Painting India red, in style

Painting India red, in style
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First Published: Mon, Mar 03 2008. 12 09 AM IST

The Economist’s global campaigns have won many international awards
The Economist’s global campaigns have won many international awards
Updated: Mon, Mar 03 2008. 12 09 AM IST
The Economist’s global campaigns have won many international awards
R is for religion. And the only inharmonious religion in India is cricket. E is for economy, and a made-in-China tag best reflects the way to go for a country wanting to march fast. D is for democracy, and what better way to reflect the reality of democracies in Asia and West Asia than a handgun?
Trust The Economist to come up with such witty slogans and sharp portrayals. The celebrated business magazine, published by the UK-based Economist Newspaper Ltd, launched its first commercial campaign in India last month.
The campaign is similar to the iconic advertising that The Economist is globally known for. The India campaign follows the “white out of red” theme that has been the hallmark of the magazine’s advertising. Executed by Mumbai-based ad agency Ogilvy and Mather, the global theme has been tweaked effectively to give a local context.
The format first appeared about 20 years ago in the British press, when Alfredo Marcantonio, the then director of advertising agency AMV BBDO, part of global marketing communication group BBDO, crafted the “Well-written and Red” slogan. Since then, a series of ads have been launched and have won prestigious global awards, besides helping create a distinct brand identity for The Economist.
Read by 1.3 million readers, the weekly magazine known for its crisp and incisive reportage is available in 201 countries and has launched ad campaigns in almost three-fourths of them.
The India ad campaign gives a clever twist to letters to interpret the world
Though The Economist set up distribution operations in India 15 years ago, this is its first ad campaign here. “India is undergoing a strong demographic shift. It is now a necessity for the large youth population to be more informed,” says Suprio Guha Thakurta, associate publisher, The Economist, India.
The magazine plans to nearly triple its India circulation, from 17,636 currently to 50,000 by 2010, by strengthening its distribution and marketing reach. “Advertising has multiplied the effect of the product globally, and we are sure the communication will help in building awareness about The Economist in India,” Guha Thakurta adds.
“While the format is consistent with the international advertisements of The Economist, we had to add the flexibility for interpretation in the Indian market,” says Sumanto Chattopadhyay, executive creative director, Ogilvy and Mather.
Red slides embossed with a single letter reinterpret the alphabets in an Indian context. The accompanying word and a minimalistic sketch put a piquant spin. For example, the slide saying “R for religion” has a sketch of cricket stumps. “Cricket is religion for India, so the connect here is clear,” says Chattopadhyay.
The magazine is spending Rs3 crore on its advertising. The media plan includes a presence in select business publications, on the Internet and outdoor landscape in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. “There is a general awareness in India on what The Economist is, but the perception is very narrow and centred on being only about the economy,” says Guha Thakurta.
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First Published: Mon, Mar 03 2008. 12 09 AM IST