Emvies 2010: Reliance and IPL's big splash in print

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media | August 16, 2010
Mudra Max presented its case on a print innovation that saved the day for Reliance Mobile; while Maxus delivered a presentation on IPL Season 3

Mudra Max put up a skit while making its presentation for Reliance Communications at the Emvies 2010 case study presentation round. It portrayed a typical agency-client discussion, while looking for innovative solutions in print media. Fed up with the usual "jackets", 60cc and 100cc ads, Reliance Communications wanted to do something "different" in print to reinforce its strong network proposition.

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"Innovation in print ad sizes and shapes is so 'yesterday'," said the Mudra Max presenter. In the face of stiff competition in the telecom space, Reliance had to do something drastic to swing perception towards its "outstanding network coverage", which the brand signifies by its colourful network bars. The challenge was to marry this mnemonic or icon with the medium - The Times of India - without disturbing print content.

Mudra Max achieved this by integrating the network bars into content: the editorial stories were reformatted and encased inside bar-shaped structures, to signify the Reliance network bars. Alongside, brand endorser, Hrithik Roshan brought forth the Reliance message at the end of the 'bars'. This was done across 44 publications, including Mid-Day, Nai Dunia and Amar Ujala.

As a result, 20 million people were reached with this activity, while there were 10 million new acquisitions for Reliance. The activity also led to an 80 per cent higher brand recall than earlier, and a 20 per cent higher brand preference.

Next Maxus presented its own print innovation for IPL Season 3. The task before Maxus was simple -- the preference for the eight individual teams was a dismal one-third of the preference score of the IPL tournament as a whole. Maxus had to devise a strategy that strengthened team loyalties and compelled people to take sides.

Following a TV campaign that pitched 'loyal' team followers against each other in a tongue-in-cheek manner, Maxus turned to print to get an immediacy of response and extended reach. It tied up with Hindustan Times (HT) and managed to reach 2.6 million readers, asking them to SMS the name of their favourite team to a mobile short code.

Once the database of SMSes was collected, Maxus employed 5,000 newspaper delivery boys to personally deliver the March 12, 2010 HT edition to those who'd sent in their responses. Interestingly, the cover page of these newspapers had special photos of the IPL team captains - personalised to match the name of the team each reader had texted in as his/her favourite. In all, eight different front pages were created for the same edition. Thus, 10 per cent of HT readers woke up to find the team they supported, on their favourite newspaper.

This led to debates online as well as on radio (RJ mentions): RJs on radio stations argued about having received 'different' Hindustan Times copies that day. And this debate continued throughout the IPL 3 season. "As a result of this activity, IPL 3 delivered ratings similar to IPL 1," concluded the Maxus presenter.

Both the Reliance and IPL 3 entries have been shortlisted in the Best Media Innovation: Print category.

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