In a sensory connect initiative reminiscent of their successful 10-day innovation in Maharashtra Times during the Ganesha festival, The Times of India, Chennai greeted readers of 2.75 lakh households in Chennai city with a fragrant paper on January 1, 2012. The exercise was carried out for Kaleesuwari Refinery Pvt Ltd for its perfumed oil brand Dheepam, an aromatic oil to light lamps.
As part of the initiative, the main edition of The Times of India, Chennai was enclosed in a ‘powerjacket’, which was titled ‘The Times of Happiness’. Commenting on the innovation, Ninan Thariyan, Associate Vice President, Times Response Chennai, said, “On January 1, 2012, what we delivered was not only a news paper but also a ‘nose paper’. Our strategic intent was to provide the advertiser an experiential engagement opportunity through a sensory connect with our readers. FMCG category by nature is a television advertiser. Fragrant newspaper was the logical answer to the customer’s communication requirement. Our challenge was ‘how do we make the print medium appeal to him by overcoming the limitations of interaction with readers?’ Since we had already carried out such an exercise in the recent past, we could offer our expertise and customise the solution to take the product to our readers.”
This is the first time customised fragrance was used by any newspaper in India to address the specific communication requirement of the advertiser. Thariyan outlined the challenges during the exercise and said, “The challenge was to reproduce Dheepam’s fragrance in the paper so that customers could identify with the brand. So, it turned out to be a product sampling for the oil, fostered an emotional connect, and added one more dimension to the medium.” A teaser ad was carried on December 31, 2011 in the main issue to create a buzz around the initiative.
This is not the first time The Times of India has carried out such an initiative. It may be recalled that the paper had undertaken the ‘10-day 10-fragrances’ innovation in the Maharashtra Times during the Ganesha festival last year. This apart, the paper had also done a ‘talking ad’ for Volkswagen. “We have always been first movers in driving innovations,” Thariyan said, adding, “We have believed in challenging the medium – a medium which has no sensory output – audio or visual – and looked at how print could assist advertisers so as to provide maximum value to them and establish a connect with readers. Many readers were surprised and curious as to the fragrance and loved the traditional touch on New Year’s day.”
Meanwhile, the paper is in talks to replicate this exercise with other clients. “It will offer readers a sampling of fragrances, creating a unique identity of the brand. There is a wide variety of usage for this kind of technology that allows readers to interact and associate with brands on a personal, one-to-one level. Our aim is also to get more FMCG brands on to the print bandwagon by offering them an experiential engagement proposition,” Thariyan added.