They made voting Pappular | delhi | Hindustan Times
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They made voting Pappular

An East of Kailash ad agency tailored a mania that inspired fence-sitters to get inked and sent non-voters on an unrelenting guilt trip. And they achieved it all with just one word — Pappu, reports Ritika Chopra.

delhi Updated: May 09, 2009 00:11 IST
Ritika Chopra

They made voting Pappular

They tailored a mania that inspired fence-sitters to get inked and sent non-voters on an unrelenting guilt trip. And they achieved it all with just one word — Pappu.

Meet Sanjeev Kumar and his creative team at Span Communication — an advertising agency parked in East of Kailash — which executed the campaign that in all probability made an average Pappu in the country hate his name.

But on the brighter side, the campaign achieved a world of good as the Capital registered the highest poll percentage in the last 20 years.

The start, however, wasn’t as great as the finish. In fact, it was ridden with fear and scepticism, according to Kumar, vice-president of Span Communication. “I was really nervous at the time we were recording the sample jingle for the presentation to be made to the state election commission. Honestly, it was just too bold to be approved by any bureaucrat. But the jingle was an instant hit with Chief Electoral Officer Satbir Silas Bedi,” said Kumar as he flipped pages of a presentation book that illustrated the campaign’s journey from nothingness to success.

The song Pappu Can’t Dance Saala was chosen for reasons of practicality. “This number was a hit on the charts around the time we were brainstorming for options. The brief was to address the traditional non-voters — the urban crowd. Choosing this track made the most sense then,” said Shilpa Kumar, business head.

Though the start was small and simple, the campaign assumed instant ubiquity once the media acquired a liking for it. “The Pappu drive was meant only for Delhi, but things changed completely once the media latched on to it. Everyone across the country was in the know and the word Pappu made way into the day-to-day speak of youngsters. As a result, we ended up making 16 radio spots, 16 print and two television advertisements,” said Naresh Kheterpal, CEO, Span Communication.

A lot has changed for the agency since then. The campaign’s success has put the spotlight on Span Communication. “We are being noticed. Now we can proudly claim that social awareness drives is our forte,” said Kumar.But what happens to iconic Pappu with the elections drawing to a close? “Chances are you may see him again but in another avatar,’ said Kheterpal.