Debrief: Repositioning The Times

31 Jan,2012

By Anil Thakraney

 

The action’s really hotting up in Chennai. Great stuff from The Hindu. Rival Times of India had run a hard-hitting campaign which showed people dozing off while reading their regular newspaper (read The Hindu). And The Hindu has hit back even harder, and in their campaign they reposition the challenger (read The Times) as a newspaper for the dimwits. For people who lack general knowledge but are totally clued in on Bollywood masala.

 

‘Stay ahead of the times’ is the tongue-in-cheek slogan. The commercials feature youngsters being asked questions on current affairs/general knowledge, and they fail miserably. But the moment a question is put to them on filmi issues, they get excited and answer correctly.

 

[youtube width=”400″ height=”200″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXLsi_Vmtw4[/youtube]
[youtube width=”400″ height=”200″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ckzsh9SpUAQ[/youtube]

I think The Hindu is on the right track. For three reasons: One, they have played to their own core strength, which is the brand’s serious, no-nonsense image. This would make their current readers very happy. Two, the campaign attempts to reposition The Times as a newspaper for the floozies. And this hits the Times where it hurts, because the latter is renowned for its filmi coverage. Truth is that The Times also does serious journalism, but in an all-out ad war, these considerations don’t count. And three, The Hindu has been able to pull off a power campaign that must have cost peanuts to produce. And the ads have quickly gone viral because the content is super fun. Great work.

 

The ball is now in The Times’s court. All eyes on Chennai!

 

Rating: (On a scale of 1 to 5): 4. Powerful, funny and happening!

 

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