While The Hindu continues to target the youth, in its latest television commercial it turns the spotlight on Indian politicians and focuses on the poor example of governance that is being set by them for the new generation.
Beat up your children and they will think it’s the norm. Fight before the young and they will learn to do it better. Break chairs in the midst of solving national issues and the youth will trust that it’s precisely how the country is run. And so, behave.
This is the insight The Hindu’s latest ad is based on. After an entire campaign run which involved The Hindu and The Times of India taking shots at each other, the Chennai-based national daily has launched a fresh ad campaign that urges the nation’s leaders to conduct themselves well.
While the broadsheet continues to target the youth with the campaign, taking off from where it left in its previous communication, this time around it tries to ‘behave’ more inclusive.
In its latest television commercial, the daily turns the spotlight on Indian politicians and focuses on the poor example of governance that is being set by them for the new generation.
Even as it stirs up a conversation that is really affecting the youth, the campaign decides to talk through those who are the source of that very conversation.
Conceptualised by Ogilvy India, the film is set in a classroom. The TVC opens with the professor asking his students to debate the rural development bill; and yes, he seeks ‘proper parliamentary behaviour’. The house is set open wherein two groups of students are pitted against each other. Very soon, the situation turns chaotic. Furniture breaks, books fly, faces are punched. Eventually, as an instrumental version of poet Narsinh Mehta‘s ‘Vaishnava jana to’ (a bhajan endorsed by Mahatma Gandhi during his daily prayer) takes over the screaming disorder, the ad ends with the note, ‘Behave Yourself, India. The Youth Are Watching’.
While The Hindu wanted to continue its dialogue with the youth, it was also keen to build a mechanism that would allow the daily to extend a thought that could raise many more pertinent issues.
And that is when the idea made its way. Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy says that the idea occurred while he was disturbed by something he saw on television. What followed is The Hindu TVC that he wrote.
“The insight is very simple and comes from our everyday lives. It asks us to behave wisely because it will impact the way our children will conduct themselves. The ad tries to talk sensibly to the largest target group of this country (the youth) through an idea, which is much larger and therefore, the positioning becomes much wider now,” says Pandey.
Joono Simon, ECD (South) Ogilvy worked in close collaboration with Pandey to conceptualise and create the campaign.
‘Behave Yourself, India. The Youth Are Watching’ can easily change tone and talk about social injustice, intolerance, attitude toward senior citizens, or even address the current economic divide without taking much away from the classroom scene. But to begin with, The Hindu chose to speak about the politicians.
“A vibrant democracy requires participation of the youth predominantly and in today’s era, the lack of political icons is the bane of the country; the youth of today do not see strong icons to emulate in comparison to the heroes of yesteryears. The Hindu exposes this stark contrast of leadership, and is set to the pulse of the youth and their resentment with today’s governance,” says Suresh Srinivasan, vice-president, advertisement, The Hindu Group of Publications.
“Our previous campaign was not just a reaction to TOI; it was to propagate a story that was begging to be told. Showcasing the horror in junk news consumption and re-establishing that knowledge is the ‘new cool’. This campaign, like the previous one, is also set to the pulse of the youth and strengthens our positioning as a vibrant and aggressive brand,” he adds.
The film that is already being shared and talked about extensively on social networks is being supported by digital and cinema promotions. The print campaign too shall be launched shortly.
The insight-execution translation
For Jitender Dabas, executive vice-president and head of planning, McCann Worldwide, the ad is a ‘populist’ commercial. According to him, newspapers playing the voice of conscience of the society or holding the mirror to the society is one of the most obvious brand strategies in the newspaper/media category and bashing the politicians is the best way to take a populist moral high ground in our society today.
“So, I see this ad getting very popular in urban India very soon and generating a lot of conversations. It will perhaps also enhance the stature of brand ‘The Hindu’. But will it ever succeed in getting the young, whose cause the newspaper seems to espouse or who are watching this ad on social media, to pick up a copy of ‘The Hindu’? I am not so sure. What surely works for the ad is great monochrome execution and the choice of music,” he says.
According to Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, executive creative director, Leo Burnett, a newspaper stands for what is happening in the country at that moment. “And if the dynamics of the country is changing, it is only right to strategically portray what the current scenario is. We always say that we should be a living example for our children but our country’s so called political oldies with their tantrums are exactly the opposite. The insight has been very clearly communicated. Like the way the professor is shown — a middle aged man who does not have any point of view like many in our country and will still look in doubt as if nothing has happened.”