The entire State of Tamil Nadu, and even the country cannot forget the untimely demise of the late Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa. She suffered a prolonged illness from which she never recovered, and the State was in a state of readiness for news of any kind for weeks before the actual announcement came about the passing. A few weeks before she passed away, we were expecting widespread agitation and riots all over the state that, we felt, were bound to happen in mourning.
But when the announcement came that the Chief Minister is no more, the scene was so quiet and the State of Tamil Nadu so dignified in the mourning. But the crowds were enormous, and the work behind the scenes was also great. Two days later, pictures of police personnel sleeping on the road, eating near toilets, standing day and night surfaced on social media. One of my friends shared the pics with me and requested us to do something for them.
Moved by the sacrifice of these people in trying to do their job, we decided to do some surprise planning to spread a little cheer. At around 8 AM, I called Snack experts and requested them to provide snack pouches for the police. And the famous Cake Square shops offered cakes for us. We got some volunteers from the Bhumi Trust, and began work.
MYTH #14 DON’T NEED A MYTH TO WRITE ABOUT THIS TOPIC 91 First, we printed cards that said, ‘Keep Calm & Respect the Police’. We reached the Marina Beach around 5 PM, and started executing our plan. We walked up to the police standing there and offered the snack pouches and the card. For a moment, they were taken aback because this was a unique gesture. But soon, they smiled and thanked us. A few metres away, around ten policemen were standing and monitoring the proceedings. I walked up to them, and the policemen started asking questions about what we were doing.
I smiled, gave them the card that we had printed, and offered the snack pouches. Along with it, I told them that the city was safe because of the police force. We then went to the Kotturpuram Police Station and offered the snacks to the policemen and women there. One of them told that this was the first time someone had ever walked into the Station to thank them. It was such an experience for us, to hear the surprised thankfulness in their voices. It was also an emotional moment for me to see the policemen moved by our gesture. The portrayals about the police force were smashed that day, as we celebrated their long and selfless service, and they were surprised and responded with politeness and thankfulness.
The videos taken of our interactions with the police were uploaded on social media around 1 AM, and the next morning, it had 1 million views. The video had gone viral, over all platforms on social media. There were WhatsApp forwards happening, and many had started to share it via Facebook and other platforms, thereby taking our initiative to the masses.
The next week, an NGO organised a #ThankingPolice initiative and invited us. We went to 6+ Police Stations and wished each and every one working there. One of the policewomen explained about how she was managing her family and was also out the whole day safeguarding the city. We marvelled at the dedication shown by the police force in keeping law and order in the state at the cost of risk to their personal lives. The videos we had taken at the Stations went viral and many of the meme pages also shared about our initiative, lauding what we had done.
This was a case of Surprise Planning becoming a Spreading Happiness thing, and in its own way, it was guerrilla marketing at its finest, for it took the name of our brand beyond the normal scope and made it reach the common people. Not to mention that the actual costs behind this initiative were one of the lowest, making this a fine example of cost effective marketing. Brand recognition is what we got out of this curation. From Surprise Planners we became a brand that does anything to make someone happy. Brand recognition is the extent to which a consumer can correctly identify a particular product or service just by viewing the product or service’s logo, tag line, packaging or advertising campaign