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War of the Words: Print medium tries hard to lure readers’ attention

17-August-2005
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War of the Words: Print medium tries hard to lure readers’ attention

The Mumbai market is seeing a clutter of campaigns constantly communicating to the English readers why one news daily is better than the other. In addition to the newcomers in the market like DNA, Mumbai Mirror and HT, others like Times of India, Business Standard, Mid Day and Indian Express, too, are making their share of noise.

The campaigns walk different roads – the new players showing brand attitude, and the established ones offering a more mature and advanced dialogue. The one aspect, however, that is clear from these communications strategies is that even as value-adds and promotional initiatives are omnipresent, the battle really boils down to content.

The distinction of strategies and yet the same message is substantiated well in the BCCL products. Where on the one hand, there is Times of India (TOI) speaking about how the paper has evolved, there is Mumbai Mirror following the launch campaign with creatives that highlighted the kinds of stories that the paper does – in essence both highlighting the ‘news value’. Interestingly, however, now all action around Mumbai Mirror concerns its initiative ‘Flash our Mirror’.

“In the case of TOI, the campaign highlights the improvement of the product – more pages, colour pages, new sections and even achievements like largest read English daily worldwide and so on,” elucidated Rahul Kansal, Brand Director, TOI, “But in the case of Mirror – it was first the establishing of the brand. ‘Cut the Crap’ and such messages were meant to bring out the attitude. Then we brought out the content quality.”

Speaking on the present Mirror campaign, he said, “There has to be a mix. We need to engage the reader also and that is what initiatives like ‘Flash Your Mirror’ do. This is especially required for a new brand like Mirror.”

Mid day is on a similar route too. The tabloid hasn’t stayed out of marketing in the last few months at all – ever since the Hit List campaign started. Mid Day’s communication has focussed largely around the new sections that the paper introduces and involves contests at times as well.

“It follows the dual strategy of content and the reader taking something from the paper as well,” explained Rajesh Tahil, Group Publisher, Mid Day, adding, “it can be difficult to speak only about content, as there can be saturation with the crowding of newspapers. And it is vital to involve the reader as well.”

Reiterating that content still came first, he added, “We are talking about content in our marketing, but bringing out how it is differentiated from what is otherwise seen – whether it is Hit List or Life – which is unique only to Mid Day.”

While in all these cases, content takes priority over promotion, in other cases, the messages are only about content. Indian Express, with its ‘i.e.’ campaign and Business Standard are key examples here. “This is just reinforcing our positioning, especially at a time when market expansion is coming in play,” explained Gautam Mukerjea, GM, Marketing. “It is not about ‘these many number of pages’ but about credibility and integrity,” he added.

The Indian Express campaign was a nationwide campaign, which also saw editorial integration on Independence Day and would finally culminate into an event in September. Mukerjea divulged, “We are reinforcing our brand positioning and we have given it a 360-degree approach.”

The other major players of the market – HT and DNA, which are still in the initial stages of dialogue with the readers – have communication revolving largely on establishing brand attitude and creating awareness. Both entities promise to deliver Mumbai – be it by the ‘reader created paper’ route or ‘seeing the city in a new light’ route.

No player is sitting silent. Whether the market expands or fragments – each want their share and more.

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