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Shallow shlacking: why Hindu’s campaign gets the buzz



Many a times, the way a brand is (and is seen to be) becomes the problem definition. And many re-positioning efforts try to get away from it, as far as possible.

‘Our brand is seen as dated, let’s throw in some young dudes, cool girls and some happening music’… ‘we are seen as staid and boring, let’s show ourselves as guys who can have fun’…am oversimplifying but you get the point.

Not surprisingly, they often come across as wannabe efforts that don’t ring true. Therein lies the dilemma. The restage or repositioning is MEANT to create a new meaning, but how do you do that without seeming like you are trying to be what you are not??

The best solutions find a new cool in the existing truth of the brand. Connect the brand’s current notion to an emerging insight. That’s how, while still seeming to be coming from the same source, they have new found voice and energy.

I believe Hindu’s TOI bashing is in that league. I am yet to see anything capture the attention of the FB world the way it has when it comes to advertising.

At it’s simplest, Hindu’s campaign says it is a ‘good newspaper’ and TOI is not…(or so it seems from some of the articles!) when was the last time you got excited by a message like that? And yes the ads are funny, the point is, so are a million other uploads every minute on FB, why does this ‘funny’ get to us?

My take – the answers is in the largeness of the idea and therefore in the depth of the insight. An emerging truth which has started to bother us under the skin. This taps into that.

So what is that?

The explosion of stimulus around us has been staggering. First TV, the K serials, non stop cricket, IPL, the internet, napster, orkut, youtube, facebook…

As we settle back hoping to enjoy the showering of goodies, a realization dawns. On what this has done to us.

We are increasingly growing to be as attention deficient as the hyper teenager we liked to laugh at. A dozen simultaneously opened tabs on the explorer, the half sent sms, the half a dozen started, but unfinished articles (forget books…oh u have already!)

Its impact is evident in what everything trying to get our attention today tries to do.

To our horror we realize the TOIfication of life all around us. Everything screaming for attention, and happy to dumb down to get to the ‘new’ us. Even as we bemoan this trend, we realize it’s a reflection on us.

It’s not ‘someone out there’ who wanted test cricket to be replaced by slam bang T20s, celeb kisses, fireworks and scantily clad babes, it’s us. If marriages are turning out to be stage shows rather than celebration of starting of a new relationship, it is after all we who chose that.

Perhaps the most troublesome of this trend is what has happened to news. Even as we devour the next murder – sleaze piece, we worry if things have gone too far, too low.

Or, more importantly, who are WE turning out to be.

Hindu’s campaign, laughs at this TOIfication of everything, including ourselves.

In doing so – even as it reaffirms its ‘old’ position, it starts an all new conversation we have all been wanting to have…