The Hindu Tamil, a part of The Hindu Group, executed a multi-pronged reader engagement campaign to promote the importance of voting in preparation for the Tamil Nadu state elections in May 2016. 

A comprehensive microsite was designed as a precursor to the campaign. A dedicated team conducted extensive research to create this robust Web site, which contained detailed information on all 234 constituencies, including background information on the candidates and the results of previous elections.

The objective of the Web site was to create awareness among citizens, help them better understand their constituency, and empower them to be informed and educated voters.

The multi-pronged campaign touched voters through a microsite, social media, and events around the state.
The multi-pronged campaign touched voters through a microsite, social media, and events around the state.

The Hindu Tamil promoted this exclusive Web site on social media and created a new milestone with viewers spending an average of 4.5 minutes per session on the elections pages.

Expanding the reach of the campaign to first-time voters, The Hindu Tamil team headed to eight colleges across the state during the month of April. Close to 20,000 first-time voters were touched. Officials from the Election Commission’s Office or the local government explained the significance of voting to a large number of enthusiastic students, using mock voting booths and street plays.

The first-time voters took a pledge to vote in the upcoming elections at the end of these two-hour sessions. DD Podhigai, a government-owned television channel, aired these sessions in the weeks prior to the election, reaching a wider audience.

To engage meaningfully and directly with readers, The Hindu Tamil conducted a contest titled, “If I were a CM (Chief Minister).” Readers were asked to participate by sending in mock election manifestoes. Winners with the best entries were featured as part of a television commercial.

In addition, a song, “Vote Podu,” meaning “Cast your vote,” was composed exclusively for this campaign. It was set to dance moves during a flash mob at The Hindu’s car-free Sundays initiative in Chennai and Coimbatore. The video had more than 13,000 organic views on social media within five days. Videos featuring celebrities from the Tamil film industry encouraged the public to cast their vote on the election day were also posted.

We also involved advertisers with innovative formats in the election campaign with innovative formats and forged a partnership with telecom company, Aircel, for readers of The Hindu Tamil to engage in an election quiz via SMS. We received about 60,000 messages, from which approximately 3,000 participants were chosen to take part in the slogan contest. We awarded smartphones to 18 winners and every participant was given a free SIM card.

This thoughtful 6-week campaign empowered citizens to become more informed and educated voters.
This thoughtful 6-week campaign empowered citizens to become more informed and educated voters.

On election day, The Hindu Tamil carried extensive coverage with live updates on the voting numbers on their Web sites and apps. There were also interactive conversations on the social media forums. On May 20, the day after the results were announced, The Hindu Tamil published a center-spread special election page, showcasing the results of all the constituencies.

Further, readers who sent in selfies with their inked finger signifying they had voted, were offered a special subscription incentive with attractive discounts on any of The Hindu Group’s publications.

Through a thoughtful six-week campaign, The Hindu Tamil used the opportunity to engage with the citizens of Tamil Nadu and emphasised the importance of one’s right to vote.