BBC draws on relevance of international news with 'Wonder Why' campaign

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | March 26, 2009
World News Today is BBC's flagship primetime news property

World News Today, the primetime news programme, is a flagship property of BBC World News. The hour-long show, hosted by anchor, Nik Gowing was launched in July 2007.

The show, which airs on weekdays at 9:30 pm, provides in-depth analysis of the latest global happenings and devotes considerable time and importance to India-centric news.

BBC World News has come out with an advertising campaign -- Wonder Why -- to promote World News Today, bringing home the truth that international news is far more relevant and important to India and its citizens in today's volatile times.

The campaign consists of four print advertisements and two television commercials. The print campaign plays upon incidents and developments involving Indians that became news in the recent past. News such as the Somalian Pirate Attacks, IT professionals being laid off in times of slowdown, Barack Obama's hard stand on outsourcing and Indians holding the largest number of Swiss bank accounts have been used in the print campaign.

The TVCs also bring out the fact that local stories have global connection, touching and affecting our daily lives.

The campaign has been conceived and executed by Lowe.

Speaking to afaqs!, Vaishali Sharma, Head of MarComms, South Asia, BBC Global News, shares the aim of launching a promotional campaign for the news programme that is about to complete two years. "Our internal review of the show, based on online surveys and viewer feedback, indicate that audiences have picked up the show well. We were appreciated for the timely and in-depth ground reportage of the terror attack on Mumbai. India as a country gets prominent and substantial coverage in our primetime news programme. It's been a while that the show was launched; by now, it has very much settled down. With recent developments, such as the global slowdown or the current chaos in Pakistan, the time is appropriate to reemphasize the local ramifications and relevance of international incidents to our viewers (read India)."

The communication message is meant for the core target audience (TG) of BBC World News, which consists of the 25+ age group. It is for people who are curious and want to keep abreast of news related to politics, sports, technology or, say, fashion.

Commenting on the brief given to the creative agency, Sharma points out that the whole campaign is based on one basic characteristic of Indians - the desire to know more. "We are a curious group of people. Indians are always seeking, wanting more, so the communication message taps into this curiosity of knowing what is happening around us. The message that is being delivered is that we, as individuals, are not far removed from what's happening around us or at a distance from us."

Print advertisements are being carried in publication such as Times of India. The focus is more on TV, with the commercials being aired on most of the Hindi news channels, including IBN 7, CNBC Awaaz and Zee News. The Hindi news channels have been selected, because this widens the base of viewers to whom BBC World News can reach out. The TVCs are also being aired on AXN. BBC World News is also promoting the advertising campaign heavily on its internal network.

Shriram Iyer, group creative director, Lowe, elaborates on the brief shared by the client for the campaign, "BBC wanted the campaign to create awareness and drive traffic for BBC World News Today. We were asked to target the news-viewing audience that regularly checks out the Indian news channels and get them to add BBC to their choice set. BBC is already regarded as the authority that provides correct and in-depth global coverage. Our task was to get the BBC news viewing audience to tune in more regularly, by involving them emotionally."

The idea and the theme of the campaign have been guided by the insight that individuals look for news that affects them directly. The creative and commercial have been designed, based on the realisation that audiences are naturally curious about their world, and hence, they are able to connect the world news to the impact it would have on their lives.

"Moreover, the focus of the show is the South Asian audience. So, we decided to create a campaign that would build relevance for world news amongst the South Asian news viewers in their daily lives. Hence, the stories of people like us, around us, who are impacted by world events. The Wonder Why campaign brings the channel and the programme closer to the audience and makes it relevant in their daily life," says Virat Tandon, senior vice-president, Lowe.

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