Ananya Pathak

Indian Express takes on fake news in new spot

We noticed Facebook in the first few seconds of the brand's latest film.

“How many times have you fallen for a story, instead of truth?” asks the latest film by Indian Express, the Noida headquartered Indian news media publishing company. The 30-second ad, titled #InformYourOpinion, opens with a picture posted by a Facebook user on his timeline, accompanied by the narration - “Every picture has a story, but not every story is true.” The almost nine decade old newspaper company seems to be taking a dig at the social media service that has been in the news of late for 'fake news'.

The background narration goes on - “Facts are created. Details are misplaced. And what you see is often misleading.” It is perhaps not a coincidence that the ad has been launched soon after Facebook embedded a 'correction notice' - “Facebook is legally required to tell you that the Singapore government says this post has false information” - at the bottom of a post (without any alterations to the text), by an Australian citizen, which was determined by the Singapore government to contain false information.

This is not Indian Express' first communication under the #InformYourOpinion umbrella.

Commenting on the ad, Sanjeev Kotnala, brand and marketing advisor, Intradia World says, “Well, someone has to start picking this opportunity against digital media and more so, social media.” He likes its placement in Facebook but finds the clip too sophisticated and the representation over-dramatised.

Sanjeev Kotnala
Sanjeev Kotnala

He opines, “Newspapers have often tried taking advantage of their credibility and the weakness of fake / false news in digital/social media. There was a campaign lead by Dainik Bhaskar in the past on similar lines. Alas, that was again too weak and not sustained enough. These efforts have been equally weak and ineffective like this ad from Indian Express. And do not forget, newspapers' trust and credibility are also under fire in the current media scenario in the country."

About the ad in question, he thinks it is preachy. “It is just another feel-good communication. Now, the brand can at least claim that they tried. It is not disruptive enough. It does not even shake you up. It fails to raise a question in your mind, forget about making you act on it.”

He goes on to say, “In the current digital/social environment, here is a window available for newspapers to make a statement, to capitalise on their analyses, checks and trust. The newspapers can (should) collectively act. They must contribute and be prepared for an extended high decibel disruptive campaign. 'Feel Good' and 'Act Good' are not going to make any difference.”