Friday, Jul 01, 2022

Visual Is The Message

Archana Jain

Mass media has a vital role in exposing high proportions of large populations to messages, questioning powerful social norms, and behaviors driven by social conditioning to power change. Public interest campaigns supported by TV and media networks are active advocates of change. They will continue to partake in communicating change albeit increasingly in the digital world.

We, as communication partners, did not face much hesitation in our engagement with the media because of the sound TBBT curriculum. The support from partners like Wipro-GE Healthcare, Love Matters, state governments, parent groups, school management committees, district administration and the Department of Education and Social Justice (GoI) lent gravitas and belief in the program and earned media support.

Widespread conversations break down the taboos. Embedding messages in TV soaps, cinema, and popular content will make people talk and air concerns, and convince them to accept change. Through TBBT, we connect with target groups, start meaningful conversations, and contribute to foster change. Sensitive and appropriate communication is a powerful tool especially since we are dealing with an ingrained social and behavior mindset. With easy access to technology, comes a generation of self-educated and aware consumers but it is important to ensure offline integration to mainstream socially important conversations.

It’s easy to dismiss social media as an endless stream of cat videos, lockdown dances or brunch photos. But when harnessed in the right direction, it serves as a catalyst. Sex education does not happen in schools. It goes as far as a chapter on the reproductive system. Adolescents leave school knowing more about Pythagorean Theorem than about puberty, and healthy sexual relationships and rights. Young people have social media accounts, and use websites and communities to educate themselves.

TBBT works on social media to drive awareness. It aims to provide accurate information, and create a safe space by normalizing discussions about sex and inclusivity. It is a broad, diverse, and personal topic – and social media allows us to curate a personalized learning experience.

We advocate use of visual communication to make potentially confusing ideas easier to understand. Audiences are visually literate, which means that info-graphics, videos, and diagrams can do the heavy lifting of making explanations work. But illustrating sensitive subjects isn’t easy. To translate them into creative needs to be done mindfully, with an undertone of pedagogy. To ensure maximum reach and smooth communication on social media of the theme song, we focus not only on mindful creativity but a collaborative approach with influencers across parenting, lifestyle, art, comedy, sex-education and sports. A series of anecdotes was curated and deployed along with graphical murals on the importance of hygiene as well as a parody to reinforce the messaging pillars. The mixed approach enables us to deliver positive and impactful communication to the target audience.