Social Marketing Example #14: Project Nanhi Kali’s “Powerless Queen.”

Laura Pryor 10/01/19 - 9:02 am

Powerless Queen

Playing a game of chess hardly seems like an effective remedy for the degradation and abuse of women in India. But an innovative campaign from the Indian nonprofit Project Nanhi Kali used the game to drive home their message: Without the power of women, India cannot survive.

The campaign was launched with this video of chess Grand Master Tania Sachdev inviting viewers to play a game of chess with a powerless queen. In chess, a game invented in India, the queen is the most powerful piece on the board. Sachdev points out the irony that women in India, who should be queens, are instead powerless: second-class citizens with limited access to healthcare and educational opportunities.

“What if your queen on the chess board was just as powerless?” Sachdev asks viewers. “Could you win?” She then challenges everyone to go to and play a game of chess with a powerless queen.

The campaign’s target was to raise national awareness, but it garnered global attention. The video was viewed more than a million times, the game was played 32,000 times, and PR coverage resulted in more than $1.5 million in earned media.

Why we love it

First, we love the in-your-face attitude of the message. Tania Sachdev is clearly not powerless, making her the perfect spokesperson for the launch video. This is not a message about victims needing help, but rather a warning that India cannot afford to keep treating women so poorly, because the country needs them.

Second, everyone loves a game, and everyone loves a challenge (remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?) This campaign had both. And once people got hooked by the challenge, they stuck around for the message.

Overall, some very smart marketing moves. Check and mate, Project Nanhi Kali.

This is post #14 in our blog series, 17 wow-worthy social marketing campaigns.

Blog Category: Nonprofit Social Marketing

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