Classifieds mean ‘big money’ for newspapers. With small business players having the moolah, print houses are gearing up to provide them with innovative options. >From help desks to tips on how to make their ads more effective, classifieds have shifted from the main dailies to more creative supplements.
No longer are the classifieds merely ROL (run-on-lines), new changes such as maps (in to-let and property section), pick of the day, celebrity marriages (matrimonial section) and full-stretch vertical ads are being introduced. In fact, it’s not just national dailies like Times Of India and The Indian Express being experimenting, tabloids like Mid-Day is also very much in the trend.
“Creativity is the best way to push the message. TOI has over the years innovated with classifieds. Such innovations have helped limited budget advertisers to break the classifieds clutter” said Sunil Rajshekhar, Director, the Times of India.
TOI was the first to use celebrity couple in the matrimonial section. Asked on what really led to this strategy, Rajshekhar responded: “ This was just an effort at building brand salience for the matrimonial section. To showcase celebrity marriages would only help enhance the overall environment of the Matrimonial pages.”
Indian Express is also taking the innovative platform. Explaining how the group was incorporating changes, Manjeet Chopra, branch head, Chandigarh, said: “Classifieds is a need- based system. We have been providing different layout options. Nowadays looks do matter and so we are making some cosmetic changes in the classifieds section as well.”
Tebi Sebastian, Assistant Manager, Mid-Day, added: “Need-based innovations can really make the classifieds interesting. For instance, if you have a write-up on the hotels, resorts or spas, it draws instant attention of most readers. Or you could even have a tie-up with corporates, inviting the readers to participate in a contest or message service on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. So opportunities are endless.”
But why don’t we see too many national dailies experimenting with their classifieds? Rajshekhar shared: “Smaller newspapers have larger opportunities to innovate. For larger newspapers like The Times of India innovations specific to individual advertisers will mean a larger outflow – premiums that may not be all that affordable.”