‘Lead India’ – The Times of India / JWT

This is a campaign developed by JWT India for The Times of India that won a Grand Prix at Cannes in 2008.

I have to say that Lead India is a phenomenal piece of marketing that is touching, poignant and inspirational, as well as achieving the aim of driving mass engagement and participation across a huge cross-section of the Indian population.

The campaign celebrated India’s 60th anniversary as a democracy, and utilised every channel to deliver a truly integrated, interactive experience for the many, many Indians who got involved. It also achieved the aim of generating awareness country-wide and reached every one of India’s 1 billion citizens in one way or another.


The Lead India campaign asked every Indian what they would do if they could lead the country, and then created an architecture around the idea including town hall meetings, online applications, video upload sites, SMS voting, reality TV shows, celebrity and political endorsement, and traditional TV & Print executions. This architecture enabled mass participation, and 34,000 Indians actually entered the race to be able to stand in the general elections of 2007, with one winner finally being chosen by the public from a final selection of 8 candidates.

This campaign is a benchmark for truly great marketing, and it’s well worth watching the attached video.

By watching the video, you not only learn about the campaign, but you will also get an understanding of some of the tensions that exist in modern India, a nation that is growing exponentially as a global powerhouse, and has a thriving commercial heartbeat, but that in democratic terms is still young, and continues to experience the pains of adolescence.


5 Responses to “‘Lead India’ – The Times of India / JWT”

  1. tomallen22 Says:

    Really interesting, and an insight into India that we rarely get here

  2. Robin Says:

    One appalling cliched sound-bite per minute, not helped by the “probably the best lager in the world” voice over. This may or may not have have reached the staggering proportion of the population claimed, but I doubt that it has touched it.

  3. nicka77 Says:

    Robbo – you may or may not be right – the supposed worthiness of the campaign certainly divided opinion in India – but it was staggeringly successful and did engage huge amounts of people – that is not in doubt. Also, what seems cliched in London may not be cliched in developing markets.

    • Robin Says:

      Hey Nick – There is that! Of course my view on this is remote from the actual experience, but I do think throughout the world we need to be careful not to confuse the conviction of democracy with the celebrity of Pop Idol. It’s all great stuff from you so far and being kept so up-to-date with all your activities (well, maybe not all!) through the various channels feels almost like stalking. Loved the piece on Mumbai and also the retro on your New York visit, which I’ll bet seems ages ago already. I guess you’re moving on from Mumbai soon, so looking forward to the next instalment. I’ll keep the comments coming – for better or worse!! Take care.

  4. nicka77 Says:

    Robbo – all opinions are totally valid and more than welcome – glad you’re enjoying the updates – even if it is quite voyeuristic – am loving writing the pieces and getting the pics and vids up – working on my Mumbai video now – heading to Goa for a week on Sat – chill out time!!! speak soon x

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