#ArrestCorona: Decoding the role of regional elements in Bengaluru City Police’s long-running campaign

Bengaluru City Police

Over the last year, Bengaluru City Police has been adding to the narrative around the #ArrestCorona PSA campaign with celebrities, quirky content, comics, and more. We take a look at the various tactics involved, understanding what made the campaign engaging & sustainable.

With COVID-19 still being a mystery to a great extent and a lockdown underway, the months of March and April were some of the most chaotic in 2020. Timely information dissemination was extremely important to keep people apprised of the situation as well as reassure them. This is where government authorities with a presence on social media started leveraging social media to the hilt. For Bengaluru City Police, the efforts took the shape of #ArrestCorona, a PSA campaign that is still running. They used it to keep people calm, entertained, and of course, informed.

On-ground Initiatives

Given the possibility and scale of panic escalation around COVID-19, on-ground events while being socially distant were a must to control the situation. Using microphones and public demonstrations, Bengaluru City Police was able to amplify social distancing norms. These public outreach instances were recorded and shared on social media.

These on-ground activities were then further distributed through social media, enhancing the reach of the message.

Quirky Communication

Bengaluru City Police, much like other police forces in the country, regularly uses quirky popular references in their communication. The same was done for #ArrestCorona. It helped them add a layer of entertainment to the PSA campaign — and attempt to shine through the gloom.

Celebs & Sandalwood

Several celebrities, especially from Sandalwood (Kannada Film Industry) were involved in the campaign. They shared videos urging people to stay inside their homes and follow the social distancing norms. Rahul Dravid, Kiran Shaw, and Dr Shiva Rajkumar were among those supporting the initiative.

Also Read: How BMC is helping Mumbai get vaccinated via Twitter updates

PSA Comic Series

To create awareness about the various aspects of social distancing, Bengaluru City Police also released a number of serialised comics — in English and Kannada. These had simple illustrations with speech bubbles and a voiceover. The content in these PSA comics revolved around everyday situations amidst the pandemic.

Amplification In Kannada

Much of the communication put up by Bengaluru City Police is bilingual — English and Kannada. Communication in the regional language is key to communication put forth by all government handles, especially those belonging to the police force. They followed the same for PSA communication under #ArrestCorona.

Collaboration with Alexa

Bengaluru City Police also collaborated with Amazon to give the citizens in Bengaluru a chance to ask Alexa basic FAQs about the quarantine protocols in the city and other related queries. This was an interesting collaboration as Bengaluru is known for the IT industry and is thus can be expected to have a greater affinity towards such use of technology.

Regular Updates

Aside from all things infotainment, the most important aspect of a PSA campaign in a pandemic are regular updates about essential services. Under #ArrestCorona, this was done using vibrant creatives. They had just about enough information on the image that they could be downloaded and shared on different platforms — the context wasn’t lost without the accompanying text in the tweet.

To be able to sustain a PSA campaign on social media for over a year is no minor feat — but then again, the pandemic has brought forth many such unprecedented stories. Bengaluru City Police was able to use their social media presence for good — becoming an example for other government authorities in the country.