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A 'new' day in the life of the advertising of 'The Times of India'

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A 'new' day in the life of the advertising of 'The Times of India'

The Times of India (TOI) calls it a new chapter in the life of its advertising, but the publication is sure gung-ho about its new campaign, which breaks pan India on November 25, 2005. The media break of the ad was with 'Nach Baliye' on STAR One on November 24, 2005. The creative brain behind the campaign is Agnello Dias and the media has been handled by Lodestar Media.

The campaign is based on the brief that TOI is a paper that has its fingers on the pulse of the country for many years now. Said Rahul Kansal, Brand Director, The Times of India, "We wanted to bring out the strength of the connection we have with the reader and the fact that TOI comes with a heritage."

With this campaign, JWT gets added to the roster of the agencies working on The Times of India account. Kansal explained, "I think agencies really are a technicality – we work with creative individuals. Whether it is Enterprise with Mohammed Khan, Freddie Birdie and Naved (Shop) or Shivjeet Khullar (K-Factor), we work with people. Now Aggi (Agnello Dias) is added to the list."

Throwing more light on the campaign, he informed that at present, the only medium used was television. The ad will be seen on most channels to get nationwide reach. Going forward, print and radio extensions will be seen as well.

Speaking more on the new campaign, Kansal said, "Most advertising of the TOI, till date, has been on the contemporary nerve – a light-hearted approach on what is happening in the country and our representation thereof. However, now we are adding another dimension to this. We are bringing in the factor that TOI comes with a heritage in India. It has a history."

He further explained that in light of the changing dynamics of the country, with new publications entering the scene, adding this perspective was only fitting. "We have an edge and this film captures it beautifully," he said.

The film is in the setting of a typical Indian town and begins with young boys celebrating 'Pakia' being selected. The dancing group stops in front of a house and hand out to a middle-aged couple a copy of The Times of India, pointing to news in the Sports section headlined, ' Prakash Mirajkar Selected'. The middle-aged couple (Pakia aka Prakash Mirajkar's parents) are excited and the wife takes the paper to show the article to Pakia's grandfather.

The headline strikes a chord with the grandfather and he goes inside searching for something. From underneath a dust covered album, he takes out an old copy of The Times of India, turns to the Sports page and reads a story headlined 'Mirajkar dropped from India hockey camp'. He compares the two headlines and celebrates, leading to the frame – 'The Times of India, A day in the life of India'.

Kansal remarked, "The paper has touched the lives of millions of Indians for generations and that is the heritage it carries with it today, which is not easy to come by for anyone."

Agnello Dias threw some light on how the idea developed. The thought process for him began with a simple thought – the same paper brings good news and bad news. Delving on this further, he said, "The idea started when I was going through the paper and saw the Birth column and Death column, right next to each other. I thought, at this point of time someone is celebrating and someone is mourning. In the same way, there are so many contrary emotions that the TOI has been bringing over the years. From thereon, we knew what the film had to say."

The ad film has been shot by Abhinay Deb, and for Dias, this is just another example of the successful films they have done together. As for what next on this campaign, Dias said, "I am thinking of the press ad now."

Divulging a little on the reason to use Lodestar Media on this campaign, Kansal said, "This is one the first ads where we are buying television airtime. We have been present on TV earlier, but it hasn't been on this scale and it made sense to have an agency in putting this in place. So we gave the responsibility to Lodestar."

In the last four months, TOI has been aggressive in its advertising on both outdoor and print and in its on-ground presence, especially in Mumbai. The publication has been associated with numerous activities in the city. This campaign will further add to the noise that the paper is in any case creating.


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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.