Spot Light | Mumbai Mirror
Prathap Suthan is chief explorer at brand consulting firm The Advisory and chief creative officer at iYogi, a technical support provider for computers. With around 23 years’ experience in advertising, Suthan is best known for the India Shining campaign.
Powerful film: Prathap Suthan.
The new campaign for Mumbai Mirror by Taproot India, titled I Am Mumbai, highlights various issues that hound the city and have been covered by the newspaper. The ad features people from Mumbai picking up a megaphone to air their grievances, in order to be heard.
What did you think of the advertisement?
It’s a powerful film, no doubt. Black and white cinematography, and the cast add huge value. But I love the megaphone idea. It collapses the communication into a simple graphic device that promises much life and many avatars. I can see it being given the full treatment. Overall, the film pointedly captures what Mumbai Mirror ought to be. A platform for Mumbaikars to cry out and be heard along one trajectory of strife. The route and slogan are kind of familiar. Rings some merry bells, but that’s cool.
Issue-based: The fuel for this campaign is the aggressive truth itself.
Does such an aggressive stand work?
In the year of the protester, activism was crying to be captured and owned by a relevant brand. And for a tabloid, there can’t be a better glove. It’s shell for the crab. I also like why the paper has chosen to fire a singular shell. With public dissent and truculent righteousness as the common gunpowder. Because gentle ruffling of feathers isn’t going to tickle thick city hide.
The fuel for this campaign is the aggressive truth itself. Mumbai will always have issues. Succour and relief are centuries away. People will always be short-changed. And we will never live long enough to see a picture-postcard Mumbai. There will always be racketeers, scams, underworld, squalor, communal friction, politics, encounters, potholes and everything else that makes Mumbai a daily minefield for angst and brand to explode.
What must media brands keep in mind, especially when the common man is surrounded by a mood of activism?
This is a classic iceberg. It’s great to showcase grief and whip middle-class rage, but a mere presentation of facts and stories shouldn’t be the end of the campaign.
A paper’s role, because of its inherent responsibility to credibility, is to also follow up on the issues that it rakes up. The next part shouldn’t be more pages of megaphone activists. It must be how the adulterated milk was fixed and how those kids were cared for. Reality must overtake film.
Contemporary activism, however, truly belongs to digital mobility. Speed and instant connectivity being critical to instigate and rally people. Mobiles spawned the Arab Spring. And that chapter of activism didn’t end with pages of stories. It ended with pages of history.
As told to Gouri Shah.