We present the next in, a crowd favorite, our video series ‘What It’s Like’ (Raw, un-cut, unscripted videos showing you what it’s like). This video comes from my adventures on the streets of Varanasi, India, the holiest Hindu city in the world, a pilgrimage destination that houses one of the most eclectic collections of people in the world…including real snake charmers and poisonous cobras. Read the rest of this entry »
These sculptures face north, sitting atop a hill above the DMZ, which separates North and South Korea. The park was constructed to console those North Koreans who are unable to return to their hometowns because of the division of Korea since 1950. Imjin Peace Park. Near Paju, South Korea. Photograph taken February 7, 2009. [Click the photo thru to Posterous to see a larger version.]
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One of the more interesting things I came across while traveling the streets of India, was a marketing campaign centered around social change taken up by the country’s largest English-speaking newspaper: The Times of India (also the world’s largest circulating English-language newspaper). Throughout my visits to India the newspaper has been running an ongoing ‘Lead India’ campaign that seeks to inspire change in India from within.
Though India is a beautiful and amazing country, it is still very much a developing one. It faces an entire slate of challenges, among others: overpopulation, ethnic conflicts, poverty, inadequate infrastructure, corruption, lawlessness and crime. A quick trip around the country and you’ll see it all first hand and it seems much of the population seems complacent to do nothing to change it.
Touting itself as the “world’s largest democracy,” India seems to struggle between its traditional past and the modernity of its uncertain future, and it seems a lot of people don’t trust government, business or even the social sector to lead the country to change.
This is where The Times of India seems to be stepping in.
The newspaper’s multiyear ‘Lead India’ campaign (which often dominates the highly valued front page of the daily newspaper) involves a series of print, web and television advertisements and a reality television series, that are all part of an integrated campaign to identify and promote the best up-and-coming leaders in the country, while constantly peppering the Indian people with a populist message that hope to stifle corruption, promote democracy and inspire action in the common person.
What does it say about a country when its biggest promoter of change is not government leaders or social advocates, but a for-profit newspaper?
I think they’re on the right track, if only by representing the voices of much of the population. Within the words of this campaign, you can hear the personal desires of many of the Indian people I came across as I traveled through the country’s bulging metropolises and small villages.
Does it sell more newspapers? I’m not sure.
Does it affect change? Only time will tell.
Have you been to India? Do you live in India? What do you think?
Leave your thoughts and comments below.
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Below are some examples of Lead India advertisements in print and television that I came across. Also below is a video (in English) produced by The Times of India explaining the Lead India campaign.
Print Advertisement #1: I Swear
Text [this ad ran in the run-up to the national elections in the Spring of 2009]: “I swear. I swear that this time I will stand up. Not for what I believe in, but for what I don’t. This time I will vote. Not for, but against. Against my own helplessness. Against my own laziness. Against two words called Chalta hai [an acceptance of mediocrity]. Against short cuts in queues. Against cheating in exams. Against Kharcha Paani [a bribe] in offices. Against powerless inquiry commissions. And powerful vote banks. Against religion in politics. And against illegal constructions. And legal loopholes. Against every cynic. Every non-believer. Against the belief that nothing will change. Against the feeling that my vote cannot make a difference. Against every excuse for not voting. And I will do this without fear or shame. Because only by voting against all that is destroying our today, will I give my children something to vote for tomorrow. Lead India ’09. Let’s make this vote count.
Text at the bottom: The most important General Elections in our history are here. And today. Lead India ’09 takes a quite oath of its own. To stir a nation’s conscience into overhauling the calibre of leaders we elect. So if you are a straight-thinking citizen and believe you can make your voice count, join in and vote like everything depends on it, Because it does, log onto www.lead.timesofindia.com.
Print Advertisement #2: Imagine
Text: “Imagine / Bollywood is not called Bollywood / off-beat cinema becomes mainstream / A Hollywood movie copies a Bollywood storyline / We stop caring about The Oscars / The west adopts the Indian song and dance routine / Our family drama makes the Americans cry / Our movies make a hero out of a common man / The Indian Cinema that can be / The Indian that can be.
Text: “Imagine / Bollywood is not called Bollywood / off-beat cinema becomes mainstream / A Hollywood movie copies a Bollywood storyline / We stop caring about The Oscars / The west adopts the Indian song and dance routine / Our family drama makes the Americans cry / Our movies make a hero out of a common man / The Indian Cinema that can be / The India that can be.
Television Commercial #1: Little Kid
Can’t see the video. Click here to watch on YouTube.
Television Commercial #2: Shah Rukh Khan
India’s biggest contemporary movie star tells us to DO. Can’t see the video? Then click here to watch it on YouTube.
Campaign Overview From The Times of India
Can’t see the video. Click here to watch it on YouTube.
[After a long, long few months of sporatic internet connections while in the South Pacific, I return to the world of the internet and back to our regular bi-weekly update schedule here at noboundaries.org. There are many more adventures, photos and videos from The Middle East, SE Asia, the former Soviet Union, Africa and Oceania to come, on what has become a 3.5 year trip around-the-world. Thanks for those who stayed tuned, we appreciate your patience.]
What you can do now:
Do you think this can work? Is it effective? Leave a comment below.
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