Public Relations campaigns have always had the ability to bring about a stir in social media and society has a whole. One such PR campaign to have brought about a wave of change was a campaign called “code name: Uri” made by Denstu Webchutney, the digital media agency by Denstu Aegis Network. The PR campaign was nominated for Cannes lion 2019. This campaign changed a 67 year old law of the country. Therefore, I chose this as my artefact.
There have been several piracy cases in the past and the movie Uri dreaded the same. Hence, the actors of the movie shot a fake film and put it up on torrent for downloads, and continuously seeded it so that it remains in the top search results. As soon as the downloading was done and the viewer turned on the movie to watch it the actors were seen on their screens condemning them for trying to watch the leaked version of the movie. They asked the viewers to go and watch the movie in the theatre nearest to their homes. They also asked some influences to talk about the movie that was leaked before release. This leaked version was downloaded 20,000 times from each website that uploaded it.
Once the audience admitted to getting trolled on social media, this story was picked up by news channels and it eventually reached the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi who decided to address the issue. The government amended a 67 year old law which is called the Cinematograph Act of 1952. The perpetrators of digital piracy could go to jail for 3 years or they will have to pay a fine. The PR campaign received earned media of over $ 1.5 million. Denstu webchutney has nominated this entry for several categories, it received 300+ publications and 730 thousand engagement across platforms. This one PR campaign changed the law of digital piracy in India in just twenty two days.
The campaign was designed by Denstu Webchtney, the digital media agency of Denstu Aegis Network. It was done because the maker of Uri dreaded piracy of their film. The intended objective of the campaign was to avoid piracy and ensure that the audience goes to the theatres to watch the film. The message that is being passed on through this is that piracy is against the laws of the country and it should be taken seriously.
They have used a campaign as their media, they used the torrent downloads itself as their media to reach the target audience. I think that was the perfect and a very clever choice of media as the perpetrators use torrent itself to download a pirated movie. Hence, it was a perfect media to penetrate through to the maximum number of target audience. The targeted audience for this message was every person in India who goes online and watches a pirated version of any movie. Most were not even aware about piracy being illegal, this was to spread awareness about that and it clearly reached the audience as the data suggests that it received 300+ publications and it also had 730 thousand engagements across several social media platforms.
As a result of this Uri as a movie was also widely watched in theatres. Therefore, the audiences watched the movie and also were made aware about the fact that piracy is a crime. It resulted in reaching the government and changed a 67 year old law. Therefore, I think the message was like by the audience.
The message and the way it was crafted syncs with the cultural context in which it is produced. Digital piracy has been going on since years now. Piracy results in the audience not appreciating the efforts of the makers and the actors involved. Everyone involved does not get what they deserve in terms of appreciation and earnings due to digital media piracy and in order to be a developed nation this is also an aspect that should be touched upon and the masses should be aware of that. Therefore, in our cultural context this aspect was something that really needed to be touched upon by the government of India.
In conclusion, this resonated with the audience. This PR campaign changed the Indian Piracy Law. The PR campaign was widely covered by the media. On the seventh day of the campaign it caught the attention of the Prime Minister of the nation. “Unauthorized duplication of films” through digital means now is a crime. Therefore, this is a perfect example of how change in laws and mindsets can be brought about through a PR campaign. The PR campaign also made sure that everyone involved in the movie Uri gets what they deserve in terms of earnings and viewership. Hence, it was a positive PR campaign for all.
However, one thing about this movie that I think was not good was the fact that the makers and actors were talking about piracy and to resonate with the audience they used a piracy platform itself which was torrent. They broke a law themselves in order to bring about a change, I believe it might not have been an ethical way of going ahead with things. However, as they did say in their nomination video itself, “sometimes you need to break a law to make a law”. Maybe there was no other way. Therefore, I believe that Code name: URI as a campaign was a great success and is a great example of an artifact that used the communication model very well to reach its target audience.
Economic Times Article of 4th September 2019
– Niharika Dowareh
Read about some more interesting PR campaigns below
She has done her post graduation in sociology from Ambedkar university Delhi. After that she was invited to the annual meeting of Pacific sociological association to present her paper. Through the experience she learned that research excites her. She went on to work for an NGO as a communications executive that led her to the path towards PR as it’s a field that requires one to read, write extensively and also face challenges on a day to day basis. As an extremely patient person and also a good listener, She feels these skills will help her in this field.