We chose to build a story around how a group of children lead a community to discover an unexpected source of education and inspiration for LF prevention: a charismatic visitor with a severe form of the disease. The campaign emphasizes an uplifting, simple message: the pills are free and safe, and, if everyone works together and consumes their dose of the pills, India can eliminate LF.
Other key messaging highlights the irreversible nature of advanced LF and the simplicity of its prevention, with the LF patient delivering the most important message himself: this disease can happen to anyone. Social stigma is a major concern for those with LF, so we thought it was important that the man stricken with LF in the videos serve as a champion for treatment and action, rather than a helpless victim.
Lastly, given the regional language challenges, we created a musical score based on traditional Sanskrit lyrics. The lyrics translate as:
Every sign or indication leads us to the path of knowledge.
And the journey across that path of knowledge leads us to absolute truth.
Preliminary results indicate that there was broad recognition of the video spots, and participation was strong in the MDA campaign that immediately followed the outreach.
Nearly 200,000 health workers in 14 states were involved with the initial campaign drive, reaching more than 300 million people. Subsequent MDAs are being implemented in three other states in 2015. The goal now is for the MOHFW to continue placing advertising in target areas ahead of each drug distribution and to work with state governments to increase promotion and participation in the campaign.
As a testament to the campaign's innovative approach, "Hathipaon Mukt Bharat" was recently awarded a Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.