Pre-Workshop case idea and learning objectives
ISB-Ivey Case Writing Workshop 2013
1. Identify a company
The case studies the unique promotional campaign strategy adopted by STAR TV India to
popularize its TV show, Satyamev Jayate (SMJ), in order to bring about a “real” impact on
the society (See Annexure I).
Satellite Television Asian Region (STAR) India is an Indian media and entertainment
company, owned by News Corporation, and affiliated with Fox. It is headquartered in
Mumbai, with regional offices in cities Delhi and Chennai. STAR India's portfolio includes 33
channels in eight languages to more than 400 million people every week across India and
more than 100 countries across the globe.
STAR TV was launched in 1991 as a joint venture between Hutchison Whampoa and Li-Ka
Shing. STAR's bouquet in early 90s included Star Plus (then an English-language
entertainment channel), Prime Sports (later became Star Sports), Mtv (through a tie up with
Viacom), Star Movies and Zee TV (belonging to Subhash Chandra). Star TV was beamed out
of Asiasat satellite and beamed across 53 countries (as claimed by Star).
The New Economic Policy of India (1993) prompted a rapid growth of satellite television
leading to a revolution in the television industry in the country. In 1993 News Corporation
purchased 63.6% of STAR for over $500 million, followed by the purchase of the remaining
36.4% in 1 January 1993. In August 2009, STAR restructured its Asian broadcast businesses
into three units – STAR India, STAR Greater China, and Fox International Channels Asia.
Following the restructuring, the STAR India manages sales and distribution of News
Corporation channels in India – a total of 19 channels in eight languages. In addition, STAR
India will manage News Corporation’s interests in seven ventures including DTH operator
Tata Sky, Cable system Hathway, channel distributor STAR Den, news channel operator
MCCS, south Indian broadcast business of Asianet channels and STAR Vijay, film producer
and distributor Fox STAR Studios India and STAR CJ Home Shopping.1
STAR India entered
into High Definition broadcasting on 15 April 2011 with the launch of the HD versions of its
popular channels, including Star Plus HD, Star Movies HD, Star World HD, Star Gold HD and
National Geographic Channel India HD.
2. Case protagonist
Case protagonist is the Marketing Head of STAR India Ms. Gayatri Yadav, who has been
actively involved in this show right from its inception.
News Corporation Restructures Broadcast Businesses in Asia.
http://www.newscorp.com/news/news_423.html [Accessed 2 may 2013]
3. Definitive idea
Using a unique strategy of using multiple channels of promotional campaigns that includes
social media, a TV Show has not only attracted a huge number of viewers but also leveraged
the power of social networks to bring together the collective will of the masses to demand
for and initiate change in the society and governance with regards to some crucial
Responsible media can now have an unprecedented influence over the masses, with the
addition of new media. Satyamev Jayate incited introspection, evaluation of the many
values and practices in our society and even provoked many people. However, the initial
effect of the program, on every individual, would have probably worn off in the absence of a
medium to connect with each other to further discuss on the issues. Widespread social
change can only be brought through a revolution, which entails mass mobilization. This is an
obvious phenomenon because a man fights best for or against a cause when the cause is
personal. Internet provided the medium for these men to come together to collectively
deliberate, criticize, share opinions and experience, and discuss remediation to work
towards/fight a common cause.
Satyamev Jayate was immensely successful in creating an impact on various social matters,
promoted by the show and actor Aamir Khan, due to mass involvement. It wasn’t so much
the “star power” of actor Aamir Khan that obliged various government bodies to take action
on those matters. Rather, it was the mass involvement in these matters, through social
media, that made Parliamentarians, chief ministers and bureaucrats responded with
alacrity. The makers of the show themselves have measured the success of the show based
primarily on the social media metrics
, which are shown below.
Following statistical data further highlights the role of social media in turning an initiative
into a movement, just after the first episode of Satyamev Jayate went on air.
The official website of the show crashed several times after the debut episode of
Satyamev Jayate was made available for viewing on its website soon after the
After the show on medical malpractice was telecast, the show received 70 online
messages from people across the country who offered their shop for free to help
open stores that could provide generic medicines
4. Learning objective(s)
To introduce to the students the role of social media in marketing a social-message
focused TV production.
To help students to understand a ‘dual-goal’ content strategy to generate viewership
as well as catalyzing a tangible impact on the society.
To illustrate how a campaign strategy can generate a feeling of ‘ownership’ and
‘responsibility’ among the masses.
To help student understand how a marketing (Content?) strategy can build on the
contemporary social mood for ‘change’ and provide a platform for channeling a
mass agenda or greater social movement beyond a TV show.
To understand the challenges of sustaining viewers’ interest beyond the initial hypes
or intrigues created by a particular campaign.
Satyamev Jayate- A Case Study
Baharul Islam, Ramsiva Linga, Dinesh Chandra Yalavarthy
It was a warm sunny day after the completion of the last episode of the popularTV show,
Satyamev Jayate. Ms. Gayatri Yadav, Executive Vice President, marketing and
communications, STAR India says that she has been reviewing the success of the first
season of the show to develop the marketing strategy for the second season. Satyamev
Jayate is a TV show created by STAR India in association with Aamir Khan Productions. The
show had 15 episodes. After receiving and overwhelming response to the first season of the
show, it is only obvious that the second season will follow. For this very reason and to
recreate the success, Ms. Gayatri feels that understanding what worked well is the first step.
Television in India has entered a new era after the year 2001, when a multitude of channels
have been launched in different languages. The arrival of 24 hour news channels and
channels dedicated to specific demographics and genres has made the industry very
competitive. The mainstream entertainment channels have come up with the daily shows
that run over hundreds of episodes. Reality shows and game shows have also ruled the
primetime for some years. But, every channel has adopted, modified and presented these
programs to their liking, by the end of the first decade. This created a need for unique
content, to standout amidst the clutter of entertainment channels.
History of Star
STAR TV, launched in 1991, is a joint venture between Hutchison Whampoa and Li-Ka. In its
initial years, it primarily aired English language content. STAR (Satellite Television Asian
Region) India is an Indian media and entertainment company, affiliated with Rupert
Murdoch's News Corporation. STAR India's portfolio includes 33 channels in eight languages,
telecasting to more than 400 million people every week across India and over 100 countries
across the globe.
Aamir Hussain Khan is a popular Indian film actor, director and producer. He is known for
being a perfectionist and has worked in a diverse range of movies. Recently, almost all his
movies have a social message. His movie ‘Lagaan’ won him an Academy Award-nomination
and also marked the debut of his own production company. He has received multiple
awards throughout the 90’s and 2000’s from the film fraternity as well as the Government
of India. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 2003 and the
Padma Bhushan in 2010 for his contributions to arts. In late 2011, Khan was appointed as
national brand ambassador by UNICEF, to promote child nutrition. Khan is also a part of the
government organized IEC campaign to raise awareness about malnutrition.
Uday Shankar, CEO of Star India, realizing the need to be different was on the lookout for a
breakthrough program that would help change the positioning and image of Star India,
especially Star Plus, which is a Hindi general entertainment channel. He persuaded top actor
Aamir Khan to venture into television programs. There are already a number of actors and
actresses who are part of a number of TV programs across different genres- game shows,
talk shows, reality shows etc. and have seen varied level of success.
However, Aamir was sceptical and made it clear that he wouldn’t debut with an existing
genre of entertainment. He wanted to use the medium to give back to the society. The
theme was decided based on the understanding that the chosen issues should touch every
individual’s life in some way or the other. Thus a research team was formed to generate the
required content for a show. In the words of Aamir Khan, “It helps me connect with people
and helps me grow as an Individual. I wish to serve as a catalyst for the movement and part
of people’s lives. It took me 3 years to bring the idea into reality. “
Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Prevails) is a unique show on the Indian Television. It has
been a leader in several ways. The genre itself is unique and cannot be compared with any
of the traditional show formats. Although people initially told that it is in the same lines of
the famous Oprah’s show, it differs in many aspects. The first season of the show premiered
on 6 May 2012 and marked the television debut of popular Bollywood actor and filmmaker
Aamir Khan. Each episode raised awareness towards a social issue affecting Indians. Some
of raised issues were female foeticides, child sexual abuse, dowry, medical malpractice,
honour killings, insensitivity towards the physically disabled, domestic violence, overuse of
pesticides leading to pesticide poisoning, alcoholism, untouchability, plight of senior citizens
and water crisis. After the first episode went on air, positive reviews, from politicians, film
personalities and social activists, started emerging on social media and the show created an
unprecedented buzz in the mid-summer 2012.
STAR India took the mammoth task of promoting the show and will also be promoting the
next season. It is a journey which “connects” across class distinctions. The show connected
with the audience at an emotional level. The objective of the show was to create awareness
and motivate people to act. The show never assured or claimed to bring about change itself,
although they did take some actions on certain cases, with support from the public. It was
planned that the stories would be supported by hard facts and not the other way round to
avoid being accused of “creating” news and stories. For Star TV, which is actively committed
to transforming its image, this was the perfect opportunity. Association with Aamir and the
show content were an ideal combination for multiple reasons:
1. Relevance: Aamir recently had been focusing on movies which gave out social
2. Different: Also the movies like Taare Zameen Par or Lagaan are not every ones cup
3. Emotion: Being one of the top actors in Bollywood, he had an appeal and could
easily connect with the people.
4. Moves masses: Being a star actor, he is known to drive masses and a communication
of this sort, need a really huge drawing power for an otherwise mundane show
without the glitter of a game show.
The logo of Satyamev Jayate is composed of the text ‘Satyamev Jayate’ in Devnagari script. It
has a white background which depicts purity and optimism. The name reinforces the fact
that “truth triumph”.
Figure 1. Logo of Satyamev Jayate
The running time of the show was between 60-65 minutes. It ran for 14 episodes from 6
May 2012 to 29 July 2012, including a special Episode on Independence Day (15 August
2012). Refer Exhibit 1 for more details about each episode.
The timing of the show was another experiment by Star which made this show gain more
popularity as it promise to deliver quality content that use to be aired during the same time
many years ago. While most shows with celebrity presence are aired on prime time, Star
decided not to do the same with Satyamev Jayate. A Sunday morning time slot of 11am was
chosen to air the show. “We want India to wake up” says SMJ Team. “We know most of the
audience sleep at this time. We want to wake them, wake them up to the happenings
around them. We want unadulterated attention of public in their best mood. We want them
to discuss over the day. Talk during lunch. It’s a show which the whole family has to sit and
watch. It’s just not an entertainment show.”
Partnership and simulcast
“It is the perfect time for a show of this kind, TV viewing has reached its peak. It would not
have been successful let’s say a decade ago when the reach was limited”, says Ms. Gayatri
Yadav, Executive Vice President-Marketing and Communications of Star India. Thus the idea
of social change and driving it to the remote corner is set as a parameter for measuring
Although STAR India in itself has a large network, there are several interior areas in India
where they still couldn’t reach. Mr Shankar said, “When we want people to move out of
their comfort and watch the show, we need to change our motives as well, it’s not just
profits which matter at the end.“ SMJ was eventually telecast on Star Plus, Star World, Star
Utsav, Star Pravah, Star Jalsha, Asianet and Star Vijay of STAR Network, Doordarshan of the
Government of India, Eenadu TV (Telugu). To reach to the common man in his language,
although Hindi is the primary language of the show, it was also dubbed and simulcast in
other Indian languages such as Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. Interestingly
the show has also been aired on AIR (All India Radio) as well.
The promotional campaign design was the largest challenge for Star in the whole process.
The stakes are high, given that the association with Aamir can give Star a boost to its image
and can continue to be a promising source of great shows. Given that the show launches
Aamir to TV, there is much ado over how the show is going to be and what it is about. Star
team decided to bank on this suspense and designed the campaign around it.
“Intrigue has to be built up, to make the show sustainable and interesting” says Ms. Gayatri
The program was launched without revealing many insights, even to the sponsors. The
show’s theme or the content was kept confidential. The show had created such hype that it
trended on twitter more than Steve jobs’ death. It ranked first on Google India trends on the
day of the premiere. It became the most talked about show in the social media networks
The goal of the program is making people aware of the problem and taking them through
the process to feel for the issues that affect them, so that they would act. This is similar to
the Hierarchy of Effects by Robert J Lavidge and Gary A Steiner model which talks about
initial awareness followed by Cognitive (thinking) so that the consumer becomes product
aware and gathers product knowledge, Affective (feeling) so that the consumer likes the
product brand and has conviction in it and then Conative (behaviour) so that the consumer
buys the product brand. Ms. Gayatri also said that they believed in the fact that emotion is
above knowledge which makes people feel. Thus the program should be beyond awareness,
touching people’s hearts.
The strategic statement (as mentioned in the Advertising and promotions - an IMC
perspective by Kruti Shah and Alan D’Souza) was made clear by answering the below
Why – To provoke the silent majority for debate and discussion on the issues which
they consider are someone else’s responsibility, issues they never acknowledge and
just pass on.
What –This show aims at bringing people out of their ignorance to help them see
and feel the truth & helplessness- A state where they would realize their present and
start thinking and working about their society.
When – The timing of the show was quite important. This was a time when the reach
of Television was high and the society is looking for a change. Be it Anna Hazare’s2
campaigns against corruption or surfacing of various large scale corruption cases like
people in general were looking for some platform to voice their protests
and demanding a systemic change. People were looking for change but needed a
Where – It is with the masses that the lack of progress is felt and the feeling that
India is in reverse gear and needs everyone’s support in making the system work.
Who – People whose journeys make us introspect and provide a glimpse of hope
Going by the set goal of Know, Feel, Act, which tried to induce emotional connect, music is
chosen to be a prime component of the promotional campaign. The promo song of the
show was composed as a romantic love song reflecting the love for the country and relating
it with each Indian. The song was released a month before the premiere on 13th April 2012.
Also, each episode ended with a song relating to the theme. Refer to exhibit-1. The songs
were mixed with National Anthem theme to provoke patriotism. All these songs are made
available on the internet widely and also as downloadable caller tunes and ringtones.
Online presence is considered a critical part of the whole program for multiple reasons. To
enable the remote audience both in rural India and abroad, the website is made very
content rich and provided all the information regarding the show. Since the show was used
as medium to ask for opinions and donations among others, adequate provisions were
made to enable the audience engage with the show. Partnership with All India Radio (AIR)
and Axis bank also helped to provide some extra points of contact for information,
whenever required. All the videos and songs were uploaded on YouTube for immediate
viewing after every show went on air. Facebook page was used to collect opinions about the
show and the issues discussed. Apart from the primary #SatyamevJayte twitter handle,
numerous other handles were created and popularised to draw attention and collect
opinion. Before the premiere, these platforms are used to fuel the intrigue by asking
questions like “What would you like to see on the show?”
An official software application for the show was developed by Hungama Digital Media
Entertainment and was released on Apple Appstore for iOS devices including iPhone, iPad
and iPod for ₹100 (US$1.82) approximately. The app allowed apple users to stream songs
and videos of each of its episodes and supported social integration, donation through Airtel
money service, and followed the show’s official Twitter timeline. Upon release, the app
Anna Hazare is a social activist who created a campaign against corruption which saw unprecedented support from the
youth of the country. He started an indefinite hunger strike on 5 April 2011 to exert pressure on the Indian government to
enact a stringent anti-corruption law.
The 2G spectrum scam involved politicians and government officials in India illegally undercharging mobile telephony
companies for frequency allocation licenses, which they would then use to create 2G subscriptions for cell phones (Wiki).
surpassed Instagram to make it to the top 25 apps on the Appstore within a couple of days.
The app also ranked number one in the entertainment category.
Print ads and outdoor advertisements are put up with the slogan “Dil pe lagegi, tabhi baat
banegi” (when it touches the heart only then a dialogue happens) [Exhibit-2]. The video ads
are also focused on pushing the intrigue while giving signs on the type of show to expect. A
typical ad is shot at Aamir Khan’s house as a discussion with his friends and team members
[Exhibit 3]. As the day of the premier approached close, there were discussions in news
channels, not just in Star but also across other group channels.
Star organised a special screening of the first episode of the show in some villages in
Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh where the villagers do not have access to
television. The initiative was said to have been taken to ensure Satyamev Jayate reaches all
over the country as it caters to the issues of the common people of the country. The
program was screened on 6 May 2012, during the same time it was aired across the country,
on community TV sets Gayatri Yadav says, "This is an important and relevant show for all of
India and Star India is going all out to make sure that this show reaches out to all Indians
even in places with limited or no TV connectivity."
For the urban audience, more engaging activities are taken up. The theme song of the show
was shown in 300 theatres across the country along with the national anthem. In addition,
interactive sessions were organized with audiences about the show in selected multiplexes
of Mumbai and New Delhi. The responses of the audience were recorded and shown on
screen during movie intervals. In addition, Aamir Khan appeared on the daily soap Diya Aur
Baati Hum, aired on Star Plus to promote the show.
Sponsors are not even aware of the content of the show and came forward to associate
with the show. One prime commitment from Star was that it decided to have only one
sponsor and telecast only ads of a single brand in each category. Such as, in the telecom
category no other brand ads except Airtel were telecast. This is also compounded from
Aamir Khan by ensuring that no other ads, except those of the show sponsors, are aired
during the show. The sponsors were equally committed towards the program. For example,
Airtel, the title sponsor, sent messages to its entire network about the start of the program
on the day of launch and subsequently. This was not a part of the contact and was done for
sheer good will. Despite it being a non-prime time show, the response of the sponsors to
the show was overwhelming. They are more than happy to sponsor the next season. One
experience as quoted by Axis Bank, their banking partner goes like this “There were a set of
farmers who approached one of our banks asking on how to make donation. They would
have never been our customers, and it would take us millions otherwise to get them to the
bank. There are many who knew about our bank through this platform.”
While the whole pre-launch promotion was based on the intrigue and suspense of the
content, promotion of the program post launch and sustenance of interest was a challenge.
Star launched a program called ‘Asar’ (Effect) which was telecasted every Friday. The
program featured viewers’ responses that were collected from different parts of the
country over the following five days after the latest issue was raised on the show. The
donations collected in the name of the cause are also handed over to the chosen NGOs.
To keep the intrigue alive, discussions are aired for the first three days after the show on the
issues raised in the latest episode. The next three days saw the discussions building about
what can be the issue of the next episode. Audience were also asked to send their
suggestions on what they wanted Aamir to talk about.
The donations are a direct result of the response and stimulation caused by the show. In
addition, there were opinions and experiences shared through twitter, Facebook, email and
snail mail. The pool question at the end of each episode, the response of which was
captured through SMSs and website were another measure of touch points for the program.
For a few issues, Aamir Khan sent petitions to the governments - both central and state level
-requesting for specific actions and received positive response. Some of these issues were:
fast-track courts for female foeticide (Episode 1) and generic medicines availability to
mitigate medical malpractices (Episode 4). Some times when the show required a follow-up
support, such as in the case of organic farming, extra effort was made by the SMJ team to
provide them with a list of farmers, who were practicing organic farming all over the
Different groups that included schools, youth organizations, and general public took to
rallies and demonstrations in support of the causes raised in the show and calling for action,
across the country. These were reported in different news channels across the country. In
the last episode, messages from people were shared, where individuals who are victims of
similar practices, decided to come out of their current situation and start a new life (child
sex abuse and dowry victims).
The show has been considered successful and both the Star and AKP teams are gearing up
for the next season. But intrigue being the core idea behind the promotion of season 1, it is
likely to be less effective for next season. Though Aamir Khan may not change the show
objective of driving social change, change in the show timings, and activities for engagement
might be redefined, if required. For this, they need to understand what worked really well in
Season- 1. The three way engagement amongst Star, AKP and Persistent Systems, who were
responsible for the data analysis, is critical to decide what can work the magic again.
Shows, dates, title, song and TRPs.
Episode Title Topic Song
Female foeticide in India
2 Break the Silence Child sexual abuse "Haule Haule"
Dowry system in India "Rupaiya"
Every Life is
Medical malpractice "Naav"
5 Intolerance to Love
Love marriages and Honor
killings in India
7 Danger at home Domestic Violence "Sakhi"
Poison on our
Pesticide poisoning and
Think before you
Alcohol abuse "Ae Zindagi"
10 Dignity for All
12 Every Drop Counts
Water crisis and Rainwater
"Jal na Jaaye
13 Idea of India We The People "Nikal Pado"
Satyamev Jayate Ka
Independence Day Special
Exhibit 2.: Example Print Ads and Outdoor Ads.
Exhibit 3: Example Video Ad.