P049: The media movement that changed the role of women in Indian elections

  • thumbnail

    Get Flash to see this player.


In 2007, Tata Tea changed the category dynamics by shifting from functional messaging. Tata Tea launched “Jaagore” (meaning Awaken) campaign equating tea as medium which not just facilitates waking up but as a means to social awakening. Through “Jaagore” Tata Tea established itself as a thought leader. Over years, Jaagore has evolved focusing on diverse issues like voting, corruption etc.

So far Jaagore enabled Tata Tea deliver business results while doing social good. However the cause marketing space was getting cluttered. Hence “Jaagore” had to be made larger than ever.

In India, on several social indicators women fall way behind their male counterparts.  Worsening things further are rampant crimes against women. Society’s patriarchal mind-set is leading to helplessness and lack of commitment to tackle women’s issues.

Women form 49% of the Indian electorate, but very few are part of the electoral process. Tata Tea’s research threw some interesting observations about women and elections:
1. Elections - complicated process
2. Real women issues - never discussed
3. Follow patriarchal norms – end-up voting with family
4. Cynical well-educated women - abstain from voting

Despite being 49% of the electorate, women never realise the power of collective. Consequently, politicians ignore women in spite of being the largest voting block and never address women issues.

Thus born was the “Power of 49” (PO49) television campaign which showcased a woman telling her politician husband not to ignore the power of 49% Indian women as they had the power to either make or break the government.


The TVC was well received but a one way TVC was not enough, but for women electoral non-participation was a deeper social issue. Maxus realised that a one way TVC was not enough. Women would participate only if it could simplify elections, help table real-life issues with politicians and enable choosing right representative.

Thus the agency re-crafted the vision of PO49 to “Empowering 100 million women to make an informed vote in the 2014 Indian General elections”

PO49 - 2 key phases

• Phase 1 – Women Issue Identification
a) Awaken to the power of 49
b) Women table their wants

• Phase 2 – Enable women with the lens to cast an informed vote
a) Politicians take note of women’s wants
b) Politicians become more responsive towards women’s issues
c) Informed and empowered women electorate

Five steps that brought the vision alive:
1. Indian Women Voter – Segmentation
- There are two kinds of Indian women: Bharat women - lower middle class women who vote on family lines; and India women: Upper class Women of India who are cynical about the value of their vote.

2. Identifying the key influencers for each segments:

What could change a deep rooted societal issue that historically had never happened? The agency referred to the Ethnographic studies which showed that TV has been the most powerful medium in shaping the opinion of Indian women across decades. In India, TV equals strong female protagonists.

The key insight: “Indian women consider the REEL life strong women protagonists on TV as their “alter egos” and emulate them in their real life”. Maxus identified leading TV soap stars as key influencers for women of “Bharat’ while news anchors/social commentators influenced women of “India”

3.  Influencer content curation

4.  Seed platform specific content

5. Smart use of real-time response data


The campaign seamlessly stitched together the power of content, technology and platforms to reach out to as many as possible in the most powerful way.
• Power of mobile + voice of protagonists called for participation from women
• Women gave missed call to TV protagonists and flagged own issues
• Unprecedented participation across country
• Issues tagged at constituency level
• Active database of issues was aggregated
• Issue database debated with politicians, social activists, other influencers by India’s top journalists
• Rajdeep Sardesai and his team at CNN IBN created the first ever crowd sourced women’s manifesto
• Discussions over women’s manifesto with politicians on TV, Facebook, Twitter and Google videos
• Discussions marketed to women - brought back TV protagonists asking women to make an informed vote
• Mobile mechanism for women to evaluate  the candidate in their constituency via SMS
• Enabled women to cast an informed vote in the Indian general elections 2014.

Across each and every phase the brand engaged and drove participation at HUGE SCALE:
• Media partner scale: 3 of India’s largest TV networks , jointly owing approximately 50% of the market, joined hands for the first time for a brand-led cause
• Influencer scale: Biggest celeb endorsement – 40+ celebs : Top 5 TV stars, Top 4 TV journalists, 20+ film actors and 15+ social/business personalities
• People connect scale: Maxus leveraged the depth of influence of Association of democratic reforms, India’s biggest non-political group aiming at electoral reforms
• Content pieces: Generated 50+ unique content units - long & short format


For the Business and Brand:
• Portfolio Market share increase by 10 basis points
• % Sales growth: twice of the category
• Amongst women exposed to PO49, brand preference grew 50%

For the Movement:
• Reached 102 million women
• >8 lac issues from 504/543 parliamentary constituencies
• Largest repository of women’s issues in India
• 5 million interactions = ~1 phone ringing continuously for >20 months
• 14 experts created “VOICE OF 49” Women’s Manifesto
• Manifesto presented to ALL 3 leading parties

Unprecedented Social Buzz:
1. 22 million people talking on Facebook
2. 10 million+ impressions on Twitter during the manifesto submission week
3. Organic traffic on website up 30%, Search traffic up 40%

Galvanisation of Public Opinion:
• PR worth $4.62m generated - highest ever in history of Tata Tea by single campaign

Politicians took note –
• Pre-campaign, political party manifesto’s had little mention of women’s issues but post PO49 women issues started featuring in manifesto prominently
• 24% cabinet ministers in new government are women - Highest ever in Indian Parliament history


50-70% increase in scores on realisation of their PO49, power to decide outcome, informed vote and not to vote with family.

Have Your Say

Please register to add comments.

Tata Tea
Brand Owner:
Tata Global Beverages
Drinks (non-alcoholic)
February - May 2014
Media Channel:
  • FMAs shortlisted

Cream Shuffle

Stuck for ideas? Use our automated inspiration tool.

ShuffleClick to shuffle
  • Hot Pockets
  • Brazil
Read more

Cream Subscribers

Other C Squared Products

  • - M&M
  • - The Festival of Media

©  Ltd.

London, SE1 0AX.

Registered Number: