BBC poll special

bbcSo BBC   is up to a new way to cover Lok Sabha elections;  and in the process gain promotional mileage for itself.  The British news channel has chartered a seven-coach train to carry their news team, drawn from several language services,   on a 18-day spin around India.  BBC election special that left New Delhi on Apl.25  would cover Ahmedabad,  Mumbai,  Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar,  Kolkata, Patna and Allahabad, before returning to New Delhi, May 13, the last day of voting.

Even before the train moved out of Delhi, over 130 publications in India carried their story. BBC’s marketing people thoughtfully invited the New Delhi press corps to a posh hotel for celebrating their election special.  BBC  brought out publicity T-shirts to mark the occasion. Apart from the BBC news service reporters  from  language services  such as  Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Burmese, Swahili, and Arabic   the tain carries  a blogger on board . 

At Rewari, an unscheduled halt three hours into their journey,  wrote blogger  Soutik Biswas,  the fancy train, painted red and white , was mobbed by curious onlookers  at Rewari station. As they  surged towards their train,  BBC cameramen and sound recordists fanned out into the platform to record the event.

I am sure blogger Biswas would have much to write home about and his colleagues with the camera, plenty more of visuals to record over the next three weeks of the BBC train’s passage through India.  Elections would be over by mid-May,  but the BBC election special would be remembered long after,  by folks at Rewari and thousands of others who happen by the train through its journey.

Late last year BBC hit upon another promotional idea,  called  The Box.  It refers to a 40-ft shipping container,  painted with BBC logo and fitted with a transmitter device.  BBC News tells the story of international trade and globalisation by tracking its shipping container  on its journey around the world.   

At the time of posting  The Box  was tracked to  Hong Kong  en route to Japan.  From there they expect it to travel to Russia before its return to the UK in June/July. BBC brings television, radio and online reports from each location the container has touched.


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