Report on Hindi News Viewership

Mathrubhumi celebrates its 100-year anniversary with anthology film

The 100th-anniversary campaign is conceptualised by Maitri Advertising Works.

Mumbai: Mathrubhumi, one of the oldest newspapers in the country has rolled out arguably the first-ever anthology of brand films in the history of Indian advertising, to mark the beginning of its centenary celebrations.

Conceptualised by Kochi-based Maitri Advertising Works, these films have recreated and showcased some of the meaningful social interventions the newspaper has initiated since its inception through its editorial content and aims to highlight the brand’s social stature as a responsible media house.

“When we decided to bring out audiovisual content in connection with our centenary celebrations, a run-of-the-mill corporate documentary talking about the commercial growth of the brand in numbers and growth charts was the last thing we wanted to do," stated Mathrubhumi managing director MV Shreyams Kumar. "I wanted the agency to come up with something meaningful and different.”

“In the last 100 years, Mathrubhumi had positively impacted society in the realms of environment conservation & protection, infrastructure development, education, agriculture and gender equality to name a few. My brief to the agency was to highlight these aspects in an interesting and aesthetic way without any chest-thumping or forced product placement. The audiovisual was to be screened in front of a large audience and it had to have the scale and impact. It had to be done quickly too because the prime minister of India had agreed to attend the function on a particular date," he further said.

“It was exciting to work on this very clear brief and thrilling too because Mathrubhumi always gave us the creative freedom to think big and think different," remarked Maitri Advertising executive creative director Venugopal Ramachandran Nair. "Our first task was to arrive at a creative device that would make storytelling entertaining and impactful. We struck upon the idea of our protagonist, a young man, who would carry forward the entire storyline. He would never age and through different periods of time he would voice his strong and clear opinions.”

“When we put together the basic idea in a piece of paper and presented it, the client gave us an immediate go-ahead. However, choosing the most relevant topics to portray in the film posed a big challenge, since there was a problem of plenty," stated Maitri Advertising managing director Raju Menon. "Apart from the topics suggested by Shreyams Kumar, there were so many cover stories, features, articles and editorial content in the Mathrubhumi archives, each addressing relevant and time-sensitive social issues.’’

In consultation with the newspaper’s editorial team, the agency finally handpicked the six most relevant topics to be portrayed in the film series.

“Execution of the project was not an easy task. There were constraints of time. The research process was enormous and a precisely set deadline was looming large behind us every day," said Maitri Advertising branch director Jayakumar N, who is also in charge of managing the Mathrubhumi Account. "We decided to work with six versatile directors meticulously selected based on their ability to interpret the agency script and their expertise in visual storytelling. The next task was to find out the lead actor. The directors, after long hours of auditions finally settled down on Adil Ibrahim, a promising young actor in Malayalam cinema.”

The opening film in this anthology narrates the birth story of Mathrubhumi as a catalyst to India’s freedom movement in 1923, followed by another five shorts, showing the audience how the editorial contents carried out by the newspaper has positively impacted society.

The film has been released across various digital media platforms. Stand-alone edits of each film in this anthology would also run as television commercials later, across various channels.

Maitri Advertising ideation executive Ajeesh Raman, who was in charge of scripting and supervision remarked, “Working with six highly talented directors on this anthology film was very exciting and indeed a great learning experience. Our brief to them was simple -  Make every film interesting and engaging yet when compiled together, the audience should see it as a seamlessly blended single film, with proper optical and acoustic connect between each of them.”

“We are extremely happy that the anthology film, probably first of its kind, is getting tremendous response on social media. People don’t see it as branded commercial content. More than commercial property, we believe that it got the potential to become a social property sooner than later,” commented Mathrubhumi director of digital business Mayura Shreyams Kumar.

“A project of this magnitude wouldn’t have been possible without the wholehearted support of Shreyams Kumar. He is a gem of a client every agency would love to have in their portfolio who realises the power of simple ideas the moment he hears one," said Maitri Advertising executive director C Muthu. "For over two decades, we were able to churn out memorable and award-winning creative works for Mathrubhumi because of this.”

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