Lost Votes - An Initiative of The Times of India
2020 Finalist

Lost Votes - An Initiative of The Times of India

Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.

Kolkata, India

Category Readership and Engagement

Overview of this campaign

ENGLISH DAILIES MOST VULNERABLE

The stupendous 9% growth recorded by the Indian Print Industry in 2017 was led by growth of vernacular readership on the back of a 14% growth in literacy. English dailies witnessed the lowest growth.

THE YOUTH HAVE THE POWER TO TAKE DOWN NEWSPAPERS

Globally, Newspaper sales continued to plummet as youth became increasingly disinterested in reading the paper – adapting to a fast-paced digital age. While newspaper readership grew defiantly in India, Youth Readership remained the lowest.

THE CHALLENGE?
BREAKING VOTER APATHY BY PROVING TOI’S POWER TO CREATE RELEVANT SOCIAL CHANGE & BECOMING A PLATFORM FOR THEM TO RAISE THEIR VOICE.

The very role & essence of English Dailies in the Democracy was threatened as the millions of Indians, decided to take their fights & voices to social media – declaring the medium of effective & instant change. The paper had to win back the influential readers & make them see the paper as a platform for effective & relevant social change. Especially to prove, when large & important changemaking was needed, only TOI could create impact!

To engage this population, TOI had to create a movement that they would feel compelled to rally around. The following ambitious targets were set.

1)      A movement is as big as the number of voices added to it – we aimed at high number of voices loud enough to be heard by the authorities - a high target of half a million was set basis number of petitions garnered by key public movements in India, including the appeal to revoke article 377, demanding the government to declare climate emergency, to re-electing Raghuram Rajan were combined less than half a million.

2)      Beyond mere participation, the campaign had to be able to create an organic spread of the movement

3)      The mega-campaign aimed to re-establish prominence and relevance with Millions of Indians, the campaign targeted to leverage its influential readership across the country.


Results for this campaign

The Lost Votes movement spread like wild fire, outperforming on all set metrics.

“TOI has raised the issue of 'Lost Votes' consistently. Finally, the chief election commissioner Sunil Arora yesterday has announced that the Election Commission was close to solving this problem that has vexed a whole generation of migrants who want to vote but can’t manage to reach their polling booth on voting day. Election Commission and IIT Madras have come together to solve the ‘Lost Votes’ riddle using blockchain technology.Finally, the voice of millions of Indians has been heard. (The online link for the news: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/working-on-tech-solution-for-lost-votes-says-cec/articleshow/74109019.cms).”

Objective 1: A movement to drive change amongst millions of Indians

Result 1: A record breaking 1.1 million (1,170,962) petitions were signed, making it the largest petition for electoral reforms, alongside of Brexit & far above Petitions against Article 377 & to re-elect Rajan as RBI chief.

 

Objective 2: Organic spread of the movement across media touchpoints

Result 2: Veteran Lawyer S.P. Anand filed a PIL, moving the Supreme Court to direct the Election Commission to guarantee migrants the exercise of their vote.

#LostVotes trended highest on twitter twice – 2ND time just after the General Election results - demonstrating people’s evocation especially in the aftermath of loss

POWERFUL PUBLIC FIGURES TOOK UP THE CAUSE

Powerful public figures and media (yes, even competition) took up the conversation.

Members of Parliament - Naveen Jindal, Jay Panda tweeted their support, calling for  parliamentary debate.

Sportspersons R. Ashwin, Sunil Chetri & Heena Sidhu tweeted to the PM about their plight of being a lost vote.

Even TOI’s staunch competitor, Hindustan Times lent its pages to the cause! Other competing & highly regarded publications carried their own stories on Lost Votes, crediting TOI for leading the movement - including Business Insider, Huffington Post, Money Control, First Post, Goan Observer, the Diplomat,RSTV…

The Election Commission was forced to respond – drawing real time answers from the bureaucracy, a first for India!

The EC wrote a letter to TOI clarifying existing interim solutions, while mentioning that a larger solution could only be possible through a constitutional reform. The EC also released a campaign guiding migrant voters through the process of shifting their voting ward, simplifying the process.

The true proof of success: When the entity in question is forced to respond!

Objective 3: Leverage its influential readership nationally

Result 3: 1) TOI grew 14% in its readership

2) Amongst the 16-29 years age group, TOI led with a whopping 20%!


Contact

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