The Hindu stays ahead of The Times of India

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Competitive advertising can be fun. The Times of India fired the first salvo against The Hindu in Chennai recently. In my blog post I had noted: ‘the needless skin-show (not just in the city supplement) even in the mainline articles, the celebrity gossip in city supplements and the prominence given to ‘Page 3 culture’ you have ‘sensationalism’ as a residual brand association‘.

The Hindu has identified the same chink in TOI’s armor and have produced enjoyable repartee:

The casting and acting is spot on – I also liked the fact they did not succumb to showing the ‘after’ i.e. showing a smart protagonist. The sting is very much in the tail [tale?] and is well summed up in ‘Stay ahead of the times’.

It reminded me of the 2006 ad war in South Africa. BMW released an ad saying:

Congratulations to Audi for winning the South African Car of the Year 2006. From the winner of the World Car of the year 2006.

Audi responded:

Congratulations to BMW for winning World Car of the year 2006. From the Winner of the Six Consecutive Le Mans Races 2000-2006.

For some strange reason Subaru joined the fight and said:

Well done to Audi and BMW for winning the beauty contest. From the Winner of the 2006 International Engine of the Year 2006.

Watching all this tamasha from the sidelines, Bentley responded in inimitable style:

So did The Hindu just show the finger to TOI? I loved the ad. As an aside, should The Hindu, as a leader in Chennai have responded to the TOI ad at all? Or simply ignored it? I think responding in a manner that paints the TOI as a superficial, empty-headed brand works for The Hindu.

Do comment in your thoughts on the TOI-The Hindu war.

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  1. Haha, that was AWESOME! Wonder if/how TOI is going to react. Was wondering what the hullaballoo was about (lots of The Hindu chatter on twitter). Glad to be caught up on this blog! 😀

  2. Prabhakar (@iPeeKay) Reply

    @lbhat: Awefome it is. Which ad agency is behind this Hindu salvo. I am expecting crossfire from TOI(TapRoot).

  3. The last question should have been something like, "What did Saif Ali Khan give Kareena's dog on its 5th birthday?"

  4. Well done to Audi and Subaru for winning the beauty contest. From the Winner of the 2006 International Engine of the Year 2006.

    It is – Well done to Audi and " BMW " instead of " Subaru "

  5. TOI doesn't give any worthy info, Hindu does give but with a great ideological tilt…

  6. Hahah very well said, I m sure ths wl b fun to c. Hindu is much stronger in yerms of editorial quality than TOI

  7. I remember the smart airline billboards one above the other by three companies that had slogans contrasting and made fun of each other, that was fun.

    By the way, in abroad, companies boldly take competitor's names in their campaigns .. is it only in India that we beep and blur out the competitor brand names..is there any regulation or policy for that..is that also because we take offense very easily ? any thoughts ?

    • hi RK, ASCI [Advertising Standards Council of India] states that comparison in advertising is allowed as long as the comparisons are factual, accurate and capable of substantiation. There have been Indian ads in the past which named competing brands: HCL named Xerox photocopiers [ad campaign done by @maheshmurthy] in a campaign many moons ago. Rin named Tide recently: http://www.bhatnaturally.com/advertising/comparat

  8. K sasikumar Reply

    This ad is going to hurt the ToI where it hurts most.

  9. enjoyed reading this !

    i live in Mumbai and (not very proud to say) a TOI reader.

    TOI is not only full of irrelevant gossip and images best qualified as soft porn, reading it has scared me of the death of vocabulary.

    The spellings are atrocious and use of vowels a joke in TOI.

    why do i continue reading it ? aah, am a marketing professional and I NEED TO SEE THE ADS (and TOI gets all of them ) 🙁


    loved the Hindu's stiking back though 🙂

  10. As a staunch Hindu loyalist, I was pleasantly surprised that they even chose to go on an offensive!

    But it seems like the only point of the TVCs is to get back at ToI and the TVCs do nothing to establish/ rectify their brand image. While the Hindu readers are thoroughly enjoying the repartee, I have a feeling the ToI readers/ non-Hindu readers have been negatively impacted, now that their intelligence has clearly been insulted.

    The print ads, on the other hand, are conveying the proposition of the brand and I feel they may do a better job of getting the non Hindu readers interested in the newspaper.

    Nonetheless, I'm waiting for ToI's response, because obviously, there has to be one! 🙂

  11. Yerra Sneha Reply

    I do not know.. But, it is the TOI, that has started it. And it is the truth. If there is any NEWSPAPER in ENglish in India… It is the Hindu.. I went through 7 dialies.. but never found a paper like The Hindu.. Close to is Indian Express. And it is true.. "Government Malfunctions matter the most than the Wardrobe Malfunctions."
    Way to go The Hindu!

  12. The IE too should join the battle then the readers will show what the Bentley did 🙂

    Anyway Hndu response is well timed as TOI is just set to enter Kerala on 1st Feb

  13. Shiva Srinivasan Reply

    The Hindu invariably has better articles to read and makes a better effort in use of language. Say for a hotly debated topic-the Hindu would gives an elaborate and neatly articulated piece but the Times of India would put an attractive girl pointing out a concise table of the important points for an easy read.So The Hindu is news, ToI is a newsflash.It's nice to be see The Hindu not rolling over meekly.

  14. brand wars between two brand managers are always interesting if fought cleverly. the consumer(in this case reader) is always waiting for the great comeback. sadly, that's all these campaigns achieve…a little intrigue and little interest. at the end of the day, people are unlikely to convert to a different newspaper from the one they are habituated to.

    • Agree on newspapers being habitual. Most competing brands creep up as the 2nd newspaper in the household hoping to replace the leader one day. In Chennai, TOI would have been attractive to the new entrants to the city [a lot of them of late] and as a 2nd newspaper in some households.

    • Thanks, Kuber. That was an interesting take not just on the campaign but on the products. Will leave my comment over there soon. Best.

  15. Pingback: Breathtaking films from Sony Bravia, Lacoste and more: top creative ads of the week | Bhatnaturally

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