Google ropes in independent India’s first voter for #PledgeToVote campaign

“Today is a very special day”, says an old man from Kalpa in Himachal Pradesh. He steeps tea and drinks his first cup on a cold, snowy morning; he’s obviously getting ready to go somewhere. He gets dressed and steps out into the snow for a long walk, walking stick in tow. As he is going about his business, his voiceover continues to speak to us.

The old man with the wise, wrinkled face is 97-year-old Shyam Saran Negi. He lives in one of India’s coldest corners, a place where roads and transport systems completely shut down in winters and people think a 100 times before stepping outdoors. Why is this important? Because come rain, sun or heavy snowfall, Negi has never missed voting during a single election since 1951. In fact, he is independent India’s First Voter, a title he wears proudly. He admits to feeling the pride and exhilaration on each voting day, like it were his first.

Google India’s newest campaign, created by Ogilvy India, tells citizens of the country to take the #PledgeToVote this Lok Sabha election. In addition to this, Google India promotes its Election Hub, where citizens can keep track of everything they need to know before voting.

Firstbiz spoke to Sukesh Nayak, Group Creative Director at Ogilvy India to understand more about the ad.

Negi is independent India's first voter: Screen grab from video

Negi is independent India's first voter: Screen grab from video

“The brief from Google was extremely simple and clear – let’s create a piece of work that encourages people to go out and vote in the 2014 elections. They loved the idea we came up with in the first go,” says Nayak. “We wanted to create a piece of work that didn't preach, but inspired; that didn't complain but, encouraged. When we came up with this thought, we all knew in an instant that this is what we should try to do.”

Was it difficult to come up with a commercial that appeals to people of all ages? Nayak doesn’t seem to think so. “We feel that when you have a compelling story, you can move people of any age. And we are sure that once people of any age see Mr Negi's story, they will feel motivated to go and vote. ”

Nayak says that working with Negi was an emotionally enriching experience. “We had to travel almost 14 hours by road to get to Kalpa. Meeting him was extremely humbling, especially when we heard his thoughts on why he has never missed voting in an election. His belief in the power of democracy is so inspiring.”

Nayak says, “What's most amazing is that even at this age he walks every time to the election booth and never goes in a car!”

That’s seems to be the key takeaway from the ad for viewers – If Negi can vote, why can’t you?

Campaign name: Google #Pledge to vote with Mr. Shyam Negi
Creative heads: Abhijit Avasthi, Rajiv Rao, Sukesh Kumar Nayak
Creative team: Abhijit Avasthi, Sukesh Kumar Nayak, Bhavna Kher, Malhar Rao
Account management: Navin Talreja, Namrata Keswani, Madhavi Unni, Priyanka Samant
Strategy and planning: Kawal Shoor, Ganapathy Balagopalan
Production house: Thinkpot Production
Director: Manoj Pillai
Exposure: Internet

This post was originally published in Firstbiz.

Updated Date: Mar 27, 2014 18:13 PM

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