Product / ServiceNOT FOR PROFIT
CategoryB04. Charities, Public Health, Safety & Awareness Messages
Entrant Company WEBER SHANDWICK Hong Kong, HONG KONG

The Campaign

The Taj Mahal, a national symbol of India, is widely recognised across the world but many are unaware of its sad story – it was built as a memorial for Mumtaz, Emperor Shahjahan's favourite wife, who died giving birth to her fourteenth child. Centuries later, and despite being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the Indian population is unfortunately still plagued with problems related to access and awareness of healthcare. Under the USAID funded Improving Healthy Behaviours Program (IHBP), a program which aims at spreading awareness about healthy practices especially in the areas of maternal mortality and family planning, an idea was conceived that focused on the belief that we could make the Taj smile again by spreading awareness about women's health issues, ensuring no woman would suffer the same fate as Mumtaz. By reaching out to popular influencers and celebrities from different walks of life like TV actors, Olympic-winning sportspersons, doctors and others, who could, through their own networks, help spread the word, combined with partnerships with NGOs, corporate organisations and media houses, we successfully spread the women’s health inspired message that The Taj Must Smile.

The Brief

The USAID funded Improving Healthy Behaviours Program approached us to help devise a campaign which would bring in partners who could help spread the IHBP messages related to family planning, maternal and adolescent health for progressive behaviour change among target groups. We wanted to create a movement which the entire nation could rally around, partners could participate in and own and thereby raise awareness for the IHBP messages, helping to potentially save thousands of women through education. If women across the country could lead healthy lives with access to healthcare, we believed that the Taj would smile again.


Historically, misinformation as well as lack of access to healthcare has hindered progress while varied attempts to streamline information have been unsuccessful. The Taj Must Smile campaign was hugely successful through the partnerships that reached over 130,500 members across our NGO partners. Over 800,000 impressions of our messages were disseminated across Facebook. Over 58 million viewers were reached through programs and pro-bono public service announcements on India’s leading news channel, NDTV and government owned DD National. And radio announcements across the country’s largest radio channel, the government-owned All India Radio, expanded our reach phenomenally (these cannot be estimated as tracking mechanisms for these do not exist in India). We published multiple stories across 41 media titles and got Olympians, famous actresses and singer Shaan to lend their voice to the campaign. The true indicator of the success of the campaign was that all of this happened in just three weeks.


We pitched our idea to various NGOs and corporates to educate SHGs through their personal interactions. They were, in turn, able to pass on the message using street plays, posters and word-of-mouth. ASSOCHAM (The Associated Chambers of Commerce of India) and IHBP came together to launch a program encouraging corporates to join. Panel discussions were held where representatives from Eli Lily, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as well as Population Services International spoke. Our influencers played a pivotal role. Olympic Gold Medallist Mary Kom as well as renowned celebrity Gauhar Khan’s videos on were uploaded on YouTube and Facebook and articles published in national and regional newspapers. Articles on the importance of nutrition, endorsed by renowned gynaecologists, were printed in regional newspapers. DD National (government TV channel), NDTV, (leading news channel) and All India Radio, (widest radio network) aired programs and public service announcements disseminating the program’s messages.

The Situation

In spite of being a booming economy, India has remained woefully behind in terms of medical literacy. Many deaths happen purely because people don't know about simple healthy behaviours which can help prevent disease and subsequent death. Health indices paint a very grim picture of India. Maternal mortality in India stands at 178 per 100,000 live births, putting the nation behind 128 countries. Tuberculosis (TB), claims 500,500 deaths on average per year. Taboos regarding menstruation result in many adolescent girls suffering from bacterial infections. Our target audience was not aware of behaviours which could be adopted to prevent these diseases.

The Strategy

For IHBP to have the largest possible impact on the target group, we realised that enlisting influencer support would help to share the message effectively. We identified celebrities, health influencers, NGOs and corporate organisations who actively engaged the majority of our audience and were also involved in similar social impact activities. Given that we were reaching out to people across India on an array of topics, we decided that an umbrella campaign ‘theme’ should be devised to ensure it wasn’t fragmented. Hence, we came up with the idea that ‘The Taj Must Smile’ to reinforce the national symbolism, while highlighting the underlying problem relating to women’s health awareness by drawing comparisons to the child-birthing tragedy of Mumtaz. By reaching out to popular influencers and celebrities, combined with partnerships with NGOs, corporate organisations and media houses, we wanted to spread the women’s health inspired message that The Taj Must Smile.


Name Company Position
Sanjeev Vyas FHI 360 Ex Senior Advisor Private Sector, Improving Healthy Behaviours Program
Vani Viswanathan Weber Shandwick Senior Account Manager
Dipannita Das Weber Shandwick Consultant
Shankar Ghosh Weber Shandwick Head Planner
Ankur Sharma Weber Shandwick Senior Digital Consultant
Karan Bhandari Weber Shandwick Digital Director
Katrina Foxe Myburgh Weber Shandwick Head of Marketing
Manisha Jham Weber Shandwick Marketing Manager APAC
Gabrielle Lukes-Mooney Weber Shandwick Senior Marketing Executive