On July 8, 2002, one of the country's most widely read newspapers (ranked third in the urban markets by the NRS 2002) featured a colour double spread for Mahindra Scorpio on pages 12 and 13 (centrespread) in its Mumbai, Delhi and Pune editions. What is unique about this development is that it is for the first time that a colour double spread (two full pages on either side) has appeared in the main paper.
So far such a splash was the exclusive preserve of weekend supplements; as the main paper generally carried black and white double spreads. The reason - the newspaper did not really have the mechanics to carry out such an operation. Explains Nandini Dias, national media director, Interface Communications (which handles media buying for Scorpio and Bolero), "It is technically very difficult to execute such an ad in the main paper. With the weekend supplements, you do have some time on hand. We convinced both the marketing team at Times as well as the client that the launch of Mahindra Scorpio had to happen with style and be larger-than-life. The idea was to project leadership."
Agrees Sujoy Ghosh, general manager, Times of India, Response, "Through our conversations with Mahindra & Mahindra and Interface, we realised that the launch ad had to stand out and break through the clutter. A black and white double spread would be good but a colour double spread would be even more impactful."
The highlight of this advertisement however is the optimum utilisation of space, or, to be precise the absence of gutter space (space between two columns). With gutter space, an average page in the Times comprises eight columns. Thus two pages would mean 16 columns. Now, with no gutter space, the canvass available is larger, giving that much more freedom to the creative. Adds Ghosh, "The idea was to provide a 70 mm screen experience and I think we have succeeded because inquiries from other advertisers have already started pouring in."
Does this mean then that a new door of opportunity has opened for the Times? "I won't rule out the possibility. We are on the look out for new avenues of business. But let me caution that the double spread is a high value item and not an impulse buy."
The estimated spend for the Mahindra Scorpio launch ad is in the region of Rs 70 lakh. Also, this is the third major media innovation by the Times Group. Two years ago, the Microland-promoted horizontal portal indya.com was launched almost with a bang with the entire cover page of the Sunday Times being used up for the occasion. This deal was pulled off by Initiative Media. Prior to that, the Mahindra Bolero launch ad opened up the back page of the Times of India, till then a sacrosanct space. "The back page is one of their premium pages today - even more than page seven or page nine. We are glad to have come up with the idea of utilising that space," claims Dias.
As far as the Scorpio launch goes, the agency had an interesting event lined up on the occasion. A Scorpio cavalcade snaked it way through the busy streets of Mumbai, journeying from Juhu to Churchgate and back. The drive was timed between 8.30 am to 10.30 am and 6.30 pm to 8.00 pm with its movements being announced on radio (GO 92.5 FM) every few minutes.
"We have prepared a one-year plan that includes a multi-media campaign across television, print, radio and cinema. Road shows are also in the offing. Our aim is to go all out and ensure that there is a multiplier effect in the end," she adds. © 2002 agencyfaqs!