You know that Holy Grail that ad agencies keep chasing and promising? The one where research, insight and expertise lead to an idea, solution and partnerships that are then seamlessly brought to life in a 360-degree campaign? Well, Aamir Khan just delivered it. And no, even though we’ve only just seen the first five episodes of Satyamev Jayate so far, it’s not too early to say so. Here’s how it builds the perfect pitch.
1. Start with the right hook. From the get go, Satyamev Jayate catches attention, sets the mood and engages. With a song. With a relatable introduction. With intrigue.
2.State. The. Problem. Upfront. Clearly. Unequivocally.
3. Present a myth, evidence of the myth, and how there’s cultural tension around it.
4. Research: You want to really understand your audience? Don’t just survey them. That’s like hovering in a helicopter over people at 20,000 feet, and reporting that people are like ants. Instead, live with them, like them. Talk to them, listen to them, and especially pay attention to their joys and sorrows. Satyamev Jayate took two years to make. That’s why.
5. Insight: Don’t talk about them. Don’t present them. Bring them to life. Bring the people whose lives you found the insights in. And let them show it to the world. And please don’t demean them by merely doing or calling them “vox pops.” Get to a point where you truly hear the voice of the people. Oh, and just to cater to the rational brain, intersperse this hard-hitting, straight-from-articulate-horses’-mouths evidence with statistics, charts and graphs. And top it off with subject matter experts whose work and track record add weight and stature.
6. Make it relevant at a personal and social level. The three issues that Satyamev Jayate has featured so far—female foeticide, child sexual abuse, dowry—are things that could happen in any household, regardless of geography, demography, psychographics. They do literally and metaphorically hit home. Hard.
7. Provide a solution that encompasses all possible strategies: education, persuasion, policy. Anymore, what brands do impacts not just need fulfilment or consumption, but how we live—as individuals and communities. Good for me, good for us = good for business. An ad campaign alone will seldom cut it any longer.
8. Create avenues of interaction that are relevant and convenient for people—with the right partnerships if necessary. And reinforce what you set out to do in the first place-consistently and transparently. The partnership with Airtel is not merely one of a title sponsor. By providing Airtel Money as an easy way of making a contribution, Satyamev Jayate turns a consumer product into a do-good channel. By stating that, except for government taxes, every other paisa of the one rupee per SMS goes to a trust fund that is matched by the Reliance Foundation, by providing information and contribution avenues via Axis Bank (another partner), via the website, via repeat telecasts on sister channels, the show strives mightily to cover every one of the 360o degrees of the engagement wheel. Via partnerships with Doordarshan and AIR, the show’s reach is extended even further.
But what perhaps is the masterstroke that makes Satyamev Jayate the perfect pitch is that it understands and recognises the human tendency to keep moving on, no matter how riveting a subject is. And so it caters to today’s fleeting attention and engagement spans—by staying current and relevant across time and medium.
The author is National Planning Head, Dentsu Marcom