Hindustan Unilever's- Start a little good
Updated: Mar 14, 2021
Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai
Corporate Social Responsibility in India
Did you know India is the first country in the world to make Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mandatory?
Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 introduced mandatory CSR responsibilities for large corporates in India.
Post this, many companies across sectors have come up with multiple projects in helping out in various areas ranging from Sanitation, Water conservation, Child Labour, Education, etc.
Adding to it, recently the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has notified that companies working towards Covid-19 initiatives, their efforts will be considered under CSR activities.
Importance of Save Water with respect to India:
Did you know that around 1 billion people live in water-stressed areas in India?
I don’t really need to talk about the importance of water here, everyone knows, it’s important for survival.
However, the question that arises then is even after knowing the importance, what steps are we taking to ensure conservation?
None I suppose.
Or at least not enough.
I believe the job is not only in regards to saving water, but also about playing a crucial role in educating people.
When you have an abundance of something, you never care enough or know it’s importance.
This happens to most of us living in urban areas.
Most of us are living in societies where you have sufficient water supply.
But in contrast, a lot of rural villages in India do not have enough water even for survival. Hence it becomes an important cause to acknowledge and ensure that abundance does not lead to wastage.
Hindustan Unilever’s CSR initiatives:
Hindustan Unilever has been one such company that takes it’s CSR initiatives very seriously.
They have different CSR initiatives, these are brand specific as well, thereby ensuring they help in some way in various areas.
Instead of focussing their efforts towards select few.
A few of their famous initiatives include Water Conservation Project, Handwashing Behaviour Change Programme, Project Shakti, etc.
As mentioned earlier, there is a clear change or rather a shift that can be seen when it comes to usage of water in urban areas as against rural areas.
Hindustan Unilever aimed at highlighting precisely this, have a look at the video below-
The objective of the campaign was to highlight how the people living in an arid Indian village react when they come across a shower.
Their first instinct is to drink water because that’s their most important need.
Whereas on the other side, ‘a sheher wale ka nahana’ takes more time than half the village consuming this water.
It’s this contrast that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you re-think how much water is wasted when you have a bath under the shower.
The entire film is very straightforward and communicates the message well.
Right from the first scene when you see the misplaced shower in the middle of the barren field, you are hooked.
You want to know what comes next.
The dialogues are also delivered really well and are hard hitting especially when you try to make a correlation with what you do daily.
The practices you follow, or rather your lack of effort in saving water.
However, the only thing, I feel could’ve made this better is to highlight somewhere, what is that you wish to change.
The answer to that is a shorter shower, and I feel just adding that in the end frame visually would have made a better impact.
It’s communicated right now but relies heavily on the viewer's understanding.
The entire campaign is based on a simple insight- unless we know the importance of water, we won’t bother saving it.
Today, we are so driven towards materialistic things that we fail to acknowledge the importance of things we already possess.
My biggest learning from this campaign is that simple and to the point, communication can bring out a strong change.
Had this film focused on directly showcasing the problems faced by villagers due to the shortage of water I might not have related to it that well.
It’s the contrast, it’s the connection, that I develop when I look at it.
I live in the urban area too, by god’s grace I have never faced water supply issues, but I am still responsible for the wastage.
And it’s this realization that will help me react and act.
We might always believe if a hundred others are not bothered, why will my change matter?
But of course, it's these small drops or efforts that will eventually lead to the formation of an ocean.
A small change, shorter shower, or using a bucket of water instead can bring about a great impact.
It’s this subtle portrayal of a big cause like water conservation, is what makes this communication stand out
Also read: Lifebuoy's initiative to help a child reach 5