In fierce marketing wars sometimes one vanquishes the other which is natural and brand wars is not new for us. Over the years we have watched and relished many such tussles and it holds many lessons for marketers everywhere.
One of the most elicit battles come in the form of comparative advertising – the direct comparison of one company’s product to another like in the case of TOI and HT who are currently fighting a fierce battle in the (NCR) National Capital Region. While TOI addresses it competitor as the Gurus, HT calls its rival as the “Cry Baby”. Often the brand ranks are decided based on their dollar value which in my view shouldn’t be the case and is rated by a third party organization like the Brand Finance. In the process what is unheeded is often the quality of the service or product provided. It should rather be left to the consumer who are the prosumers of today to decide what they think of the brand, especially in the areas like a newspaper where ethics needs to be given the top most priority.
A social listening project on the above said, may throw more light on the actual views and qualms of the reader who has been tolerating such battles in hush. In the process what is being forgotten is trailing the self-esteem of such brands in the presence of their own consumers.
One of the major challenge was faced by the media industry in the modern context is neutrality. Today many newspaper has become a tool for political invectives. Neutrality, is very difficult when funding, sourcing the news and corporate agenda have become essential parts of journalism.
TOI and The Hindu reportedly had made a pact that Hindu will not come to Mumbai, while TOI will not enter Chennai. Later TOI breached the agreement and started entering Chennai when the brand war broke out between them. As seen this was an unwanted provocation made by the times group and later Hindu responded very sturdily. I think The Hindu really had hit the nail in pointing out TOI’s gossip culture and shoddy journalism.
The first episode unfolded back in September11 when The Times of India in its campaign to increase readership down in south , home of The Hindu, launched a TV commercial with a tagline Wake up to the Times portraying The Hindu too boring a paper to read and its sleep producing.
Hindu retorted with a series of ads questioning people across the country some very simple questions getting wrong answers, while getting perfect answers for questions based on Bollywood gossip, and finally the question “Which newspaper do you read?” the response beeped but obviously TOI.
Amidst all these grueling task of a marketer creating campaigns like these and while the public is gloating over the masala, I think the marketers should divert their energy in doing more meaningful campaigns around the social sector. And of course the newspapers should focus more on being the voice of the people rather than focus on Paris Hilton’s enchanting party wear. I am sure the readers will decide which one will be read and what would ultimately be used as a toilet paper.