The Hindu Tamil, a regional daily from The Hindu Group, was first published in September 2013. Since then, the daily newspaper has grown dramatically, reaching a circulation of 300,000 copies and holding the fourth position in the Tamil daily market. Despite such phenomenal growth, market research indicated brand awareness was very low.

In addition, market perception was that The Hindu Tamil is a translation of The Hindu English. To address these challenges and drive subscriptions through alternate channels, a 360-degree brand campaign was executed across television, radio, cinemas, outdoor venues, print, and digital channels. The campaign had the following the objectives:

  • Correct market perceptions.
  • Build brand awareness.
  • Drive subscriptions.

Research showed brand awareness was low and that market perceptions needed to be corrected to drive subscriptions.
Research showed brand awareness was low and that market perceptions needed to be corrected to drive subscriptions.

Market research aimed to gauge the awareness level of The Hindu Tamil brand and how the brand is perceived in the market. The research was conducted in three cities: Chennai, Madurai, and Coimbatore.

Findings showed that while The Hindu Tamil had a 95% overall aided recall, the top-of-mind recall was zero. In addition, the brand had very limited spontaneous recall. Research also reinforced the perception that The Hindu Tamil is considered to be a regional translation of The Hindu English.   

The challenge was to create a brand that reflects the true spirit of The Hindu Tamil and, at the same time, that is relevant to the the audience. As a fairly new player amongst vernacular newspapers in Tamil Nadu, it was critical that the campaign communicated the benefits the newspaper offers the reader. Hence, the following themes were factored into ideation:

  • Uniqueness: The Hindu Tamil gives readers a daily dose of news while exhibiting the characteristics of a magazine with its main section and daily supplements, something that is not found in the current Tamil daily newspaper market. Many of the articles published in The Hindu Tamil and its supplements have been published separately as best-selling books.
  • Simplicity: The language used in The Hindu Tamil is easy to understand and conveys the crux of its analyses to the reader very simply.
  • Diversity: The Hindu Tamil offers 12 supplements a week that cover diverse genres catering to the entire family such as economics, automotive, education, games for children, entertainment, movies, technology, real estate, wellness, environment, and empowerment of women. 

Considering the above themes, the creative expression “Padichaale vera level” (“Reading The Hindu Tamil will take you to a different level”) was conceived, keeping in mind that readers look to a newspaper to be well informed and ahead of peers. The phrase “vera level” is popularly used in Tamil Nadu, especially amongst young people. To communicate this idea, we created relatable, real-life scenarios with the benefit of reading The Hindu Tamil interwoven into those stories.

The Hindu Group created a step-by-step process to plan and execute its multi-faceted campaign.
The Hindu Group created a step-by-step process to plan and execute its multi-faceted campaign.

The campaign was planned across various media channels: television, radio, print, digital, cinema, and outdoor venues. We also focused on driving subscriptions through the customer care center, on-the-ground activations, and online.

Three videos were made with the single-minded proposition of Padichale vera level. The videos showcased real-life scenarios with casting that was relatable to the target segments. They were played in the following venues:

  • Regionally popular television channels broadcasted the videos as commercials with exclusive callback numbers for subscribers. 
  • With Facebook page likes of over 2 million and close to 60,000 subscribers on YouTube, we used the power of our social media to presence to draw in more video viewers. 
  • The top 36 cinema screens across three cities, Chennai, Madurai, and Coimbatore, ran the videos for two weeks with more than total 2,000 exposures.
  • Strategic outdoor locations were chosen to ensure maximum visibility amongst the audience who read Tamil newspapers, such as Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus and the Egmore Railway Station. In one of the major railway stations, out-of-home television terminals played the videos during the high-traffic festive season. 

In addition, popular radio stations in Chennai and Coimbatore played radio jingles throughout the day, increasing the frequency during the morning and evening prime-time hours. 

Post-campaign, fewer people saw The Hindu Tamil as a mere translation of The Hindu English.
Post-campaign, fewer people saw The Hindu Tamil as a mere translation of The Hindu English.

Our print campaign included multiple print creatives along the theme of Padichale vera level. The print initiative also offered readers an opportunity to get a free one-week subscription to The Hindu Tamil. 

We piloted two unique lead generation/conversion ideas through the campaign. For the first one, we published four print advertisements in The Hindu English inviting readers to give a missed call and get a one-week free trial of The Hindu Tamil. At the end of the trial period, readers were offered exciting subscription discounts as well. In three days, we received more than 13,500 missed calls from readers across the state wanting to sample The Hindu Tamil.

The second  involved choosing three of the most popular cinemas in Coimbatore in which to conduct activities over two weekends. Every individual who signed up for a monthly subscription of The Hindu Tamil at a special rate of US$1.54, were offered a free popcorn. We acquired more than 1,000 subscriptions during the short span of two weekends.

The campaign succeeded in raising brand recall and awareness in just 6 week's time.
The campaign succeeded in raising brand recall and awareness in just 6 week's time.

Post-campaign research similar to that of the pre-campaign was conducted at the end of the campaign period. The six-week 360-degree brand campaign resulted in the following:

  • Increased brand awareness: The campaign resulted in 5% top-of-mind recall and 19% spontaneous recall, an overall increase of 9% brand awareness.
  • Change in perception: In the pre-brand campaign survey, approximately 25% of the respondents perceived The Hindu Tamil as a translated product of The Hindu English. Post-brand campaign, there was a significant reduction to only 9%.
  • Business results: The brand campaign generated close to 20,000 leads which were shared with our channel partners for conversion. Direct marketing efforts resulted in 2,200 conversions through online subscriptions and on-the-ground brand activations in cinemas.

In a short period of time, the campaign has begun to show encouraging shifts in brand awareness and perception in a fairly crowded vernacular print newspaper market.