Like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Children’s Day is celebrated on different dates in different places. The majority of countries celebrate Children’s Day on either 1 June (International Children’s Day) or 20 November (World Children’s Day).
But India is a notable exception. It celebrates its own National Children’s Day on 14 November — the birthday of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. This year it falls on the 132nd anniversary of Nehru’s birth.
Over the years 14 November has become a big day for brands looking to showcase their support for children’s causes in India and further afield.
In this blog post we’ll take a look at some Children’s Day campaigns. We’ll also explore what it takes to build a meaningful campaign that boosts your brand while supporting the cause.
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India hasn’t always celebrated its own Children’s Day. It used to celebrate World Children’s Day on 20 November like many other countries. But, following the death of Jawarharlal Nehru in 1964, India’s parliament agreed to celebrate a national Children’s Day on 14 November instead.
While Nehru was a hugely influential political figure in the budding Indian Republic, he was also an avid proponent of children’s welfare and education. He advocated for primary education for all of India’s children and also founded a number of important educational institutions across the country.
“Children are like buds in a garden and should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow.” - Jawarharlal Nehru
Given the additional celebration of Nehru’s life on 14 November, Children’s Day in India has evolved slightly differently than in many other countries. There is a big emphasis on issues surrounding education and child welfare.
But there’s now also a big commercial element. Each year brands run their own Children’s Day campaigns, much like they do for Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day in the US.
In India, 14 November has become an important day for brands looking to showcase their support for children’s causes and education.
Each year, businesses launch marketing campaigns, promotions and initiatives to promote children’s welfare and education.
But it takes a delicate balance of brand promotion and commitment to the underlying principles to run a successful campaign.
Brands that treat Children’s Day purely as a promotional opportunity without doing their bit to support the cause risk damaging their brand image.
Businesses take different approaches to their campaigns depending on their industry, customer base and longer-term business objectives. Here are some examples of Children’s Day promotions you can use as inspiration.
Many Children’s Day campaigns are collaborative efforts between the private sector and NGOs and charities. UNICEF, for example, has a number of corporate sponsors and partners that take part in child welfare campaigns each year.
UNICEF typically runs a week-long celebration between National Children’s Day in India (14 November) and International Children’s Day (20 November). This includes various outreach campaigns, talks, panel discussions and activities for children.
‘Go Blue’ is UNICEF’s primary Children’s Day campaign. Businesses and other institutions can show their support for the cause by ‘going blue’. Some businesses turn their websites blue in the lead up to 14 November, while national monuments in India and other countries are illuminated for the occasion.
UNICEF’s corporate sponsors take part in year-round initiatives to help children in countries around the world. They tend to be large multinationals with large PR campaign budgets.
But smaller brands can showcase their support for UNICEF’s campaigns too. There’s the usual social media post format, or the #GoBlue website theme change. But selling special edition blue products is another way brands can participate in Children’s Day too.
Airline promotions have become a regular sight around Children’s Day. Many airlines in India have launched their own promotional campaigns offering giveaways, prizes and special deals to support the cause.
In 2015, Air India ran a competition offering free first-class tickets between Delhi and San Francisco for winners, and free domestic return tickets for runners up.
In 2017, Jet Airways hosted a special event and leisure flight for 100 underprivileged and special needs children. The Flight of Fantasy was hosted in partnership with a number of other corporate partners.
The following year, Indigo Airlines ran a similar initiative, taking 48 local children from around Chennai Airport on a tour of the skies.
More recently, AirAsia India gave all junior passengers complimentary meals on board its 14 November flights.
What do these promotional campaigns have in common?
They’re primarily about building brand awareness, customer relationships and loyalty than securing sales.
For the airline industry this approach makes much more sense than a sales focused campaign. While Children’s Day is a day of celebration, it’s not a national holiday, and it’s not a peak time for air travel.
This makes community outreach campaigns and giveaways much more appropriate. Airlines can build brand image while showing they’re committed to children’s wellbeing and education.
You can find out more about the techniques the aviation industry used to combat lockdown here, or find out more about American Airlines’ failed AAirPass membership program here.
Unsurprisingly, 14 November is also a big day for ecommerce brands in India. Unlike the airlines or other large multinational businesses, ecommerce campaigns mainly target sales over brand recognition.
Each year big ecommerce brands like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal run their own promotional campaigns for Children’s Day.
This year Flipkart is offering discounts on a range of kids’ fashion essentials, including 80% off winter wear, and half price wristwatches. While Flipkart’s promotional campaign will be live between 11 and 14 November, shoppers can pre-order already.
Amazon, the biggest player in the Indian ecommerce market also runs its own Children’s Day sale. Usually branded as the Amazon Kids Carnival, it also stretches from 11 to 14 November and offers discounts on a variety of kids-focused product categories.
While these brands are simply selling products at a discount, they are still positioning their deals as something that will benefit the customer. Common approaches include:
Many websites also offer special discounts on children’s ‘Nehru jackets’ so parents can dress their kids as the beloved ex-Prime Minister.
You can find out more about the current state of ecommerce in India in our blog post here.
Regardless of the industry in which your business operates, there are clear ways to get involved in the important celebration that is Children’s Day in India.
It’s essential that you remember the core message behind the festivities — promoting children’s safety, welfare and education.
Doing so can help you improve your brand image, reach potential customers and increase loyalty among your existing customers.
If you do want to run a purely sales oriented campaign, you need to appeal to both children and their parents. After all, it’s the parents that will be making the purchase decision, and it’s the parents who will be spending their money.
Find out more about autumn promotions in our Essential Autumn Promotions Guidebook. It covers ideas and best practices for promotional campaigns, from end of summer sales to Halloween campaigns and new autumn/winter product releases.
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