Times Out & Proud
2020 Winner

Times Out & Proud

Bennett Coleman and Company Limited

Mumbai, India

Category Brand Awareness Campaigns

Overview of this campaign

Business Need:

Newspaper classifieds are the bedrock of a city’s thriving local businesses and are considered the legitimate place to announce key milestones in a person’s life. Matrimonials, property listings, job openings, birthdays, anniversaries etc. – newspaper Classifieds capture the buzz in the city like no other. Once the most popular section in newspaper, the newspaper Classifieds are today being challenged by online listings. The business objective of the campaign was to give the declining classifieds a new lease of life to add to the overall revenue of the publication. 

Brand Objective:

The relevance of print-media brands has been under threat because of interactivity of digital brands. The key objective was to strengthen the relevance of Times of India as a strong brand that nurtures progressive future and modern thinking.

Consumer Insight:

Homosexuality had been decriminalised in the courtroom, but the 150+ year old discrimination against the community continues even today. The LGBTQ community had largely been stereotyped negatively across cinema and arts, thus perpetrating the discrimination. As the leading national daily, TOI aimed to bring in positive change in the society by legitimising and normalising the LGBTQ community. There was a need for real and authentic portrayal the LGBTQ community as a part of mainstream narrative to break the misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the community.

Campaign Idea

Could we use the Newspaper Classifieds to confer the legitimacy to the LGBTQ community which has always struggled with acceptance in the society?

On the day of International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia, TOI launched the campaign ‘Times Out & Proud’ with special Classifieds section available free of cost to the LGBTQ community. This safe & legitimate space in newspaper invited LGBTQ community to share, connect, express their views, look for housing, search jobs, seek life partners or just stand by each other.

This campaign was built at an intersection of Brand Purpose and Business Objectives.

Results for this campaign


  • Launched as an innovative ad-unit of reverse-flap-jacket, TOI national front page boldly captured the Classified story of a Gay couple celebrating their 11th anniversary. For first-time-ever LGBTQ couples featured in mainstream advertising.
  • Communication collaterals portrayed unedited classified entries of LGBTQ community, each pouring out their emotions in their own words.
  • The campaign film captured stories of LGBTQ with their families remembering their wins and hopes to un-stereotype the way the community is showcased in mainstream.
  • The film received 12MN views in just 10 days of the launch. Campaign generated Earned PR worth USD 0.8 MN



  • 2.7% growth in TOI readership other English National dailies lost readership
    • TOI added 1.4 lakh new daily readers (of which 92% under 30 years) in Q2 over Q1
    • Source: Indian Readership Survey Q2, 2019


  • Key brand parameters recorded an impressive growth cueing the strong brand fueling progressive future
    • “Makes my world better” grew from 38% to 50%
    • “Takes a clear stand” jumped from 71% to 78%
    • “Supports modern thinking” increased from 40% to 49%
    • Source: Annual Brand Health track across key metros Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata 2019 vs 2018


  • 11% increase in Brand (Product) Satisfaction parameter from 86% to 96% (top 2 boxes for satisfaction with the newspaper content)
    • Source: Annual Brand Health of TOI Supplement across Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata 2019 vs 2018



  • Revenue of Personal Classifieds increased by 4% reversing the declining trend of 2 years
  • Total number of published classifieds grew by 8.1% over last year



  • On Independence Day, TOI hosted ‘Right to Freedom of LGBTQ’ as a debate on national television
  • Articles and pride parades debated the rights to marriage, inheritance, adoption and discriminatory practices in housing, employment etc.
  • The campaign garnered 14MN digital reach and 30MN impressions.
  • NGOs, politicians, academicians, national award winning actors & directors, LGBTQ activist and sports medalists joined the conversation pointing out the need to revisit age-old laws.


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