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As the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, brands and influencers are avoiding promoting their products and services. Instead, they are creating content that positively distracts the audience or promotes good causes.

Along the same lines, on the occasion of ‘World No Tobacco Day’, Pristyn Care, a surgery-focused healthcare startup, has conceptualised a campaign titled #HelpAFriendQuit. In the form of an ‘angry rant’, the influencers persuade their followers to quit smoking by showing them the mirror and repercussions of their actions.

The brand has roped in actor Gagan Arora for a video in Hindi and YouTuber Gopal Chouhan for its Telugu version. According to the data provided by content marketing agency Sheeko, the influencer-driven campaign has reached more than 1.5 lakh people at a media value pegged around Rs 2 lakh.

Sharing the ideation behind the campaign, a Pristyn Care spokesperson said, “When we were ideating for the campaign, we wanted to create content relevant to current and future context. Also, we wanted to target the youth because we believe that if a habit like smoking is controlled at early stages, it can possibly be curtailed or stopped. Secondly, we wanted to keep the messaging and tone very accessible, and that is why we finalised a friendly rant as the delivery route to showcase concern. Going with a friend as the one communicating, we stayed true to the messaging. We were also able to include Covid-19 insights to make it contextually relevant.”

Through the rant, the brand aims to spread the message ‘Lungs Hai Toh Life Hai’. The video highlights the damage smoking causes to the lungs and to the overall health. This message gains significance at a time when Covid has brought the focus back on our health. During the video message, the influencers mention all of that while highlighting lung health. However, the message doesn’t come across as preachy. For youngsters, any preachy post can be a major put-off. On the other hand, when it comes across as friendly advice from someone who cares, it tends to have the right effect. That’s where this campaign scores.

The influencers speak to the audience as they would speak to their friends. The tone has the same authority and concern that we would have for our friends. Even the caption with the post, asking his followers to quit smoking, seems like a direct message to a friend. In Gagan Arora’s video, we see the camera moving closer to him through the length of the video. This brings out the urgency and a sense of time running out.

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A post shared by Gagan Arora (@whogaganarora)

Arora has shared his post on Instagram, while Chouhan has shared his post on YouTube. The choice of influencers is pertinent here as it helps the campaign reach the right target audience. Both the young influencers have a large number of youth followers— the target audience for this post. The campaign #HelpAFriendQuit needs to make these influencers come across as friends to their followers. Arora’s characters in his web series have created an image of him that makes him come across as a friendly person. This image helps the campaign.

Chouhan is known to create funny Telugu videos where he pranks people. This video post is not like his usual prank videos, but it helps take the message to the right audience.

Speaking about the choice of influencers, the spokesperson said, “We wanted to cast an influencer who resonates with the youth and has the acting chops to deliver the message. Gagan Arora and Gopal Chauhan were chosen after various discussions and creative jamming sessions, and detailed conversations. We realised both had the authenticity, heart and ability to deliver the concern and messaging we were looking for. This, of course, was coupled with their broad reach and influence amongst the youth.”

Posting branded content on social media during gloomy times like these may come across as insensitive by followers. That’s why most influencers have put a pause on such activities. While many were seen to amplify SOS calls from Covid victims and their families, many others took to promoting social causes or simply creating light-hearted content to cheer their followers.

A previous article ‘How influencers are dealing with branded content amid devastating second Covid wave’ said that this is the time for brands to become even more sensitive about what they sell and communicate with the consumers. They ought to stay clear of any content that is created only to sell any product. In a form of moment marketing, the brand uses the opportunity to address the health concerns caused by smoking. They are not promoting their brand or their services and instead using this campaign to issue a public health message.

“Inhalation of any form of tobacco causes irreparable damage to the lungs and increases risk of cardiovascular ailments and stroke. Pristyn Care aims to raise awareness on this as well as encourage and motivate the youth to seek help and break the chain by bidding adieu to tobacco and tobacco products,” reads a release issued by the start-up.