‘Pink’ helps Weber Shandwick India highlight gender issues in India

‘Pink’. ‘Parched’. Just a few of ground breaking Bollywood films that are using mainstream entertainment to question generations of male privilege.

One of the key issues women face in India is getting the police system to pay attention to their grievances, policemen can often be insensitive about crime again women and brush aside attempts to register FIRs in such cases.

Awards winning director, Vibha Bakshi recently helped organize a special screening of ‘Pink’ for Mumbai cops to sensitive them to gender issues.

Daughters of Mother India

This screening is part of an ongoing effort by Bakshi to highlight gender issues. Weber Shandwick India in 2015, worked pro bono to promote Bakshi’s documentary film, “Daughters of Mother India” and for the larger cause of attempting to sensitize the police to crime against women. This was conceived as a documentary capturing not the angst and public uprising from Nirbhaya’s rape case but to take a look at how things were changing after the tragic incident.

Campaign Objective

  • Weber Shandwick India was tasked with helping to create awareness for gender sensitivity through the film about the intensity of crime against women and the importance of sensitivity towards victims.
  • The PR firm also had to help drive meaningful conversation and ultimately, to increase reporting of sex crimes.

Campaign Strategy

Weber Shandwick realized that the police were most often at the receiving end of the public’s ire when it came to such issues from 2 points of view – their inability to stop such incidents from happening and, more importantly, their insensitivity in handling such delicate situations.

Creativity and Execution

Weber strategized that to affect meaningful change within the nation’s complex judicial system, THE POLICE had to be sensitized first, as they are on the front lines of reporting such crimes. These officers come from the same society that historically hasn’t believed in equal rights for women. So they needed to be trained to be more sensitive to victims, as only then would sex crimes be reported.

  • Weber reached out to reached out to local police chiefs, to organize screenings for police across India, followed-up with intensive workshops/dialogue sessions.
  • Rare – and critically important – partnerships between local administrators (Sarpanch) and police were formed. To date, 150,000 officers have been trained – in Bangalore, Delhi, Gurgaon, Haryana, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai. Additional screenings are ongoing.
  • Next, Weber identified that they needed to engage consumers directly, to ensure women could feel confident that their allegations would be aggressively actioned upon and their assailants vigorously pursued. To do so, Weber secured India’s first-ever prime-time documentary simulcast across the network of VIACOM 18 one of India major entertainment network in 8 different languages.

Evaluation of success / measurement:

  • Media coverage from Hindustan Times to Huffington Post cited the strategic approach as groundbreaking.
  • Importantly, police are seeing increased willingness among women to report sexual violence – even in states like Haryana where gender ratios are most distorted and sex crimes, rampant. Early estimates show a 20% increase in reported sex crimes.
  • More than 150,000 police officers screened Daughters of Mother India as part of their ongoing training – the first time in the nation’s history a documentary has been incorporated into officer instruction. Workshops and dialogue sessions followed.
  • The film is now mandatory for National Police Academy recruits.