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Star power: How celebrities are fuelling social change

Through HUL’s new campaign, actor Kajol Devgn has advocated the importance of hygiene for all Indians.

brand stories Updated: Mar 26, 2018 16:12 IST
Actor Kajol Devgn, who is the advocacy ambassador for HUL’s campaign, with a few schoolchildren.
Actor Kajol Devgn, who is the advocacy ambassador for HUL’s campaign, with a few schoolchildren.(HUL)

There is no denying the fact that when celebrities speak, India sits up and listens. Recently, at the launch of Hindustan Unilever Limited’s new Swachh Aadat Swachh Bharat campaign, ‘A Playing Billion’, in Mumbai, actor Kajol Devgn, who is the advocacy ambassador for the campaign, reminded us that celebrities like her can play an important role in sending across the relevant messages to the maximum number of people for the simple reason that when someone like her speaks, a lot of people are willing to listen.

Through HUL’s campaign, Kajol has spread the simple message of ‘Haath, Muh and Bum’- washing hands with soap at critical occasions of the day, drinking purified water, and using clean toilets.

The actor is an active supporter of eradicating deaths from hygiene-related issues, and has widely spoken about it at the United Nations General Assembly and Global Citizen Festival in the past.

“Health and sanitation have always been a major concern in India, especially for children. As a mother who understands the importance of hygiene, I am honoured to be associated with the Swachh Aadat Swachh Bharat campaign to help make a difference. My sincere appeal to the nation is to take up the cause personally, and spread the message of this powerful campaign. I am confident that together we can achieve a ‘Playing Billion’ for India,” said Kajol.

You, too, can join Kajol in the movement by registering here.

Celebrities making a difference

Stars the world over- from Hollywood to music to sports- have supported causes that they believe in, and brought about changes in issues ranging from climate change to poverty eradication to women’s empowerment. Globally, we could look at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation that focuses on environmental issues and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, who is a strong advocate for literacy, ecology, and equality.

UNICEF has four Global Goodwill Ambassadors in Katy Perry, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, and Liam Neeson, and many regional ambassadors, including Amitabh Bachchan, who help the agency in making the world a better place. Organisations such as WHO and OXFAM International also have ambassadors who promote social welfare.

In India, star power is vested primarily in movie stars and cricketers. And many Indian celebrities have been active in promoting causes they believe in. Any discussion on the role of Indian star power to bring about change would be incomplete without mentioning the Pulse Polio campaign. One of India’s most successful movements, it is a perfect example of effectively using the power of influencers to drive home a social message. The strict yet caring voice of Amitabh Bachchan was instrumental in getting families to immunise their children against the virus. In 2014, WHO declared India a polio-free country, as no cases of wild polio had been reported for three years.

Celebrities such as Virat Kohli, who runs a foundation for underprivileged kids; Shabana Azmi, who works for NGO Mijwan; and Aamir Khan, who came up with the show Satyameva Jayate, have also used their influence to bring about positive changes in the society.