Print goes below the line

By , agencyfaqs! | In | July 21, 2003
As advertisers wake up to the power of multimedia communication, newspaper houses that have the wherewithal jump on to the bandwagon

As paradigms of marketing change so do the modes of delivery. For advertisers keen to see their consumers have a brand experience over and above conventional advertising, below-the-line (BTL) activities such as direct marketing, sampling, store demos, promotions, events, are a natural option. However, a trend emerging over time is the presence of newspaper houses (English as well as language press) in the BTL space, raising an important question: What are they doing here?

Explains Shailesh Gupta, director, Jagran Prakashan Ltd (printers & publishers of the daily Dainik Jagran), which has spun off a separate wing called Jagran Solutions to cater to client needs in these areas, "Advertisers are looking for avenues to make their brands visible. The point is that instead of outsourcing these operations why not channelise it under one umbrella."

Channelising implies making available resources to take up a prescribed activity, which is the driving force behind the entry of many publication houses in the BTL space. Says Sandip Tarkas, president, South Asia, Media Planning Group (MPG), "Their very nature of business implies a local presence with infrastructure in place. Since they liaise with government authorities, getting the necessary clearances or permission becomes easier for a newspaper house."

Explains a media analyst who doesn't want to be identified, "A newspaper house has two products, the tangible newspaper and the organisation itself. This organisation has on-ground infrastructure, which is more often than not sub-optimally utilised. Hence, to drive revenues these resources are put to use. What a client thus gets is a package deal comprising different media vehicles, which can be customised to suit his needs."

Agrees Sundar Narasiman, regional manager, Mumbai, Amar Ujala, who took up a three-month long activity comprising sampling, film promos, local cable TV advertising, hoardings, jeep paintings coupled with a print campaign for brand Ayush (from HLL) in the western UP belt between March and June this year (a similar activity was taken up by Navabharat in Madhya Pradesh and Hindustan in Varanasi, Lucknow and Bihar for the same brand at the same time), "If one has to rise up to the challenge of TV per se, it is possible by adding some value to print. At least, the Hindi publications need to do this to find newer avenues of growth. We (Amar Ujala) were looking at tapping an FMCG client who is not an active spender in print, and divert his spends towards print backed by allied activities."

Gupta of Jagran, however, does not term his offering as a package deal. "Jagran Solutions is a separate identity where advertisers who show a presence in the flagship brand can avail of services in the areas of outdoor, research, events and direct marketing. We don't package. We are instead a one-stop shop."

Deepak Kumar, head of Mid Day Below the Line echoes a similar sentiment, "The purpose of Mid Day BTL is to provide an integrated market solution. Our focus is Mumbai and we want to deliver it to our media consumers and advertisers in totality."

For Devraj Sanyal, general manager, Times Infotainment Media Ltd (part of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd) who is operating chief of 360 Degrees, the events solutions wing of Times Infotainment, the "strengthening of an existing promotion with various arms of BTL", is the crucial rider. "What we offer is a multi-BTL experience, making it larger than life for the end consumer. For instance, for the India tour of AXN's Hot N Wild Contest we are using net, retail (Planet M), print, radio, plus events to strengthen the overall experience."

Though different objectives drive a newspaper house's foray into the BTL space, all agree that the exercise gives "greater bang for the buck" as far as the client or advertiser is concerned. "The end result for me could be market expansion, but the point is that if you help your client grow, you grow as well," explains Gupta. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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