After 10 weeks of a tight lockdown, many cities across India have been allowed to partially open even as the spread of the virus has considerably risen in the country. India is today at No. 5 in the world, having overtaken Spain in numbers of infections. At the time of writing, India has 276,583 confirmed cases of Corona with fatalities of 7,745 and recovered cases at 135,206. Yet, ironically, over the last few days, people seem to be taking the threat of Covid-19 lightly, almost as if the lifting of the lockdown, barring in the red zones, had meant an end to the virus.

Given the circumstances, Free Press Journal (FPJ) decided to issue a unique warning to its readers and the public in general. Using the entire newspaper as its “canvas”, FPJ literally cancelled out words, such as ‘Corona’, ‘Covid-19’, ‘pandemic’, ‘quarantine’, ‘lockdown’, and ‘deaths’, among other expressions, across all 16 pages of its 10th June edition. Using a red stroke to strike off such words in black, the newspaper drew attention to the dire warning that was at once bold and visible in print!

Abhishek Karnani, Director, Free Press Journal.

Having caught the attention of the reader, FPJ sought to stress upon the fact that the collective fight against Covid-19 could only be successful if instead “each and every Covid-19 case could be cancelled out from India”. 

The slightly unusual print outreach, given how readers were hesitant to ‘touch’ newsprint out of fear of potential Corona infection, was conceptualised by Taproot Dentsu.

Santosh Padhi ‘Paddy’, Chief Creative Officer & Founder, Taproot Dentsu.

Talking about the campaign, Abhishek Karnani, Director, Free Press Journal, said: “We began extensively covering Covid crisis through the epaper when the physical paper could not be delivered. Now that physical copies have been welcomed back in homes, we felt it was important for us to reconnect with our readers by not just providing information but also making sure it impacts their behaviour positively. We believed the idea will be received well, and even though it seemed simple enough, it was a challenge to pull it off in real time on the printing press table”

Referring to the initiative, Santosh Padhi ‘Paddy’, Chief Creative Officer & Founder, Taproot Dentsu, added: “Since the last year or so, Taproot has partnered with FPJ and created some impactful creative work and we are quite thrilled about the simplicity of this idea and how seamlessly it has allowed us to weave the message, which happens to be an important warning, into the product itself. It is an apt example of how print has the potential for innovation, without trying too hard.”