Newspapers have long played a special role in people’s lives, traditionally greeting readers in the morning with the news of the previous day and preparing them for what's ahead. In the always-on digital world, that role may have changed, but the relationship between devoted readers and newspapers remains an intimate one.
With that in mind, The Times of India launched a new campaign to remind readers of that relationship and to help restore the sense of comfort and normalcy that has been upended by the global pandemic. #NewspaperMornings, which launched on August 26, is a reminder of the role that the newspaper has long played in starting readers’ days.
The centerpiece of the campaign is a video that features an ode to the newspaper penned and narrated by Gulzar, a noted lyricist, poet, author, and film director.
“The morning cup of tea isn’t refreshing enough without the rustle of the newspaper …” the video begins. As Gulzar’s poem continues, scenes of morning rituals play out, always with the newspaper playing a key role in each of those activities. The core messaging of the campaign emphasises that, even in a time of extreme changes and uncertainty, the relationship between the reader and the newspaper does not change.
“Across the world, newspapers are the most trusted source of news, and our readers already know that,” said Sanjeev Bhargava, director, brand Times of India.
“We all have our unique way of reading our newspapers — some sit at a table, some lounge on the floor, some start from the front page, some go reverse, and so on. The charm of reading a newspaper is an intimate and uninterrupted immersion into news that is both relaxing and intense, depending on the pace of its reader.”
That is well reflected in the video, which presents multiple examples of how people begin their day with their newspaper. Delivered from the point of view of the reader, it shows just how integral the newspaper is to starting the day — as much a part of the morning as sitting down to breakfast.
“During uncertainty, access to accurate information is critical,” Bhargava said. “We stay committed to our readers to bring them unbiased and authentic news to ensure our relationship with our readers will strengthen further.”
#NewspaperMornings is a multi-platform campaign designed to engage readers and encourage interaction with and among them. That has meant making Gulzar’s poem available on TOI’s digital and social media handles, and it also is featured across television, OTT, and digital platforms.
The connection that TOI was hoping to make through this campaign occurred almost immediately. Within a week of launching, the video had received more than 22 million views across all of TOI’s platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. By September 11, that number had surpassed 45 million views and continues to climb.
In addition to views, however, the video has sparked the kind of thoughtful interaction that TOI had hoped for. Many readers have posted comments about their own personal morning habits and the great love they have for their morning printed newspaper.
“Newspapers prepare us to have sharper thoughts and perspectives, and make us better prepared for battling the uncertainty through the day,” said Sumeli Chatterjee, vice president, brand, for TOI. “That’s been the basis of this poetry.
“[It] beautifully narrates how a reader wakes up to the morning paper, how the tea and toast don’t taste the same without the newspaper, how the achievements get legitimacy when printed in the newspaper, and how there is a romantic charm of opening/turning /folding/reopening the newspaper.”