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KBC season 8: Striking emotional chords, innovation and more

If the new television commercial (Kohima) promoting Kaun Banega Crorepati season 8 has touched your hearts and got you teary-eyed, be ready for more. As Sony Entertainment Television prepares to bring the next season of the game show that changed the face of Indian television game-shows, television promos are their first tools to attract viewers to the eighth season of the show.

Over the years, KBC has steadily evolved from being just a medium for people to participate and win money, to touching the lives of millions of people by advocating values which are intrinsic to the nation. With SET as its home for the last three and this season as well, the team at the channel and KBC have devised messages that touch upon fundamental issues / topics that are often taken for granted or neglected by individual across the country. The themes and campaigns for KBC have been devised taking to the idea that ‘art forms like films, painting, theatre, drama, music and advertising are mirrors reflecting society’s loopholes. So from, shedding light on the importance of education in ‘Seekhna band, toh jeetna band' campaign to echoing golden belief that when given the right opportunity, everybody is capable of achieving the extraordinary in ‘Koi bhi insaan chhota nahi hota' campaign; KBC has tried to focus on the perforated social fabric in dismissing all biases in the face of gender, lineage and language-based biases in society with ‘Sirf Gyaan Hi Aapko Aapka Haq Dilata Hai' campaign, this year’s campaign, hints on sensitive, deep yet highly uncared for issues like discrimination faced by the people from the northeast of India.

Often serving as the one common factor, KBC pivots itself on the hopes of people with diverse regional, cultural and religious backgrounds. In doing so, KBC and its celebrity host, Amitabh Bachchan, have always inspired, challenged, engaged, broken stereotypes and entertained the nation while transforming the lives of contestants in more ways than one. While for participants it has meant not only money as reward, but fame, success, appreciation and increased confidence; for viewers it is knowledge, entertainment and more importantly a different view of the country.

Channel custodian state that KBC has always celebrated the unique diversity of India and its people and their individual views and beliefs and over the years, offering this diversity has helped in being ‘inclusive’. This inclusivity is what this year’s campaign celebrates. The core message of this season’s campaign strengthens this proposition with the thought ‘Yahan Sirf Paise Nahi, Dil Bhi Jeete Jate Hain’. The campaign consists of a series of extraordinary films each with a different story, character, set-up and theme. The campaign retains the distinct KBC communication flavour while touching on subjects which are very topical.

The Campaign is conceptualized by Leo Burnett (Creative Agency) and executed by Opticus Inc. 

Sharing his thoughts on the commercial, Saurabh Varma, CEO Leo Burnett India said, “Over the years we have noticed that people wait for the KBC promos as much as they wait for the next season of KBC. And the participants who reach the hot seat take more than just money from the KBC stage. Our latest promos take this insight to a larger, national and social canvas. KBC ads effectively use the power of communication to raise the collective conscience of the nation. And looks like we have done it again!”

Speaking on how the creative work was weaved according to the stature the show holds, Vikram Pandey, Executive Creative Director, Leo Burnett India said, “KBC as a platform provides opportunity to think beyond, it's something that we've done for quite a few years(4 years) and every year when we sit down to work on it the idea is how to take it forward. We've talked about knowledge which helps you to transform your life; we worked on the idea that knowledge and KBC as a show will help in transform many more lives, as entire country witnesses. This time the focus was not only on the individual but what an individual does for the society, the learning was driven from the earlier seasons by noticing the contestants and it progressed”.

The ‘Kohima’ TVC is not only received well in the television space, but has painted the social media space as well with positivity and sometimes emotional colours. “Media has changed very fast today, that's why we wanted to build on a commercial which does not only reach out to TV audience but people who want to react to it on social media and digital platform. For the 1st promo of KBC - Kohima, there were instant heart-warming and extensive talks on the social media space and it's really heartening to see the comments coming not only from the North-eastern crowd but from people across the country and the world towards the cause we are set out to communicate”, added Pandey.

The two other films, which are yet to go on air, touch upon the sensitive topic of Hindu–Muslim conflict will be launched sometime soon; while the third film, which will be launched closer to the launch of the show, is designed keeping in mind the popularity of host Amitabh Bachchan and the happiness people feel when he interacts with them through phone-a-friend lifeline.

Sharing the excitement of the new season and the delight of the responses received for the TVC, Senior VP and Marketing Head, SET, Gaurav Seth said, “Kaun Banega Crorepati over the years has established itself as an institution on television. The show and our legendary host Mr. Amitabh Bachchan ignite hope and positivity in the hearts of the nation. This year’s campaign further articulates the positioning, that KBC is not only about winning money. This season, the show, with its unique ability to appeal to a wider and universal audience, will showcase social transformation, portraying stories of everyday heroes and community bonding.

Elaborating on other aspects of the campaign Seth mentioned -

Ground activation connect program
Reaching the hot seat and the general flow of contestant will happen the way it used to happen. We will go across India and while lakhs of people have called in already, the process of short-listing them has begun. There was a thought sometime ago as to how do we take the show closer to the people. Previously we used do to ground activities but this time we planned to scale up the ground activation connect program and take it over 100 cities of India. Titled ‘KBC Aapke Sheher’, the activity will commence next week and enable citizens of the cities to compete in a small game show that will have Bachchan asking questions on a big screen. The winner of each city will then get a chance to compete and play for Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million) in ‘KBC 8′ in Mumbai. With ground activation connect program, citizens will genuinely feel that we got a chance to sit on the hot seat. People who win KBC in their town through this platform will get an opportunity to go into the pool and we will do one special episode with these winners only.

New strategies
We shall be launching the KBC campaign four different times in 4 cities, where we will be holding a ground event with Mr. Bachchan who'll play KBC in the massive stadium along with live audience. We start with Surat, Gujarat in August for the first leg of this activity; however we are yet to finalize the other three cities. This will be the first time that KBC travels out of the studio and we are confident that our audiences will like it. Also, this season innovation does not seem to end soon. We are also looking at few additions and alterations in the format. While the question – answer pattern remains the same, we are looking at adding another lifeline special lifeline focusing on communities. (Sources say the lifeline is tentatively called ‘Community’ and will enable the participant to call up a particular community and get his question answered. The aim of this is to visually represent various communities through the show).

Marketing plan
Alongside television and on-ground, we will be doing digital play as well. So every citizen of India who has a smart-phone can play KBC along with the show and will get an opportunity to win prizes. There will be other initiatives coming up as the season progresses along. We are not looking at one marketing campaign but four marketing campaigns; hence changing a lot of things on the marketing charts. While the commercials are being played on television and spoken about in the digital space, we will also launch these ad films across theatres and other channels. With KBC season 8, we will re-define the emotional landscape as well!

Sponsor response 
I think the promos will attract people themselves without much extra efforts from external sources! Having said that, it is a very positive response base we have received and a great move for them as well to associate with a product which is so vibrant, refreshing and means so much to so many individuals. For ‘KBC 8’ we already have Cadbury Dairy Milk as the title sponsor and Idea Cellular as the powered-by sponsor on board.

Key Learning
All the activities, plans and strategies that have been put together, right from going to the ground, visiting 100 cities to build better connect with people to launching the promo around with something which connects people on daily basis have all been learning's somewhere drawn from last 3-4 years of the show. KBC was always national. I think this year the strength of the communication will create all new appeal, people are ‘viraling’ it and sharing it with friends. I think our effort is done by making the film, but it's time for audience to speak. However, whatever we have received till date for the new season has been quite overwhelming.

KBC season 8, like the previous season, will be produces by Siddhartha Basu’s Big Synergy Productions and is said to begin filming by the end of July 2014.

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