By Malay Desai
From: Brazil, by Agencia 3
A mixed gender MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fight at one of Brazil’s prominent arenas hit the headlines for being the first one of its kind. It caused controversy too, with media discussing whether it’s a fair fight between a man and a woman. Meanwhile, the big occasion was promoted heavily, with videos of the man and the lady’s preparations being put out. On the fight night, just as both contenders stood face to face, the ring saw banners being unfurled, which said, ‘This fight won’t happen here, but it’s happening right now in thousands of homes’ with a helpline number; while the boxers just hugged. The stunt, by a domestic violence helpline reached out to millions.
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We’ve seen flash-mobs, Coke’s many films of happiness-vending machines as also TV channel promotions that a town square into a scene of drama. Here’s an outdoor campaign that doesn’t create controversy after arriving but before it does.
It might have got something to do with growing economies, because Brazil, like India, witnesses thousands of cases of domestic violence every year. While an anonymous tip-off helpline is a handy tool to rescue women in crises, it must also make itself aware to its target audience as also drive home the ‘this isn’t cool’ message to people at large.
Full marks to the agency here, for having turned an outdoor campaign idea on its head, but distinction to the guys who approved of it, for there must have been several risks involved. “What if we get a negative reaction after the stunt? What if there’s no controversy to begin with?” – might be two commonly asked questions but there was only one way to find out.
A mixed gender MMA fight is definitely news in the capoeira-loving country. It’s smacks of an attention seeking attempt, it’s unfair and it’s a wrong trend to set – which is exactly what the campaigners might have set out to do. Expectedly, there was much debate about the fight and apparently even CNN spoke about its unfair nature.
The final leg worked because the suspense was built up right until the last minute, and with multiple signs bearing the helpline and logo, the work was done. The agency claims to have reached over 40 million people in a week after that, and we’re sure all the naysayers themselves might have admitted they’d been had.
As public service discussions are often frowned upon in mainstream media, it needs a stunt of this stature (thankfully, we have Aamir Khan) for the media to discuss it on the first fold. Just as our Bell Bajao campaign called for shaming the abuser, this one too understood local norms and pegged on a national obsession to bajao a ring.
Belated Happy Mothers’ Day!
( To watch the film, feed this link into your browser: bit.ly/May12ViewTube )
Rajini’s botched up Twitter debut
Apologies for Thalaivar fans for having used Rajinikanth’s name and the phrase botched up in the same line but the occasion was truly such, ask yourselves. Opportunities cannot get more epic for digital agencies when such a mega star is making his Twitter debut, but one ‘Fluence’, which we assume has been given the responsibility to promote his upcoming film Kochadaiiyaan did its best for everyone on day one to go, “Yay… wait, what?!” Soon after making his first tweet, Rajini’s account sent automated replies (a link to a customised poster, blah) to thousands of Tweeters. Then, they activated an auto-delete function so now it’s back to normal. Rajinikanth might have been the highest on the first-day followers list in India (ahead of Big B, Sachin and Aamir) with 2,15,000 followers, but we’d remember him as the superstar who spammed.
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Amazon lets you shop on Twitter... almost
Here’s another idea which we thought should have come a long time back, given that both Twitter and e-retailer Amazon have been huge in the West for the past five years. But now, perhaps after setting up necessary back-end, Amazon has introduced #AmazonCart, in which one can reply to a particular brand’s tweet with the said hashtag and it automatically gets added to their cart. Pretty simple and cool, we thought, as compared to signing into apps. We wonder if apna Flipkart is ready to get inspired by this too, after two instances of we-too happened last month – same-day deliveries and a premium customer club, both concepts introduced first by Amazon!
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How the netas fare on Facebook
We don’t want to bore you with yet another election tracker and poll-predictor sort of gimmick, but telecom brand MTS has been up to some interesting R&D about these polls. Teaming up with an analytics partner and the site Social Samosa, they’ve been dishing out interesting numbers of our netas’ engagement levels. On Facebook, you’d be surprised to know that BJP’s Smriti Irani has the highest engagement levels with fans (measured in a sample week). While NaMo expectedly has the biggest following, ShashiTharoor is next, followed by Kejriwal and Sushma. Numbers apart, we suggest you see what the Aam Aadmi Party is doing on FB – videos, tweet grabs, on-ground reports, appeals... there’s much going on. Even if you aren’t a supporter, must-know how AAP is managing with comparably paltry sums of publicity.
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