Reviving The Art Of Hand Shadowgraphy Through Incredible India Campaign

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 5821 , Published on 26 March 2012

This unique Incredible India Campaign "MP AJAB HAI..." [MP Tourism commercial] revives the dying art of HAND SHADOWGRAPHY which finds its roots back during the age of Ramayana. The video displays various characters and tourist attractions in Madhya Pradesh by the use of hands and fingers, on blank screen. This video portrays the diversity of tourist locations in Madhya Pradesh, the state they call the 'Heart of Incredible India.'

Incredible India

Using application of Porter’s generic strategy of differentiation the advertisement gained quite some attention by its different approach of showcasing MP Tourism. The advertisement designed set of meaningful differences to distinguish the offerings of MP Tourism.

It proved to be an innovative marketing idea which captured viewer’s share of mind as well as share of heart. The brilliance and aesthetic value of Hand Shadowgraphs added to the flair of the idea and caught viewer’s attention. The apt and beautiful illustrations used in advertisement helped in retention of famous tourist attractions.

It illustrated number of extraordinary places of the state while narrating facts about them, be it the wildlife sanctuaries (rare hardground barasinghas, tigers), the temples of Khajuraho, the Great World Heritage of Sanchi's Stupa,Mandu’s Jahaz Mahal or famous chandeliers in Jai Vilas palace(Gwalior) they all seemed to be incredibly amazing more so because of the art used in displaying them.

The  unique art form which is a combination of hands and fingers on a blank screen telling you a million stories with complete audio visual effect which may be called "cinema in silhouette”.

MP Tourism has successfully branded the destination with the jingle “MP ajab hai ,sabse gajab hai”. And more importantly it established an image of Madhya Pradesh as being a Ajab state full of Gazab places and stories. The advertisement positioned itself successfully and carved an image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the tourists and viewers.

The most important point to be observed in the advertisement is that the message source used in the campaign was not a celebrity and no secondary associations were made to any person and still the advertisement  seemed to have an instant emotional connect with the viewers.

The advertisement fulfills the following desired characteristics:

  • The ad causes viewers to pay attention
  • The ad correctly positions MP Tourism brand in terms of points-of-difference and points-of-parity
  • The ad motivates viewers to consider visiting the places
  • The ad would have viewer retention because of its creative quotient

Shadowgraphy or ombromanie is the art of performing a story or show using images made by hand shadows.

The art has declined since the late 19th century when electricity became available to homes because light bulbs and electric lamps do not give off good shadows and also because cinema and television were becoming a new form of entertainment. The use of this unique and rare art form in the campaign won over the hearts of viewers.

The investment required for making the advertisement did not include sky-plummeting costs of celebrity but only that cost which was involved in performing the art by the artists. The sheer brilliance of the innovative idea and creativity was behind the success and popularity of the advertisement.

It has been directed by Vinil Mathew, under the expert supervision of O&M team (Ogilvy & Mather), and was headed by high-profile Executive Chairman & Creative Director (South Asia),Piyush Pandey.

The agency swept away Effie Agency of the Year Award 2011 and bagged gold for the campaign 'MP Ajab Hai, sabse Gajab Hai' of Madhya Pradesh State Tourism under category- Services-others. Madhya Pradesh Tourism has created a distinctive tone and personality through its communication. While tourism advertising typically shows visuals of tourist destinations, this ad is 'non-tourist' in nature, both from a strategic as well as creative point of view

The song in the campaign has been sung by the native of M.P., Raghuvir Yadav which gives the campaign its yet another unique touch through the singer’s rustic voice.

The campaign proved successful in the brand name research Association Tests [what images come to mind] through use of beautiful shadowgraphs.

People will retain in long-term memory the message that reached them through this campaign. The viewer’s initial attitude toward the campaign was very positive and hence the campaign would have high recall also known as selective retention.

The advertisement acted as a brand strengthener of Incredible India campaign, creating awareness and reinforcing the faith of tourists visiting MP, through creative advertising. It tells the story of Madhya Pradesh in a true earthy and folksy way, and in a more Indian form.

This article has been written by Shikha Sharma from IIT Roorkee.

Image: federico stevanin /


If you are interested in writing articles for us, Submit Here