Skymet Weather’s #HelpTheFarmer Has Great Storytelling But Fails To Tell How It Will Help Them

An analysis of Skymet Weather's social media initiative to #HelpTheFarmer, that has a touching video to build awareness on farmer suicides

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Farmer suicides are of grave concern in a country where agriculture is a major contributor to the country’s GDP. According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, the total of number of suicides committed by farmers in the five states – Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala – accounts for 3301 in the three years 2012 – 2014. A record 13,754 farmer suicides were reported by the National Crime Records Bureau of India in 2012. Karnataka registered 182 farmer suicides in July 2015 alone.

In most cases, farmers’ suicides in India are directly and/or indirectly related to the failure of Monsoon. Rains impact crop production, price-control, and industrial output as nearly 40% of raw materials also come from farming. And monsoons are not completely unpredictable in nature. A reliable monsoon forecast can help prevent farmer suicides.

In a bid to inform and educate the Indian farmer about weather and highlight the issue of farmer suicides, Skymet Weather, one of India’s leading weather forecasting and monitoring company has launched #HelpTheFarmer. The initiative is a digitally-driven one with a long format film at the core.

The 4-minute film features a little village girl named Dhunia whose father is a farmer. Her days begin with keeping a keen eye on her father’s activities, right from checking whether he’s going to his field, to when he returns home. A background score tells us about the fear in her heart.

She is seen rejoicing when it rains a few drops only to sadly realize that the water was dripping from the clothes her mother is wringing. At the same time, she is seen hiding a coil of rope, after recalling how many of her friends’ fathers have hanged themselves.

One day, she finds the rope is missing from the hiding place and runs to the fields, expecting the worst. Watch it to know what she finds her father doing at the fields:

The initiative is being spread through the social media channels of Skymet Weather, even as the hashtag powered by the digital film is creating the buzz on social media. Viewers have appreciated Skymet’s initiative to help the farmers with reliable and accurate weather forecast.

Great storytelling but needs a cause-related CTA

A hashtag-driven campaign is usually an easy shot at getting stuff to go viral on the social web. And when it is accompanied by great storytelling, it is sure to go viral. Inspirational and social cause related content is the most popular category of content that people choose to share on social networks. Skymet Weather has nailed it with a beautifully told story. It throws light on the issue of farmer suicides all within four minutes, and also manages to promote itself.

The problem, however, is that a social cause campaign needs to also inform about how the initiative will use the social currency it generates. What each #HelpTheFarmer hashtag on social networks will translate into? What every view count on the video means to the farmer? How exactly will a farmer be benefited by the hashtag #HelpTheFarmer? Is the company going to invest in large scale education of farmers? What technology will it use to inform farmers, considering that they don’t have the smartphones to install the Skymet weather app?

These questions are bothersome, as Skymet is only asking people to join them in the initiative by spreading the word.

We have had quite a few good cause marketing campaigns that did well on social media in the first half of this year. These campaigns have leveraged the power of social media to raise awareness and to involve people directly in the cause.