The remarkable journey of media brands advertising started with one single print ad of Times of India (TOI) commemorating the 60th year of India’s independence and went on to the idea of sharing education and knowledge through the ‘Teach India’ campaign. It also created a debate for peace through the ‘Aman ki Asha’ campaign to underline the two proud nationalities that are deep within still human at heart. Network18 came up with its first ever corporate campaign highlighting the tale of being 'red tagged' each time an individual is touched by Network18. From The Hindu’s style of urging the youth to behave to Mumbai Mirror’s idea of portraying aggression and anger through ‘I am Mumbai’, there have been thought-provoking campaigns over the years by the print and electronic industry.
Media has played a pivotal role in people’s lives and the society at large and there has been a dramatic change in media advertising over the years, with increasing focus on creating effective and sharp campaigns to highlight the power of the medium. But does it make sense for the print and electronic media industry to advertise?
Agnello Dias, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Taproot India stated, “Of the supposed four pillars of democracy, the only one that perhaps needs to advertise its wares is the fourth estate or media. Around independence, the presence and sheer existence of media was its own advertisement. But over the years, as the voice of society got more and more fragmented from the initial ‘for’ and ‘against’ a particular point view, the position of media too increasingly slipped into a grey area and perhaps, therefore, the need to underline what a media vehicle stood for arose.”
Experts believe that media must advertise in order to draw advertising to itself which in turn will help it survive. Abhijit Avasthi, National Creative Director, Ogilvy India shared that any product or service that’s looking for consumers and is aiming to build loyalty between existing consumers or pulling in new consumers needs to advertise.
The Times of India captured the unusual, bizarre and inspiring side of India with contrast in cultures, religion, food and language through the legendary campaign - ‘A day in the life of India’. It targeted every single Indian from across the length and breadth of the country and gave the visitor a glimpse into the largest democracy in the world.
The media war
Urging the readers to wake up and not being stuck with the news that puts them to sleep, Times of India targeted the recent ad to The Hindu. The ad wanted to tell the readers that TOI has a modern look and feel and is updated as compared to other newspapers in the city that puts the readers to sleep. The Hindu reacted to wake-up call by TOI and asked the readers to stay ahead of the times and embrace national and international issues rather than celebrity-driven, sensation-seeking journalism. This war continued for a long time, giving readers a taste of competitive advertising.
Taproot India created a stimulating TVC for Mumbai Mirror, echoing the voice of Mumbai and highlighting four stories broken by the daily. The ad was based on the insight that every citizen – be it rich or poor has the right to express his/her voice. The metaphor of a megaphone for a newspaper was appreciated by the industry because a newspaper’s job is to echo its reader’s voice.
Talking about the successful campaigns created for TOI and Mumbai Mirror, Dias said, “There is no real difference from the process followed for conventional advertising. One always tries to think of the most dramatic way of communicating the insight to the world at large.”
He added, “Sometimes these ads create a recall and sometimes they don't. But I must add that polarisation of opinion is not as big a problem with media advertising as it is with other brands who tend to look for a positive majority. Media brands are perfectly happy getting reader split down the middle.”
Voice of the society
Putting the spotlight on politicians, The Hindu’s latest campaign, titled ‘Classroom’, hits out at them for setting a poor example of governance in the minds of the youth. This ad targets at the decline in the political culture and the lack of political icons in this vibrant democracy. The ad shows that in a country that is young and needs powerful role models, there is a need to caution the actions of these role models and hence, the tagline ‘Behave yourself India. The youth are watching’.
Avasthi said, “The Hindu has been the newspaper of a substance and it talks about issues that matter to the nation and takes up causes and puts it in front of people to stimulate their minds and provoke discussions and debates that can lead to positive change in the country. This topic was getting to everybody over the years – about how the leaders of the nation are behaving and setting up a bad example.” According to him, the ad has created a huge brand recall and has sparked conversations on the digital front. Hence, it was a very successful and a fabulous campaign.
Innovation in advertising of media properties
Ogilvy India created a fast-paced ad to capture the magic of the IPL – a larger than life event. The IPL carnival campaign was based on the consumer insight that IPL is the future of cricket and entertainment. The concept of a carnival was well-executed and it captured the atmosphere of the IPL. The ad showed a carnival of passion and talent engaging all our senses and playing the role of a fun-filled family outing.
Avasthi said, “IPL’s positioning is that of cricketainment, which is cricket and entertainment and that is a far more inclusive format. We wanted to bring alive that format that it is like a roller coaster ride, which has its own thrill and excitement. Hence, we came up with the carnival ad that can appeal to mass India.”
Leo Burnett’s new campaign for Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) titled, ‘Sirf gyaan hi aapko aapka haq dilata hai’ with the power of knowledge as the central theme is a great leveller in our society. This can overcome various biases of gender, lineage and language that our country is plagued with. Leo Burnett has always come out with successful KBC campaigns such as ‘Koi bhi sawaal chhota nahi hota’
Arvind Sharma, Chairman of India Sub Continent, Leo Burnett said, “KBC has been running for many seasons in India and particularly in entertainment brands you have to find a way of refreshing them in terms of content and come out with a fresh way of connecting with the audiences. For KBC, initially, there was a lot of buzz because ‘crore’ was an unheard number in India. But now, the situation is not similar. Therefore, three years ago we decided to shift our appeal from the symbol of greed to the symbol of need.”
He added, “The programme that people felt was losing its appeal opened at the highest TRPs. Hence, it has created brand recall, interest and viewership.”
To sum it up, it is useful for media brands to advertise and come up with effective campaigns because consumers today have too many options and media properties have to continuously create engaging and interesting campaigns to refresh the product, make new connections and get people excited about the brand.