Hindustan Times No TV Day Gets More Social This Year. Scraps Microsite, Bets On Facebook

A look at the Hindustan Times No TV Day social media activities as compared to last year and its efforts to bridge the online-offline gap

No TV Day by Hindustan Times is back but this year it is scheduled for today the 1st of June instead of the last Sunday of January as it had the previous two years. I had almost sighed a big relief when it first trended on Twitter as #OnNoTVDayIWill a week back, announcing its arrival. Today it is #HTNoTVDay at first place in the India Twitter trends!

I’d first heard it from my school going nieces way back in 2011, when the media house had mobilised students all over Mumbai to drop TV watching for a day and indulge in richer outdoor experiences with their parents. Schools had painting and essay writing competitions among other things. And, last year on the 28th of January, Hindustan Times had promoted the No TV day with ‘TV off, Mumbai On’ that celebrated with a range of activities to encourage you to move out of your couch, including nature trails and helicopter rides.

Getting more social

But, this year looks interesting if one were to browse through the No TV Day Facebook page and the Twitter activities around  the hashtags . The content is engaging and strives to connect with the community. A point worth noting is that the Hindustan times Twitter handle isn’t directly participating; a dedicated Twitter account has been created for the event, unlike last year where the promotions only focussed around Facebook. Also, no dedicated microsite seems to be in place this year unlike last year. HT’s No TV Day is now solely on the shoulders of social media!

The Facebook page that serves as a microsite, announced the event back in May. It has a range of apps to make your life easy and that’s the first thing you notice about it. There are apps for registration, the day long activities that have been planned and food offers to tempt you. Better way to connect for a day long event that happens once a year, instead of a microsite.

You can solve the Treasure Hunt app in the shortest possible time to win a helicopter ride across the Mumbai skies and other prizes like mobiles, digicams, iPods, etc. The app has 8 levels to be cleared and a 30 second penalty for wrong answers. A photo-caption contest titled ‘HT Memorable journeys’ invites you to send pictures of holidays with friends and family and interesting captions. A lucky draw would decide whether you win free air tickets to Kuala Lumpur – Malaysian Airlines is the main sponsor.

The page had packed in a cover photo contest too, where you could share your older memories of No TV Day from last year and feature as the cover photo. And it is also regularly announcing the winners of various contests. But, I noticed a smart thing that has definitely increase fan engagement - fans could win prizes for being the most active user. All they needed to do was to take part in contests, like and comment on the posts, use the apps and share till the 1st of June!

The Twitter contests revolve around the same concept with prizes for creative tweets. All in all a smart campaign that has roped in the social media community to create a successful awareness and connect the offline with the online. What are your views?