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Leading financial dailies carry same front page, courtesy ONGC

17-February-2004
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Leading financial dailies carry same front page, courtesy ONGC

False cover advertisement in national dailies… 100 per cent attention. The first name that springs to mind is indya.com’s launch. If the manoeuvre created ripples then, the repeat has created waves. In a repeat act, ONGC has gone all out in leading financial dailies. The investment seems enormous but is it worth it?

The Economic Times, The Financial Express and The Business Standard… irrespective of which paper one picked up on February 16, it was impossible to miss ONGC’s promise of a flame burning brighter. The advertisement is a media driven innovation. The creative has effective visuals and a long body copy.

The space that ONGC claimed in national media implies enormous spends. Says Samir Verma, Branch Head, Grey Worldwide, Delhi, “We are talking about an issue whose size is 13,200 crore, the largest in Indian history. The spends involved in this ad are not even 1% of that. Nonetheless, there were a lot of negotiations. Media bodies themselves were very keen. When it is a build up to an IPO as massive as this, everyone wants to be a part of it.”

True, this is the culmination of a corporate campaign, but one would still question the logic of placing the copy at the second page and a long one at that. Prathap Suthan, National Creative Director, Grey Worldwide explains, “It’s about telling the relevant points. ONGC is India’s most valuable corporate and each fact is a jaw dropping one. Also, we must realise that we are talking to prospective investors. They would like to know as much as possible in the shortest time.”

“When the audience is a mix of retail investors and qualified institutional buyers, they need to know the numbers,” adds Verma. “People know that ONGC is big, the idea is to demonstrate how big and to bare facts. All what we did is to represent these facts in an intellectual and creative way.”

Grey isn’t quite stopping at that. “We will carry a research to measure the efficacy of this campaign,” states Satyajit Sen, AVP, MediaCom. “Innovation has been noticed, and we are sure that the impact and recall is 100 per cent. You know that OTS is often defined at the campaign level. But innovations like this prove that it can be guaranteed at the ad level too.”

With this burst, the organisation’s main target was the ‘pink paper’ audience or rather the financial community. Sen expresses that this is a high-involvement section and that justifies the long body copy. Let’s take a look at what other members of the media think about the campaign.

“More than the creative, I feel the media is used in an innovative manner. By placing the ad right below The Times of India’s masthead, doing false covers for financial dailies, the ad does demand attention. The jingle and TVC, however, is nothing too different – a montage of different people and a jingle binding that is a much-used format. The print definitely has more impact,” expresses Sanjay Sippy, National Creative Director, Publicis India.

Vibha Desai, ED-North India, O&M, who isn’t able to recall the jingle or the TVC, echoes similar sentiments about the noticeability of the campaign.

On the other hand Amit Ray, Vice President, OMS Media expresses, “It is a phenomenal media placement if they have not paid anything above the premium that front page advertising attracts. Otherwise, it is not all that big an idea.”

About the ad’s creative he says, “I don’t understand what have they achieved. As a consumer, I thought it was highly irritating and uninspiring. What is the additional required knowledge that they are giving to the people? I agree that with space like this, noticeability and recall is high. But so was for government’s family planning schemes. People have taken 20 years to accept that. Seeing and accepting are two different concepts. This campaign might do the first, would it do the latter remains to be seen.”

(Additional inputs by Aarti Razdan)

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