There was no brief!
Notable photographer, Somshubro Sarkaar, created a series of visual essays known as 'My Identity, My Pride', which captured the stories of 51 women of substance. When he approached us, at VISCOMM, with this creative entity, we realised that this photo-journal needed a platform to amplify its reach and impact.
VISCOMM took on the role of the enabler, bridging the gap between a raw yet powerful message and a business that needed a communication plank to stand out. With their recent product, the Advantage Woman Savings Account, ICICI Bank was more than happy to be this platform because it was created to help women invest in their own selves; to look after more than just their financial well-being. We, thus, gave two starkly different entities a common purpose - to empower women and inspire them to invest their time, energy and funds in themselves.
As a result, we created #FundYourOwnWorth - an initiative highlighting the extraordinary stories of ordinary women. It brought one aspect into focus - that women are second to none… with their own ambitions and journeys that need to be encouraged!
A manifesto film was required to kick off this initiative to make it stand out from the various frivolous memes of women empowerment floating on social media. This film starring Konkona Sen Sharma highlighted the disparity between men and women through ingrained behaviours promoted by society and why those needed to change. The film then directed readers to the www.FundYourOwnWorth.com website which featured the seeded stories of the 51 extraordinary women. Some of the inspirational women featured here include Sindhutai Sapkal (a mother to thousands of orphans) and Laxmi SAA (an acid attack victim who now helps rehabilitate other acid attack victims).
ICICI also threw open the forum to all citizens, encouraging them to send in stories of women who had an inspiring story to tell, even a personal one! The incentive was that the 25 best stories could contend for the Advantage Woman Awards, in addition to grants of Rs. 5 lakhs, Rs. 3 lakhs and Rs. 2 lakhs resp. for the top three stories.
The best part was that the perks of this campaign extended to all women through the Advantage Woman Savings Bank Account. Holders of this account got (and continue to get) opportunities to hone their skills through workshops and vouchers from organisations such as Ajivasan Music Academy, Image Consulting Business Institute, Thyrocare and Manipal ProLearn. The idea was to not only inspire a new wave of women to invest in themselves but also to develop networking opportunities to make their ambitions a reality.
The manifesto film went "viral" with over a million views in just under a week. It was organically picked up by influential websites like ScoopWhoop, afaqs, POPxo and India Today. It had 7.5 million+ views across social media like Facebook, YouTube & Twitter by the end of August 2017. The video sparked debate all over the Internet as well as in homes and offices. Stories of inspired women rolled in daily onto the ‘Fund Your Own Worth’ website, even past the cut-off date!
And yes, countless women were inspired to rethink their role in modern day society. Many of whom opened Advantage Woman Savings Accounts with 20,000 accounts opened on an average per month, as compared to 5000 before the campaign!