English news channel Headlines Today from the TV Today Network has launched a nationwide campaign: ‘Right to Be Heard.’ The campaign seeks to provide a platform to people to speak about their grievances and make sure they are heard. A film created by Black Pencil India as part of the campaign went on air on 23 January.
Headline Today has also created a website: www.righttobeheard.in, where people can upload their videos, comments and issues they want to raise. There is also a hotline number they can call and record their messages at. The channel’s team will get in touch with them to highlight and resolve their issues. The channel has launched two new shows in sync with this campaign – ‘Right to be heard show’ and ‘Right to be Heard Town hall show’.
The film starts with people welcoming a politician seated in his car. He accepts their garlands and is handed a file by an old lady who questions him about a case hearing that she has been awaiting since long. She informs him that she has voted for him to come to power. However, he chooses to ignore her and tells his driver to move on. When the car enters the drive way and he is about to get off, he hears the voice of the old lady mouthed by his driver. She says, "Inflation came, but you never came." Spooked, he sits in the living room and when he is offered water by the domestic help, he again hears her voice. Startled, he runs up the stairs and is confronted by a woman. She says, "Minister sahab, Now I have right to say what I want to." The politician shuts himself in a room. However, he cannot escape the old lady as she is on television. She says, "I have the right to be heard." The TVC ends with the upset politician shutting his eyes and ears.
On the initiative, Ashish Bagga, chief executive officer, India Today Group, said, “With this initiative, we are aiming to reach out to the growth aspiring Indian, who after his tireless efforts over many years is still helpless and ignored by the authorities in the system. We would support the campaign with extensive editorial coverage with special stories and shows to encourage viewers to come out and voice their concerns.”
Vivek Malhotra, vice president marketing, strategic planning and research, TV Today Network, added, “At Headlines Today, we firmly believe that news reporting has a larger role than merely providing people with facts and information. What we do has the power to transform a society; to change people’s lives. Look at what’s happening around us - people have become more self-aware and are voicing their displeasure. In a country where traditionally we have been a ‘voiceless’ population that has to ‘make do’ with whatever is decided by the agents in power, today things are changing – and people are ensuring their voices are being heard. Our new campaign whole-heartedly endorses this healthy attitude and urges people that voicing out their concerns and problems to the authorities is their right to be heard”.
Samarjit Choudhry, executive director, Black Pencil India, explained the creative route: “We pride ourselves on being the world’s largest democracy - where each citizen has certain fundamental rights as laid out in the Constitution (including the right to speech). Juxtapose this with one of the biggest grouses we all have against the establishment - that no one listens to us. What emerged was this - shouldn’t the ‘Right to be Heard’ also be as fundamental as every other right that we have as Indian citizens? That was the genesis of the campaign. If Headlines Today could stand for something through which people could exercise their right to be heard, our campaign would have done its job. The beauty of this TVC is in the storytelling. It is a stark and haunting reminder to the people in power that they can’t brush away people’s voices under the carpet anymore.”
According to the channel, the campaign would encompass OOH, TV, print and digital.
Client: TV Today Network
Client team: Kush Rai
Agency: Black Pencil India
Creative team: Shweta Ahuja & Shadab Abidi
Production house: Purple Vishnu Films
Director: Sainath Choudhury