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'We were inspired by Lion King'

entertainment Updated: Mar 03, 2010 15:34 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Not many will have missed the cub hoardings with the number ‘1411’ pencilled across the city. The ‘Save Our Tiger’ campaign launched by Aircel Telecommunications, in association with World Wildlife Fund for Nature, India (WWF) on January 30, 2010, is a surprise hit. The 360-degree marketing strategy is the brainchild of Shivanand Mohanty, the National Creative Head, Dentsu Communications. Spread over print and outdoor media, TV, radio and Internet, it recently bagged the Big Bang Award, initiated by the Banglore Ad Club, for Best Multimedia Campaign of the Year.

“Aircel has signed a long-term partnership with WWF to save the tiger. After a year, they came to us wondering how to take the message public. We used the number 1411 to explain how grave the situation is,” informs Mohanty. During a brain storming session, the example of Lion King came up. “When Simba’s father dies in the movie, everyone is distraught. Not because he was a mighty lion, but because he was seen as a loving father. That’s how we came up with Stripey, the cub waiting for his mother to return with food, and she never does.” says Mohanty.

The campaign struck an emotional chord, using cubs instead of full-grown beasts to make people feel for the endangered national animal. It was projected as a living being, rather than a man-eater.

India’s cricket captain M S Dhoni, iconic footballer Bhaichung Bhutia and South superstar, Suriya, support the cause in verbal snippets on television, while Facebook and Twitter are doing their job on the Internet. Children in schools wear badges pledging their support.

Gurdeep Singh, COO, Aircel, has, on many occasions, declared Saving The Tiger, as one of the telecommunication company’s core initiatives. “The tiger is our national animal, if we don’t act now, we could lose this important part of our heritage forever,” he avers. “Our support to the cause is long term. The focus of the current campaign is on awareness, bringing out the urgency of the situation.”

‘Save Stripey’ says a socil networking site. Aircel telecommunications joined hands with WWF for this campaign that kicked off on January 30, 2010. Within weeks, three groups and three pages on Facebook were dedicated to the cause. The largest group is called ‘Stripey, The Cub,’ and has over 1,78,750 followers. This page is connected to the Save Our Tiger website initiated by the WWF.