It has been around for 18 years. It has met with criticism, been dismissed by many. At the same time, the kind of impact Bombay Times has had on its readers (and media in general) cannot be denied. How many actually spoke of the 'Page 3 culture' before? And then later they even made movies on it! A 'culture' made popular by The Times of India supplement, it made party-goers feel like celebrities and today, there is barely a broadsheet without an entertainment, fashion and glamour supplement.
Turning 18, Bombay Times has launched its first-ever mass media campaign. Designed by Taproot India, the campaign puts forward the message of Bombay Times being 'Born Glamorous' and how the supplement has added a splash of glamour into the everyday life of the common man.
The television commercial for the campaign shows people from every walk of life, be it a young woman, a working executive, a Mumbai dabbawala, an autorickshaw driver or even a fisherwoman, dressed up and stylised as they go about doing their regular work. Throughout the film plays a soundtrack - Style maara to darna kya, thoda hero bana to darna kya - a take on the popular Hindi song, Pyaar kiya to darna kya.
The idea, according to Taproot, was to slightly exaggerate the sense of personal style, making it cinematically dramatic and show how a sense of glamour has crept into people's lives, thereby also making an unabashed statement about the city and the life its citizens do not shy from aspiring towards.
With a first-of-its-kind campaign, Priya Gupta, vice-president (brand), The Times of India, says Bombay Times never really had any reason to advertise. However, marking its 18th anniversary, the campaign attempts to affirm the inherent glamour quotient of brand Bombay Times.
"Bombay Times is an unapologetically glamorous brand. We were the first to introduce glamour into media and people's lives. It is a cult brand and the 10-15 minutes readers spend with Bombay Times, they feel a part of the glamorous world they read about. It is a stylish brand and we wanted to underline the same and reach out to the youth," Gupta says.
Agnello Dias and Santosh Padhi, co-founders and creative directors of Taproot India, are the creative force behind the campaign. The film has been written by Dias, directed by Vikash Naulakha and produced by Prithvi Raj Luthra of Native Films. The music in the TVC is by Samiruddin.
Talking to afaqs!, Dias says, "If you look around, you will see a huge change in the way people look and groom themselves, compared to how they used to a decade back. A common man will wear a fake Tommy Hilfiger but he will make sure he sports that brand. A salesman in a showroom looks far more presentable than he used to before. Not all of this is because of the newspaper but there has been an upward shift in people's tastes."
"The sense of good style and aesthetics appeals to everybody. And since The Times of India is a newspaper for the city, I thought of dramatising this idea a bit more. Bombay Times is a very visual paper. And I wanted the film to be visual as well," Dias adds.
The multi-media campaign will be spread across television, supported by print, radio, outdoor and online promotions. Lodestar UM is handling the media mandate.
Talking further about the campaign, Gupta adds, "This is a campaign that can be pulled out and used anytime. It is a very generic positioning of Bombay Times."
Style maara to darna kya
The campaign could be yet another feather in Taproot's hat, or so suggest experts when sharing their opinions on the TVC.
With a kind word for the film, Sambit Mohanty, executive creative director, Bates, says, "I quite enjoyed this 'ordinary-world-meets-vogue' idea for Bombay Times - a supplement known for its unapologetic focus on fashionistas, PYTs and Page 3 people (in other words, style, not substance)."
Mohanty adds that the film also has a music video touch to it that is enjoyable.
"The execution is flawless. I loved its hip music video feel. The reworked languorous version of 'Pyaar kiya to darna kya' complements it brilliantly. Kudos to the creative team involved," he says.
Offering a planner's perspective, Saji Abraham, vice-president, planning, Lowe Worldwide also finds the TVC interesting. He lauds the fact that the creative idea celebrates what is otherwise often criticised.
"What stands out is that they are trying to make a virtue of being called a shallow Page 3 paper all the time, showing how the influence of the culture is almost a welcome addition to the dreary existence of the city. It works well for the brand because it takes on what it is known for and makes a strength of it. The music works well, too. It is earthy yet modern, much like the contrast in the images shown," Abraham says.
He is of the view that the film manages to capture the inevitable glamorisation that happens when one lives in Mumbai.
Abraham, however, is not much impressed by the baseline - Born Glamorous. It does not add much value, he thinks. According to him, the baseline should have talked about the impact it has had amongst the target group of Bombay Times, rather than talk about the supplement itself.