Brand wars are common in the advertising world but many were rather amused when The Hindu advertisement campaigns went viral last month. It was startling for two reasons – The Hindu had suddenly become aggressive about advertising its paper and its new ads directly targeted rival Times of India (TOI)!
The new Hindu ads, designed by Ogilvy and Mather, followed a four question format. To start with, an interviewer asked people (mostly youngsters) serious, general knowledge, questions such as “Who is the author of Harry Potter?” and “Who succeeds Ratan Tata?”. Most youngsters replied shockingly, wrong answers like Julius Caesar and even Mukesh Ambani – alas, they thought Mukesh Ambani was Ratan Tata’s son!! The third question was mostly about movies and Bollywood such as “what is Hrithik’s pet name?” Surprise, surprise, everybody answered correctly – duggu! The ads have become a rage on YouTube with over 3 million views and numerous shares on social networking sites.
After listening to these ridiculous answers, the startled interviewer asked the all important question about which newspaper they read. Times Of India, was the prompt but proud answer (of course, the word TOI was beeped, but you could not miss the starting “T” )! You can even lip-read “Times of India” in the following video:
A direct attack! You may wonder how it all started. Read on.
It all started with the TOI’s Chennai ‘wake up’ campaign, designed by Taproot India, in September 2011. Did you know that Chennai’s print market is valued at over Rs. 300 crore? The Hindu has been the leader in the Chennai print market but the national player TOI wanted to level the play field.
TOI depicted The Hindu as a paper that puts readers to sleep and asked them to ‘Wake up to Times of India’. Take a look at the following hilarious video:
This was enough to infuriate The Hindu and voila they came out with a ‘slapstick’ ad campaign targeting TOI as a frivolous paper with no news sense!
The aggressive ad campaign of Hindu has left even ad gurus’ surprised. The ‘tongue in cheek’ ads mock TOI for its overly commercial and page 3 culture. As the campaign is a recent one, it’s too early to decide who wins the battle! However, everyone’s having a laugh because both ads portray ‘facts’.
However, I feel the issue can have an interesting end.
Why not ask Rajnikanth which newspaper he reads?
End of the story!