KBC Registration Question Day 3

KBC Registration Question Day 3
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Monday, July 21, 2014

"Yahan sirf paise nahi, dil bhi jeete jaate hain" : KBC TVC

KBC changes campaign positioning,
makes heads turn and the heart melt

The set of TVCs for season 8, created by Leo Burnett, moves away from the ‘knowledge’ theme of previous years and focuses on ‘winning hearts’. The campaign thought process has been widely praised by the creative community.
KBC Video Promo

When we talk about Kaun Banega Crorepati, the first idea we get is probably Amitabh Bachchan’s majestic figure. Only then comes the lure of winning oodles of cash. But recently, KBC’s campaign has made heads turn, eyes water and the heart melt. The brand promise holds true: ‘Yahan sirf paise nahi, dil bhi jeete jaate hain’.
This season’s first campaign – ‘Kohima’ – is more than just a trailer of what to see in the game show. The 8th season of India’s most watched game show is not just bringing another chance for people to hit the jackpot, but also opening eyes towards issues which have been ignored for long.

Nachiket Pantvaidya
“One of the things we wanted to do in the campaign is to destroy stereotypes. This is just a symbol of a lot of stereotypes that exist in the country, especially through the voice of somebody who is young. This is a subject that has largely gone unnoticed. Bringing them to the fore will make people realise that we have been stereotyping and will get the message across,” explained Nachiket Pantvaidya, EVP and Business Head, Sony India.
The Kohima and ‘Assalam Alaikum’ TVCs.

The first TVC which hit the screen features a young, North-Eastern girl sitting in the Hot Seat opposite Amitabh Bachchan. She is asked by Bachchan which country does Kohima belong to. As she chooses to use a lifeline – the audience poll – viewers across the country show their disapproval about wasting a lifeline on such an easy question. When Bachchan says that 100 per cent of the audience has answered correctly, she is not surprised. Instead, she flashes a melancholic smile, and reminds Bachchan that though so many people know Kohima is a part of India, hardly anyone accepts it. Thereby, she points at the apathy and alienation that North- easterns have felt and complained about for ages.

Swapan Seth: “The KBC Kohima campaign is fabulous. They have decided to move away from knowledge, which was the crux of last year’s campaign, to inclusion. It says that the quiz show is greater than just learning, but at the same time, knowledge remains internal to the brand,” said Swapan Seth, Chairman, Equus.
While the build-up is strong, with nearly 6 lakh views on YouTube and hundreds of shares on social networking sites, the follow-up TVC is not to be taken lightly either. It talks about another vital issue plaguing our country: religious animosity. The video opens with a young man being blessed at the family temple by his family members. It is revealed soon enough that he has been chosen to go on KBC. While his family shows enthusiasm, his neighbours – a Muslim family – makes fun of him and his beliefs. The scene cuts to the sets of KBC where, stuck on a question, he chooses to ‘call a friend’. Instead of calling his family, he calls his neighbourhood ‘uncle’ and asks him what ‘Assalam Alaikum’ means. The elderly neighbour, who is overcome with emotion at being asked for help by the young boy, blesses the boy by giving him the answer ‘May Allah bless you’. Though the boy’s winning prize money is not shown, what is focused on next is the breaking down of the walls of religious hatred between the two families.

Nitesh Tiwari : “The best thing that happened was that we took a cumulative decision that we will not get into the territory of ‘gyaan’ this year. We have been doing this in different forms through the years, so no matter what we did around gyaan this year, it would have been a subset of what we had already done previously. What we mostly remember, if you see, is that so and so came and did this, or so and so came and sounded very funny, or so and so asked Mr Bachchan to repeat a dialogue, etc. We don’t remember the amount they won at the show, but how they made it interesting to watch. We just took that and added it to a bigger theme because KBC has always taken a higher ground. We could not take individual stories because a brand should not do that. So, if you look at the Kohima campaign, it is about apathy while the Hindu-Muslim campaign is about empathy. But these have an underlying theme that I am going and doing something for the people out there,” explained Nitesh Tiwari, film director, and NCD, Leo Burnett.

While in the first TVC the younger generation, through a humble question asked on the world stage, shames those who have not made all citizens feel a part of the same bigger family, the second TVC shows another man from the young generation bringing two families together and ending the hatred seen through generations. These divert from the main USP of the game show, that is, a means to earn multiple crores. Some feel it was time to make the change, to focus on things bigger than just the money.

Prathap Suthan : Prathap Suthan, ‎Managing Partner/Chief Creative Officer at Bang In The Middle, commented, “The recent ads have taken KBC to a whole new level which is far more than just knowing the answers. The insight is very powerful and can work at different levels. For a show like KBC, TRPs will come anyway. But how can you add something to capture the audience? After a brand has achieved a certain level of success, it should venture out to do these kinds of things. It is like how Nike has made itself about more than just a shoe; it is about not giving up, or perseverance. Likewise, KBC is more than just a game show now.” KBC – with or without such strong campaigns – is still a frontrunner in the game show segment. It has revived the fortune of Sony, and, with regional variation, the fortunes of several other channels. Is there a need for such campaigns then?

Indranil Chakraborty : “This is the only TV show in India which has been the lead show for the specific broadcaster. This highest rated non-fiction show over the years has been extended to eight Indian languages and has redefined ratings among the regional channels. The format is international but the emotion behind the show is Indian. It has changed lives. The positioning of the show has been different in different markets. The Hindi version itself has kept on reinventing. The regional versions have been as successful as the Hindi version. Asianet cut itself loose from the competition by becoming the highest rated show ever in Malayalam (the rating for some episodes was over 15). In Kannada, Asianet Suvarna gained primetime leadership for the first time in its history. In the Telugu market, MAA TV became the undisputed No. 1with its overall rating being 100 points more than the next competitor,” pointed out Indranil Chakraborty, Chief Operating Officer, Big Synergy.
Evolution of campaign thought process.

Did KBC ever feel the need to talk about larger social issues earlier? It did. In 2012, KBC spoke about the girl child through an indirect campaign which showed Usha succeeding in life because of her hard work, grit and determination. Usha, whose father had been crestfallen when she was born, had been forced to go through humiliation and discrimination in life. But on the KBC hot seat, her gender did not matter. Thus KBC became a great equaliser that year – ignoring issues that divided people and binding them through knowledge.

Vikram Pandey : “We had a discussion on what makes KBC such a memorable show. It is not the questions. It is either the contestants or the fact that Bachchan comes down to a very human level, interacting with the contestants. We realised that the contestants who have charmed a lot are not necessarily big winners. The power of this game show is that it can change perceptions. The new campaign focuses on contestants who are saying or doing something to redeem their life and of those around them,” explained Vikram Pandey, Executive Creative Director at Leo Burnett India.
Knowledge so far had been the one continuing theme in all the KBC campaigns after Multi Screen Media (MSM) bought the rights to the show in its 4th season in 2010. Starting with the ‘Koi bhi sawaal chota nahi hora’ campaign, Leo Burnett created stories (think back on the ‘Akbar’, ‘Samvidhaan’ or ‘Tum mujhe khoon do’ campaign from that year) about how simple questions that you ignore through your life can come to bite you later.
The next season, 2011, changed the focus from the question to the participant through campaigns under the theme ‘Koi bhi insaan chota nahi hota’. One of the campaigns showed a middle class man working in a government office getting harassed because of the amount of bribe and corruption in the system. He wants to raise his voice against the system but is afraid of the repercussions. However, when he manages to win the prize money at KBC, he tells the viewers that now he will not keep quiet and will speak out against the malpractices in the system. By showing the human nature of the contestants, KBC in that year managed to portray itself as something meant for everyone. The channel extended this winning thought to the sixth season as well through campaigns revolving around the girl child, the predominance of English language, and about the guy who doesn’t have powerful connections.
Last year, while KBC increased its prize money to a whopping Rs 7 crore, it could have very well put that into the limelight. Instead, Leo Burnett focused on the ability of knowledge to make us winners – not just in KBC, but in life. Through a set of TVCs, it made the theme ‘Seekhna bandh toh jeetna bandh’ a popular household mantra. The campaigns that year had a more humorous undertone with a wedding planner and a lawyer failing miserably at their profession because they refused to recognise the benefits of learning all through their life.

Why the change?
In all these seasons, MSM and Leo Burnett chose to stay with the theme of ‘knowledge’. Why this sudden change this year?

Gaurav Seth : Gaurav Seth, Marketing Head at Sony Entertainment Television (SET), explained, “For variety. KBC stands for a lot of things – emotional connect, audience connect, etc. What we have done is that we looked at the start of the brand promise. What does KBC stand for? In the first few years of KBC on Sony we said that no question can be trivialised, a person cannot be made to feel small. Then in the third season we said knowledge is the great equaliser. Last year we said don’t stop learning because you never know what will happen. This year we took the thought that you can win not only money, but also hearts. There is a girl who is winning the heart of the entire nation, there is a boy who has united communities and won hearts. Mr Bachchan is also winning hearts. That relationship is what we are taking forward this year.”
However, not all promo campaigns of the upcoming season of KBC are socially hard-hitting. The broader theme this year, ‘Yahan surf pais nahi, dil bhi jeete jaate hain’, has been brought about by a third campaign which will go on air closer to the launch date of season 8. The much lighter TVC shows a man arranging for loud-speakers and a mike in a neighbourhood ‘mohalla’. A crowd gathers around him and waits patiently, staring at his phone, which has been given the pride of place in front of a mike. He receives a call – from a salesman. Not dejected, he waits. The second call, however, is the answer to his prayers. Bachchan’s call has come to him because his family member is sitting on the hot seat and has chosen to use his lifeline. However, what stumps Big B is that while the contestant was supposed to call his family, Bachchan’s call was greeted by a huge community. To this the contestant replies that the crowd of people, cheering excitedly on hearing Bachchan’s voice, is his family.

Sundeep Nagpal : “To the best of my understanding, the interest level in KBC has been on the wane, and especially now that it is in its 8th season. This is natural. Hence, as the promoters of the show, Sony would have had to think about how to not just prevent the slide but also about how to enhance interest levels. There are two types of audiences for KBC – those who I would call ‘knowledge enthusiasts’ and the others being ‘convenience / casual viewers’. I think any campaign for a new KBC season would aim to increase time spent from the former group and promote more frequent viewing from the latter group. Therefore, the question would have been – how does one achieve both with one stroke? This creative approach of which tries to reflect enlightenment / greater consciousness of the reality around us – or which reminds us of our own true inner self, is a nice way to enhance the relevance and credibility of the programme. And I believe that more frequent viewing or spending more time on the programme can both be achieved by building a relationship with the viewer. After all, brand identity is about relationships with consumers, and this is probably more true for media brands. I’d say this campaign would be quite effective,” said Sundeep Nagpal, Founder-Director, Stratagem Media.

More campaign defining moments
The theme has also been used while throwing open the KBC gates through the call for entries. In previous years, the call for entries was always about the dates, the prize money, the shortcuts to get to the hot seat. These were usually announced by Amitabh Bachchan or just a voiceover with the KBC theme music playing in the background. This year, the call for entry has short stories which touch your heart. Two videos have been released in this category with the first one showing an old man being made fun of by his daughter-in-law for not being able to win much at KBC. He ignores her harsh words and goes instead to his ailing wife to hand her his cheque. Though not of a huge value, his wife is happy. But she becomes overjoyed when she notices that Amitabh Bachchan has written her a ‘get well soon’ wish on the reverse of the cheque!
Another campaign showed a mill owner winning a big amount at KBC while his workers watch on a television screen. However, the workers do not wish for him to get more money as they fear the rich and poor divide will increase, putting them in a weaker position. They are pleasantly surprised, however, when their employer tells Bachchan that he wants to pay his workers their overdue salaries with his prize money!
What is also noticeable in this year’s promo campaigns is the subtle use of lifelines in all of them. While one shows the ‘phone a friend’ being used to bring two communities together, another takes the audience pole to hold a mirror to the audience. The third, though not a hard hitting social discourse, uses the newest lifeline – the ‘call a community’ option.
Will there be other changes in the game show? Yes, but those are being kept under wraps so far. The show, which is scheduled to go on air mid-August, will also have an opportunity for people from 100 smaller cities to come to the hot seat through a selection process in their cities. Big events will also be done in four other cities starting with Surat.
But, at the end of the day, is the change in campaign strategy going to lead to a change in people’s perception? If not for social change, will people now look at KBC in a whole different light? As something which is more than just a means to fast, hard crash?
“I hope so. Two years ago when we did the ‘Ladki’ campaign, it brought a social issue to the limelight. People remember that campaign. They have the power to do that. And television is a large medium. We are hoping that this will have some positive effect. If a 100, 200, 500 people start viewing people from the North-East as their own, I would be happy,” said Sony’s Seth.

Raghu Bhat : Scarecrow Communications founder, Raghu Bhat, commented, “The campaign is noticeable because the issue has not been addressed by brands properly before. The sensitivity that the issue demands is there. Additionally, it provides the missing link between the winning money and the winning hearts bit. While after this the show might be looked at differently, I also feel that this will create a buzz which would enable media planners to demand a premium.”


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