Ranjona Banerji: What the Whacky-dooky?!

21 Jun,2012

Ranjona Banerji

By Ranjona Banerji


I understand that advertising is vital to the well-being of a newspaper but just who invented these idiotic “half-jackets” which either split the front page of a newspaper or cover it with some meaningful and wholesome message about a bank or a soft drink?


What I mean is, does one blame an advertising agency or the ad sales department of a newspaper?


My problem however is not to do with the advertising message itself – although I was hard-pressed to understand today’s Wakudoki message on The Times of India masthead. Why this car company had to say Wakudoki to us, I don’t know. What Wakudoki is I don’t know. In some places Wakudoki was one word and in other places Wako-doki was hyphenated. Actually this made me happy in a schadenfruede kind of way – copy checkers in ad agencies are of the same calibre as sub-editors in newspapers.


My primary objection is that they don’t allow you to fold the newspaper properly. This is particularly annoying as you reach the last pages of the paper as the half-jacket page with not enough hold flies off or falls off or slips out. This makes me want to shout something far more robust and potent that “Wakudoki” or even “Waku-doki”. Hyphen or not, the words I’m thinking of do not start with a ‘w’.


Halfway through reading about Leander Paes’s current tantrum to compete with Mahesh Bhupathi’s original tantrum, I suddenly find the names have changed to Drogba and Rooney. These names are as mysterious to me as “Wakudoki” (and “Waku-doki”) and as I wonder if my coffee has some magic mushrooms in it, I realise that the last page of the newspaper has slipped off.


I realise that The Times of India is not the only guilty newspaper here. Everyone does it. It’s just that I was whacked in the face today by this vastly annoying invention. It even beats the detergent bubbles and spouting soft drinks I had to deal with as a young sub-editor.


In my view, I would rather the newspaper just sold its front page, self-respect and identity in one go rather than in half-measures. That way you can just turn the page, know that it will fold obediently and carry on with the latest Purno, Pranab, Nitish, Narendra fight.


Instead of wanting to start the day by whacking whoever comes close because the newspaper begins with some cheapie corporate who only wants to pay for half a sheet of paper.


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