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Effies 2009: Daily launch, different strategy

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | December 15, 2009
Two different dailies, one Telugu, the other English, were launched in different states of India. One a total newcomer, the other with longest legacy among English dailies

In its ninth year, the Effies, which laud and award creative effectiveness of a campaign, witnessed the case study presentations yesterday. Thirty-three of 164 entries were shortlisted for the final round.

Among these were two dailies, both nominated in the Services category. The Times of India (TOI) was nominated for its campaign, A year in the life of Chennai, which was created by JWT, Chennai.

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The other daily, Sakshi, a newcomer in the state of Andhra Pradesh, was nominated for its launch campaign, created by Ogilvy India.

TOI had been grappling with the decision of entering the Chennai market for a long time. The oldest English daily in the region, The Hindu had been unshakable for even longer. The newspaper was thought to be reliable, a paper with good credentials and one that reported news without any embellishments. Such was the dominance of The Hindu in Chennai that even Deccan Chronicle, an English daily from Andhra Pradesh, could not change the rules of the game. The newspaper had practically no competition and feared none.

TOI needed to find its way around this tough competition from The Hindu. JWT learned that the Chennai citizens are a balanced lot, who want to be responsible and, at the same time, have fun. This was unlike the image of a conservative Chennai citizen that The Hindu catered to. Thus, TOI did all that The Hindu would not do or be. It teased the market leader.

The No. 1 English daily was launched in Chennai in April 2008. The launch was marked with an ambient drive, called Next Change. The entire city and important buildings in important locations were dressed in newsprint. A total of 30 stories were draped in newsprint. Famous landmarks, taxis, and people were also covered in newsprint. Within two weeks of its launch, TOI gained acceptance amongst Chennaites.

The competition, too, did a campaign alongside and dropped prices.

After this, The Times of India released the brand TVC - A year in the life of Chennai, called Nakka Mukka. The film encapsulates the volatile political scene in Chennai against a musically befitting background. The campaign was supported by three full- length press ads, 22 street dances and 200 cut out installations of the ad; the Nakka Mukka ad also had more than 2,000 video responses on YouTube.

TOI did what The Hindu refrains from doing - initiating a dialogue and seeking participation from its readers. TOI took a stand on Jallikatu, a bull-racing event in Chennai. It created a microsite, where people could vote in favour or against the cruel bull race. The matter is still to be discussed for this year's Jallikatu.

The launch of Sakshi was a much different, yet equally challenging task. Sakshi, a Telugu daily, had set itself against the leader in regional newspaper dailies - Eenadu. Eenadu had been part of the Andhra populace for 33 long years and breaking such an old habit was Sakshi's chief concern.

Ogilvy, the creative agency that was assigned the task of breaking into the 33-year dominance, came up with a two-pillar strategy - product and positioning. Sakshi was designed as an all-colour daily with international design and layout. The newspaper had more pages and carried out objective reporting. As for the second pillar, Sakshi, the term took the meaning of 'a beautiful tomorrow'.

The objective of the pre-launch activity was to create a place in people's lives and build excitement. The TVCs were situations that depicted the aspirations of Andhra Pradesh and the will to achieve them.

The newspaper witnessed startling results. The daily has earned 1.25 crore readers in a time span of 18 months.

The final awards for the Effies 2009 will be given away on December 16, 2009.