In a country where every second issue struggles to keep its head up for social attention, tobacco awareness lies at the bottom of the pit as far as focus is concerned. But a bunch of enthusiastic young media students from Mumbai have taken the first steps to change this priority.
“Shoot to Kill Tobacco: Make an AV contest” is the city’s largest BMM only initiative launched by the Salaam Bombay Foundation, involving young media students who scratched their heads to create innovative audio-visuals, aimed at changing the pace of anti-tobacco awareness in the city.
On Wednesday, the team from Sathaye College was an elated bunch as their AV won the first prize at the competition. The winners were felicitated at a function held at the Mudra House, Mumbai, which headquarters India’s largest integrated marketing communications and services network, the DDB Mudra group. The event was attended by eminent personalities from the media and film industry.
As part of the contest, students from Mumbai’s top BMM colleges were required to produce a three to four-minute-long audio-visual which could be a docu-film, an advertisement, a news package or any other that fit the AV format and focused on addressing the issues of tobacco usage in India. The winner was shortlisted by a grand jury comprising of some of the most renowned names from the industry including musician Salim Merchant, ace photographer Atul Kasbekar, Sonal Dabral, Chairman & CCO, DDB Mudra Group and Nikhil Taneja, Head of Content & Development, Y-Films and noted Bollywood screenplay and script writer Rekha Nigam.
Students from some of the most prestigious colleges in the city including, K L Raheja, MD, Thakur, Sathaye, Patkar amongst others participated in the contest. Each college had two teams representing it. What made the contest even more distinctive was the fact that the winning team received the propitious opportunity to pursue a one-month internship with the Mudra Group.
The team at Salaam Bombay Foundation conceptualized the idea of the contest as an endeavour to sensitise youngsters and create awareness among them about the ill effects of tobacco use through fresh out-of-the-box ideas. Also, with a growing demand for tobacco-control messages that are more creative, more appealing and less horrific, the team hoped that an attempt like this one could bring in a fresh perspective to tobacco-control campaigns. Said Aditi Parikh, VP, Communications & Development, Salaam Bombay Foundation, “Most of the images that are used in tobacco ads are so horrific that they turn off the viewer. But the issue is very critical and needs to reach more and more people. Through this contest, Salaam Bombay Foundation is offering an opportunity for the youth to reach out to their own age group and raise awareness about an issue which needs critical social attention”
The contest also gave the participating students an opportunity to showcase their work before some of the best minds in media. Mr. Sonal Dabral, who was part of the jury that selected the winning team, said "The quality of work presented by the participants today was excellent. Use of tobacco in India is a pressing matter and needs fresh thinking to provide effective communication solutions. It was therefore a delight to see these young creative minds grapple with this difficult subject and come up with such engaging ideas.”
One of the students from the winning team said. “Tobacco is a well acknowledged social and health evil. It affects young as well as old people alike and it is important to create awareness about the issue and the audio visual medium is one of the best ways to do that. We are glad that Salaam Bombay Foundation provided us this platform through this contest to bring out our ideas about this danger.”
Through the initiative, Salaam Bombay Foundation also aimed to create awareness among youngsters about the marketing tactics used by tobacco companies around schools and colleges to attract youth. Said Ms. Parikh, “Our colleges are huge breeding grounds for tobacco addiction. Exposure to various marketing strategies by tobacco companies makes the students more vulnerable. Through this contest we wanted to offer an opportunity for the youth to reach out to their own age group and raise awareness about an issue which needs critical social attention.”