To mark the 152nd Gandhi Jayanti, ed-tech company Byju’s unveiled a film featuring veteran actor Manoj Kumar to celebrate the thoughts and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. The film brings to consumers the stories of real life heroes, who have made a difference in their respective fields. Vineet Singh, Vice President, Brand & Creative Strategy, Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd. (Byju’s) discusses the film, the insight behind the Manoj Kumar collaboration and explains why moment marketing is so effective for brands
Q] What was the prime objective behind the film and how did you conceptualise it? What do you aim to showcase through the film?
The idea was to go out and celebrate Bapu in a unique way. And this wasn’t forced but a thought that we’ve been toying with for a bit. We’ve been thinking about how to talk to people about the fact that Gandhi’s teachings are still alive in the society, and people are still modelling his teachings across the country in various aspects of life. We also wanted to celebrate real life heroes and true stories about Gandhi’s teachings from across the country and that’s exactly when we decided on the film’s concept. When we were discussing the film, we made a ‘sutradhar’ to narrate the film for us and we thought of Padma Shri Manoj Kumar Ji, and there was no one better that we could think of.
Q] Why did you choose veteran actor, Manoj Kumar for the film? Tell us a bit more about the collaboration.
It’ll be incorrect for us to say that we chose him, I think he chose us. Honestly, when we were writing this film, we had him in mind, and we didn’t know even then if he was going to say yes. The whole idea of approaching him was the fact that he’s got such a positive approach and the film itself gives out important, positive messages. Through his films during his career, he has also imparted important patriotic lessons, so we thought he was the right person to play the sutradhar and bring to life these four real life stories with Gandhi’s teachings. We just approached him with the idea and he chose us. I’m assuming because he chose us to make a comeback with us, he really liked the film script and the whole concept of it. He actually gave us a few inputs, which elevated this film to another level. It was an honour for all of us to work with such a senior actor and a legend of the industry, and it was an honour for the brand to be associated with him. So we have to say a heartfelt thank you to him.
Q] Tell us a bit about the stories featured in this film, and how they bring Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals to life.
The four stories that we have include the story of Padma Shri Jamuna Tudu, an Indian environmental activist who took on the timber mafia and naxals in Jharkhand to save more than 100 acres of forests. She taught people the impact of not cutting trees and how to save forests. The second story is about Dr Sapan Patralekh, the headmaster of a government school in a remote Jharkhand district, who decided to not just sit at home during the pandemic when the schools were shut, especially in the tribal areas. He actually turned the walls of people’s huts into classrooms. So the walls were actually painted black and he used to run these classrooms outside the huts with the use of loudspeakers. We also have Dr Ganesh Rakh, who is on a mission to save as many girl children as possible, under the campaign ‘Mulgi Vachva Abhiyan’. The last story is of a young boy Kameshwar Waghmare, who was only 14 when he saw two older boys drowning and saved their lives. So the film showcases four fascinating stories of selfless service and outreach across society and these stories are a real tribute to Gandhiji.
Q] How do you plan to promote the film? What marketing mix are you looking at?
This is a purely digital film and it’s going to be across all our digital platforms. We will have a few influencer strategies in place. I’m hoping that viewers enjoy the film and share it with the world and we don’t need to put in a lot of effort in getting these beautiful stories out because for us this is not just about the brand Byju’s. This is about Gandhi ji and his teachings, and the stories of these wonderful people who are keeping his memory alive through their work. We have a proper platform strategy for each of the platforms planned. But like I said, we would want everyone who watches the film to share it because this film can transcend boundaries for sure. These are fascinating, real stories that need to be heard and known.
Q] Moment marketing is an approach that has been used extensively by brands over the past few years. How is your brand leveraging this strategy to increase consumer engagement?
Real time marketing or moment marketing is something that everyone is leveraging right now, and it is because of the fact that consumers are spending most of their time on digital platforms. And when they’re spending a lot of time on digital platforms, they are consuming a lot of on-the-go content. When they’re consuming a lot of on-the-go content, you need to have content which they relate to quickly, you need to be relevant and be talking about topics that are important to the consumer. Gone are the days when brands would talk about a subject of their own choosing – today brands understand that being a part of the consumer’s conversation is very important. And that’s why moment marketing has started playing such a big role.
Where does moment marketing come from? It comes out from the fact that consumers are talking about and thinking about those moments. That’s why brands are trying to engage with the consumers and talk to them about conversations they are having about a certain day or at a certain moment. That’s the next way to go for all brands. I think brands across the country are doing an amazing job in moment marketing and we are making our own humble effort around it as well.