The Coronavirus lockdown has brought about a fundamental shift in content consumption patterns. With ample time in hand, people are turning to watch movies, shows, and play online games to keep themselves entertained. Amongst all, one game that has seen a tremendous surge in popularity and repeat plays across every age group is Ludo.
With over 50 million daily active users, this game brings together families and friends in a time when they physically cannot be. The game has also witnessed a huge amount of success among celebrities during this period of lockdown. While everyone understands the rules of Ludo, a closer look at the game reveals that apart from being entertaining and addictive, it is also a perfect metaphor for social distancing.
Tata Motors, automobile manufacturer, and WATConsult, hybrid digital agency from the house of Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) India, decided to use this symbolism to re-create this unique game. Titled #SafetyFirst Ludo, the new version of the game highlights the necessity to stay indoors and the risks that would befall us if we ventured out without protection.
The idea stemmed from a simple insight wherein the main goal is to reach your ‘home’ as quickly as possible. As per the rules of the game, when a player ‘touches’ someone (equivalent to an in-game kill), he/she has to go back to the starting point (which is similar to being in quarantine) until the player rolls a six again; and this is the exact representation of what we are currently facing in the fight against COVID-19. This popular game has been re-launched during the lockdown period, aiming to teach Indians to be hygienic and show responsibility in protecting themselves.
Speaking on the game, Tata Motors head marketing, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit Vivek Srivatsa, said, “In light of the current scenario, digital engagement has taken a completely new shape. With increased consumption of online content, keeping customers entertained yet informed is the way forward. Safety has always been of utmost importance to us, and what better way than to integrate it within a game that is synonymous to all. With the above in mind, we along with our team at WATConsult came up with an ingenious idea of #SafetyFirst Ludo. We aim to bring our community together on this gaming platform while reminding them of the importance of practicing safety first during these times.”
The game is designed in two playing modes: the Virus Spread mode and the Social Distancing mode. In the ‘Virus Spread mode’, one would get penalised for being too close to another player that is, when the player is right behind or in front of them. But this can be counteracted by choosing to ‘sanitise’. The idea behind ‘Social Distancing mode’ is to avoid the players from being too close to each other under all circumstances. They need to maintain a minimum of one block distance between any two pieces at any given point in time.
WATConsult CEO Heeru Dingra added, “With the lockdown impacting all of us in many different ways, digital engagement is something that is indeed binding us together. Games and television seem to be the major sources of entertainment. Safety being Tata Motors’ utmost priority, we thought of extending the brand’s philosophy uniquely. #SafetyFirst Ludo is the perfect example of what we need right now, a subtle reminder of why we must maintain social distancing, along with a fun and engaging activity to help the lockdown become a little more fun.”
Tata Motors was the first Indian manufacturer to make a 5-star safety rated car for India certified by Global NCAP and #SafetyFirst has always been one of their core values. In this time of need, this campaign manifests the same values, globally.