Kickstarting the 'KBC 2' jackpot

Star Plus launched KBC 2 on 5 August but preparation for the show started in early January.

The show had a five phased launch - all of which happened before 5 August. The idea was to come back with a bang, which captured the grandness of the show as well as spark off a feeling of nostalgia. This activity started with the Umeed phase - which had Bachchan talk about what it was that made people come back and never give up - it is Umeed, Hope. This was done through two commercials which played for a period of three weeks. This promo was in fact released simultaneously across all Star channels in a network road-block.

"We also decided not to overexpose Mr Bachchan, so the next phase was the "Are You Ready?" phase, where we showed people from across all walks of life getting ready for KBC 2. We did this through four commercials called - "The Coolie", "The Marriage", "The Increment" and "The Canteen". These commercials were a first of its kind for KBC where we did not use AB nor the sets, but yet invoked a sense of 'getting ready for the show'," says Vidyasagar.

Around this time, the phone lines were thrown open. A multimedia national campaign to signify this was unleashed. An on air commercial called "Makkhan Singh" was the first. Here the character Makkhan Singh is told by his rather naughty neighbour, not to give up hope even though he has been robbed - he should pick up the phone and dial the numbers that could get him onto KBC 2.

Vidyasagar elaborates, "In this entry mechanism explanation promo we described how one could enter using landlines and mobiles. We also released print advertising across seventeen states in India with all the entry mechanism details. We also activated outdoor, internet and radio advertising for the same."

The role of PR was also immense as the entire country was literally hungry to read about KBC 2 and how one could get in to the Hot Seat. The entry questions were shown on Star Plus.

The next phase was called "Fast Lane to KBC 2" which was a special entry mechanism for Airtel users, which would get them directly into the Fastest Finger First round.

About five weeks before the launch date, the final bunch of commercials were released, which were the tune-in films. These picked up the thread of Umeed, but exploded the concept to talk about Umeed Se Dugna.

Three commercials - "Actor", "Cricketer" and "Musician", each of which showed the principal character moving up in life because he never gave up hope were shown. Bachchan came back in his inimitable rap style to say "Don't lose hope is the moral of the story."

Ten days before the launch date, 10 more short commercials - in the form of a countdown - one every day till the day of launch were unveiled. "On the day of the launch we again activated about 20 markets with print advertising to remind people to tune in tonight. In this final phase we also activated outdoor, radio, internet, mobile, ground, in-train, and word-of-mouth advertising to supplement the campaign," says Vidyasagar.

The entire five phased launch campaign lasted for three months before the launch date.

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