afaqs!

TOI brings 'I' in India

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | June 14, 2013
The newspaper's 'I Lead India' campaign captures the pulse of today's youth and asks people to own up to their responsibilities.

For several years, Times of India's campaigns have focused on issues that are relevant to young India. After successful initiatives such as India Poised, Lead India and Teach India, the brand has now launched 'I Lead India', a campaign that attempts to capture the public sentiment of call for action on the part of each individual.

The new TOI commercial

Conceptualised by Taproot India, the television commercial (TVC) shows young men and women taking a stand against armchair critics. The film opens with a youth running across a desert under the scorching sun, carrying an armchair over his shoulder. A montage of shots follows, showing youngsters across the country labouring with different kinds of couches, sofas and armchairs, trying to transport them urgently. Finally, all the furniture is dumped in an open space forming a tall pile, which is then lit up.

Throughout the duration of the film, a catchy anthem plays in the background. The lyrics, 'Baithe rehne ka time khatam, Illzamo ka ab time khatam, Tu tu, mein, mein ka time khatam. Ab mein hi hoon, ab mein hi hoon' call for action on an individual level.

Incidentally, the agency has earlier worked on Mumbai Mirror's 'I am Mumbai' campaign that portrayed the concerns of the city.

Rahul Kansal

Rahul Kansal, executive vice-president, Times of India, explains that the 'I Lead India' initiative comes at a time when the mood of the nation is pessimistic. "The campaign intends to mobilise the citizens towards working for a solution by bringing to the forefront that the change, which we seek around us, begins with us," he says.

Kansal adds that it was a perfect time to launch the initiative as ordinary Indians are outraged at the chaos affecting every aspect of life in the country. "They have demonstrated and petitioned, requested and pleaded. But nothing has changed. The initiative aims at bringing them together to work towards a solution, rather than continue with cribbing and moving on," he stresses.

The brief to Taproot was to communicate that the time for a change is now and it should begin with each one of us.

The campaign, which kick-started in May, will continue till the end of November. As a part of the initiative, during this period, Youth Brigades will be selected across 26 cities, which will execute City Tasks and bring to the forefront the agents of change in the society.

Besides TVC, the campaign is being supported through print, radio, digital, cinema and outdoor activities. On the digital front, extensive interactions with the campaign's change agents will take place on various social media platforms.

All for a cause?

Akshay Kapnadak

Naresh Gupta

Akshay Kapnadak, executive creative director, McCann Erickson, feels the message that the campaign tried to bring across came out crystal clear and the film has been executed well. However, he cannot help but compare the commercial with the first TOI ad on the initiative. "I saw the ad in the newspaper much before watching the commercial. The words were simple, yet powerful and moving. Amitabh Bachchan's delivery of the lines in the commercial was restrained, but as powerful and as moving, nonetheless. The current commercial turns up the emotion a few notches, yet didn't move me as much as the first one did," he says.

Kapnadak adds that sometimes honest simple words can do what rabble-rousing cannot.

Naresh Gupta, managing partner and chief strategy officer, Bang in the Middle, opines that while the campaign is well crafted and the commercial hard to miss, there is too much anger. "The TVC catches on the perfect mood of the moment - that as a society are armchair activists. The push to leave the chair and do something is very much like what Reebok did about quitting the couch, many years ago. Quit the armchair as a message is okay, but there are many sub-texts in the ad that disturb me. There is a hint of violence (though not overtly shown) and there is destruction. Anger never helps you think clearly. Quitting the armchair and doing something needs a cool head and clear thinking. That is something that the TVC doesn't deliver on clearly. I also wish it was a bit less preachy in its tonality," he states.

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