Geeta Phogat’s story is one of diehard heroism and willpower. Growing up to be a wrestler was never easy for this woman belonging to a small village in Haryana called Balali, the hotbed of patriarchy and regression. Having a wrestler father who always encouraged his daughters into wrestling further intensified the societal hurdles for this family.
Defying all forms of resistance from their community, Geeta wrestled under the constant encouragement and guidance of her father to one day carve a name for her country in Women’s Wrestling. Geeta became the first Indian woman to win a Gold for wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
Traditionally considered a man’s sport, wrestling was never the woman’s domain. Her place is in the kitchen. However, Geeta’s international success managed to create a dent in such gender stereotypes. Add to that, she stands as a shining example of steely determination, serving as a role model to generations of aspiring young men and women in the country.
Geeta’s life story found the perfect match in JSW Steel, one of India’s leading private sector steel producer from the JSW Group. Her ‘Will of Steel’ has inspired a campaign by the steel brand, that goes by the same name; alternatively hashtagged as #WillOfSteel. Through the ‘Will of Steel’ platform, JSW wants to empower the many undiscovered Geetas by giving them recognition, appreciation and the much-needed support.
#WillOfSteel driving digital
Geeta Phogat’s story is at the heart of this digital campaign. An ad film based on her true life story captures her relentless determination and willpower. Conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather, the 1.5 minute long commercial depicts the regressive forces against which she had to fight, to win her place in history.
A dedicated website has been built for the campaign. Along with featuring the video story, it is also taking in nominations for other inspiring stories in the country. People can nominate an individual who they think has a will of steel, the nomination will go through verification and then be featured on the website for public voting. The more votes a story gets, the sooner it will be felicitated and recognized.
All stories that earn 100 votes will get a special blog that tells their story in detail, with pictures and links to other online material that supports the case. All stories that earn 500 votes will receive a steel plaque along with the blog. Individuals with 2500 votes will be felicitated by JSW in addition to all the above.
Under ‘View Stories’ section on the website, a visitor can read through four stories apart from Geeta’s, and cast their vote using the button provided.
Geeta’s film is spearheading the campaign on social, while driving conversations on the campaign hashtag #WillOfSteel. The video uploaded on JSW YouTube channel has received over 235K views in 15 days and much appreciation from viewers. It is also being shared extensively on social media.
The social media properties of JSW are hand-in-hand in driving the buzz. The JSW Twitter handle and Facebook page have been leveraging the reach of its fans and followers by sharing visuals and the ad film. The brand has been inviting its community to nominate and help them discover undiscovered heroes.
Geeta’s Will to Succeed was as hard as steel. Nominate others worthy of such recognition. http://t.co/zpfumhWxJQ
— WillOfSteel (@jswsteel) February 8, 2015
Living the brand promise
‘Iron will’ can be used just as ‘Will of Steel’ after this JSW campaign. The campaign is riding solely on Geeta Phogat’s highly inspirational story coupled with the classy film with that unforgettable rock music background score. Campaigns based on true stories are usually a hit with the social masses, for one these stories find a personal connect in every viewer fighting a personal battle, for the other, and most important reason, a story of victory against all odds is a winning formula across mediums.
Additionally, associating with Geeta Phogat has been a right fit for JSW for multiple reasons – one it will reinforce the company’s inclination towards encouraging sports in India through its Excellence Program, secondly, it demonstrates the flavour of the industry ‘Women Empowerment’ and thirdly, it is aligned with the brand product, steel.
Enabling user nominations is a great addition to get consumers involved in the brand story. A powerful message said within a beautiful story has made for a high recall campaign by JSW, one that is resonating well with people across all age and income groups.