An ad campaign, an outraged media company and & #BANNER1 & # a shrewd "hijacker". Well, that in short is the story behind the now familiar teaser campaign for Daily News & Analysis or DNA - the English daily to be launched in Mumbai by the ZEE-Bhaskar combine under its joint venture company Diligent Media Corporation.
Two weeks back, Diligent dragged BCCL to court for "lifting" the basic idea of its outdoor campaign ('Speak up. It's in your DNA') in advertisements for group publication Maharashtra Times on March 27.
Diligent sought an unconditional apology as well as Rs 100 crore in damages from BCCL, and though the latter has given an undertaking that it will not "hijack" the campaign, the issue is far from over. Attention has now shifted to another company, The Indian Express group, which used the same teaser campaign to respond to BCCL's adverts concerning Maharashtra Times.
The Indian Express campaign for Loksatta, the group's Marathi daily, appeared on March 31 and April 1 across all its publications including Mid-Day (on April 1) in which The Indian Express recently acquired a 10 per cent stake.
The campaign, in English and Marathi, uses faces of individuals that are again similar to the ones in the hoarding ads from ZEE-Bhaskar. However, The Express campaign goes beyond that of BCCL's with the individuals shown tearing the grey stickers that partially seal the mouths of the people in the Maharashtra Times campaign. The accompanying line goes - 'No one can stop me from speaking'.
Ashish Kaul, vice-president, Corporate Brand Development, ZEE Telefilms, has confirmed that a legal notice was dispatched to The Indian Express group on April 1. Subsequently, it got an acknowledgement of the receipt of the notice from Express' lawyers on April 4. "We've asked for an unconditional apology from the group in the same place, of the same size, proportion and prominence as that of the original ads. We are yet to get a reply from them," he says.
Meanwhile, Gautam Ojha, brand director, The Indian Express group, says that the company has responded to Diligent Media stating their point of view on the subject. "Our advert was planned to counter Maharashtra Times and nobody else. We were under the impression that the original outdoor campaign came from Maharashtra Times. Following the March 27 print campaign by the latter, we began work on ours."
So have the daggers been drawn? Only time will tell. Till then, watch this space.
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