Busting our preconceived misconceptions about people we have always been taught are ‘bad,’ Brooke Bond undertook a social experiment that invited commuters to share a free cup of tea with a stranger and make new friends.
The brand set up a booth at Churchgate, one of the busiest railway stations on the Western Railway Line in Mumbai. This free tea stall would be offering a lot more than a steaming cup of chai. The experience was then converted into a video – creating a social media campaign out of an extremely intriguing experiment.
To put across their point, the brand invited a commercial sex worker from Kamathipura, the red light area in Mumbai, to come and talk to people over that free cup of tea they offered.
There has always been considerable social stigma attached to sex workers. No one usually wants to talk or interact with them and people almost always avoid contact with them.
The people at Brooke Bond wanted to show that these ‘bad people’ are essentially just like regular people trying to survive and raise their families and what they do for a living does not necessarily make them a bad person.
Countless friendships are forged over a cup of tea and this is what inspired Brooke Bond to come up with this innovative idea.
The video shows a working woman who loves chai, stop to enjoy her free cup. While she is enjoying it, she is joined by a woman who initiates a conversation with her.
What unfolds is a candid conversation between two strangers over a cup of piping hot tea that ends with a melancholy feeling, as many of us probably would have reacted the same way as the woman who finds out that she is sharing a cup of tea with a sex worker.
As the story unfolds she realises that there aren’t many distinguishing factors between them apart from their line of work.
The video hits all the right notes and tells us why we should never assume the worst about someone when we’ve never known them but sadly Brooke Bond put all their effort into the message and it’s execution and none into promotion.
The brand’s Facebook and Twitter page exhibit a few basic posts, leaving very little scope for content discovery.
In terms of the script and content, the campaign garnered mixed reactions reactions.
— Neetu Sharma (@sharma_neetu_) July 4, 2016
— Sanchita Pathak (@sanchi_human) June 30, 2016
However, Amyn Ghadiali, Group Director – Brand Communications, Gozoop, opines that, “Great concept, but seemed staged. I don’t think one needs to meet a call girl just to understand their pain or our similarities. Might as well, few strangers naturally bonding over tea would have been better. Good attempt though.”
Even the noblest of causes can fail when not brought to people’s attention. A great idea somewhere gets chained by feeble execution.