Sony, P&G launch educational initiative 'Shiksha'

MUMBAI: Shiksha Aapke Bachhe Ki! Zimmedari HAMARI! Over the past few months television channels have realised the need to inculcate social awareness and education themes into their programme line up. SET has taken this a step further. The broadcaster in association with Procter& Gamble has launched Shiksha which offers parents a chance to finance the higher education for their children who have passed the age of 18.

The ongoing promotion which commenced from yesterday runs till 12 June. Consumers buy a P&G stickered product: Vicks, Ariel, Whisper, Tide, Head & Shoulders, Pantene. They will each carry a scratch coupon with a lucky number. The numbers will be announced everyday 5 May till 12 June onKkusum which runs on SET between 9-9:30 pm Monday- Thursday. In order to cover the non Hindi speaking market the promotion is also running on Asianet's Snehadooram from 7-7:30 PM, Jaya TV's Sahana from 9:30-10 PM and on MAA TV's Todi Kodallu from 9-9:30 PM

24 prizes worth Rs. 200,000 will be given as graduation education fee. This will be in the form of an insurance policy. Discussions are currently on with two insurance firms. If the winner does not have a child he/she can gift it. If the child is below the age of 18 the money will only be released once he/she attains that age. In addition 96 prizes will be given as next year's tuition fee for one child. In all 350 prizes will be handed out.

Executive VP SET Sunil Lulla was present at a media briefing this morning. He said" This campaign is launched in the social interest of the community and so we have linked it with the family entertainer Kkusum as it lends the endeavour greater credibility. Our partnership with P&G has been going on for the past six years. The initiatives included Whisper where the diary of secrets was created as well as Movers And Shakers where the show host visited the homes of people to check up on their laundry baskets. Shiksha provides emotional gratification and our target would be the 25-34 year age group who can now make the dreams of their son/daughter come true. At a later date we would be showcasing the winners on our channel and how the prizes have helped add greater meaning into their lives."

When asked if Sony would be making any educational programmes on the back of Shiksha Lulla said, " Our mandate is to entertain and provide information. Education programmes do not necessarily entertain and I think that people prefer a different environment from the television when they tackle education. Indian television started out as being medium for social education but it soon cast its net wider to include different types of entertainment. There are different innovative ways of passing messages and we are not in the preaching game. Certainly there is corporate responsibility we bear through our initiatives and Shiksha is one way of fulfilling the same."

Marketing and sales director P&G India Chester Twigg said, " While one of our main goals is to provide superior products to our consumers our job does not end there. We also believe in making a direct contribution towards increasing the quality of their lives. We conducted research through which we found that while mothers value free holidays, gold, jewellery etc the foremost priority is education. Also a Pathfinders study Study 2002 which explored the country's attitude and psychographics indicated that 80 per cent of mothers would rather spend on their daughters education as opposed to saving for their marriage. There has been a healthy shift in this regard.

The latest Indian Readership Survey indicates that over a third of all Indians are illiterate. 25 per cent of children leave after SSC/HSC. Also only 10 per cent of people in Urban areas are graduates. Most of the time it is due to the fact that higher education is expensive and not due to lack of interest. Shiksha is an opportunity for us to reduce this burden and also strengthen the relationship between the brand and social awareness and educational initiatives."

Dwelling further on P&G's social conscience Twigg said, "Our past initiatives have included Project PEACE through which we inculcated environmental awareness. Project Open Minds was for working children. We also had the Gujarat earthquake relief measures a couple of years ago.

As far as television is concerned we have been involved with social awareness shows such asSpandana on Doordarshan and we would certainly be looking at the possibility of being associated with more programmes like these in the future." This is not surprising. After all P&G coined the term Soap Opera in the US in the 1930's with Guiding Light. Over the years the company has been involved with shows with a social and community theme.

Coming back to Shiksha customers with a lucky number will then have to answer a competition question on postcard. The entry should also have contact details with the scratch number. This is to be mailed to P.O. Box No. 734, S.P. College, Pune 411030. The promotional campaign will be conducted through the four television channels mentioned earlier as well as stores where P&G's products are available. The Sony website will also put up the lucky numbers so that if a fan misses any of the shows he/she can go online.

Also present at the briefing was the ex vice chancellor of Mumbai University Dr. Snehalata Deshmukh who pointed out that with the new change in government regulations even those who make Rs.25,000-30,000 a month would find it difficult to have their child attend medical school. She also hinted that in the future the programme could be used to benefit children who suffer from physical or mental disabilities such as dyslexia.

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