Alumni Speak

‘This campaign aims to make Bihar a drug-free state’

Devesh Mishra, an alumnus of the Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication, believes creativity has the power to bring positive change

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Devesh Mishra

As per the Narcotics Control Bureau data, drug abuse and trafficking have increased in the state of Bihar since the outbreak of the pandemic. However, on the other hand, it has also created public awareness to curb the use of drugs in the state.

To strengthen this further, 6 students of the Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication (AIMC) worked on a campaign titled ‘Say No To Drugs’ in collaboration with the Bihar Government. The idea was to spread greater awareness and initiate a dialogue while leading the state government’s vision to make Bihar a ‘drug-free state’. 

In an interview, Devesh Mishra, who completed his Post-Graduate Diploma in Advertising and Marketing Communication from AIMC, says creativity is all about bringing positive change. And this is exactly what he and his team did through this campaign. Edited excerpts:

How did the journey start? 

For many years, people have been working on anti-drugs initiatives. However, the impact has been gradually slow. When we came to know that the Bihar Government wants to collaborate with us and create a ‘Say No To Drugs’ campaign, we were thrilled. It was a unique opportunity for us to work on this social issue and make an impact. 

The client brief was straight and simple; they wanted to convey a message on a positive note and not on a negative tone. And that was quite a twist for us. It’s because when you have to depict a corporate social responsibility (CSR) message in front of the public, the point is you have to show some negative aspect for people to understand the gravity of the message and connect with it. But the client wanted us to show this on a positive note. The topic was serious and people are yet not aware how drugs can manipulate their lifestyles. Many people indulge in drugs without completely knowing the after-effects on their personal lives. We tried to accumulate all this information and highlight it through our campaign. 

My team including Shivangi Agrawal, Neev Kalia, Anjali Kohli, Vridhi Tomar, Debargha Biswas and I worked hard and eventually came up with a tagline and logo for the campaign ‘Nashe Pe Purnviram’ meaning ‘Put a full stop to drugs’.  

When did you receive the opportunity? What kind of challenges did you face? 

We got the first brief in August 2020 and our deadline was November, 2020. The major constraint was the pandemic. We couldn’t go to Bihar for any recce or meet anyone in-person. But we created a survey and circulated the questionnaire across the state. We also conducted a Focused Group Discussion (FGD) with our Bihar mates, studying and residing in the state. We gathered a lot of insight via our survey and online conversation. They told us they are aware about drug usage but they can’t really do much about it because they do not have a proper method to communicate with the people. The major outcome was from focused group discussions. 

What kind of impact did the campaign create? 

After we submitted this project to Mr. Manish Shrivastava, Communications Consultant at Government of Bihar, he told us that the campaign design was really strong in terms of its messaging and he really liked the idea ‘‘Nashe Pe Purnviram’ and especially our logo. The logo was a powerful one that we had designed using the red colour. It was a ‘power button’, clearly symbolising a stop signal, and effectively communicating the idea ‘Say No To Drugs’. He also told us that the campaign made an impact in some regions.

What kind of topics interest you?

I always wanted to work on social issues. I have also worked on another short-film in AIMC for UNICEF and a Jaipur-based NGO, Lok Samvad Sansthan, for girl child education. By working on such topics, I want to create a small yet impactful change in front of the audience.

What are your strengths when you work on such social topics? 

There was always one thing in my mind since I was a kid: to be a conceptualiser. I think this helps me give direction to the projects and topics I work on. Like, scripting for a film, ads or even a campaign can be done better when conceptualisation is done right.

What kind of movies do you usually watch?

I like watching fiction and biopics. Biopics help me know more about people, their personality, and life journey. There are many people around the world who we do not know but biopics is a way to know them better. 

What are your future plans?

I want to work with my dream organisation Ogilvy, and I want to become a Creative Director so that my work gets published across media throughout the world. 

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With a Post Graduate Diploma from Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, Harshita has experienced both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world. She has worked as a Journalist with Careers360 and India Today and was a PR Professional at Value360 Communications. Learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveler and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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