afaqs!

DNA: On an optimistic note

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | January 31, 2011
The newspaper has launched a national initiative called 'India Positive', to celebrate the achievements and glory of the country.

Daily News & Analysis (DNA) has sent out a message of optimism and celebration. Launching what it calls a national initiative, the daily speaks of being positive and optimistic, focussing on the country's achievements and glory, rather than only talking about the negative aspects of life in India.

The 'India Positive' campaign is the first such campaign by DNA's creative partner, Scarecrow Communications, after the agency was given the creative mandate for the paper recently.

On the initiative, KU Rao, chief executive officer, DNA says, "The initiative aims to replace negativity with a positive mindset. In the recent past, there has been too much criticism, though as a nation, we are achieving growth better than the best in the world. The initiative cuts across cultural and geographic boundaries, and tries to bind the people of India under the new mantra of being positive."

Gautam Dalal, vice-president, marketing, DNA, tells afaqs! that the campaign could be called a repositioning in some ways. "As times change, the brands change their focus. The initiative is aimed at celebrating a positive India. But, at the same time, it does not mean we won't continue with our exposes, criticisms and investigations. We are not turning into a goody-goody newspaper. However, we cannot lean towards negativity all the time. Newspapers always have to take a neutral stand. There is a balance we have to strike," says Dalal.

The idea was born after the recent Commonwealth Games scandal. Dalal notes that while the media went hammer and tongs talking about the scam and the ones responsible, DNA was closely monitoring people's reactions during the Games. It found that amid all the hue and cry, people did feel that the media should have better highlighted the smooth functioning of the event and the glory India achieved.

Hence, the creative agency was briefed to create this spirit of positivity through the campaign.

The campaign broke on national television on Republic Day and will be driven further by print, digital and other ATL and BTL activities. A microsite (www.dnaindia.com/indiapositive) has also been designed for the campaign.

The print ads draw attention to various facts about the country, reinforcing the idea that India is a country of achievers.

The television film shows a fictitious football World Cup setting, where the final match is being played between Brazil and India. With India not having seen significant success in international football, the situation is a little exaggerated. However, it is a hope that many in the country nurture.

The film ends with the message, "If we think positive, we can do it", followed by the 'India Positive' super.

Naren Multani has directed the film, and it has been produced by Ravikanth Misshra of January 19 Films. The creative team at Scarecrow Communications behind the campaign includes founder directors, Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat, Aparna Sood, Sarvesh Raikar, Sushant Dharwadkar and Lalit Sakurkar.

Multani says that it was a big task to take up a project like this. According to him, to get the emotions, scale and the look of the film right was a huge challenge.

"The minute I got the brief from Scarecrow, I intuitively knew that this could turn out to be a goosebumps-y film, if treated correctly. Therefore, as a director, the biggest challenge for me was to make the film as grand, and yet as real as possible. And, we have achieved that, with 100 per cent input and dedication from each and everyone involved with this project," he says.

Talking to afaqs!, Manish says, "The first decision that we took was to think of a genuine service, rather than a line or a marketing strategy. So, instead of a brand campaign, we thought of the initiative."

Raghu adds, "A few years ago, who would have thought Jaguar would have an Indian owner? I commend the director for the infinite detailing. We used the football stadium as the theatre of dreams. Football has a big following, is not a cliché, and has the right mix of ritual, emotion and success."

About the film, Manish says that cricket was a cliché and much had already been said about the country's success in the sport. In a bid to tap "something unusual", football was chosen as an example to further the thought of 'India Positive'.

While no timeframe has been set for the campaign, it is expected to continue for at least a year. While football is just a peg and the situation hypothetical, there could be other ideas, using examples from various spheres to illustrate the thought of being positive.

On the decision to use the television medium, Dalal says that looking at the readership trends, television was found to be the gap in DNA's communication. The television campaign would also help to take the brand national.

While the print and the digital activities have already been set in motion, further aspects of the campaign will roll out in the weeks to come.

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