During the great COVID-19 shutdown and quarantine of 2020, many people spent time in their bubbles, playing board games and fighting boredom. While many publications chose to provide diversions during this time, The Hindu Group used this unusual opportunity to take direct aim at important topics with an initiative titled “Care. Community. Conversation.” The idea was to bring real attention to uncomfortable topics many people don’t want to talk about.
The company created long-form print ads that discussed topics like pollution, mental health, and copyright piracy. Creatively and geniusly, The Hindu didn’t try to educate readers by lecturing to them; instead it used a touch of sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek language to grab the attention of its audience.
5 topics tackled
The Hindu used its platform as a company that affects change and rallies communities together to attract readers to this new campaign.
1. The first cause they chose was the environment. An article was published for World Wildlife Day with the title “Meet the Dumbest Creature on the Planet.” The article dramatically calls sea turtles “stupid” for not being able to tell the difference between their favourite food (jellyfish) from all the floating plastic in the sea carelessly put there by humans. The article even went so far as to call humans the “smartest” creatures on the planet. This article had a reach of 11.3 million and on social media had a reach of 97,500.
2. The second cause The Hindu stood for was its commitment to decline advertisers who wanted to use advertising space to take advantage of a global pandemic. The “No to Opportunism” campaign showed the picture of a cow and the title of the ad read: “If You Really Feel the Urge to Milk Something, Kindly Go Find a Cow.” The print and e-paper versions of the ad had a reach of 11.13 million.
3. The third article came in the middle of 2020 when India became outraged following news of a pregnant elephant dying after being purposefully fed pineapple filled with firecrackers. The article, “There Is No Planet B,” sarcastically praised humans for taking down the “uncrowned king of the jungle” and highlighted human greed that has cost many lives. This article had a reach on social media of 50,520.
4. A fourth article in the campaign helped educate The Hindu audience on the importance of supporting their local media companies by not pirating their work. The campaign asked people (while they were reading The Hindu’s e-paper), “Did Someone Send This To You?” There was then a flow chart with different messages depending on whether the person answered yes or no. If yes, they were educated about e-paper piracy and encouraged them to tell the person who sent it to them to stop doing so and asked the reader to subscribe to The Hindu themselves. After the campaign, The Hindu saw a 40% increase in e-paper subscriptions.
5. The final communication in the campaign discussed mental health and helped create a space for people to openly and safely discuss mental illness and ask for help.
The campaign received a tremendous amount of positive feedback on social media and it was shared widely among influencers across many different platforms. People understood what the organisation was looking to accomplish with the articles and measured success based on readers and followers joining in the discussion, as that was a main goal of the project.