Google ‘Pledge to Vote’ film with India’s first voter

28 Mar,2014

By A Correspondent


Independent India’s first general elections may have happened in early 1952, but an exception was made for Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh as snowfall was expected. Hence the polls were held in October 1951 and there lies the story of Shyam Saran Negi, India’s very first voter, and a 97-year-old retired schoolteacher. This is the theme of the new Google commercial in the crafted by leading ad agency Ogilvy.


Since 1951, Negi has voted in every single election, including each of the 15 Lok Sabha polls held thus far. The years haven’t diminished his belief in democracy and the power of elections. He also continues to be an inspiration to his family, friends and community in Kalpa.


The film was shot in Mr Negi’s hometown, Kalpa, over several days in early March. The team worked closely with the village folk and Negi.


Says Sandeep Menon – Director, Marketing, Google India: “Perhaps more than any other election in the past, these elections are about capturing the imagination of millions of both first-time as well as experienced voters. This video has been developed to inspire Indian voters to vote this election. The story of Mr Negi is a testimony of Indian voters’ belief in the power of democracy.”


Abhijit Avasthi

The film – part of the #Pledgetovote series – hopes to inspire both – seasoned, as well as first-time voters, said an Ogilvy India spokesperson. Added Abhijit Avasthi, National Creative Director at Ogilvy: “While all of us have cribs about the state of affairs in the country and a cynicism about the government, we forget that the only weapon of change we have in our hands is our vote. Like so many others, Google too wants to motivate people, especially youngsters to exercise their right to vote. But rather than being preachy, it wants to do it the inspirational and emotional way. And who better to inspire us than Mr Negi.” Leading internet services conglomerate Google has been attempting to integrate with the country through ad films that strike a chord. Its film on showing an Indian and Pakistani reuniting for the first time after Partition, has received rave reviews.


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