The Hindu takes on “dumbing down” with new campaign

Watch the new campaign created by Ogilvy & Mather for the publication

wide player in 16:9 format. Used on article page for Campaign.

The Hindu, after a long silence, has decided to take competitors heads on with its new campaign ‘Stay ahead with The Hindu’. Featuring responses from readers of competitor newspapers, the campaign uses the brand’s “heritage and credibility” to highlight the present state of Indian journalism. Interestingly, this is the first time that the publication has embarked on a large 360 degree campaign spread across television, radio, print, outdoor, digital and on-ground activities.

Watch the other two TVCs here:
The three TVCs feature responses from general people for questions ranging from politics to sports and music, and while they seem to be getting all the answers wrong, all of them give the right answers for questions related to Bollywood. The last question posed to all the respondents is about the newspaper they read. However, the responses for this question are beeped out. The film ends with the line ‘Stay ahead of the times’. 
On the thought behind the new campaign, Suresh Srinivasan, vice president, advertising, The Hindu Group, said, “The Hindu believes that in a more than ever globalising knowledge-driven economy, it is vital that readers are well informed about the world at large. And yet, over the last few years, news from the media industry in India has increasingly focused on serving up a steady diet of trivia and shied away from the national and international issues that matter. It is the kind of news that equates to junk food. In the long term, it is a steady dumbing down of readers who end up knowing about a celebrity’s kid than about serious stuff that truly matters.” 

Elaborating on the brief from the client for this campaign, Simi Sabhaney, president, Ogilvy Bangalore and Chennai, explained, “An important task for us was to get people to re-evaluate their current choice of media and switch to The Hindu. Another important thing that we are trying to say is that the time has come to hold up a mirror to the new trend in Indian journalism, which is really dumbing down the society at large. And The Hindu is the only media institution that has the heritage and credibility to raise this issue.” 
When questioned about the ‘in your face’ attitude of campaign, she added, “Through the campaign, we are not lashing out at any one particular publication. Like I said, it is for many of those who are serving news equivalent to junk food. What has happened is that most people are steeped into the ‘Page 3’ culture and in this knowledge driven economy it is important that people are well versed with relevant current affairs and world events rather than just gossip.” 
Sabhaney also pointed out that the answers, shown as part of the TVC, were not staged. “These are actual answers that these people have given us when we posed the questions. This is a disturbing fact. It represents a cross-section of our society,” she added.   
On his experience of working on the campaign, Joono Simon, executive creative director, Ogilvy Bangalore, added, “The important thing is that it is not an invented joke to rebut the competition. It is brand Hindu's take on populism and broadly, a point of view on us an informed society. Actually the ignorance of people astounded us. None of the answers there are prompted or aided responses.”
Here are the print ads for the campaign: 

Click for full view
Client: The Hindu
Agency: Ogilvy 
Executive creative director:  Joono Simon
President (agency head): Simmi Sabhaney
Senior creative director: Arkadyuti Basu, Suresh Babu
Creative team:  Mukund Olety, Shekar Hebbale, Binu Varghese, Mridula Joseph
Account management: Vijaya Sriram, Karthik Hariharan, Sandeep Shah and Aruna Narsi
Films: Rajib
Production house: Thumbnail Pictures
Director: Sudip Bandopadhyay
Media agency: Mindshare
Media agency (digital): OMD
(With inputs from Shephali Bhatt)
Campaign India

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