In these print and TV ads, the newspaper brand targets brands and their media agencies.
Mathrubhumi, a Malayalam daily, recently launched a unique campaign on integrated media solutions for Kerala. The move comes in as Onam - Kerala's biggest festival - is round the corner; during this time of the year advertisers begin to turn their attention towards media channels in the southern state of India.
Talking to afaqs! Kamal Krishnan PS, national head - Integrated Media Solutions, Mathrubhumi Group says, "During Onam all advertisers and media planners are bombarded with exaggerated claims of market coverage. Breaking away from these stereotypical claims, we wanted to focus our communication on what we as a group can deliver for our clients to help them achieve their festival goals."
Although, it is predominantly a digital campaign, there are many more interesting ideas surrounding the central theme. A series of print ads appeared in trade publications in phonetic Malayalam. Readers were prompted to know what the gibberish looking questions meant via QR codes or to key in a link. Each QR code or link throws up a unique tongue-in-cheek film of Malayalees and their Onam purchase decisions and ends with a call to action to explore Mathrubhumi Group's custom integrated offerings. A simple interactive contest follows, giving an opportunity for participants to win an all-expenses paid trip to Kerala.
The campaign is clearly targeted at the marketing and advertising fraternity across the country. Hence, very specific media vehicles are used, which includes trade magazines and selected digital platforms. In addition to digital and print, it will also be extended through direct mailers to advertising partners in media across the country. The mailer, Brand Brew Kit, demonstrates the flexibility of mixing relevant media vehicles from the wide range of strong brands within the group, integrated with some special tea from Kerala.
Conceptualised by Maitri Advertising Works, the campaign - a series of six ad films and six print ads - exaggeratedly narrates the roles of various brands, from the house of Mathrubhumi, across mediums in a Malayalee's life with insightful humour using the idea - 'Malayalees are going to buy what they see in Mathrubhumi'.
"In Bombay and Delhi, most of us have pre-conceived notions about what happens in Kerala and the rest of the south. People are also aware that their knowledge of the south is weighed down with stereotypes. So, we decided to run with it by creating new stereotypes for Malayalees. And the best way to do this was to make them speak in their native 'undu gundu' language and subtitling it," explains Francis Thomas, creative director, Maitri Advertising Works.
"It's 2017, YouTube has ensured that people are now quite habituated to supers and subtitles in their video content. We wanted the films to stand out, obviously, and they looked a lot funnier because they were in Malaylam. We thought the risk was well worth the reward. In essence, the entire campaign is an inside joke we're sharing with the media community, and we think that is what will make it a winner," Thomas adds.
Making the most of the opportunity
But 'what was the reason behind an integrated media solutions campaign, especially during Onam season?' we asked.
"Internal research, over the years, has proved that brands get aggressive through advertising campaigns during the Onam festival season. During the season our inventories are full in all the media platforms that we have. From brand perspective, in Kerala, 60 per cent of their annual sales take place during Onam; consumer durables being the biggest advertisers followed by automobile and jewellery. Consumer durables alone spend 50-60 per cent on advertising during this season. Historically, consumer durables and retail ads have a better share in the overall ad pie. But during Onam, national brands too become active," explains Kamal.
"We invite all our clients to leverage on our integrated strength to make the best out of this festive season. During this time, there is a considerable inflation in disposal incomes with salary advances and festival bonuses, and hence it is the most appropriate time," Kamal adds.
The challenge for any brand while talking to media planners is that they are actually talking to industry insiders. These are the people who can see straight through tall claims and slick positioning because they're exposed to so much advertising. Regular advertising won't cut much ice with them. So we asked, 'what was the most difficult part for crafting communication for this segment?'
"The brief was to introduce to planners across the country that Mathrubhumi had transitioned into a seamlessly integrated media entity and communicate its attitude and innovative capabilities. We think this campaign does that quite effectively," informs Thomas, adding, "Finding the right voice for the brand was the tough part, but eventually, the solution came from embracing the problem - we decided to talk to them in their own language, with self-deprecating humour and wry sarcasm."
A look at Mathrubhumi's Print ads.