ABP News: Moving ahead

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 10, 2013
The Hindi news channel's latest campaign emphasises that its viewers stay ahead.

Information is a powerful tool and a pragmatic take to the right information commands attention. ABP News' latest campaign, which reiterates the brand's tagline 'Aapko rakhe aage', conveys the significance of the right source of information, and emphasises that its viewers stay ahead.

The new ABP News TVC

Conceptualised by Lowe Lintas & Partners, the one-film television campaign has been directed by Abhijit Sudhakar of Jamic Films. The film opens in a crowded coffee house, where the protagonist tells his friend that democracy functions because of people and not by the few politically elected representatives. He adds that if people take interest and take up their responsibilities, change will happen without any protests. Suddenly, he realises the café has turned quiet and everyone is looking at him. The scene then switches to him watching ABP News, and the voiceover adds, "ABP News sunnewalo ki sab sunte hai. ABP News, aapko rakhe aage."

Neeraj Sanan

Shriram Iyer

The campaign is, technically, the second from the ABP News stable. The first one conveyed the channel's name change exercise from Star News, and was carried out last year around the same time.

Neeraj Sanan, chief marketing officer, MCCS says the channel decided to launch a campaign now as it felt that the earlier campaign's effect was waning. Besides, being the start of a new financial year, it wanted to energise everyone about the brand, including the internal team.

The campaign aims to bring alive the brand thought, 'Aapko rakhe aage', a tagline that can be used in any realm of life. In the context of news, the tagline signifies knowledge and awareness that helps the viewer to get recognition in his/her community, Sanan explains. And, this insight has been beautifully captured by the agency in the TVC, he believes. In fact, he adds, when the protagonist realises that everyone has been listening to him, the realisation brings out the emotional pay off of 'Apko rakhe aage'.

According to Sanan, in a fiercely competitive category like news, one of the challenges for the brand is to ensure it is differentiated within the category. "At the thought level, how do we tell people ABP News is the leader, is a challenge. Unlike others who talk about themselves, ABP News talks about consumers. We keep the focus on consumers first," he says.

Shriram Iyer, creative head, Delhi, Lowe Lintas & Partners, says the idea was to give a new interpretation of the brand's tagline. "When the protagonist realises that everyone in the café has been listening to his conversation, he smiles indicating a charming embarrassment," he says.

The film was shot at Mumbai's St Andrew's College auditorium, which was given the look of a café. As for the protagonist, Iyer says they were looking for a working class hero who does his job sincerely, is diligent and hardworking, and represents young India. "We wanted an actor, who not only looks the part but also speaks the part," he says.

The one-month campaign is extended to print, outdoor and digital media as well.

Raj Nair

Sandhya Srinivasan

News and views

Raj Nair, chief creative officer, BMB India, believes the execution is polished and the production is good. The casting is carefully done as the man looks earnest. "Despite all of the above, I don't know if people will exactly be 'goose bumped' into action. Even with all the ingredients, the creative, perhaps, isn't as rousing and leaves me a bit cold. The question to ask is, will the viewer/consumer see the spot, hear the line 'Aapko rakhe aagey' and want to change to ABP? I wonder if enough has been done to ensure this," Nair opines.

Sandhya Srinivasan, managing partner and chief strategy officer, Law & Kenneth, points out that from a news-product point of view, the proposition 'Aapko rakhe aage' is not unique but the treatment of the ad is something new.

"The proposition is something you may have heard before. However, as a Hindi news channel, how they are projecting it is interesting. It looks like they are addressing slightly more educated Hindi news viewers," Srinivasan says. She adds that the message of 'if you have a view, you stand for it' is something one would expect from English news channels. Seeing it from a Hindi channel is a different way of presenting news.

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