Wunderman Thompson South Asia and The Times of India inspires over 100,000 Indians to participate with videos and selfies of their own DIY homemade masks
As the Corona pandemic gripped the world, experts feared that the disease had reached the stage of community spread – even in India. To make matters worse, an acute shortage of medical masks led advisories to continue to ask people to practice social distancing and personal hygiene as the only forms of prevention, and leave the masks for medical professionals and frontline workers.
In response to the national toll of Covid-19 positive cases and resultant deaths, India’s leading English daily, The Times of India, raised a country-wide call to all Indians, to make and wear their own masks at home with their #MaskIndia movement. Conceptualised by Wunderman Thompson South Asia, the movement empowered every citizen of the country to take charge of protecting themselves, their families and communities, encouraging individual action and responsibility among Indians, getting them ready to fight the single largest global fight this generation has seen. The campaign also focused on proper sanitation and disposal of the masks.
The ‘Make Your Own Mask’ campaign was launched on the front page of The Times Of India on 6th April, involving the power of print, social media and national activation that received a phenomenal response and activated its purpose. The #MaskIndia movement has been elevated into a national movement with the Prime Minister supporting it and himself sporting different homemade ghamcha masks on several occasions during the lockdown. Over a hundred thousand Indians have responded already with their own versions of homemade masks and posted their mask selfies and 'DIY How to Make Your Own Mask' videos with the #MaskIndia hashtag on social media. Many unique and original homemade masks have also gone viral across WhatsApp groups. Check out over 100,000 homemade mask and DIY mask posts here.
Sanjeev Bhargava, president of marketing at The Times of India, said: “The Times of India has always stood by its motto 'Change Begins Here' and the #MaskIndia campaign is another link in the long chain of initiatives that we have launched in the recent past. What makes it special is that it has an immediate relevance and benefit to every one in the country. We strongly believe it can play a critical role in our fight against the pandemic. I would like to specially congratulate Wunderman Thompson for not only turning around and developing the campaign from scratch within two days but having done so in the times of a complete lockdown.”
Commenting on the campaign, Joy Chauhan, managing partner at Wunderman Thompson, Delhi said: “The true character of a country is revealed by how its people and organisations behave in times of crises. With this timely and crucial initiative, The Times of India has proven India’s fortitude, agility and ability to go the distance. All of us at Wunderman Thompson are thankful and proud to be partners.”
The #MaskIndia movement culminated into a #MaskIndia film featuring a thousand different images of a thousand different homemade masks in a breathe in breathe out composition of history and culture. The most innovative DIY homemade masks were curated from over 100,000 images posted by Indians during the lockdown with the hashtag #MaskIndia. Editorial photographs of the Masked Statues of National heroes like Mahatma Gandhi, Subash Chandra Bose and the Times Of India’s iconic Common Man feature as special masked characters along with thousands of Indians who have made their own masks and joined the movement.
Sharing details on the film, Senthil Kumar, chief creative officer at Wunderman Thompson, India, said: “The edit has been painstakingly crafted to lock the eye-line in all images so that the transitions from one homemade mask to another are all seamless. The simulation of eye movements are designed to invite a live face off with audiences who are watching the film on their mobile or television screens. Experience the emotion of a thousand eyes talking to you to deliver the powerful narrative through the masks. All the cultural folk masks and ancient mythological masks have been carefully chosen to share only wearable masks made from jute, coconut husk, bamboo, wood, leaves, paper mache and natural fibre. It’s time to revive our cultural habit of wearing a mask to fight the evil virus, whenever we leave our homes for work and play, for life and family, for our country and for the future of human kind. It’s time to turn the humble ghamcha, dupatta, pallu, turbans, urma, lungi, dhoti, angavastram or any clean cloth into a mask and wear it for India. It’s time to dig deep into our cultural roots and create popular culture, inspiring every Indian to wear a mask like a warrior.”
The website features a unique interactive innovation where every Indian can upload their homemade mask selfie and their image will feature in a custom version of the #MaskIndia video. “The idea is to inspire every Indian to make their own mask and share their mask selfie to inspire every other Indian. With over a hundred thousand unique homemade masks already uploaded, the #MaskIndia movement will be amplified further with this interactive innovation”, added Kumar.
Ustaad Taufiq Qureshi and his team of vocal percussionists and sound engineers recorded all the sounds for this track using only breath and breathing, while wearing a homemade mask. The sound idea of ‘masks help you breathe easy’ was brought alive through some mind blowing breath rhythms. The breath finds a powerful rhythm as it builds from one breath to many breaths in chorus, a thousand Indians breathing in rhythm and building up to an epic Indian breath anthem. This is all about the rhythm of India’s breath - you breathe easy only when you find the rhythm of your breath.