread comprehension so as to achieve the goal of eliminating lymphatic filariasis from India in the next two years

Sarmistha Neogy | Mumbai | January 14, 2015

filaria-TVC Click on the image to watch the TVC.

Ogilvy & Mather has created a simple yet powerful campaign to make India Filaria-free – through a campaign titled ‘Hathipaon Mukt Bharat’. It was found that half of India’s population is threatened by lymphatic filariasis, also known as Filaria or Elephantiasis, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease that can cause disability and disfigurement among those infected.

To meet the ambitious goal of eliminating lymphatic filariasis from India within the next two years, the country’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW) recognised that it needed a stronger creative campaign and promotional plan to support the massive logistical effort of delivering preventative medication to high-risk communities within 17 states.

Sumanto Chattopadhyay Sumanto Chattopadhyay

Commenting on the campaign, Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Executive Creative Director, South Asia, Ogilvy Mumbai, said, “The other big disease after Polio which needs to be eradicated from our country is Filaria. There is, in general, very low awareness about this disease and very few people believe that they stand at the risk of contracting this infection. Some startling numbers show that more than 500 million people are still suffering from Elephantiasis and that it can happen even 8-10 years after one has been infected. Health workers have gone door-to-door with free dose of pills, but they haven’t been able to eradicate this disease.”

“For the ‘Hathipaon Mukt Bharat’ campaign, our brief was to target the rural and the semi-rural consumers. We realised that there are many public service advertisements, but, in order to catch the attention of the viewers, we need to be disruptive. Therefore, a lot of care was taken to make the advertisement sensitive. In these cases, it so happens that the patient is stigmatised, so in the end of our film, he is shown to educate and champion the cause himself. He tells others that even though it is late for him, others shouldn’t neglect it .The presence of a health worker in a blue and white sari also makes it more credible, because she gives factual data of the number of people infected and how it can be prevented,” Chattopadhyay added.

The TVC ‘Giant Footprints’ is set in a village; a few kids are seen playing cricket. Suddenly, one of them notices a giant footprint on the ground and he starts following it. Gradually, the entire village comes out of their houses to follow the footprints out of curiosity. The footprints finally end at a medical centre, where a Filaria patient with deformed feet is seen telling the health worker, “Didn’t I tell you that I will get the whole village here?”

The representative then educates the villagers about the disease and how everyone stands a risk of having it. But it can be prevented by a simple dose of a medicine every year, which is both free and safe to have. In the end, we see the entire village clearing the footprint marks from the village symbolising efforts to make India Filaria-free.

Chattopadhyay pointed out that it was a race against time as they had to complete all the work in just a month, with majority of the filming taking place during Diwali, one of India’s most important holidays. The three television videos that were produced in Hindi also needed to be dubbed in nine different regional languages to ensure widespread comprehension. To increase acceptance of the videos across India, the team selected a neutral language, Sanskrit, for the musical score, with lyrics that translate as ‘there are signs along the way that lead us to the ultimate truth,’ a great pairing to the visual treatment in the films.

A two-minute special edit of the film is available on YouTube and a print campaign will follow soon. Reliance Group has lent its corporate support to the campaign, by agreeing to promote it through the company’s mobile, mass media and web-based channels.

Giant Impact?

Naresh Gupta Naresh Gupta

Naresh Gupta, CSO, Bang In The Middle, believes that it is a really impactful and well-made campaign. “Filaria is something that hasn't been spoken in public domain. This campaign does a great job of making it conversational. I like the fact that they haven't made it like something which the society should shun and something that needs special care, etc. So, it has got three things right in place: simple solution, simple premise and great storytelling. I wish there is a follow-up with an urban setting because it is not a rural-India-only disease,” he said.

Ambika Sharma Ambika Sharma

Ambika Sharma, Founder, Pulp Strategy, commented, “A really interesting and intriguing campaign. Not many people are aware of what Filaria is; therefore, this campaign makes a good attempt at spreading awareness on how we can prevent it. The film has been executed very well, right from keeping the message simple, to generating curiosity and capturing the attention of the viewers, everything is in place.”

Suveer Bajaj Suveer Bajaj

Suveer Bajaj, Director, Media Operations and Co-founder, FoxyMoron, remarked, "Social media has not only profoundly changed the way people communicate, but it also plays a very important role in spreading social awareness. So, it is about creating a ‘movement’ that will make a real difference, deeply touch individuals, organisations and communities. Emotion plays an important role in storytelling and captivating user through the ‘footprint’ of the film. The ‘Hathipaon Mukt Bharat’ campaign has enthusiastically tapped into this growing community by inspiring their viewers with a message that strikes the right chord in order to make a difference."

Sani Ghose Ray, Director, Fame Per Second, loved the communication. He felt the campaign was a little subtle to start with but in the end clearly communicates what it intends to. "Loved the backdrop and the sound. It created the perfect ambience for the people intended,” he said.

The TVC: 



Client: Sabin Vaccine Institute/Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Creative Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai

Creative Team: Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Abhijit Karandikar, Jyotsna Parikh, Nilay Moonje, Meghna Hiran, Mayuresh Natalkar, Dharini Pradhan and Shubhojit Sengupta

Planning: Khushnuma Daruwala, Bhakti Mallik

Account Management: Prakash Nair, Aroon Ramchandran, Heena Mordani, Jennifer Desai

Director: Bauddhayan Mukherji, Little Lamb Films

Producer: Shraddha Singhvi, Little Lamb Films



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