Debrief: TOI Kerala: Much too cliche ridden

10 May,2012

By Anil Thakraney


I watched Times’s new commercial for their Kerala edition. ‘A day in the life of Kerala.’ At least that’s the way the advertiser has conceptualized it. It basically features a ‘traffic jam’ on the backwaters. And all the chaos that follows. A rambunctious Mallu folk track booms in the background.


Now, I know where TOI is coming from. The strategy is correct. They are trying to communicate that they understand the culture and lifestyle of Kerala and thereby the attempt is to win hearts and minds of the locals. That’s fine. But I have some issues with the execution. While I am not a Mallu and therefore am not really in a position to comment on the likeability of the creative amongst the target audience, speaking purely as a communications professional the TVC disappoints me. Here’s why.


To start with, the ad is way too noisy. This is God’s own country we are talking about, so perhaps there’s a mystical, tranquil, classy way to handle things. (Recall the stunning ads done by Kerala Tourism.) In addition, the TVC is packed with the usual Kerala cliches. Fishermen, boats, backwaters, Kathakali dancer, etc. The only prop missing is elephants. They have been replaced by roosters this time, and for that I will give the ad one extra star.


Sure, I admit the locals might just like this fare. But a cliche is a cliche in any region and in any culture. And so is deafening noise.


Rating: (On a scale of 1 to 5): 2. The idea is right but the execution falters.


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