Thumbs up to Yuvi’s can-do story…

06 Sep,2012


By Meghna Sharma


Where there’s a will there’s a way is one proverb that everyone of us have heard about and have even implied in our lives. However, there is one man who fits the proverb to the T and its none other than the country’s favourite cricketer – Yuvraj Singh.


Ajay Kakar, CMO (Financial Services), Aditya Birla Group, Yuvraj Singh, Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors

An icon for many and someone who’s always in limelight made recently headlines not for the sixers or catches but for being diagnosed with a disease which is still spoken about in hushed tones – cancer. But he survived it and is back in the country and in the Indian cricket squad for the upcoming T20 matches.


It is this determination of the player which Colors, Viacom18’s flagship channel, wants to showcase to the world. The channel in partnership with the cricketer’s foundation YouWeCan wants to create awareness about the disease in the country.


“We all know about Yuvi’s fighting spirit and he’s an inspiration to many. Therefore, we wanted to tell the world his story… a story of hope,” says Raj Nayak, CEO of Colors, while explaining the unique partnership the general entertainment channel has gotten into.


Indian Cancer Statistics

> Cancer is the second largest cause of death in India


> In 2010, 5.56 lakh people died of cancer, and 71 percent of these deaths occurred in people aged 30-69 years


> Most fatal cancers in men - Oral, Stomach and Lung


> Most fatal cancers in women - Cervical, Stomach, Breast


(Source: Study by Tata Memorial Hospital, Lancet, Centre for Global Health Research and University of Toronto)


The three-part series – Zindagi Abhi Baaki Hai – will showcase the cricketer’s journey through pain, struggle and victory over cancer. “The show is about my life and I want people to know how one feels after being diagnosed with it and can lead to denial and depression. But I want them to fight and live again instead of giving up,” says Yuvraj Singh.


Jai Lala

According to media planners, it will difficult to say how much TRPs the show will be able to generate but it will definitely create a lot of buzz. “When Satyamev Jayate was launched, everyone thought it will score high on ratings but it didn’t. However, it did create a lot of awareness which might be true to these series as well,” predicts Jai Lala, Mindshare’s principal partner.


“The programme is a special initiative. Such initiatives being one off in nature will appeal to different sets of people. If we look at overall TV scenarios it seems a large proportion of viewership is garnered by popular programs which essentially means viewers are looking for entertainment. The particular programme cannot be looked in the same light as standard soaps. Therefore TVRs might not be necessarily very high compared to standard soaps,” feels Kartik Sharma, Managing Partner, Maxus.


Kartik Sharma

But the people working for cancer awareness programmes aren’t worried about how many eyeballs the show will be able to garner. They feel that even a little communication can lead to some amount of change. Namita Shibad of the Pune-based Prashanti Cancer Care Mission is elevated about the show. “Even today, there is very less awareness about the disease. People don’t want to talk about it, so what Yuvraj has done is seriously commendable. The show will be able to generate awareness about the deadly disease and decrease the stigma associated with it. We and others like have been trying to do so for years now, but a celebrity can make a difference. If people can watch his survival story, I’m sure they will also believe that ‘if he can, then even I can’ which will open new perspective about it and give strength to millions to fight it rather than feel dejected.”



Namita Shibad

“There is no dearth of social relevant shows on television today but many take notice of them when big hoardings are put up or celebrities hosting them but that’s not our plan. We are not doing this for ratings. I recently lost a relative to cancer, so know the agony and turmoil surrounding it. And in our country where cancer is the second largest cause if death, the disease is still treated at a taboo. It is important to tell people that it can be cured. All one needs is the will to fight it,” adds Mr Nayak.


Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance is the tittle sponsor of the show and feel that the association is not about endorsement but a partnership of philosophy. “We want Yuvraj to be the ambassador of teaching people how to live your life even when in dumps. When the going is good, no one thinks about the tough times. And when they face it, one question which most of us ask is ‘God, why me?’. However, this was not the case with Yuvraj who chose to fight back to live the life he loves. We are proud to associate with him and the channel in this venture as it tells the story of highs and lows of life,” said Ajay Kakar, chief marketing officer – Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group.


Pratap Bose

“Yuvraj has a great fan following and this might be a major reason apart from the concept that advertisers might want to get associated with it,” feels Pratap Bose, COO, DDB Mudra Group.


Mr Sharma adds, “As far as advertisers are concerned decisions on a programme buy is never an isolated case and always has a larger context of their overall campaigns. Some advertisers will find it worthwhile and some will not as is the case with any programming.”


Mr Lala too feels that brands which have the similar message as the show wants to showcase will be glad to associate with it, but others wont be attracted towards it because of the impact and GRPs it will be able to generate.


The channel hasn’t decided the time-slot for the series or when it will be aired as it is still being shot. However, the channel hopes to succeed in creating awareness and inspire people. All the proceeds generated through the show will be given top the cancer foundation.


The series might be aired on other channels under the Viacom18 banner as well to make a stronger impact.


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