Spot Light | The Times of India

Spot Light | The Times of India

Reviewer: Titus Upputuru

With around 15 years’ experience in the advertising industry, Titus Upputuru, national creative director, Dentsu Marcom, has worked with brands such as KFC, Limca, Sprite and Honda.


The new ad campaign for TheTimes of India (TOI) by Taproot India, shows a man sleeping in the unlikeliest of places. The ad asks viewers whether they are stuck with news that puts them to sleep. It then cuts to images of TOI and ends with the tag line “Wake Up to The Times of India".

The good: The ad maintains a sense of mystery till the very endWhat did you think of the ad?

Chennai seems to be slowly gaining in importance from an advertising perspective. There was Nakka-Mukka that got recognition in awards, then the Royal Enfield made-in-Chennai film (which reminded me of the Detroit equivalent, by the way), and now this one. Thankfully, for the outside world, the city is now known for more things than Jayalalithaa, its sultry climate and sultrier cinema. As you begin to see this film, you wonder what’s going on—until the end—which is bit of a good thing.

Does this ad work for the brand?

I am not quite sure. What happened to “A day in the life of...?" From a communication point of view, I guess they are saying that this newspaper will be more entertaining versus boring. A few years back, there was a debate whether newspapers were turning into tabloids. This film seems to bring back the debate and argue the case for the tabloid. News, traditionally, is supposed to merely, objectively, inform. Where is entertainment/interestingness coming from? If it is about waking up, I thought, quite a few brands—the most famous being a tea powder—are already doing that.

How does this campaign compare with TOI’s previous campaigns? Is it tougher for brands to nail that creative encore?

Around the early 1990s, Amitabh Bachchan’s films like Jaadugar and Toofan suffered heavy losses. I am told the films had all the masala that could go into any Bollywood movie, but they sank like the Titanic (not the movie). However, what caught my attention is the way people tore those films apart because in their heads and hearts, they were comparing these with his earlier films like Sholay, Deewaar and Zanjeer.

This TOI film suffers from the same phenomenon: comparison to some iconic work done in the past.

Hindustan Times and Mint, published by HT Media, compete with Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd’s The Times of India and The Economic Times in several markets.

As told to Gouri Shah

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