Sup­ple­ment to the Fore

TIMES OF IN­DIA

The Brand Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - By Deep­ashree Ban­er­jee deep­ashree.ban­er­jee@afaqs.com

How of­ten do we come across glossy ad cam­paigns done by a main­line sup­ple­ment? The an­swer is a re­sound­ing ‘Never’.

TOI has de­cided to fo­cus on the top five rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing cities from its sup­ple­ments and might launch ads for other cities later. In the first phase, the cam­paign will cover Delhi, Mum­bai, Ban­ga­lore, Chen­nai and Kolkata with a dif­fer­ent brand film for each city. The brand has spent 10 per cent of its mar­ket­ing bud­get to pro­mote its metro sup­ple­ments.

The nar­ra­tive of the cam­paign uses rap as the sound­scape and draws from the rit­u­als of each city with its sounds and edgy lyrics as the film it­self wears a city avatar. The cam­paign is a se­ries of short films that por­tray their re­spec­tive city’s nu­ances and show­cases many cel­e­brated names from dif­fer­ent walks of life - boxer Vi­jen­dra Singh, re­gional ac­tors Prosen­jit Chat­ter­jee, Ri­tu­parna Sengupta, Shruti Haasan, R Madhavan, Kic­cha Sudeep.

The film has been con­cep­tu­alised by JWT In­dia and cre­ated by Raw­shark Films. JWT of­fices across these cities have worked on the cam­paign to give it lo­calised im­pact. The cam­paign will be heav­ily dig­i­talled fol­lowed by print and tele­vi­sion.

San­jeev Bhar­gava, di­rec­tor, Brand TOI, says, “As metro sup­ple­ments are fo­cussed on a city, we needed to make sure that the city came alive for the read­ers as a sym­bol of what we re­ally rep­re­sent as a pub­li­ca­tion, on a daily ba­sis. A metro sup­ple­ment is about be­ing con­nected with the city you live in,” Bhar­gava adds. Here is where the youth count.

Con­tin­ues Bhar­gava, “In­dia is so young a coun­try; the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­lace is also young. Any ini­tia­tive which needs to pro­voke in­ter­est and cre­ate an im­pact on the so­ci­ety, by and large, has to ad­dress and en­gage the youth.”

SOUL FOOD?

“There are cer­tain things (be it the ‘vada pav’ of Mum­bai or Delhi ka chaat) which quintessen­tially de­fine a city. We’ve tried to pick some of those out and high­light­ing them in our com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” says Bhar­gava with re­gard to some of the di­rec­tion the ads have taken. Does TOI, the mother brand, fun­da­men­tally have a dif­fer­ent role to play and a dif­fer­ent sense of pur­pose? “The main brand, has its own prom­ise for read­ers and comes up with var­i­ous other ini­tia­tives from a mar­ket­ing point of view,” ex­plains Bhar­gava. But, one is forced to won­der if clichés, while cap­tur­ing the cul­tural and so­cial nu­ances of ev­ery city, ac­tu­ally turn into creative short­hand in the wide spec­trum of the creative process (the much-fre­quented ref­er­ences to ‘City of Dreams’ or ‘vada pav’ in Mum­bai; Durga Puja and po­lit­i­cal de­bate cul­ture in Cal­cutta for ex­am­ple).

Senthil Ku­mar, chief creative of­fi­cer, J Wal­ter Thomp­son In­dia, shares his take, “If you love your city and want to cel­e­brate it, there is no place for a cliché out there. If you love a par­tic­u­lar wa­ter­ing hole or hang­out or a cer­tain el­e­ment that you want to re­visit time and again, it does not be­come a cliché. In fact, it be­comes pop­u­lar cul­ture!

“This Cam­paign is driven by the ‘hom­ing sig­nal’; the ev­ery­day hu­man in­sight into the life and times of a city dweller. It was time to reignite the love for your city with words, images, stories and songs that cel­e­brate the soul of one city ver­sus an­other. It is time for your city to cel­e­brate ev­ery city’s unique cul­ture curry. It is time to flirt with your city or an­other; Delhi Times vs Mum­bai Times vs Ban­ga­lore Times vs Chen­nai Times vs Kolkata Times. It’s a a rap party out there,” Ku­mar adds.

THE JOUR­NEY SO FAR

Ku­mar talks about how it all came about, “We worked with dif­fer­ent JWT creative teams across the coun­try, along with the ed­i­tors and re­porters from The Times of In­dia, to get the lo­cal in­sights, neigh­bour­hood nu­ances and lingo-leela right and there­fore, strike a deep chord with the city and its cit­i­zens. We also col­lab­o­rated with lo­cal lan­guage rap artists and mu­si­cians from Kolkata and with celebri­ties who are known to love the city and the whole thing was led by the JWT In­dia creative team along with Aloke Shetty and, of course, the le­gendary Dhruv Ghanekar who scored the mu­sic for the fi­nal five City Rap an­thems.”

Ku­mar also ex­plains the con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion of the guest ap­pear­ances done by re­gional cine stars (R Madhavan in Chen­nai Times and Abir Chat­ter­jee in Cal­cutta Times, for in­stance) as dis­played in the ad. “They are those who cel­e­brate the city in many ways and are also read­ers of the lo­cal City Times and share the same love and pas­sion for their city. A city is not all about the chaos and hus­tle-bus­tle. It’s about dis­cov­er­ing un­known facets, div­ing deeper into its cul­ture, food, her­itage, places and, of course, its celebri­ties.”

The ads also play upon the name of a city. “For ex­am­ple, Kolkata is not just Kolkata, it’s also Goal-Katta as foot­ball is the most pop­u­lar re­li­gion here,” elab­o­rates Ku­mar. He also ex­pounds that the am­bi­tion for this cam­paign was to cre­ate a dy­namic an­them for each city driven by its unique pop-cul­ture, with the City Times at the cen­tre of it all. “The Cam­paign is also an in­vi­ta­tion to ev­ery city dweller, to go ahead and cre­ate their own City Pop-Cul­ture and take a leap from the con­tent here and pump up their own read­er­gen­er­ated City An­thems,” he adds.

Raghu Bhat, founder and di­rec­tor, Scare­crow M&C Saatchi, shares his views, “If there is prior in­tent to cre­ate an an­them with a high lo­cal quo­tient, it can lead to clichéd words, which in turn, can lead to clichéd vi­su­als. The rea­sons to go this route could be - ‘mu­sic is a good way to con­nect with the youth’ or ‘we need to com­mu­ni­cate big­ness and lo­cal con­nect’,” Bhat adds.

Priti J Nair, co-founder and di­rec­tor, Curry Na­tion Brand Con­ver­sa­tions thinks of it as a funky cam­paign with a mon­tage feel at­tached to it. “Over­all, the feel is re­ally nice, though I am not sure how long a cam­paign like this will stay in your mind or whether it has re­peat value, but you never know. But from an emo­tional point of view, this is not some­thing that pulls at any par­tic­u­lar emo­tion.” Among the five videos, Nair feels that Ban­ga­lore and Delhi, fol­lowed by Chen­nai are cool. “The Lax­man - com­mon man in­te­gra­tion is nice and cute and makes it more TOI,” she adds. ■

The cam­paign is a se­ries of short films that por­tray their re­spec­tive city’s nu­ances.

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