The forgotten 49

Inspiring 1.2M women to participate in the world's first crowd-sourced political manifesto

Women in India have endured a terrible history of subordination. So how do you awaken 400 million women to voice their issues and bring discrimination to an end? That was Tata Tea’s question for Maxus India.

Ahead of the General Elections 2014, we identified an ideal opportunity for Tata Tea to drive the female empowerment agenda in India. So we created ‘The Power of 49’, a multi- faceted campaign designed to help every single woman in India to realise their power to change their country with a vote.

We decided to create the world’s first crowd-sourced political manifesto, bringing the female population of India together into a single voice that would be impossible to ignore.

First we leveraged our influence with paid media owners to make our intentions unavoidably public. We integrated empowerment stories into prime-time soap operas and secured 50 of Bollywood’s biggest stars as active advocates. We convinced the 2014 Indian Film Awards to prioritise female categories over male while Sharukh Khan agreed to place female credits above his own in forthcoming movies.

Next we built our manifesto, collecting the voices of India’s women via digital and mobile platforms so every Indian woman could participate openly and confidentially.

We need to open our minds to new possibilities

Our mobile ‘Push the Pin’ mechanic encouraged women to flag issues whenever and wherever they occurred, prompting debate and conversation.

Then they joined each other in online and phone debates and Google Hangouts. Our ‘missed call’ system (a quirk of the Indian telephone network) allowed India’s poorest women to leave us phone messages with no cost to them.

Finally we brought these voices together in a 10-point document, released it to the media and unleashed a torrent of debate across every Indian newspaper and network.

Tata Tea