FCB India Wins Inclusion Campaign of the Year Award

FCB India received the 2018 IPG Inclusion Award for Campaign of the Year for its “No Conditions Apply” campaign for the Times of India.

The Times of India is the most widely-circulated daily newspaper in India, but to compete with its chief rival in Bengal, The Telegraph, the Times needed to connect with Bengalis as a people and to embed its message of “No Conditions Apply” within their culture. FCB India identified a 400-year-long tradition to deliver that message to customers and deliver results to its client.

Every year, 35 million Bengali women come together in celebration of the Goddess Durga to play “Sindoor Khela” (the vermilion game), an ancient ritual that reaffirms their womanhood with one condition: no single women, divorcees, widows, or LGBTQ are allowed. FCB India’s objective was to change this 400-year-old tradition of rejection into a tradition of acceptance to help the Times of India emerge as a local newspaper with strong roots in Bengali culture.

FCB India’s strategy was four-pronged. First, the agency created a uniquely Indian symbol that every woman could adopt and become part of a national sisterhood, two dots on the forehead in place of the singular dot traditional to Indian symbolism. Second, they partnered with leaders of minority communities including widows, transgenders, and LGBTQ, to release a digital film demanding acceptance. Next, FCB India partnered with the biggest temple in Calcutta and invited the “forbidden” women to attend Sindoor Khela. Finally, to spread this message of acceptance across all genders and generations, FCB India engaged celebrities who were vocal advocates of feminism.

In just four weeks, the Times of India amassed $912,335 USD in earned media and reached 708 million people, becoming the No.1 trending topic on social media with 3 million comments and thousands of two-dot selfies. The campaign successfully broke a 400-year-old patriarchal tradition when over 50 temple societies opened their doors to all women. For the first time in history, single, married, widowed, transgender individuals and sex workers joined to participate in “Sindoor Khela.” Ultimately, in the process of finding cultural relevance, The Times of India became the No.1 newspaper in Calcutta, beating the local favorite – The Telegraph – for the first time in 10 years.

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