Experience life in Chennai

By Khushboo Tanna , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : May 05, 2009
The Times of India has launched a campaign to celebrate its presence in Chennai for a year

After the Nakka Mukka campaign in Chennai, the Times of India has released yet another new campaign. This time, the campaign celebrates its presence in Chennai for a year. The news poster (which appeared as a false cover on the TOI) showed images of famous landmarks in Chennai such as Marina Beach, Mylapore Temple and Mount Road (or Anna Salai) in the past editions of TOI. The tagline, 'A Year in the Life of Chennai' was interwoven in these landmarks as well. The ad has been conceptualised by JWT Chennai.

Senthil Kumar, executive creative director, JWT, says that the TOI wanted to announce its first anniversary in Chennai and celebrate the city that is changing every day. Rahul Kansal, brand director, Times of India, says that it wanted to showcase that it is proud to be in Chennai and it wanted to give an ode to the city.

The TOI was a rather late entrant in the Chennai market and had to battle it out with other English dailies that were already present there. Kumar says that the objective was never to break any stronghold but to create the audience that wants to wake up to the TOI. Kansal maintains the same stand and says, "The TOI does not seek to take the stronghold of The Hindu but instead connect to the consumers."

He adds that Chennai is a city that is constantly changing and while the people in Chennai are comfortable with their traditions, they are always looking for change. "The TOI challenged them with change and new ideas," he says.

How's your day?

The TOI had used the tagline 'A day in the life of India' some years ago for its campaign. Following the launch in Chennai, it used a similar tagline called, 'A day in the Life of Chennai' to highlight the way of life in Chennai. Now, after a year, a new tagline, A Year in the Life of Chennai, is being used.

The tagline is an integral part of the visual and is made to stand out. Kumar smiles and says, "Like any good newspaper front page, you won't miss the tagline."

Building bridges

The campaign highlights the city landmarks instead of talking about events or stories the publication had carried in the past year. Kansal explains the logic behind the thought and says that a brand should not be obsessed with itself and should instead focus on the life of the reader. In this case, the landmarks were used in the campaign as they reached out to the people.

Sharing the details of the campaign, Kumar says, "The intention was to create a familiar space in the city using nothing else but 365 days of newspapers. At the same time, the attempt was to capture events that happened in these spaces over the last one year, such as a new flyover over Mount Road; a lighthouse on Marina Beach; and the renovation of the temple pond for the Mylapore Festival."

Behind the scenes

Kumar says that all the landmarks, spaces and backgrounds were created physically by placing, rolling and folding newspapers over one another. Then, each unit was photographed digitally and transferred onto the 3D digital design space by Karthik Sekhar, who is the art director, and a team from XtraThin Design.

Kumar states that there is so much one can do with newspapers instead of selling it to the old paper market. Interestingly, recycling old newspapers is another TOI initiative across Chennai and other markets.

For the time being, the campaign has been released in print and digital media. Kumar says that the same approach may be carried forward to other cities as well and then, more forms of media may be included.

Will you read it?

afaqs! spoke to some people from the industry to find out whether the ad worked for them.

Mahendra Parab, art head, Saints & Warriors, feels that these ads depict the spirit and imagery of Chennai very well. He is particularly pleased with the art direction and says that the message comes out loud and clear.

Manish Bhatt, vice-president and executive creative director, Contract Advertising, says, "These landmarks are city specific and hence may not strike a chord with people from other parts of the country." Having said that, he feels that the idea is simple and the intricacy of the execution is what impresses him the most.

Besides Kumar and Sekhar, the team that has worked on the campaign includes Karthikeyan Ramachandran (photographer and 3D designer), XtraThin Design (digital production) and JWT India Digital Studio (production house).

First Published : May 05, 2009

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