Webdunia: Speak local to save your life

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | November 30, 2007
The regional language portal has rolled out its advertising campaign with a 60 second TVC, which promotes its Hindi service

Webdunia.com, the website which

features content in nine Indian languages, is launching a mass advertising campaign. Speaking to agencyfaqs!, president and chief operating officer Pankaj Jain said that Webdunia will spend Rs 25 crore over the next three years.

Webdunia aims to concentrate most of its advertising on television, which will be the primary medium, followed by radio, cinema and online advertising. The portal's first ever, 60 second TV commercial is already being aired on Aaj Tak and Headlines Today. "We are primarily targeting the news channels. We would like to gauge the response from that," says Jain. Webdunia plans to concentrate on only news channels initially. This will form the first phase of its advertising strategy.

A man looking at a necklace

A murderer hands gun
to him & flees

Gets arrested, keeps
saying 'I didn't do it'

Defends himself before
judge in English

When being hanged, he
says, 'Main bekasoor hoon'

Judge hugs him saying 'Pehle
nahin bol sakta tha?'
In the second phase, the company plans to begin advertising on radio and the Internet. "The Internet mailers will start in the first week of December. We will also send newsletters, apart from doing click-based campaigns and banner ads," explains Jain. The company may also consider running contests and online video virals, depending upon the response generated through the online campaign.

The Webdunia TVC has been produced and created by Indore based Srijan Advertising, which is also handling the advertising for the publication Nai Dunia - a sister concern of Webdunia - and its website. The brief given to the agency was to create awareness amongst people that it is much easier to communicate in one's native language.

The agency hired actor Kurush Deboo to play the lead in the ad. Deboo is the brand ambassador for Webdunia.com. The TVC shows a man passing a jewellery shop. Suddenly, a thief breaks the window glass, steals some jewellery and places his pistol in the hands of the passerby. There is the sound of a woman screaming in the background, implying that the thief has also committed a murder. The police come and arrest the man, who keeps saying, "I didn't do it! I am innocent!"

But the police don't listen to him and take him to court, where he is given the death sentence. All the while, he keeps saying, "I'm innocent!" Just when he is about to be hanged, he says it again, but this time in Hindi ("Main bekasoor hoon!"). Everybody looks at him in surprise and asks him why he didn't say so earlier. The voiceover explains that communicating in one's own language works better. (Submit your opinion on this ad.)

Vijay Kalidhar, director, Srijan Advertising, says, "We wanted to give the basic message that you can use your native language even on the Internet through Webdunia. We needed a simple symbolisation that would appeal to the audiences. The commercial builds a drama that grips the viewers and the use of three simple words leads to the reversal of the hanging and exploits the power of the medium with ease."

The TVC will be converted into 11 Indian languages for the regional markets. Kalidhar adds that the agency is also working on a radio commercial, which will be aired on Radio Mirchi from December 1.

Launched in 1999, Webdunia was originally available in four languages, but recently added five more languages, including Marathi, Gujarati and Punjabi. The portal receives more than 60 million page views a month, according to the company, and provides local language content to Yahoo! and MSN in India. The company is also working with Google to provide regional content to the Google news service in India. MyWebdunia, Webdunia's blogging platform in nine languages, will be launched in December, says Jain.

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