Ten Point Media, based in Thiruvananthapuram, has done original commercials that emphasize hand washing, physical distancing and vaccination.
A 17-second video from Kerala had split social media earlier in May. The video features two vials of Covishield and Covaxin shaking their lively legs at Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’. Obviously the ad is inspired by the viral dance number of Thrissur’s medical students that broke the internet when it was released this year. . But the Kerala government quickly followed the trend thanks to Ten Point Media, based in Thiruvananthapuram – a company tasked with making original commercials for the government on COVID-19 awareness.
Over the past few months, the Ten Point team has been doing one viral ad after another. Their Vishu campaign for the government of Kerala had a spongy green animated virus dancing to “Thiranurayum,” a song from the Ananthabhadram movie in which Manoj K Jayan played a black magician and danced to the song. As the virus dances, a vaccine vial curls up and explodes, turning the virus to ash. The video ends with a – ‘Happy Vishu. Get vaccinated as soon as possible ‘- message to the public.
“Our recent videos focus on immunization awareness,” says Sandeep MM, one of Ten Point’s founding partners. The Vishu and Rasputin ads are part of the Kerala government’s Second Wave Crush the Curve campaign, both of which were imagined and created by the Ten Point team.
On May 21, when actor Mohanlal celebrated his birthday, the team released another commercial based on Drishyam, a movie in which he starred as Georgekutty. The video uses Georgekutty’s final dialogue from the first film where he talks about “an uninvited guest” and “dismissing the guest in a way he never returns”. While the film’s “uninvited guest” is a teenage boy who threatens the family, in Ten Point’s ad it is a virus knocking on Georgekutty’s door. His wife, Rani sprays disinfectant and kills the virus. The ad was so popular that it was shared by Jeethu Joseph who directed the film.
These are just three examples of their popular ads. Since 2020, Ten Point’s five founding partners, along with their team, have published advertisements and posters that have helped Kerala publicize the pandemic statewide. The company was hired in early 2020 to work on the state government’s “Break the Chain” campaign to ask people to wear masks, wash their hands and respect the distance.
“We designed five logos overnight and the Kerala Health Department team led by KK Shailaja Teacher chose a logo they liked. It became the “Break the Chain” logo. After that, we put out a lot of posters focused on SMS – Sanitation, Masking and Social Distancing, ”Sandeep said. This was done in a gradual fashion to slowly introduce the public to the pandemic protocol.
The team is made up of five best friends – all 24-year-old engineering graduates from Idukki Government Engineering University, who, in Sandeep’s words, “no longer have anything to do with it. ‘engineering now’.
“Back in college, we were all active in the arts and culture. Our friend Vishnu Babu was the secretary of the Arts Club, and Jewel Babu, another partner, used to coordinate cultural programs and events. Another friend, Vishnu VKT, loved short films, ”says Sandeep. In their senior year, the group began to undertake outdoor projects – wall art for restaurants, designing brochures for stores, and other branding work. But it wasn’t until 2018, when they graduated, that they decided to start a business and move to Thiruvananthapuram.
“We were good at what we did and we received inquiries. So we decided to go from being a WhatsApp group to starting a business. Initially, we had the opportunity to work with the C-DIT (Imaging Technology Development Center) of the Government of Kerala by partnering as creative consultants. I guess that’s how the Department of Health found us and asked us to work on the “Break the Chain” campaign, ”Jewel Babu told TNM.
Some of their viral slogans include “Mughamethayalum Mask Mukhyam” (whatever the face, masking is important); “Soappittu Maskittu Gapittu Nilkkaam” (Putting on soap, wearing a mask and chatting); and “SMS” (soap, mask and social distancing).
The campaigns had such an impact that Sandeep says celebrities reposted their ads and called to see if they had content they could repost. “We had Vinay Forrt who reposted an article on COVID-19. We have refined his famous dialogue from the film Premam on “Simple and powerful Java”. Instead of Java, we used the word “Prathirodham” which in Malayalam means to strike back, ”Sandeep explains.
Celebrities such as Mammootty, Manju Warrier and others also shared a few posters. “We had the mask campaign where we used Manju Warrier’s face with a mask. “The ad created such a hype that people called to ask if we could use their faces. So we put out a huge poster with over 3000 masked faces, ”explains Jewel.
The Ten Point team adds that the videos and posters aim to bring positivity to people. “We try to make our content as lean as possible without diluting the message. This is because when you are facing serious issues like pandemic and virus, people will not watch if the videos and posters look serious. All we want to do is make people laugh a little while getting the point across, ”adds Sandeep.
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