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The Hindu hits back at TOI with its new campaign

The three TVCs created by Ogilvy & Mather put the focus back on substantive journalism vis-à-vis Page 3 brand of journalism

Neha Saraiya | Delhi |January 31, 2012

Two brands taking pot shots at each other, directly or indirectly, is nothing new in advertising. Many brands have done it in the past, such s Rin v/s Tide or Audi v/s BMW. The latest one to do so is English daily The Hindu taking on The Times of India in Chennai.

It all started in November last year, when TOI challenged the leadership position of The Hindu in the Chennai market with its ‘Wake up!’ campaign. Designed by Taproot India, the campaign provoked readers to give away the newspaper that supplied boring news to them and instead switch to TOI.

Now, The Hindu has chosen the positioning ‘Stay ahead of the times’ to hit back. Crafted by Ogilvy & Mather, the three TVCs have used the format of ‘vox pops’, i.e., voice of the people in interview format used in broadcasting. The agency found this sort of candid camera approach an interesting way to deviate from the tried and tested means and existing storytelling formats.

Talking about the genesis of the campaign, Joono Simon, Executive Creative Cirector, O&M, said, “The Hindu has always stood for in-depth, substantive journalism. Though the brand has always been slotted in a well-defined space in the minds of the consumer, there was a need to articulate it sharply, especially in the context of the growing competition. Also, the environment around us is constantly changing as the notion of popular culture is vastly different from what it was a few years ago. All this demanded a fresh interpretation.”

The three TVCs show the lame answers given by the general audiences in reply to simple questions like “What does ATM stand for?” or “Which sport does Dhyanchand play?” While a majority of the people fails to reply correctly to these questions, they promptly revert back with an answer for the last question based on Bollywood. Like “What is the pet name of Hrithik Roshan?” or “Which actress is associated with Size Zero?” The films end with a beeped sound of people responding to “Which newspaper do they read?” implying TOI is the answer.

Clearly, the creative idea behind the campaign exhorts readers to move out of the Page 3 and Bollywood gossip news to relevant current affairs and world events. And for this they need to change their current newspaper – to The Hindu.

Talking about his experience during the making of the campaign, Simon said, “We were really astonished by the level of ignorance among people of general and current affairs. What was more shocking was how some of them were very comfortable with their lack of understanding of things that are important.”

Although the campaign is a direct dig at TOI, Simon rules that out saying, “It is not a direct take on any newspaper. It is substantive journalism v/s what is generally termed as pulp fiction.”

Giving his perspective about the campaign, Suresh Srinivasan, Vice-President, Advertising, The Hindu Group, said, “The basic thought behind the campaign is that in an ever globalising economy where knowledge is power, there is a tendency with media companies to shy away from national and international issues. While in the short term this is of benefit in terms of readership, in the long term it takes a toll on readers who end up knowing nothing about important issues. This was a concern and stance that we had taken.”

Simon also describes the campaign as challenging in terms of execution as it took more than a week for them to complete the project. Interestingly, the films that were largely shot around Mumbai, and featured many people who were “street casted” keeping in mind a pan-India representation.

The agency has also released various versions of the print ad with similar insight. Going forward, the agency also plans activities in digital, cinema, radio, outdoor and activation.

The TVCs:





Executive Creative Director: Joono Simon

President (Agency head): Simmi Sabhaney

Senior Creative Directors: Arkadyuti Basu, Suresh Babu

Creative team: Mukund Olety, Shekar Hebbale, Binu Varghese, Mridula Joseph

Account management: Vijaya Sriram, Karthik Hariharan, Sandeep Shah, Aruna Narsi

Films: Rajib

Production house: Thumbnail Pictures

Director: Sudip Bandopadhyay

Media agency: Mindshare

Media agency (Digital): OMD

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Comments (65)
  • Naresh- 9 years ago

    It was seriously a great advertisement. It just not only showcases some news papers which were concentrating only on page 3 news but also with the growing number of news channels in various parts of the country which focuses only on entertainment concepts and one can say there is zero use to the society with the news they produce. I am sorry, it is for the news they create rather than produce.

  • gtharayan- 9 years ago

    I suggest another variant. "Which Newspaper you want your children to read? Change your Newspaper so that your Children read about substantive issues and evolve into future leaders."

  • RAVOOF- 9 years ago

    Wonderful..... Awesome ............ Paying back in the same coin !!!

  • Suraj- 9 years ago

    Excellent Ad!

  • ramu das- 9 years ago

    Wonderful initative taken by The Hindu,keep up the spirit... perfect ridicule with satire, and this is the need of the present days. We are fed up with the gossips of Bollywood, which has nothing to do with our lives, and we are missing the other important issues of the world which we ought to know. I'm not the reader of the Hindu, not even TOI, but what I read is the Hindustan Times which is again akin to TOI'S ontent, but after reading your article and watching the short video, I'm planing to switch over to The Hindu. I have one suggestion for you, make the publication widespread, in all cities, towns etc..., most people do want to read you paper, but they don't find your paper to read, cover all the states if possible.

  • Man- 9 years ago

    Good One !!!

  • Mohan- 9 years ago

    Hi When ever i buy a news paper thats the Hindu very big fan of the content and thought behind articles, i would TH to also concentrate on the online version as well so people like me who are out of country for long periods do get updated regularly and thanks for standing up.

  • Deepankar- 9 years ago

    Excellent Ad. My brother only read the Hindu for all current affairs and GK and it had a great role in his clearing his UPSC exams. I live in Australia but often read the HINDU newspaper online and I feel TOI is just showbiz and no content. Keep up the good work!! Deepankar

  • J Ravichand- 9 years ago

    Excellent Campaign. I have indeed changed long back to Hindu, due to page 3 kind of stuff and do not want my son to grow up in reading such than Hindu. Hindu is sometimes bland but that is ok as long as it covers important current affairs and give perspective..

  • Raghavan- 9 years ago

    Its a nice ad by Hindu.... Its true that Times are good in creating unwanted craze for knowing film news than real needed news... Hindu has the guts to blow the trumpet... Hindu rockz...

  • pravish- 9 years ago

    Brilliant... awsome ad, great work team. more than a take on Times of India, i feel the ad has brought out a more serious issue, of how much the public have lost interest in main stream news concerning the public and are now more interested in how many packs hrithik has on his abs. people are now longer bothered about what the editors write in the editorial, they just want to check out whos the new model in page 3. Thank you, Hindu. Times told us to wake up but you really made it happen.

  • hindutillid- 9 years ago

    Fantastic Ad! Exactly why I stopped the paperwalla delivering me the promotional 'free' copies of TOI after just 2 months. Didn't want my children reading the garbage they peddle in the name of news. People like potato chips too, they dont eat it for breakfast do they now? Grow a conscience TOI !!

  • Sachin- 9 years ago

    hahaha...Its a joke right...You really think NewsPapers show you the way out of this fake reality. Wake up...both TOI and TH are nothing but indoctrination & dumping down of the masses. for example..both news paper will tell you Fluoride in Toothpaste is very good for teeth while never to tell you which one..Calcium Fluoride or Sodium Fluoride..yeah, they use Sodium fluoride in toothpaste which Nazi germans used in concentration camps..No conspiracy...ask any Chemist in your town to test it .... These guys are after your money not real knowledge..if they give you real toothpaste company will advertise on their papers.

  • manohar- 9 years ago

    It is the world of ad wars and this is nothing new.Even the so called Elite Informative Hindu carried on its front page the Kolaveri news... so why blame only TOI for sensationalism. Daily Thanthi tamil covers news in its own style and is different from Dinamani of express. Each in its own way is serving the pread of news...

  • Ankit S- 9 years ago

    Finally, a good take on the so called "National newspaper". Personally I'm so fed up by TOI, all it contains is just advertisements and to top of it, semi nude pictures..... the paper has converted into some kind of soft porn magazine. The Hindu on the other hand is known for its sensible and professional journalism. I'm a huge fan of The Hindu and have read it during my entire stay in south India. TOI is no match on the standards of The Hindu. Other national daily I admire is Indian express.

  • Prabhu- 9 years ago

    I like this ad very much (for the most part to see gal in white dress) but seriously I am seeing a creative Ad after a long time. TOI is crap but at the same time it is true that Hindu is bore and it doesn't attract new readers. They should also throw in some fun stuff so that today's youngsters will start liking it.

  • ajith- 9 years ago

    Great advertisement for a great news paper. Wish "Hindu' turned aggressive long back and earned its rightful place amongst 'pulp fiction' news papers. If you want to have a serious and comprehensive picture of any news, 'Hindu' is the only option. Others may give you half truths; but for the complete picture, you have to resort to 'The Hindu'. Great going O & M and The Hindu. Keep up the good work.

  • Madhusudhan- 9 years ago

    Perfect Hit - Though I had switched to ToI because of cost factor, I regret it even now, but for the fact that it actually goes to the scrap/waste paper vendor every month. This way atleast i am getting reimbursed. Will be switching to Hindu Soon - Not because of this Ad, butfor the sake of my childrens future.

  • Vijay Deshm- 9 years ago

    The truth !!!! Excellent .... Keep going Hindu.

  • Kiran- 9 years ago

    Brilliant piece of work. And you know what?? You have actually described the real outlook of our GK levels. Shame on us, 'coz we are not aware of such common knowledge, and we are the NEXT generation!?!?!

  • suma- 9 years ago

    Anything in the name of full disclosure for '' here? Or am I the only one seeing the irony of a one-sided article on the subject of 'in-depth journalism'?? Good for O&M that they have smart minds but I think they smack of the same smugness and arrogance that columnists at The Hindu exuberate, at times (unintended pun). Sure, being from a Mylapore household that reads the 'Hindu paper daily' I can attest to the quality of language, grammar, variety etc but c'mon, this whole anti-Times campaign is too close on the heels of N.Ram leaving the helm. 'Thulluvatho Ilamai' at The Hindu? Surely some of the 'The Hindu' supplements reek of AS much page-3-itis as anything else out there. I find all the yuppie language and NRI-centric themes/tones that permeate the columns very distracting and anything but informative. If the Hindu really was allll that classy, maybe pointing to others faults wouldn't be such a hot buy to better business. They are as political as any other publication, just better at articulating and positioning themselves in a fawning market. There's no need to tout the "Power of Knowledge" and fretting "Ignorance of the masses" when all you want to do is sell more than your competetion. Because Empowerment and Wisdom don't need an O&M ad to sell their value.

  • Saravana- 9 years ago

    Way to go 'The Hindu'

  • roshan- 9 years ago


  • k g nayak- 9 years ago

    Well . As a regular subsciber of Hindu I am aware that it is known as a very conservative outfit. But for years having been the reader of TOI its changed strategy of catering the needs of only the younger audience has certainly resulted into changes in its format. I agree that the TVCs have very effectively brought these aspects. I am sure the TVCs will be highly respected

  • Vaasu- 9 years ago

    Actually TH should have concentrated on improving the distribution. I for one, tried subscribing to TH but had to switch to TOI since the paper would never come on time in the morning. This is my experience in Bangalore.

  • Ashok Raaj- 9 years ago

    TOI Simply Means "TIME PASS OF INDIA"... Stay way ahead of the TIMES!!!...

  • Sudhirb- 9 years ago

    I am with TOI, a better paper.

  • Sudhirb- 9 years ago

    I am with TOI, a better News Paper.

  • PATCHELLY- 9 years ago

    The HINDU was a very good newspaper till 2006.It changed afterwards changing its colour to anti Tamils living outside India. I was reading it since 1961 till 2009,not anymore.

  • roshan- 9 years ago


  • Abhi- 9 years ago

    What a joke!! Complete Crap!! TOI has been made to look like a villain!! Get a life guys! TOI is as good as Hindu is, infact better! And yes, it is indeed the National Newspaper of India.

  • Suny- 9 years ago

    At least some media have ethics and social responsibility. The Hindu should maintain its content and credibility and its amazing journalistic standards. It is one of the few news papers with real journalists.

  • SKR- 9 years ago

    This might be a fact, but which one do you think an advertiser will choose. As for an advertiser, which ever is selling more is where he is.

  • rohit- 9 years ago

    TOI Sucks

  • MediaCritic- 9 years ago

    This advertisement is good. It exposes the lose shunted mentality of the youth, taken for a ride by bollywood and cricket. Times on India is one paper that has more semi naked fashionable women than any other news paper. Perhaps their advertising is based on "sex sells" . Not bad, after all who cares for news these days. Yellow journalism is pretty easy to follow.And why give the correct news as it will offend the powerful. On the other hand Hindu is very good. It gives indepth coverage. Much better is the magzine frontline. Its language is also rich and content are detailed. Best of all it is not a communal newspaper. However the challenge of Hindu is to increase the readership all over the country , which it has not done so far. I dont see Hindu in Mumbai ? Why ? The way TOI killed Maharashtra Herald, the hind could,provided its circulation increase.

  • Sumanth- 9 years ago

    Excellent Ad. I personally read the TOI for almost past 20 years. Now that I have switched over to other daily nationals for the sake of my children. TOI is just a soft porn magazine. Deccan Herald, The Hindu and Indian Express are far better than this piece of soft porn called TOI

  • Bhupender- 9 years ago

    Its ok that The Hindu is informative newspaper but don't go on its name. It is an anti-Hindu newspaper. All his column writers are communists or DMK slaves. I want to give my children knowledge and information but that should no be biased or anti-hindu. Jai Hind

  • venuMADHAVA- 9 years ago

    Times is chetan bhagat who writes third rated pulp fiction where as HINDU is Rohinton Mistry the class...

  • Kiran- 9 years ago

    A True Ad.........

  • Aarkay- 9 years ago

    Perhaps this attack was invited by the Times with its unjustified attack on the Hindu's traditional style of coverage,long on verifying facts,short on speed.But then the Ad agency has,in one stroke,sacrificed the Client's century old reputation of never hitting below the belt.It may be a brilliant idea to expose the real intellectual level of quite of a few of our youth,but the Ad is in bad taste.

  • GBhat- 9 years ago

    Excellent! I would consider this as an awareness campaign instead of just and advertisement! I have been reader of 'The Hindu' over 5 years most of their contents are very good and informative in nature covering national and international events which touch our lives one or the other way. Media should share the sensible information to people and make them aware about the current affairs not just affairs! There is clear difference between what people want to read and what people should read. With this advertisement lets hope we will get sensible news!

  • Naraayan Mu- 9 years ago

    TOI is Toilet Paper Of India, you get just crap news their, just read any news on TOI web site and see in right corner you will see pornographic ad. encouraging to watch someone underwear or nude. TOI is worst with horrible headline.

  • RJ Sawant- 9 years ago

    I was TOI reader for 25 years but discontinued recently. It has become Congress mouthpiece and has pioneered the concept of 'paid news' under disguise in India. Political new are almost always doctored to suit Congress Party's interests.

  • Rouhan Shar- 9 years ago

    This should be a national campaign, not just in Chennai.

  • anilk- 9 years ago

    TOI has a habit of increasing their sales by publishing photographs of leading bollywood & hollywood heroines in biknis. Hindu is much superior paper in all aspects. There can not be any comparison. I wish I could purchase Hindu's Bombay edition in Mumbai.

  • Thangavel- 9 years ago

    I had tried TOI in Pune when i was there for a training. I had to ask the attendant whether he had given me all pages of the news paper. I never found any thing informative in TOI. All i could find was advertisements, gossip, half naked pictures. But it is sure an entertainer. Hindu is totally different. And today i had read Calicut edition of Hindu i could find that the quality of reporting has gone down in Hindu indeed. Media is no more media. It has become business.

  • Mithra- 9 years ago

    Anyone can read any newspaper.. Ads are their top most priority... So TH or TOI both are same...

  • Hemant- 9 years ago

    Yes, they (The Hindu) had a campaign in malls (Inorbit mall hyderabad) with similar set of questions... They were giving out free calendars etc.. Good approach indeed.

  • Asad Humayo- 9 years ago

    O&Ms have once again proved their creative prowess. Simple and unmatched!

  • Sindu- 9 years ago

    Amazing campaign!! A loud come back by The Hindu.

  • james blake- 9 years ago

    TOI really has fallen back in terms of content. And also fleecing customers from smaller tier II cities by publishing a less than 10 sheet paper with more advertisement and less news. In bigger cities the advertisements and celebrity gossip finds more space than current affairs which a newspaper is realy meant to carry. Sorry state of affairs from TOI from being one of the oldest newspapers its now trying to be the boldest newspaper in India. Its wake-up call to all newspapers, newschannels and newsmagazinesthat that are carry more gossip and helping in creating a dumb nation that isnt aware of whats happening in the country forget about the world news.

  • Anurag- 9 years ago

    Articulate advertisement taking a dig at TOI. Although, viewers may find it unbelieveable no to know simple answers of those GK questions!

  • Nepolean- 9 years ago

    I request all parents to buy newspapers like 'The Hindu' rather than mewspapers like 'Times of India' that acts like the official advertiser of Poonam Pandey. In edition of TOI I actially saw an article titled 'Poonam Pandey strips..well almost' and it went on to show 4 or 5 pictues of her stripping down to her bikini. What utter rubbish!

  • Ranga- 9 years ago

    I guess the Ads are inconclusive... There should have been another person answering all the questions that were asked, and finally when you ask him, "Which news paper do you read?" he should have answered "The Hindu" While the rest answers as "...." and then the newspaper rolls out... This could have created more affection and would have been more effective too

  • Pooja Tiwar- 9 years ago

    too....good........The Hindu Hits Back...rock on

  • jayaram- 9 years ago

    Today we have different media for news to reach us and the relevance of newspaper is not as significant as it used to be in the life of an average man. It is also not necessary that every individual is looking for the same kind of news in the newspapers. I observe that most of the leading newspapers including The Hindu and TOI do cover a wide spectrum of news but of course the emphasis is different in each case, perhaps in each edition too. Since many years now I am not a regular reader of either of them, nor felt any necessity to subscribe to it either. Anyway, a war of this kind is most welcome as the readers stand to gain from it.

  • Zach- 9 years ago

    Most of the comments here are paid by TH. They all sound similar. TOI is better than TH anyday!!!

  • Barath- 9 years ago

    Pity of the readers that a well matured news paper like TH has to go for an advt! What to say about the advt mania... now a days all are going thro marketing, advertising, promotion etc., If the people read TH, employability in INDIA will definitely/drastically improve... I am sure.

  • Kiran- 9 years ago

    Please take this campaign across India, and stop ToI from converting our children into a bunch of weeds.

  • Praveen- 9 years ago

    100% true..

  • suma- 9 years ago

    The ads in question (posted above) use actors throughout, although seeming to appear as if the camera crew caught random people off the street. The answers are as scripted as the questions. I'm not sure this deception is meant to be obvious. The lighting, the white noise track, and the demographic being "sampled" all seem to be very consistent, not at all an image of the 'real' Indian street. The writer of this article seems to be as misguided, calling this 'Vox Pops' .. more like 'Imitation Vox Pops'. Pot calling the kettle black does not the pot fair make.

  • Rocky- 9 years ago

    The ad is creative, but crap, and misleading. There's no such thing as genuine, useful or truthful news anymore. You have to read more than one newspaper to get to the truth, if at all you get to it. Most of what passes off for news is some larger agenda, PR requirement or whim of some whimsical and bilious editor, which readers may not always notice. In fact, newspapers are produced by people who often lead miserable lives slogging on the desk in newsrooms, forsaking a good life, and tolerating ill-treatment by whimsical, sadistic bosses, and daily deadlines. Many desk guys realise only too late the folly of their passion for a profession long dead. The first thing they lose is their self-esteem. Many sub-editors just want to get out of the job. About the ad, it’s not clear if it was stage managed or if the subjects in it were caught unawares. But it’s reason enough for them to feel insulted for being portrayed as ‘ignorant’. And what is this talk about ‘learning’ from what is published in the newspapers? A reader of The Hindu may be a misfit in a group of TOI readers, and vice versa. So what? Isn’t it a matter of taste and choice? Journalism, per se, is dead. What John Swinton of the NYT said half a century ago was the obituary of what many people still call the “independent press”?

  • narayanan- 9 years ago

    it is true. you will get all bolly wood and kolliwood tally wood stuff only in that paper .you will get correct and real news from THE HINDU. THE HINDU is not for news to create panic in public mind

  • vishal- 9 years ago

    Kudos to the team which have created these advertisements. They are just too awesome,it was seriously required to create awareness among people about what substantive journalism is all about. TOI is just pure entertainment, just another money making business firm. Cheers Hindu Group, you have done a very good thing.

  • Sudheer- 9 years ago

    Whatever you guys says... we will get some jilp jilp and killukiluppu only by reading / looking at TOI pictures... Hindu is borin... no pictures of girls in bikini.. thats what today's youth and everyone need