Commuters between Delhi and Gurgaon almost always complain of a bitter experience at the toll plaza of the Gurgaon Expressway, with waiting times going upto an hour during rush hours. Taking a cue from this situation, Hindustan Times has launched an initiative titled 'Toll Free Gurgaon'. The campaign pushes for the removal of the toll plaza and highlights how ill-conceived and poorly designed the Gurgaon Expressway is, and its adverse impacts on the traffic situation and life in the city.
Speaking about the campaign, Shantanu Bhanja, business head and VP, marketing, HT Media, says, "As citizens of Gurgaon we have all suffered the ill-effects of the toll - constantly being late for events. The toll plaza has indeed taken a toll on all of us! And, as the leading newspaper of Gurgaon, and with our declared position of being the voice of Gurgaon, we decided that we must take up most strongly one of the biggest issues that afflict the lives of the citizens of Gurgaon on a daily basis."
HT has launched a full-fledged media campaign, barring television, to promote this initiative. It is running print ads across its Delhi and NCR editions, along with full page editorials on how the toll plaza creates a traffic bottleneck and chaotic jams.
On the outdoor front, branded cars are moving on the Delhi-Gurgaon road, which showcases the campaign's creative (designed by Lowe Lintas & Partners). The creative asks 'We pay Rs 21 for the toll, who pays for the delayed meetings or the missed flights?'
It has also organised petition collection booths at various corporate parks and offices across Gurgaon. This helps HT to create a touch point.
On the digital front, the English daily has extensively used Facebook to promote the campaign.
People can vote for the campaign by giving a missed call on 09227092270 or sending an SMS to 5424211. The newspaper claims it has already received more than 30,000 votes.
HT teams have been mobilised on ground to collect petitions, to be sent to the chief minister of Haryana, the NHAI and MoRTH (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways).
The campaign aims to strengthen the position of the HT Gurgaon edition. Current readership of HT Gurgaon is about 88,000 (AIR, IRS Q4 '12 projected to Census 2011 population).
Hindustan Times launched a Gurgaon section in the main newspaper in 2010, under the brand name of Gurgaon First. In May 2013, it launched the Gurgaon edition. For the record, HT Media was launched in 1924. It publishes Hindustan Times (English newspaper) and Hindustan (Hindi newspaper through a subsidiary, Hindustan Media Ventures Limited), and a national business newspaper, Mint.