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By Niti Singh

Plastic pollution is a menace and has added to global warming. Environment issues, that were once relegated to the OpEd pages inside newspapers, have jumped on to the front page, as it’s an established fact that reckless human activity has done enough damage to the environment and the air we breathe now threatens our lungs, eyes, skin, hair and is a major trigger for life-threatening chronic illnesses.

Till disease actually enters our home, Indians by nature, lay the blame for the suffering humanity to the karmic cycle. So, if someone is ill, it’s because of karmic retribution. How often have we rolled up the window of our car when a beggar asks for alms, and move on, shutting their pain away from mind, like it’s their karmic debt?

To enhance the focus on to individual action, Fever FM, as part of its CSR programme, has pledged to make India free from single use plastic, with its initiative #PlasticSeBreakUp. Even the prime minister has nodded his approval in a tweet.

This is one tagline that has a good potential for achieving its target, and is similar to Amitabh Bachchan’s anti-polio campaign, Do Boond Zindagi Ki. The short message managed to defeat polio in the county. It focussed on the specifics, the target audience were the parents who would do anything for their dear child, and the two drops were a promise of life—an emotive campaign that made an impact by being direct without relying on theatrics. When worms were discovered in its packs and sales were plummeting, Cadbury tapped on Amitabh Bachchan’s image as India’s most loved icon, and its Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye worked well for the brand. Campaigns that rely on nostalgia, charm and sentimentality can be enormously effective, and have a better recall.

If we really want the environment message to reach its target and change mindsets, we need strong mass-media campaigns that our direct, hard-hitting and emotionally appealing. Like brand managers who study attributes of their products, look for differentiators and do in-depth analysis of consumer perceptions before they start their campaigns, the environment campaign has to be forceful for us to see and feel the results, and emotive for us to respond.

#PlasticSeBreakUp cleverly uses Hinglish to communicate the message. The word BreakUp banks on the lingo used by youth, the large segment that will actually help to make the difference. Hopefully, there will be more such campaigns that will turn around mindsets.

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