Ad war between Times of India and Hindu gets uglier

MUMBAI: The war between the two print titans has got even uglier with The Times of India hitting hard at The Hindu in a new ad campaign. The splash created by The Hindu’s ‘Stay Ahead of the Times’ campaign seems to have finally elicited a response from The Times of India, heating up the ad war further.

The Chennai edition of the TOI carried a copy on 3 February that stated: “We congratulate the competition for finally waking up to the Times of India.”

The copy went on to say that the flagship news daily from Bennett, Coleman and Co Ltd (BCCL) enjoyed reacting to the competitor’s recent campaign and looks forward to them following its footsteps in connecting with the readers.

It concluded by saying, “We now look forward by emulating our approach to connecting with readers, led by a new editor and CEO who’ve cut their teeth at the TOI. We wish them good morning and good luck.”

Taproot India handles the creative duties for TOI and is behind this particular ad as well.

Considering that The Hindu campaign focused on the trivialisation of content in print journalism, BCCL CMO Rahul Kansal said, “We at TOI believe in searching and operating on the middle ground and establishing a reader connect. We carry news that is relevant to different sections of the reading masses and not only for those interested in serious information.”

Reacting to the new ad, The Hindu Group VP advertising Suresh Srinivasan told Indiantelevision, “We do not know what to make of this ad. It has appeared in a publication that is anyway going to reach the TOI readers only. The most I can say is that we are amused. Also, by the ad’s logic, every school and college in the country should stand up and take credit for training professionals in the field out there.”

The Chennai edition of the TOI was launched on 14 April 2008 and has been trying to catch up with the forerunner The Hindu since then. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulation (January-June 2011), The Hindu’s circulation in Chennai is 356,826 copies, followed by the Deccan Chronicle at 243,581 and the New Indian Express at 89,546.

Since the TOI Chennai edition is not registered with the ABC, accurate data regarding the daily’s circulation figures could not be attained.

The ad war started about four months back with TOI taking potshots at the mundane content of The Hindu and asking readers to ‘Wake up to the Times of India’.

In response, The Hindu created a campaign that elucidated that it’s content is much more relevant in this globalising age and is not "Bollywoodised" or "trivialised" in any way.

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Hindu wants to stay ahead of ‘The Times‘

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