Good and Bad PR
Headlines Today uses a unique talking bus: The “Election Express” and live Twitter debates to reach out to viewers
Even as the great Indian election tamasha rolls on, the media industry is busy fighting for audience ratings. Last week, PRmoment India reported on the CNN-IBN use of Google Hangouts to connect top political leaders with potential voters.
Now TV channel ‘Headlines Today’ (part of the India Today group) has come up with an even more interesting idea. The ‘Election Express’ bus designed by ace auto designer Dilip Chhabria (Chhabria last year modified a Renault Duster), will travel 8000 kilometres across 45 days interacting with voters and leaders, polling opinions and trends.
In another interesting innovation, Headlines Today’s Twitter debate show, #YourVote2014, lets the audience join the debate and actually predict its outcome. According to the Twitter India blog: “The show has embraced many Twitter best practices, including on-air calls to action, hashtags on screen, anchor mentions, guest retweets and a live Twitter feeds that completes the circle on a comprehensive, second-screen experience.”
According to Twitter: “At the end of each show, with the support of Twitter partner @Frrole, the audience’s sentiment determines the outcome of the debate.”
Facebook launched “I am a voter” button to cash in on poll fever
As businesses all over India are cashing in on the election fever with offers of discounts, Facebook has launched an “I am a voter” button on top of the newsfeed. The button is only visible when the area in which you live goes to the polls. India is the third-largest Internet community globally, with over 238 million users. Facebook has 100 million active users in India.
As the NCR went to vote on a Thursday, sure enough the button showed up on my newsfeed. And yes, I voted!
‘Times Now’ ties up with Twitter for a live check on electorate mood called ‘Twitterverse’
In another example of an interesting tie up to cross promote itself and integrate with social media, India’s leading English language channel ‘Times Now’ has tied up exclusively with Twitter to create a ‘Twitterverse’ which will use Twitter analytics to live track the mood of voters online.
Wills Fashion week uses wearable tech tag to promote itself
PR goes high tech. At the recently concluded Wills Fashion week, an estimated 2000 visitors were given a wearable tag embedded with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to post tweets and selfies using the hashtag #WillsFashionTag.
Participants posted over 2,000 selfies using the tag and there were an estimated 1500 #WillsFashionTag tweets and retweets.
While RFID is not new in India, it’s the first time it has been used by the fashion business to leverage itself on social media channels. The campaign was designed by Madison PR.
Azam Khan communalises Kargil war
Azam Khan’s remarks on the Kargil war has lent an unfortunate communal colour to a polarised election.
Narendra Modi’s presence as a key campaign figure had already created an awareness and questions of tactical community based voting. To add to this was not only the appeal by Sonia Gandhi through the Imam Bukhari for Muslims to vote for the Indian National Congress and their allies but also Amit Shah’s reported remarks on taking revenge for the Muzaffarnagar riots.
Azam Khan’s remarks, aimed at community based politics, is a dangerous line of public opinion around the Indian Army, which has always been staunchly secular. As an army brat, I can vouch for the fact that army officers, especially those in a command position, attend the religious functions of the troops regardless of their own religion. And large army centres like the Nasik Arty Centre has a road with all houses of worship – a church, a temple, a mosque and a gurdwara altogether. The theological leads for these, like a priest or a Pandit, are especially hired according to set qualifications. The Indian army also runs an integration centre at Pune in Maharashtra, where officers are free to formally take a course in whatever religion they are interested in.
It’s very important that probably one of the last bastions of secularism in India are not coloured with the taint of communalism.
The Election Commission has since asked for details of Azam Khan’s speech.