Thursday, October 1, 2009

Changing “Times”

It was show time on a Thursday afternoon at CBS! Ms. Anita Gupta, Senior Vice President and Managing Partner, JWT Chennai shared her experience, interesting “behind- the- scene” information and challenges that she and her team faced while handling the recently acquired account “The Times of India” (TOI).

It was all about the launch of TOI in Chennai. The TOI, usually recognized as a typical Mumbai newspaper, was trying to enter Chennai, the stronghold of the Hindu. This was no simple task and came with its set of challenges. Chennai is a very different city from Mumbai. Although Chennai was constantly changing and trying to keep up with time, it always had the legacy of its deep rooted culture, which was imbibed in every citizen of this city…and the newspaper was an important ingredient of this culture. According to her, the main challenge was to make people relate to the TOI- they needed to see it as a part of Chennai and as a newspaper that understood what Chennai was all about.

Drawing from market research surveys and studies, Anita and her team realised that what Chennai needed was a catalyst for change. JWT saw the ever changing and evolving nature of Chennai and decided to use this aspect to launch TOI in Chennai. TOI would be portrayed as the “Symbol of Change”. Once this idea was on the table and approved, there was no looking back for the JWT team.

Starting-off with a teaser campaign carrying the slogan “Next change?”, buildings, taxis, auto rickshaws and buses were covered with newspaper-like design. The campaign included models wrapped in newspaper sari/dresses strutting the streets of Chennai. The point of this teaser campaign was to let Chennai know that TOI was a local newspaper that ushered-in a welcome change. Anita pointed to the success of this powerful visual campaign and soon enough, after the launch of TOI, its competitors were forced to take notice.

To capture the soul of Chennai- the familiar scenes and sights- the team created a film, “A day in the life of Chennai”. The film featured the hit song ‘Nakka Mukka’ and the video portrayed typical scenes of Chennai - crowded buses, temples and, of course, Mount Road. The film electrified the class room and I was no exception to this! We could relate to every scene that the film depicted. The brilliance of this film was not only noticed by the people of Chennai, the world took notice and it struck gold at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival by winning India's first ever Gold Film Lions.

At the end of the session I was indeed awestruck at the creative and advertising brilliance of the campaign. I walked away with a valuable lesson of how hard work and innovative thinking leads you to win gold and a reminder of how much I love my city, Chennai.

Contributed by Varsha Vasudevan, Marcom Varsity, CBS Batch 4, 2009-10

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