How Surat City Traffic Police used social media to make citizens say iFollow

Surat police iFollow campaign

The iFollow campaign helped the Surat City Traffic Police to shift their strategy from enforcement to awareness in the face of COVID-19’s financial impact on citizens.

City traffic police departments usually deal with two-edged swords on a daily basis. On one end, they need to keep the city moving. On the other, they have to be on the receiving end of resentment as well as personal stories of why people are compelled to ignore traffic rules. Then there are complaints by citizens, against other citizens who don’t follow the rules, causing a menace. As a means to control such incidents and make people aware, Surat City Traffic Police walked an interesting path with the iFollow campaign, which included awareness posts as well as a traffic rules test.

Designed by Gemius Design Studio, the iFollow campaign played out over three weeks starting July 7, 2020. It was divided into two parts where the first phase concentrated on social experiments and accountability in regards to creating awareness about the traffic rules. The second phase was about the impact of the campaign, which was ascertained with the help of an online test about traffic rules.

The campaign included Vox-Pop interviews of locals to document their views on traffic violations as well as sharing of appreciation tokens among those who were following the rules. The aim of the campaign was to reiterate that a change in social attitude is a must for things to get better. The cops want to decongest the city and shorten travelling time but they would require help from citizens to do so.

‘There is a need for people to understand the urgency of following traffic rules instead of having a casual attitude towards them. With our initiative, iFollow, we aim to spread awareness and change people’s behaviour towards traffic rules and their implementation,” says Prashant Sumbe, DCP, Surat City Traffic Police.

He further explains, “After the heavy economic losses suffered by all in Corona pandemic, we have decided to be more inclined towards awareness than enforcement. We are optimistic about the impact of this positive shift in our strategy on people’s attitude towards traffic rules.”

The agency created several creatives to support and promote the campaign. These included posters as well as audio-visual posts.

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Surat City Traffic Police also tried to engage with citizens, asking them for feedback and suggestions.

The test was also announced on social media. A total of 25,563 people registered for it. Of these, 24,620 appeared for it. The option to register as a group of 50 persons was also announced. The participants were provided with study material, on which they were later evaluated in the test and given certificates.

The communication for the test part of the campaign was in English and Gujarati. Participants were also encouraged to share their certificates on social media, tagging the Surat City Traffic Police handle.

With this campaign, Surat City Traffic Police was able to portray itself as a police force that is open to communication, feedback and criticism. With the test aspect of the campaign, they were able to reach a large section of the citizens and make them aware of traffic rules. And, collect stats to prove the impact of the outreach efforts.