The science behind KBC’s theme

MUMBAI: Remember the “Unwanted” girl who goes on to win Kaun Banega Crorepati? The power of knowledge (Sirf Gyaan Hi Aapko Aapka Haq Dilata Hai) helped her reach the hot seat but imagine what would have happened if she had stopped there? Most of us tend do stop learning after we reach a certain position and certain stature. This year, viewers of Sony Entertainment have been watching the Big B Amitabh Bachchan coming on their TV screens, reminding them Seekhna Band…Toh Jeetna Band.


Yes, that is the theme for this year’s KBC. Taking a step forward from last year’s theme, the show plans to motivate its viewers to continue learning through its campaign, which went on air a couple of weeks ago. Sony Entertainment Television senior VP and marketing head Gaurav Seth explains, “The theme ties in beautifully with the idea of KBC. In life and in KBC when you become complacent and arrogant that is when you understand that you have lost in both life and KBC.”


From Koi Bhi Sawaal Chhota Nahi Hota to Seekhna Band…Toh Jeetna Band, the channel has come up with innovative messaging almost every year. And don’t be foolish to think that these just fall out of thin air. It takes four to five months of brainstorming, two-days of workshopping by all concerned entities (SET, Big Synergy, Leo Burnett) to weigh the pros and cons, before the theme is finalized.


“Every year the mood of the nation changes, we need to be abreast with what is happening in the country and incorporate it in the brand message without losing out on the show’s uniqueness ,” says Leo Burnett’s executive creative director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari who has been associated with KBC’s creative since it was first aired on Sony.


The obvious question that everyone has on their minds is why have a theme? Isn’t it just a game show? “It is not a game, it is a life changer,” comes the unanimous response from Seth and Tiwari. Both go on to elaborate that the show connects with people and themes only go on to humanise the concept. “The theme is resonant with Indian society,” says Seth.


The current theme works around inculcating the spirit of learning at every stage of life. Citing Big B’s example they both say, “Even today a great man like him doesn’t shy away from an opportunity to learn. So, why should we?” The same message has been very satirically incorporated in the two promos, directed by Amit Sharma of Chrome Pictures, which are on air right now.


Tiwari elaborates, “Through the show’s brand campaign we are taking a righteous stand which will only go on to help our viewers who in some way or the other will pay heed to it because Big B is saying it.”


Kicking in the buzz for KBC


Almost a crore wannabe KBC-ers have registered themselves to get closer to the hot seat. And while the production house is busy finalizing the contestants, Sony Entertainment Television is working at devising ways to both attract and engage audiences.


“KBC has transformed entertainment and we are working at creating the buzz,” says SET senior VP & marketing head Gaurav Seth. The channel is currently busy with designing online and on-ground activities to be relayed before and during the show launch. “A lot of play-along activities and apps are being designed. The apps will be launched by 15 August,” he informs.


The channel is also working on its digital campaign for the launch of the show. “There will be huge engagement. We will ensure interaction through people writing back with their feedback. This time the audience will also get an opportunity to compete and challenge their peer groups. There will also be live play-along through twitter once the show launches. There are several ideas and these will be put across to the audiences in the weeks to come,” says Seth.


KBC is initially being promoted through television promos. “We have shot four TV promos, two of which are already on-air. The rest will come in the next 10 days,” he informs. This will be followed by digital and radio promotions.


“We will use the print medium on the day and a week post the show launch. The outdoor marketing will kick start a week prior to the launch,” he says.


As far as below the line activation is concerned it is has quite a few promotions planned. Its marketing teams will host Aapke Sheher Hot Seat in 12 cities nationally. “Through this, we get viewers to sit in front of the computer and win prizes. Winners will be invited to a special event in that city which will have a proper sit down with a host. We will recreate the environment in the smaller cities, with Amitabh Bachchan asking the same questions on the television screen,” informs Seth.


The OOH activity is still in the planning stage and will be handled by Madison Outdoor Media Services.


Over the years, KBC has transformed the way people view television and understand entertainment in the country. Says Anita Kaul Basu (who can be labeled as the queen of the non-fiction format and the director of Big Synergy which is the production house for the show): “For a format which has been on television for over a decade, it has only strengthened itself. The viewers have changed and so have the viewing habits. In order to keep abreast with the changing times, the show which has a set format has always come back with an innovative theme to add to its freshness.”


Last year, a new segment was added to KBC, wherein the background of the contestants (the backstory) who made it to the hot seat was shown. This was an effort to open a window to the aspirations of India and what India stands for. “Through this we tried to build a connect between the contestant and the viewers, who no matter what strata of the society they belonged to, aspire to be on the hot seat,” reiterates Kaul Basu.


When asked about how does she and her team continue to engage people for over a decade, Kaul Basu says it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. “I have a special research team comprising 50 people (mainly in Delhi) who interact with experts like doctors, lawyers, academicians etc to come up with not only questions but also to know what people want to see.”


As KBC enters its seventh season, we at foresee many more entertaining and informative seasons of the show. Basu, while hoping for this, laughs and says, “It is an incredible format and has its own life. It has worked in every language, across regions and hosts and will continue to do so, and know it will do so for many many more years. And we will continue to innovate in India to keep it engaging and fresh. And of course we cannot forget the trump card we have in Mr Bachchan. He deserves a bow. ”


Indeed, come the first week of September (when the show is slated to air), many an Indian TV viewer is quite likely to give him one.

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