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How television channels are encouraging viewers to vote

Highlighting the importance of the vote, television networks such as Sony, Zee Entertainment, Viacom18, Times Network and Network18 are airing social campaigns across its channels

Television channels have taken upon themselves to educate and encourage their viewers about the importance of the vote. The leading networks such as Viacom18, Zee Entertainment, Sony Pictures Networks India, Times Network, Network18 are running social awareness campaigns for elections across their channels.

This year, there are around 45 million first time electors and Viacom18’s youth entertainment channel MTV India is encouraging these youths to vote through their campaign #VoteBecauseYouCan.


The channel is going beyond the portrayal of the stereotypical international youth in mainstream media. MTV has delved deep in the lives of young people from Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and North Korea, highlighting a strong message for the Indian youth that not everyone around the world is empowered to vote.

Ferzad Palia

Commenting on the campaign, Ferzad Palia, Head – Youth, Music & English Entertainment, Viacom18, said, “India’s youth has an influential role to play in determining its future. Ahead of the General Elections 2019, MTV is proud to raise a strong voice, urging the young Indians to exercise their power to vote. Moving beyond the realm of the ordinary, this campaign evokes strong emotions and compels us to reflect on the privileges that accompany our democratic powers.”


Leading advertising agency Leo Burnett – Orchard has partnered MTV to bring these hard-hitting stories from around the World, giving a different perspective to the democratic privileges that India enjoys.

This campaign banks on real hard-hitting stories from real people with impactful audiovisual storytelling. The stories will be featured across the network’s channel. The campaign will also reach out to MTV India’s more than 15 million social media fandom. The campaign will unravel over the next few weeks across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube with multiple behind-the-scene videos taking fans deeper into each story.

Rajdeepak Das

Speaking about the campaign, Rajdeepak Das, MD India and Chief Creative Officer Leo Burnett South Asia, commented, “Democracy is a choice we have, and it comes to life when you see people from different parts of the world who don’t have the freedom of democracy. To bring home this point, in this campaign for MTV we have taken a macro-view of democracy and juxtaposed it with people coming from war-torn countries who have fled from their homes under great duress for safety and security. With the help of our Leo Burnett global offices, we have actually managed to shoot in the war conflicted areas and portrayed the real-life situations to bring this campaign to life! It’s a true Humankind campaign. Democracy is our privilege and Leo Burnett Orchard and MTV urges everyone to go out and vote. Because you can.”

Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL), on the other hand, is encouraging grown-ups to vote through their ‘Grown Ups Go Vote’ campaign. The campaign kicked off across the network prior to election week with child stars from the network appealing to the adults to fulfil their responsibility and do the grown-up thing by voting in the Lok Sabha polls.


To amplify the message and also to take a concrete measure, Zeel has taken a stance not to air regular content for two hours (8am-10am) across network channels on the days votes will be cast across respective states. It will instead air messages aimed at encouraging people to cast their vote. The initiative has been kicked off from day one of voting, April 11, and will see it span the entire voting period.

Prathyusha Agarwal

Prathyusha Agarwal, CMO, Zeel, said, “As a responsible national television network, it is our duty to encourage every Indian citizen we reach to vote. #GrownUpsGoVote is a campaign to transform voting from a chore to a celebration of civic engagement. It calls out to all adult citizens to do the grown-up thing and fulfil their responsibility to the nation’s future. Pausing our content is our way of encouraging people to move out of their homes and march to the polling booths. It’s a move away from our regular messaging where we ask people to watch our shows. As part of this campaign, our artists are appealing to the audience to go vote rather than sitting and watching them.”

Spreading over the entire election period across all nine languages on 39 channels (as per respective election dates) covering all key states in India, the campaign aims at adding to the milestone of the largest voter turnout that the nation seeks to achieve. It has partnered with clients who are encouraging voter turnout and running their messages as part of the integrated push between 8 am and 10 am on its channels.

While Viacom18 is targetting the youth and ZEEL is encouraging grown-ups, Sony Entertainment Television is focusing on women’s participation in the current elections. Through their campaign which is named after their popular show Ladies Special, the channel is encouraging women to cast their vote for their prefered political party. The leads of the show highlight the importance of voting day which is generally regarded as a holiday by some citizens. The campaign encourages female viewers to vote and make it women empowered election.

Sony Picture Network’s (SPN) comedy channel Sony SAB is also highlighting the importance of voting for General Election 2019 through their shows. The channel’s tent-pole show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma is one of the front runners when it comes to spreading awareness in the country. Time and again, the show has highlighted several social and political cause. This year, the show is encouraging its viewers to vote.

English news channel Times Now has launched its ‘Swachh Neta: Mission for Clean Politics’ initiative to educate and empower the citizens to make an informed voting decision.

Led by insights from the common voting behaviour patterns of Indian voters, which is largely driven by inadequate information about electoral contestants, ‘Swachh Neta’, a voter welfare initiative, urges all Indian voters to do a thorough background check of the candidates prior to voting.

In a recent All-India Survey 2018 released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an important factor emerged: while 97.86% Indian voters do not want candidates with criminal antecedents in Parliament and the State Assemblies, 36.67% don’t know about the criminal records of candidates contesting elections. Swachh Neta aims to bridge this indifferent and detached approach to embrace a clean political ecosystem by driving the importance of involvement, scrutiny and background check in making the right voting decision.

Times Now has launched in partnership with ADR, facilitating a background check of candidates in various constituencies on parameters such as qualification, criminal record, financial income and assets.

MK Anand

MK Anand, MD and CEO, Times Network, said, “Times Now actively champions initiatives that lead to systemic reform. Our pursuit to effect meaningful change has been aptly captured in our brand promise ‘Action Begins Here’ that we try to live up to. Swachh Neta comes at an opportune time when transparency and accountability in the political and electoral system of the country is the need of the hour. Through this endeavour, we want to empower our viewers to bring about a positive change through informed and well-researched voting.”

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Network18 launched the initiative, ‘Button Dabao, Desh Banao’, that urges Indians to go out and make their vote count. The campaign encourages all Indian nationals to make an informed decision and exercise their fundamental right to vote in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

While it may take only a button to elect a government representative, a lot of people shy away from this responsibility. With the previous General Election in 2014 earning the distinction of recording the highest voter turnout ever at 66.4%, the ‘Button Dabao, Desh Banao’ campaign is a call-to-action campaign shedding light on how each vote counts.

Speaking about the campaign, Priyanka Kaul, President – Marketing, Network18, said, “Little actions can make a big difference. Voting is one such activity, for it shapes us and our country’s future. ‘Button Dabao, Desh Banao’ is a simple campaign with which we hope to encourage Indians to exercise their fundamental right to vote. Through various digital and offline platforms, Network18 will amplify its voice by calling out to the citizens of this country to build a better India together.”

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