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Newspaper brand campaigns get serious with hard-hitting truths

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Newspaper brand campaigns get serious with hard-hitting truths

Taproot Dentsu won a Bronze Lion this year at the Cannes for their ‘Pimp Creative’ as part of the Mumbai Mirror campaign (Hated By Some, Thankfully). The ad highlighted the point of view of the criminals in the city, who are running scared because of the reportage of the paper. Recently, Indian Express Group launched their first large scale advertising campaign titled ‘The Indian Intelligent’, conceptualised by Creativeland Asia to reiterate the message of what the publication stands for and how people are choosing credible news over sensationalism. DB Corp Limited, flagship brand of Dainik Bhaskar has launched a unique initiative of ‘No negative news on Monday’ to usher in a more optimistic environment in news publishing.

Over the years, there has been an emergence of two different kinds of campaigns from print houses; one which reflects the reality and acts as an eye opener to the society and the second where these print brands launch campaigns to compete against each other. The popular Hindu Vs Times of India (TOI) campaign over the quality of news being reported or the eternal fight of TOI vs Hindustan Times over subscription numbers in their campaign ‘Cry baby’ will fall into the second category of campaigns.

According to Santosh Padhi, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Taproot, this is because of fierce competition and immense pressure on print brands to be always on the top of the consumers mind. There are two kinds of campaigns- one which is B2B, launched for the media planners and the other is the B2C, which is aimed at the consumers.

Both the Mumbai Mirror and the Indian Express film have used black and white imagery. Commenting on this, Padhi said, “The colour is basically used to prove a point and it is all about journalism. The colour is like a category cliché and it helps to capture the essence well. 10 years back, when Mumbai Mirror was launched, Agnello Dias and I, we both were also part of their first campaign. We were working with Leo Burnett then.” At Taproot, they have given wings to campaigns for Times of India’s ‘Aman ki Asha’ which is a part of the Indo-Pak peace project and also the ‘Farmer’s suicide’ campaign.

According to Sajan Raj Kurup, Founder & Creative Chairman of Creativeland Asia, “The Indian Intelligent' campaign is a manifesto of a newsmaker’s vision to be brave, honest and responsible and an ode to the new emerging Indian who matters whether reading the news or making it. It is about the Indian raising her voice for justice, the Indian who seeks truth more than trivia and also an Indian who doesn’t just close arguments but opens mind.”

Click here to view the ads:

Mumbai Mirror:


Indian Express:


Industry experts on the transition

Avinash Jhangiani, Managing Director, Digital & Mobility at Omnicom Media Group said, “There is a change in consumer behaviour and people are interested in engaging with brands, especially the brands which they are loyal to. So the experience of how brands reach out to you becomes more important as a result of which you have been seeing a lot of innovations. Digital is a lot easier in terms of engagement and it is interactive by nature also, but print is not. So it is very interesting to see, how print is pushing the envelope to interact with the consumers.”

Mitrajit Bhattacharya, President & Publisher, Chitralekha Group & President, AIM points out that as print brands have matured their advertising needs have also expanded. “Apart from generic brand building exercises like the current Indian Express campaign focusing on Intelligent Indians, The Hindu Classroom campaign, the Zidd Karo ads from Dainik Bhaskar, the TOI, The Bombay Times and Mumbai Mirror campaigns we are now witnessing a lot of big budget specific activity led campaigns like Lead India, Teach India, Aman Ki Asha from TOI, Happy Rajasthan from Dainik Bhaskar, Save Ganga campaign from Dainik Jagran. Even the taglines of some of the brands have been character defining like "Unputdownable" for The Telegraph, which has never been changed. This word has infact started being used as a new lingo after the campaign,” he cited.

Commenting on how powerful are these campaigns, he added, “Newspapers are a very serious product and readers have a lot of faith in their favourite newspaper/magazine. Print brands are very important brands because you are with them every day and any form of communication from them is taken very seriously. The belief gets reinforced by the powerful messaging of the advertisements of these powerful brands.”

Saurabh Dasgupta, ECD, Innocean Worldwide on the other hand feels that today campaigns from print brands are more number driven and there is a lot of tactical advertising. The reason being, today numbers are under pressure and it keeps on dwindling. “I have liked the Indian Express new ad, because it starts with acknowledging the truth that the newspapers are dead, it has basically gone against newspapers to sell newspapers. In the internet age, it has presented a very real image, and an honest interpretation of the flux in which we are- the online and the offline phase of our lives,” he said.

Click here to view some of the other ads:

Timesof India (Lead India):

TOI (Farmer suicides) :

TOI (Aman Ki Asha):


Hindu Vs TOI:

TOI vs HT (Cry baby):

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