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AajTak uses black and white humour to reinforce brand identity as an eye-opener

The news channel rides on its old slogan, ‘Sabse Tez’, while focusing on its reputation for exposés and newsbreaks through three ad films that use ‘ankhen khol dein’ as a tagline

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | April 8, 2016

AajTak Click on the image to watch the Video.

AajTak, one of the leading Hindi news channels in India, has released a series of television commercials to reinforce its brand identity as a channel of news breaks and eye-opening exposés.

These ad-films take a cue from current affairs, like Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s frequent foreign trips,Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s holidays at undisclosed locations and corporate baron, Vijay Mallya’s flight from the country after he went bankrupt. The television commercials have been directed by Pradeep Sarkar, who has earlier bagged awards for his work for AajTak. The films have a wacky, storytelling element.

Ashish Bagga Ashish Bagga


Ashish Bagga, Group CEO, India Today Group, said, “AajTak is a people’s brand that speaks the people’s language. The humour angle in the TVCs reaches out to not just the mind-space but also the heart-space of the news audience. The ad breaks the clutter just like AajTak does.”

Bagga said that the slogan “SabseTez’ remained the channel’s brand positioning. “It remains the trust of over a 100 million viewers weekly, the only news channel to have held this record now for 20 weeks in a row. The TVCs further reinforce this character of AajTak as a people's brand. A trust that it has earned through the years by consistently showing the courage to call a spade a spade - the only place where the viewer feels - 'Aankhein khol de'.”

The ad-films have been made in black and white, using humour and a creative licence around a few major news events to drive home the point that AajTak was an eye- opener for the Indian society. The films carry forward the legacy of AajTak, set by a similar iconic campaign several years back.The films released include ‘Hasya Kavi’, ‘Missing Beta’ and ‘Videsh Yatra’ among others. The varied themes of the films highlight the courage of AajTak to call a spade a spade.

Explaining the concept and reason behind the campaign, Sarkar said, “The format of this campaign is the same as the previous one, but of course it is topical to present times. The brief given was to take the No. 1 position of AajTak to a whole new level with a focus on the role of the brand. We all felt the old style humour would be the most appropriate. A small test-run was done and the results were quite good. The challenge was in the writing.”

Having worked on a few marketing campaigns on news channels, Sarkar explained how there were very few players on national television when it had first done the black and white AajTak campaign. “We knew the characters of all the channels, so choosing what to see was simpler. Now it's a whole new game. There is a multitude of news channels competing for the viewer’s time and loyalty. Fortunately for AajTak, the brand itself is very strong... So, reiterating the brand promise with a new version of the old campaign seemed right.”

The director explained that the main challenge of the campaign “is” to keep it smart, witty and topical. The director used the present tense, to emphasize that taking a humorous view in the serious news space to break the clutter with a simple message, should be an ongoing process.

Well, even if the director or the channel didn’t anticipate an Abbys for that first campaign, they did get the award. The makers are still waiting for the viewers’ response to the new films. Meanwhile, the channel targets all strata of the viewers, geographically and demographically. According toBagga, the conversations generated around these ads highlight the overwhelming response the channel gets from youth, along with the other age groups.

Kalli Purie Kalli Purie

Kalli Purie, Group Editorial Director, B’cast & New Media, India Today Group, said, “It is very important that the campaign has news currency, for a news brand like AajTak. But the beauty of the script and treatment makes something so current timeless. When one sees our 15 years old campaign, it will still make you laugh and that is what is a proof of a big idea.”

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