3. The Hindu: Challenging the ‘Times’

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The-Hindu-logoAs a part of the Pitch’s “Top 10 Brands that got Marketing Right in 2012” list, at No 3 is The Hindu…

Taking digs at competitors through advertising is not new and the TOI taking a jab at other print players is even older. But when the Old Lady of Boribunder ruffled the feathers of the Mount Road Mahavishnu in his own sacred bastion, the God unleashed his wrath. It all began with The TOI’s commercial which portrayed The Hindu as a paper that preached and put readers to sleep while urging them to ‘Wake up to The Times of India’. The general consensus was that The TOI would smirk, put out a campaign, and get away with it. But The Hindu wouldn’t take it lying down and was ready this time around with its clever ‘Stay ahead of the times’ rejoinder.

The four-week drive comprised three TVCs and six print ads that were also extensively supported by digital media, radio, cinema, and outdoor media. The campaign’s attempt was to generate conversations about the state of affairs and move people to act in their own interest. It was intended as an eye-opener to get people to re-evaluate their media choices, to demand a smarter newspaper. The subtext clearly read – ‘Switch to The Hindu if you are looking to read real news and not pulp fiction.’


On-ground activities were conducted in malls and cafes. The publication also reinforced this message during all its events conducted in colleges. An app was created for Facebook that allowed users to answer the questions asked in the TVCs and evaluate their ‘cool quotient’.  These activities enabled the TVCs to go viral, crossing more than a million views in less than four weeks. Ogilvy also won a Gold at EFFIE’s this year for the campaign.

In today’s era, the lack of political icons is the bane of the country and the youth of today do not find able or strong icons to emulate in comparison to the leaders of yesteryears. The Hindu exposed this stark contrast of leadership and the youth’s resentment with today’s governance. The Hindu, therefore, decided to bring this to the fore through its second campaign in October. The commercial titled ‘Classroom’ highlighted how youngsters, the leaders of tomorrow, tend to emulate the manner of conduct they observe as the accepted norm. Social media was primarily used to reach a wider audience and the TVC was also aired across television channels. This commercial also went viral, receiving close to half a million hits in less than a month.

“Behave yourself, India. The youth are watching” will move forward under various themes. The marketing idea behind the publication’s initiatives is to have a steady conversation with the youth and sensitise them to their social ecology.

Arun Anant, CEO, The Hindu Group of Publications

Arun Anant, CEO, The Hindu Group of Publications

“We have been strong in reflecting youth issues that plague the country. The previous campaign took a stand against junk and flaky news consumption and now we seek to shed light on the democratic system that has gone awry”


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