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Bollywood ads target Indo-Canadian farmers

A multicultural, immigrant-heavy population can bring many challenges to B.C. — not the least of which is ensuring important health and safety information can be received by residents who may not be fluent in English.

A multicultural, immigrant-heavy population can bring many challenges to B.C. — not the least of which is ensuring important health and safety information can be received by residents who may not be fluent in English.

The challenge is particularly acute in many of British Columbia’s rural farm communities, where immigrants can find themselves handling dangerous equipment and chemicals, which they have never been properly trained to use.

With such concerns in mind, a new PSA initiative, funded by the Vancouver Foundation and directed by a UBC researcher, is seeking to educate Indo-Canadian farmwives about the importance of post-work washing through the most universal language of all — song.

Done in the traditionally over-the-top style of a Bollywood musical, the 30-second television ad features rubber-gloved women in saris spouting the virtues of cleaning clothes that have become contaminated through pesticide exposure.

“If you want a message to be effective, you have to pick a style that’s appropriate for the target audience,” said Anne-Marie Nicol, who is perusing the project as part of her post-doctorate in environmental health.

“The reception has been pretty fantastic.”

Nicol says she is eventually interested in targeting her message to other groups as well, including Chinese-Canadians.

“I was thinking maybe, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon?” she said with a laugh.

 
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