Ganesh Chaturthi is one of Maharashtra’s biggest festivals with lakhs of devotees thronging to pandals for a “darshan” of their beloved deity every year. However, because of the Covid pandemic, the state government had banned all public gatherings and pandals this year.
With devotees unable to visit their favourite Ganapati pandal, Maharashtra Times helped bridge the gap by taking the blessings of their beloved Bappa to their readers’ homes. Maharashtra Times tied up with Lalbaugcha Raja and Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati, the two largest Ganesha pandals in Mumbai and Pune, to distribute their blessings in the form of kumkum and shendur with the newspaper.
On the auspicious occasion of Ananta Chaturdashi, lakhs of readers in Mumbai and Pune woke up to the Lord’s blessings delivered with their morning paper.
Kaustuv Chatterjee, Sr. Vice-President, Times of India, Languages and NPI at BCCL, said, “Maharashtra Times has always been a pioneer in reader engagement with a host of innovative solutions. Ganesh Utsav is extremely close to the heart of every Maharashtrian. We appreciate how much our readers missed visiting their favourite pandals owing to Covid guidelines. At the same time, as a responsible media house, we respect the need to exercise caution when it comes to social distancing. So, we decided to do the next best thing; leveraging our wide distribution reach to deliver Bappa’s blessings to homes.”
Sameer Sainani, Director, Times Response, The Times Group, added, “Times Response has always worked towards delighting both the reader and the advertiser. This is an example of that – where we decided to bring Bappa's (Lalbaugcha Raja and Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati) blessings shendur/kumkum to our readers’ homes along with their favourite Marathi daily — Maharashtra Times. This way, we utilised the physicality and reach of our newspapers to add delight to our readers uniquely and innovatively. I am sure that is something our readers will cherish for a long time. I would like to thank our advertising partners for partnering us on this initiative.”
In addition to this innovation, Maharashtra Times had an active calendar of events to engage readers and advertisers during the festival, ranging from live streaming of Ganesha aartis from across the most popular pandals in the state on its social media handles, celebrity aarti streaming, Times Green Ganesha, reader UGC contests and workshops.