INX Media’s general entertainment channel 9X, has planned quite a marketing blitzkrieg across markets and mediums. The three-phased communication process attempted to begin with creating an impact with its teaser campaigns, where 9X was projected as a product such as a fairness cream, an anti-ageing product and so on. The second stage was to create awareness, and that is when 9X’s identity as a channel of the INX Media television network was unveiled.
The third stage takes this forward and the marketing revolves around the 9X ‘attributes’, which is the channel’s driver shows. The channel is currently advertising some of its key programmes and will soon begin the advertising of its 10.30 pm comedy band, which houses a different show on all weekdays. 9X will begin with a morning band from November 12, 2007, which is its launch date, in addition to the evening primetime programming, and will shortly add an afternoon band to its programming too.
The programming mix is on the same lines as the current Hindi GECs with fiction and non-fiction programming, and Hindi movies. Anthony Pettifer, Group Director, Brand and Communications, INX Media, explained that 9X was very conscious that it was a family brand, and this thought was at the back of the mind of all 9X content and marketing initiatives. Pettifer said, “We are a broadcaster, not a narrowcaster. Most of the initiatives from the channel are based on some viewer insight. For instance, we chose to have a comedy band at 10.30 pm based on the insight that viewers would like to go to bed in a relaxed mood.”
The marketing mix of the channel includes 25 channels from genres like news, movies and lifestyle, including the likes of NDTV News. The channel would also be advertising on local cable channels and is one of the sponsors of the India-Pakistan cricket series that begins from November 5, 2007. While the DD feed of the series wouldn’t carry the 9X on-air sponsorship, 9X is also one of the on-ground sponsors and hence, would be seen on DD as well.
The channel has tried to be present on almost all radio stations and has almost 2,000 spots in theatres, in a day. Pettifer said, “The timing couldn’t be better too. Two great releases ‘Om Shanta Om’ and ‘Saavariya’ are on their way, and then there is also the Indo-Pak cricket series. These are possibly the two biggest passions of the Indian viewers, and we have managed to be present on both.”
Outdoor is another medium that 9X has invested in considerably. The channel has over 2,000 OOH units across 17 cities in the Hindi belt with the intention to create impact in every city. Pettifer said, “The objective is clear. We want to be seen in the same league as Star Plus, Zee TV and other Hindi GECs when 9X launches. In print, the channel has taken all the mainline dailies and many regional publications as well.”
On the below-the-line level, the channel has planned mall activation and other on-ground activities to create noise around the channel’s driver shows.
Pettifer elaborated that the creative idea of the campaign had also worked well for the channel. He said, “It is like Johnnie Walker and ‘Keep Walking’. The ‘9-times’ idea is truly integrating the brand with the campaign. Something like this is rarely achieved, but when you do, it is like the Holy Grail. Even the logos of the channels are designed in a way that they can adapt to communicate a message or the channel attribute.”
When asked about the controversy created during the teaser campaign wherein it was pointed out that the 9X creative was on the same lines as a Zee Smile campaign two years back, Pettifer replied, “All of that was just perfect for us. The idea of the teaser was to create an impact. We had some checks in place to gauge the viewer reaction to the campaign, and we were told that people had gone to chemists asking for the 9X cream! The buzz also created in the advertising agency and advertiser fraternity. All of its worked well for us.”
Pettifer further informed that the focus on the marketing buzz would be seen for a long time.