Standing for great journalism: 20 years of Aaj Tak 'Sabse Tez'

Here’s what marketers and agency heads have to say about Aaj Tak’s new campaign

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Published: Mar 4, 2021 8:27 AM  | 6 min read
sabse tez

As part of its 20th anniversary, Aaj Tak recently released a new campaign that succinctly highlights what is wrong with today’s news reporting and how the channel has taken a differentiated positioning.

The campaign focuses on some of the unfair practices seen in TV news today. In the first ad film ‘Sach ka Band’, an inept news reporter is seen distorting facts and spreading misinformation, going so far as to taking sound bites from cows. Looking at his antics, two onlookers comment on how Aaj Tak has been tackling such unreliable news channels.

In the second film ‘Achaar Gully’, achaar sellers try to unsuccessfully entice Aaj Tak into buying pickles for a “spicy primetime.” The new campaign underlines how Aaj Tak does not conform to the growing trend of spicing up news. The anchor reminds the vendors that they have confused “achaar” or pickle for “samachaar” or news.

The metaphorical marketplace shown is a grim reminder of the state of the news industry in general

The campaign, which has gone viral on social media platforms, has also caught the fancy of marketers and agencies.

According to Sapna Arora, CMO, OLX, “During COVID, the viewership for news channels shot up as the world grappled with a confusing influx of information. The campaign by AajTak is a laudable step that helped them stand out from the other news organizations; it was backed by a brand promise, centring on authenticity and accuracy.”

Rajiv Dubey, Head of Media at Dabur India Ltd., believes that it is important for brands to be on the right news channel to build quick reach.

“I still remember the launch of Aaj Tak, which coincided with the birth of my son who turned 20 this year. Though people have a lot of channels to watch, they still go to Aaj Tak because it appeals to the masses, especially the Hindi heartland people.  When you listen to the news on Aaj Tak, there is a sense of authenticity, people come to this channel to cross verify what they see and hear on other platforms,”said Dubey.

“As an FMCG advertiser, my take is that it is possible to build brands through a channel like Aaj Tak.  We realized that if we want to have a quick awareness of our new products, it’s important to be on a news channel. If you want to have your brand presence felt all through the day, Aaj Tak gives you a very good reach and the brand gets established very quickly”, he added.


For Gopa Kumar Menon, CEO, Isobar India, the campaign sums up the state of affairs of the TV News industry and reflects what is wrong in the system in a humorous way.

“The film is nice and is a depiction of the current news environment in the country.  I feel the need of the hour for news channels is to have a balanced viewpoint where both views are respected. This communication from AajTak does just that in a very humorous and satirical way”, said Menon. 

 Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Chairman & chief creative officer of 82.5 Communications, Ogilvy Group believes that such voices need to be amplified. He is hopeful that such campaigns would also help us look at what is wrong with the news today and help us pause and rethink and readjust.

“As the poet Keats said, ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty.’ Nowhere else is this truer than in news reporting. So, it is beautiful to see Aaj Tak raising its voice in favour of honest news reporting. More power to such voices! More power to democracy!”

Sharing his thoughts about the new campaign by Aaj Tak, veteran journalist and Padma Shree awardee Alok Mehta said that news channels have become extremely competitive and despite the prevailing challenging scenario, it is great to see some channels going to the root of a problem with standing by great journalism.

“There is still a lot of scope as far as holistic coverage is concerned and news channels will strive to become that way and address the current challenges in the system. It is not easy to do great journalism in these times and great to see some channels doing it and standing by it”, shared Mehta. 

“It’s a highly competent film directed by Pardeep Sarkar. Aaj Tak has been the champion of SabseTej style and the news always comes alive as a great story”, added  Dhruv Sachdeva , Founder, Humour Me. 

“Good Journalism is Good Business,’ shared Mark Thompson, the former CEO of The New York Times. He credits the success of the organization to its reader-centric approach to every strategic decision they take,” said Chanpreet Arora, Former CEO, VICE India and Co-founder Rezilient .

She noted that the speed and volume of news delivery and reporting in a highly competitive environment often took precedence in the advertiser-led business models that favoured reach over engagement and brand trust played a secondary role.

“However, the rise of digital social news consumption habits and fake news pandemic has brought trust right back at the heart of journalism. The Aajtak campaign is on-point because it brings back the focus on the trust of the viewer. A strategy which will be key to building engagement, loyalty and strong subscription business,” she shared. 

Vani Gupta, former Category Director at PepsiCo and Founder,  CherryPeachPlum  Growth Partners says that news today is such a cluttered category that all the principles of marketing apply to the news too.

“How does any channel or news anchor get heard in the din of 24-hour news from a million sources available on-demand for free? So 'news' resorts to entertainment, scandal, controversy and 'item number' in its own ways. Traditional principles of journalism however require that news be objective and unbiased. That is to present both sides of the story. That journalists try understanding the why and the motivations behind both sides so people can make up their own minds.” 

 “The ad paints a true picture. It’s produced well, and does bring a smile on your face”, observes Samyukta Iyer, CMO Baskin Robbins.




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