Hindustan Times: The beacon of light in Marine Drive?

By , agencyfaqs! | In Media Publishing | May 19, 2005
After the print and the outdoor campaigns, the new TVC by O&M visually reinstates the message of superior content of Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times is entering Mumbai. And every decibel counts. Because more than anywhere, it is in the one English-national-daily dominated island that Hindustan Times needs to shout and shine.

So nudging swiftly between the spaces of 'Speak up, it's in your DNA' and '100 % Mumbai' of The Times of India is Hindustan Times' 'Let there be light'.

'Let there be light' is the new ad campaign by O&M spreading the message of HT's superior content. The print and outdoor campaign broke with the launch of HT's refurbished avatar. And now, giving HT's Mumbai plans a forward thrust is a television commercial where the HT reader distinguishes himself from a crowd of blindfolded people.

The commercial knits a sort of a surrealistic world through black and white images of events shrouded in incoherence. So we see a pair of legs in stilettos walking straight into a puddle of dirty water. Completely mindless of what has happened, she walks through the puddle, and many, just like her, walk through it as well.

Cut to a hand pouring tea. The attendant continues to pour even after the hands of the customer take away the cup. So the hot liquid continues to splatter on the saucer..

Then we see many suited men, from behind, walking towards the entrance of a bus. But oddly one of them collides with the side of the bus and the files go flying in air. The strangeness of this world gets more acute, as we see a person, presumably a painter painting anything but the wall. As his brush inches closer to a black shoe, the wearer moves his leg away. Now that is strange.

At this moment, the camera withdraws and we see a well-dressed man holding a copy of the Hindustan Times, while the painter and the others are in blindfolds. Only the reader is not. The ad ends with the baseline: 'Let there be light'. And silently tiptoes a line under the slug, 'Coming soon to Mumbai'.

Mumbai is a special market for HT. That The Times of India has enjoyed a monopoly is an understatement; the newspaper has been the only option for generations of Mumbaikars seeking relevant national news in the English language.

For HT, therefore, getting the attention of the Mumbai's readers is going to be nothing short of scaling the Everest. The reason of superior content, HT hopes, will appeal to the discerning minds of Mumbai. And, of course, in the same breath, reminding its faithful Delhi readers that HT continues to live up to their expectations.

"Today, newspapers have become morning entertainers from being news providers. The core purpose of a newspaper seems to have been long forgotten. But HT has not. With its crisp reportage and relevant information, the editorial content of HT is a fitting complement to that morning cuppa," says Anand Bharadwaj, vice-president, marketing, Hindustan Times.

Therefore, from this stance of HT being a paper that stimulates and feeds the eager mind with 'relevant' and 'responsible' information came the campaign idea of 'Let there be light'.

"Most of us live a numb existence. Do we bother what the morning is like? We continue with our normal routine, mindless of what is happening around. It is like living in blindness, in darkness," explains N Ramesh, creative director, O&M, Delhi.

Thus, from this sequence of thoughts came the idea of blindfolds as a metaphor for ignorance. And, contrasting that ignorance is, of course, that ray of light emanating from HT's content.

The use of the audio and the visual elements in the film also deserve a mention. The use of black & white tone, for instance, works at two levels. Thematic and design. Black & white becomes emblematic of the world people live in, and at the same time, renders the film a classy look. As for the jingle, its pace and lyrics blend with the upside-down world in the film.

"The look of the campaign complements HT's look. It is dignified and contemporary, and these elements too had to be conveyed," Ramesh adds. The film has been shot by Corcoise Films.

As the description of the film comes to an end, an observation comes to mind. Though it may appear a little contrived, it is a strange coincidence that while DNA uses speech for the right to demand intelligent content, for HT it is sight.

The film is one part of the promotional campaign that HT has embarked upon. When work was underway for the launch of the new and improved Hindustan Times, it was a foregone conclusion that a well concerted media effort had to precede and succeed the launch. Especially in view of the Mumbai plan.

So, three days before the launch of the new HT, people in blindfolds were seen holding placards at high traffic zones such as malls and traffic junctions. The placard read, 'Let there be light'.

"The execution aroused curiosity, intrigue and anticipation among the target audience," says Bharadwaj. Taking forward the idea was the print campaign, visible at bus stops, buses, parks and cafés. The print campaign portrays a group of busy people, all blindfolded, except the lone person reading the Hindustan Times. The reader appears enlightened and aware of the hustle and bustle around.

Besides traditional media, Ogilvy Activation has been innovative in outdoors. Strategic locations such as high-rise buildings had a light show, displaying HT's baseline.

In Delhi, HT has certainly made an attempt to drive home its point. In Mumbai, though, it has to step up its promotional activities. "Mumbai is a very different market from Delhi, and therefore, our range of pre-launch activities too will be different from what you see in Delhi," Bharadwaj adds. But when such activities will be rolled out remains a mystery.

These days, darkness rules Mumbai's fabled Marine Drive. Will the HT beacon be successful in illuminating the minds of Mumbai? We will wait for the IRS' verdict. © 2005 agencyfaqs!

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