A mannequin for a garment company clothed entirely in used newspapers, at Terminal 3 of Delhi international airport. Yes, “wearable” screens are on the way but pigs will fly before you can make a rose out of an LCD screen.
Archive for the 'Advertising' Category
Long years ago, when the divide between church and state was better protected in journalism and the business side had no inkling what was happening on the other side, the editors at Time magazine ran an interview with Mother Teresa with the quote-headline, “I’m just a pencil in the hand of god.”
When the issue came out, much mirth ensued when an advertisement for pencils graced the page opposite the interview.
In the latest issue of India Today magazine, something similar happens. A story on the alleged sexual indiscretions of the godman Asumal Sirumalani alias Asaram Bapu carries an advertisement for “Vacurect“, a “US FDA-approved medical device for men who cannot enjoy with their partner”, on the opposite page.
The tagline for the ad reads: “get the power to play harder”
Also read: How NDTV gives a nice plug for Lenovo
In a bleak advertising scenario, Indian magazines have been pushed into running cheap and ugly advertisements, advertorials, and other intrusions dressed up as thinly disguised “innovations”, like a bit of editorial here for an ad elsewhere, to keep the ship afloat.
But The Economist, too?
The latest issue of the “newspaper” (as the magazine calls itself) has eight pages of a Tamil Nadu government ad heralding the achievements of two years of chief minister Jayalalitha‘s rule.
And, presto, there is a one-and-a-half page story on Tamil Nadu preceding it.
Headlined “A successful show begins to pall“, the Economist calls the state “one of India’s great success stories”, a “consistent economic performer” and “one of India’s most prosperous states”. An accompanying box titled “Lights, camera, election” dwells on why so many Tamil politicians are former film stars.
All very valid observations, no doubt, but all very old hat (the Economist was first published in September 1843).
Thankfully, the piece has enough caveats to blunt any accusations of doing what the adperson ordered.
It calls Jayalalitha a “Brahmin starlet turned autocrat” who has faced several corruption charges; it labels her co-star Cho Ramaswamy as one who “both seduced and murdered her on stage”; it talks of the endemic graft and Jayalalitha’s penchant for filing defamation cases against her critics.
Still, you are left wondering: would the Economist have suddenly looked at Tamil Nadu’s miracles if it weren’t for the ad?
Conversely, was The Economist correspondent doing a critical journalistic piece and the Tamil Nadu information and public relations directorate heard of it and decided to push in an ad (which was published in all newspapers on May 16)?
Since its sesquicentennial 25 years ago, under bossman Samir Jain’s helmsmanship, The Times of India has pioneered several editorial and marketing “initiatives”, all of which are scorned at first by the competition and then quietly copied.
On the eve of its dodransbicentennial, after brother Vineet Jain told The New Yorker last year that he was in the advertising business not news business, ToI has run this ad printed the right side up and uʍop ǝpısdn pǝʇuıɹd sʍǝu ǝɥʇ.
So, whose interests come first for the newspaper, the advertiser’s or the reader’s, is not difficult to guess.
ToI CEO Ravi Dhariwal told the South Asia Media Summit in Islamabad recently that the paper’s readers actually welcomed such innovations and looked forward to it: “The reader wants change.”
¿uʍop ǝpısdn pǝʇuıɹd ǝɹɐ sɹǝdɐdsʍǝu ǝloɥʍ ǝɹoɟǝq ɹǝƃuol ɥɔnɯ ʍoɥ
Also read: Selling the soul or sustaining the business?
On international women’s day, the newspapers are replete with advertisements and supplements marking the occasion.
Rajya Sabha TV, however, takes the cake with an advertisement (above) in most newspapers that shows the faces of all 42 women employees of the channel, from peon to boss, from reporters to editors (and guest co-ordinators).
“When I was about to launch a Hindi monthly for women, men in charge of the marketing section in a major publishing house explained to me between much clearing of throats and sideways glances that it was fine if I insisted my magazine would not promote Miss India contests but that a good and saleable women’s magazine must not give women disturbing notions about self-worth, etc.
“What women actually want from their magazines, they said, was readable and brightly illustrated material on food, child rearing, knitting, stitching and some romantic fiction. They also confirmed that since over three-quarters of women’s magazines were bought by men (they had better access to the vending joints and liked to vet what the mothers and sisters read at home), the faces on the covers must be fair and female.
“A cover story on rape experienced by girls in middle-class families was bitterly criticised as being fictional. These barbaric things, madam, I was told, happen only in the jhuggi-jhopris, not among people like us.”
Read the full article: Myth of bra-burning feminists
Trishla Jain, the artist-daughter of Times of India bossman Samir Jain, has teamed up with the ethnic store Fabindia for “a limited-edition collection of furniture, furnishings, giftware, ceramics, inspired by the young painter’s art”, and TOI and the group‘s business paper, Economic Times, are leaving no stone unturned to let the world know.
On Monday, page 3 of the Delhi Times supplement carried a quarter-page story on the launch of the line; on Wednesday, ET carried a six-column story; and the events section of the city-specific “Advertorial, Entertainment Promotional Feature” are replete with announcements of Kaleidoscopic Eyes.
The ET report notes helpfully:
“William Bissell, managing director of Fabinida, chanced upon the work of Trishla Jain, 28, at a Delhi art gallery.
“I saw the exuberance and joyous spiritedness in her work which I thought was great fun and Trishla also wanted to make her work accessible to lots of people,” said Bissell, whose father John Bissell founded Fabindia in 1960.
“Jain, a Stanford University graduate and a self-taught artist who started painting at the age of seven, said she had always wanted to create everyday objects inspired by her art. “Fabindia has greatly expanded the technical and aesthetic possibilities of my art. These art objects give my work a utilitarian aspect as well as allow me to reach a larger public.”
To predict the meteorological weather, you have Mausam Bhavan. To predict the political weather, you have Doordarshan.
Before every general election, the government happily dips into the pockets of taxpayers and pumps in crores of rupees to revamp the supposedly “autonomous” broadcast behemoth.
And so it is in the year of the lord, 2013.
Under the new information and broadcasting minister Manish Tiwari, new appointments have been made to DD News, just as Ravi Shankar Prasad had in the NDA regime before the the 2004 elections. There are expensive advertisements in the newspapers announcing its shows; there is even a Twitter account.
It’s raining gifts in the Bengali newspaper wars. And gone is the age of free flasks, timepieces and tee-shirts to woo subscribers.
Ei Bela (the moment), the soon-to-be-launched tabloid from the Ananda Bazaar Patrika group (which also owns The Telegraph and ABP News) to counter The Times of India group’s morning broadsheet Ei Samay (Times Now), is rolling out Apple iPods, laptops, smartphones, iPod Touch, SUVs and—wait for it—Harley Davidson motorcycles.
Also read: Times, Telegraph and the Bengali paper wars
The Indian bureaucracy is a major journalistic niche, especially in Delhi where a number of magazines (Governance Now, Bureaucracy Today, etc) and websites (Gfiles, Whispers in the Corridor, etc) have sprouted to help readers navigate their way through the thickets of redtape.