Three films have been released by The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to promote the Swacch Bharat Mission. The films have been conceptualised by Ogilvy and take on open defecation.
One of the films shows a young boy and Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan sitting on a railway track (set). The child reminds the actor, who he refers to as Bachchanji, about his film Coolie. He asks whether playing that role meant he learnt a lot about railway tracks. Bachchan tells the child, who he refers to has Bachchaji, that he knows a little bit about this. The child then points towards two sets of tracks and asks who each belongs to. Bachchan points to one and says the 'Chandrapur train' arrives there, while on the other comes the one from Bahadurgarh. The boy tells Bachchan that his answer is incorrect. Bachchan is surprised. The boy tells him each track belongs to a man – to the one who uses them to defecate. As he completes his sentence, the two men appear, one with a mug and the other with a bucket. Bachchan stops them and explains that just because they defecate outside their house, it doesn't mean dirt is eradicated. He warns them that defecating in the open causes illnesses. He informs them about the Government of India's steps in creating toilets for proper sanitation.
Another film follows on similar lines. This time they're talking about his film Mard. The boy asks the actor whether a mard (man) is one who takes on goons and beats them up. Bachchan tells the boy that a real man is one who takes care and protects his family. As they say that, they see a man walking in the open obviously to defecate. Bachchan explains to the man the perils of doing so.
A third film sees the duo talking about Bachchanji's film Jadugar (magician). The child asks him to enact some of the magic he learnt while doing the film. Bachchan's effort entails him throwing a stone at a tree, which in turn makes birds fly out of their nests. The boy isn't impressed. He throws a stone in another direction. Men appear here with buckets and mugs in hand as they were out to defecate. Bachchan asks them the reason for ruining the image of the village and tells them about the Swachh Bharat Mission, for them and their family.
Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy South Asia, said, "Open defecation is not a new or modern problem. It is so deeply entrenched that it is considered normal. To raise a doubt in people's mind about it was a challenge in itself. The communication would have to break habits and would need to be endearing and assertive without being preachy. We have worked with Mr. Bachchan on many communication campaigns and he himself is associated with the government of India across various issues. Thus the task for us on this campaign to curb open defecation was to use our celebrity's strengths and yet create communication that is differentiated. So 'Bachchanji' became the influencer and 'Bachchaji' the young agent of change, This helped disseminate information through a lively, cheeky conversation between our celebrity and his unlikely, intelligent and quick-witted companion, the little boy. In the three-TVC campaign, we thus tackled each of the barriers – to promote the need for a toilet, usage by all and trigger behaviour change by instilling pride."
Ajay Gahlaut, ECD, Ogilvy Group Companies, North, said, "Any campaign that is designed to change behaviour at a mass level needs to be easily understood by all sections of society. We had Mr. Bachchan for our TV ads, so that ensured that the campaign would not be missed and would appeal to everybody. The challenge was to make the campaign a little different and refreshing. Which is where the idea of 'Bachchaji' and 'Bachchanji" came about. After that it was just a matter of making sure that their lighthearted banter addressed all relevant barriers."
Chandana Agarwal, managing partner, Ogilvy, Delhi, added, "The brief to create communication to curb open defecation was not an easy brief since open defecation is not something one can openly talk about. For any behaviour change campaign, information needs to be easily understood by all sections of society, further there are so many cultural barriers associated with the eradication of open defecation that really we were looking for a creative idea that was simple, that would connect with people across and one that would be able tackle all the barriers."
Client: Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Gurgaon
Creative team: Piyush Pandey, Ajay Gahlaut, Dalip Daniel