Human beings and their individual stories have always been at the centre of Al Jazeera’s reportage. Al Jazeera English launched its first global brand campaign last month to reiterate its stated positioning regarding ‘human’ stories. The campaign is currently running in 12 countries and underlines the network’s belief that humanity truly connects everyone in the world. Kayoko Nidsaid, Head of Marketing, Al Jazeera English(AJE) talks about the campaign, the DNA of the channel and why India is an important market for the network. Edited excerpts
What was the motivation behind starting a global campaign at this point for Al Jazeera?
Al Jazeera has been in existence since 1996, while Al Jazeera English came into existence in 2006, the common DNA of the network has been telling the human story, giving the voice to the voiceless and sanctioning the opinion and the other opinion. Through our studies and research we found out Al Jazeera English is admired and seen as an authoritative voice because of the scope of stories we cover. While other news outlets report from outside summits and political meetings we report from where it matters, in other words stories which give a personal story. This motivation propelled us to launch the ‘Hear the Human Story’ campaign across our major markets, the global campaign encapsulates the DNA of what Al Jazeera stands for.
What is the campaign and how is it being communicated?
The launch of “Hear The Human Story” is a testament of Al Jazeera English’s commitment to covering people caught up in events in all corners of the globe and aims to reinforce one of our key strengths for our audiences worldwide.
The campaign will run for approximately six weeks across 12 markets globally. The approach taken in each is tailored to account for different market dynamics but includes outdoor advertising, print, digital, as well as activation and TV advertising in certain key markets.
What are some of the issues the campaign is touching upon?
Al Jazeera has always been committed to telling the stories of real people – that’s why we have put them at the centre of this campaign.
The idea of “human stories” was always built into the ethos and DNA of the channel. It was a natural progression of the Al Jazeera English brand.
The stories featured in the campaign are meant to portray the shared humanity that connects us all and they highlight samples of key issues across different parts of the world that would not have normally been exposed or highlighted by other media outlets.
Why did it begin in Africa and which countries is it expanded to?
Africa is known for some strong stories whether from a political, economic, health, sporting, religious or even general point of you. While other news networks have their launches from swanky places in London or New York, we came to Johannesburg, the centre of Africa being the biggest and most vibrant African city in the continent to emphasize the message that human stories matter. The campaign is all about human stories, and South Africa is a country rich with them. The channel has more viewers in Africa that any other continent, hence why it was only right that when we launched Al Jazeera English’s biggest ever brand campaign, it was from Africa.
At the moment, Al Jazeera does not have a widespread distribution in India. What are the plans for the channel in the Indian market?
Currently we have distribution deals with Tata TV and Dish TV; negotiations are under way with other distributors.
How important is the Indian market and viewer for Al Jazeera?
India is an important market for Al Jazeera, we have started marketing and PR launches this year due to our distribution agreements. While India is rich of stories and an important player in the world, the viewer of India is important for Al Jazeera due to their interest in the world, while stories in India are enriching for our content which is consumed by people throughout the world.
How will you position the channel in India?
As a priority market for the channel, the approach in India will be no different. We will focus on our belief that humanity is one thing we all have in common. We focus on stories about real people. We tell the human story. India is also a country rich with stories too and it’s no coincidence that the campaign itself features two stories from India – the School Under the Bridge and the Gulabi Gang.