Thursday, 24 December 2009

Little girl to civilize Delhi

Delhi’s citizens are about to be introduced to a range of civic awareness messages over the next 10 months, right up to the Commonwealth Games in October 2010. A wide-ranging advertising campaign, ‘Come on Dilli’, with the messages delivered by a new city mascot — a cartoon-drawn, seven-year-old girl named Delhi ki Beti has begun to dot Delhi’s billboards since December 12.

India’s Capital will play host to athletes from 71 nations at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The Delhi government feels that in addition to providing world-class infrastructure and facilities for the event, it is also critical that Delhi’s people come together as hospitable hosts.

To instill that sense of hospitality, pride, care and concern for the city, it decided to undertake a public communication exercise. The ‘Civility Campaign’ has started with the outdoor media and will move on to radio, print and television.

The messages point to a greater range of civic awareness building than what may typically be required for just the Commonwealth Games. The use of solar power or the rejection of the use of plastic bags are some other examples of wide range of issues this campaign aims to address.

Other issues such as pollution, car pooling, using the cellphone while driving, breaking traffic signals and defacing heritage sites are covered through messages that use English and Hindi, English nursery rhyme lines and even references to legendary poet, Ghalib.

Building pride in the city’s heritage is seen as a unifying factor since a significant number of Delhi’s residents have come in from other parts of the country.

Cartoon animals have been used in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner.

The youth who’s taken a toss off his motorbike because he jumped a red light is a monkey; the person defacing a heritage building’s wall is a rat; the chap chatting on his mobile phone while driving is an owl.

The idea is to convey, in a dignified manner, that the people with such attitude are not behaving like civilized humans.

While it is tempting to compare Delhi ki Beti with the Amul girl who also delivers sharp, witty social messages, Sen preferred that the two not be compared, saying the Amul property has been built over time.

The campaign’s budget is rumoured to be in the range of Rs 100 crore but there is no official confirmation on the figure. PK Tripathi, principal secretary in the chief minister’s office, said there was no fixed budget.

“We will intensify the campaign over the next few months and will release money depending on the various media used for it. The three-phased campaign will progress from ‘inform and inspire’ to ‘involve’ messages, to culminate with ‘hospitality’ statements


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