Good and Bad PR 5 minute read
It’s advantage Social Media this week on Great PR.
This is one of those rare moments of unorchestrated yet cohesive Great PR and it must go to the social media sector in India and all those who actively participate in constantly putting the spotlight on free speech this week. The death of Shiva Sena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray over the weekend had unexpected fallout for social media and free speech in India.
Monday unleashed an online storm in support of two girls from Palghar, who were arrested for posting and liking posts criticizing the shutdown of Mumbai in the wake of Thackeray’s death. A clinic owned by the relatives of one of the girls was also allegedly vandalised by Shiv Sainiks in Palghar, Maharashtra. The clearly frightened girls had to issue an apology. As a direct result of the arrests over the Facebook posts #ArrestIdeas soon started trending on Twitter and topped the trend list for India.
A whole range of people from activists to journalists to politicians (some like Milind Deora, in delicious irony, happened to belong to the Congress party posted strongly against the arrest. Here is a sample from the serious to the seriously funny:
Faking News @faking news
Tomorrow someone will hack your account and reveal the password being an offensive word. Govt will arrest you, not the hacker. #ArrestIdeas
Retweeted 350 times
Adding to the storm of protests was a letter to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra by Former Supreme Court judge and Press Council chairman Justice Markandey Katju, who as the Times of India puts it, "Fired two emails of protest within hours of each other on Monday to the Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan strongly condemning the arrest of two girls from Palghar town, located 87km north of Mumbai, for criticizing on Facebook the state "bandh" following Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's death.”
The Communications and Information Technology Minister, Kapil Sibal, also joined the chorus of protests, ironically, on an issue that highlights the pitfalls of the IT policy.
The end result? The girls have been released and the Shiv Sainiks suspected of vandalising the clinic have been arrested.
All this in the space of one day. This certainly balances out some of the coverage seen on Bal Thackeray. Bravo Social Media and the people who posted against the arrests for putting the spotlight on this issue.
Amul bats a sixer with its Ad on the Cricket Test series
Even as India decisively won its first Test match against England this week, with Cheteshwar Pujara grabbing centre stage with his double century, the US $2.5 billion food cooperative, Amul, was quick to put out this ad commenting on the test match, paying tribute to both Cheteshwar Pujara and Alistair Cook (with his 176 run knock) for great batting.
The ad had all the trademark Amul ad features: a witty pun, a topical subject and the Amul Girl moppet with her distinctive ponytail and polka dotted bow; all designed to create ongoing PR around an iconic food products brand. What started out as an ad campaign in 1967 has now become an integral PR tool, with people looking forward to what the latest Amul hoarding will say.
Perhaps the longest running campaigns in history, the ads have covered all major newsmaker including President Obama, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Amitabh Bachchan and the latest arrest of the Palghar girls over a Facebook post.
You can also take a look at some of the favourites here.
Sanitation and Hygiene gathers coverage through a travelling Yatra
The Great Wash Yatra, designed to conclude on World Toilet Day (19th November) deserves a mention for driving conversation around a topic that is rarely discussed in India. The travelling carnival, called the Nirmal Bharat Yatra, was put together by Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (Government of India ), Berlin-based NGO WASH United and Quicksand, a Delhi-based consultancy, as the Economic Times reported.
The financial daily gave the story great positioning on the back of the paper in its “Freedom from Economics” section. The campaign covered 5000 kilometres and five states in less than two months and put the spotlight on a very important issue in an interesting manner. As per UNICEF/WHO survey, India heads the list of most number of people in the world who use outdoor toilets, as many as a staggering 626 million, do not have access to a proper toilet..
Also check out their innovative Toilets are Beautiful campaign.