Be Visible, Be Exposed


Two ads have shown that brand building is all about being seen and building trust. Why do The Indian Express ads fail, while that of succeed?

By  Gopinath Menon

AFTER years, one is seeing a campaign from a media house. The Indian Express has always been the most credible but the worst marketed paper in India. Its content has been shamelessly picked up by rivals and its news seen on prime time TV of various channels as breaking news. The current ad campaign of The Indian Express is good. However, its television and print ads are not in sync. The print campaign is snooty and tries to be intelligent but falls short. There is dissonance in what it conveys. It’s too tall to be believable. Campaigns normally need to have an ROI—Relevance, Originality and Impact. The print campaign fails in all three aspects as there is no uniqueness. What it professes to do as a newspaper is what all newspapers do.

Its five television ads, on the other hand, score well on all three parameters. However, it doesn’t get the exposure it deserves. This is the trap all media brands fall into, i.e., they do not want to pay for advertising as they only look for advertising in their own paper or look for barter deals. This is where it fails in monetizing the initiative. It doesn’t help the paper to grow in brand stature or help build advertising revenue. Any brand promotion has a production budget which is about one-tenth of the media’s investments. However, in IE’s case, it seems to be the other way round.

Nonetheless, these are excellent commercials. The campaign seems to be very good for motivating IE’s employees. It’s after a long hiatus that the group has invested in a promotional exercise. However, this new stance needs to be initiated on the ground to make it worth the investment.

Sadly, this has not happened and most likely never will. While the campaign was presented by the concerned agency via video conferencing to all employees and made out into an internal event, it was not presented to prospective buyers and
advertisers. This was a classic case of there being no sync between the editorial and marketing
departments and hence, the entire investment lacked punch.

These films have never been seen by any customer and this is unpardonable. You cannot invest so much in the production of a new initiative and not invest money in promoting it. Seems like a classic case of making only the owners feel good.
On the whole, it is a credible initiative with poor merchandising.’s Brand Building

Recently, I saw a commercial that reminded me of the good old days of advertising in the eighties and the nineties. Those were the times when advertising’s purpose was to build the brand before building the business. The logic was “Salience before Sales”. and its agency have done just that, and in a pleasant and memorable way. seems to be the first initiative in taking healthcare online, where the predominant virtue is trust. The key question you would ask before ordering medicines online would be: “Can I trust them to be genuine?” Convenience and everything else comes later. The recent Zigy commercial answers this brilliantly. Advert screen shot (1)’s advertisement resonates with the audiences due to its well-crafted emotive appeal

It uses a rare scenario—the relationship between a mother and her ex-daughter-in-law. The younger woman demonstrates responsibility towards the mother-in-law by sending her medicines for a whole month from This gesture after a divorce makes you sit up as it’s not common in our society.

The trust shown for Zigy registers with the pleasant shock the older woman gets when she receives the medicines. The lady promptly calls her former daughter-in-law and the conversation between the two is brilliantly enacted. The voice, the modulation and the silent pauses tell us that less is more in the audio-visual medium. got the amalgam between the message strategy and the media delivery right. The audience selected is affluent, mature and 35 years and above. These are the people who understand responsibility and trust and are also connected online. Once they try and are happy with the experience, they are sure to become ambassadors for the brand and hence, the buzz for the business will start. This is what building a brand and a business are all about.