Supplement to the Fore
TIMES OF INDIA
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.”
“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.