Aakriti Shrivastava

"The newspaper is dead," claims The Indian Express

The daily's latest campaign, executed by Creativeland Asia, is aimed at the 'Indian Intelligent', and positions itself as 'more than a newspaper'.

'The newspaper is dead', says prominent English daily The Indian Express in its new ad. Executed by Creativeland Asia, the campaign is aimed at the 'Indian Intelligent'. This is the brand's first large-scale advertising campaign.

The ad starts with a visual of a newspaper floating away in rainwater accompanied by a bold statement, 'First things first, the newspaper is dead'. It goes on to say that it was dead long ago, when people started watching 'live' news on TV and the newspaper was reduced to being previous day's leftover. The narrative then takes a turn saying The Indian Express is more than a newspaper. It goes on to count what the publication stands for and who it talks to.

"The newspaper is dead," claims The Indian Express
The series includes four other TVCs, shorter in length, that revolve around four different brand messages. These 30-second spots also follow a similar theme of no dialogues and black & white visuals.

Pavita Puri, group head, brand, The Indian Express, says that the campaign is based on the simple insight that Indians are beginning to look beyond the news media they are consuming. "They are looking for a credible source of news and knowledge, by way of which they can 'navigate' the sea of information," she states.

Elaborating on the need for the ad campaign, she says, "We introduced new pages to the newspaper and also upgraded the mobile app. The next logical step was a communication campaign that would help reiterate how sharply relevant and distinctive the brand is."

The campaign will be rolled out across India on TV, digital, outdoor, print and cinema. The print ads are being released in the group's publications. With this campaign, the brand hopes to revamp and redesign its image, and also increase market share by making itself relevant to a larger set of audiences.

"The newspaper is dead," claims The Indian Express
Sajan Raj Kurup, founder and creative director, Creativeland Asia, says that the idea of 'Indian Intelligent' is what won them the pitch. "We chose to have black & white visuals because the essence of a newspaper is not to be coloured, but to stay honest and depict truth in black & white. We also wanted to stay true to the masthead of The Indian Express - black, white and the red flame."

On the absence of dialogues in the ads, he says, "We were designing communication for a newspaper and wanted to stay true to the product. We wanted it to be seen and read just like the newspaper. Besides, what is understood is more important than what is said."

The Indian Express is part of Express Group of publications, which also owns other print brands like Financial Express, Jansatta and Loksatta.

Intelligent ad?

"The newspaper is dead," claims The Indian Express
"The newspaper is dead," claims The Indian Express
Jayanto Banerjee, national planning director, Hakuhodo Percept, feels that the tone of the ad is apt for the serious newspaper and builds on its core values.

When asked if it is safe to talk down to potential readers, he says, "It is a viable positioning and The Economist has done it for years. It doesn't talk down to readers, but tries to play on their ego."

While Banerjee feels that the ad creative is good, keeping one's interest till the end, "whether this campaign will attract the 'other kind' who prefer the popular tabloids of today is something we will have to wait and see." He adds, "The problem lies at the very core of the idea - as it's not newspapers that are dying, but 'serious newspapers' as a genre that is dying across the world."

OR Radhakrishnan, ECD, Enormous Brands, says, "While the execution is good, and the seriousness is essential for the brand, I would have preferred a voiceover instead of the supers, which could have generated more impact."

On whether the newspaper will be able to win more readers with this campaign, he says, "This message is about the brand standing strong on its tone and content. The objective isn't to boost subscriptions, but to boost the image of the brand."