Times of India, August 19, 2009
Exhibit A: Times of India, August 19, 2009
Times of India, August 20, 2009
Exhibit B: Times of India, August 20, 2009

Click on the 2 exhibits to see the full story – they’re available online here and here!

Now, what kind of reaction would the brand behind this exercise be looking at? Is it,

1. Aaaah…gee…I really want to know who this girl is! Poor Kareena.

2. Wow, Saif had a girl friend when he was young. Boy, wonder who she is that he’s searching for her so publicly!

3. Is this is a publicity gimmick? I smell a rat!

4. This sounds like a carefully orchestrated marketing gimmick…wonder which brand is funding the big bucks to put such messages out on Times of India supplements!

5. What is this crap that has landed in my Bangalore/ Mumbai/ <other city> Times? I think I need to change my newspaper!

I’m a combination of 4 and 5. More importantly, do people in the first 3 categories really exist anymore – isn’t it obvious? The larger point, however, is a take off from my last post – on authenticity. Isn’t this ‘campaign’ just a bit too in-your-face and fake? There’s no disclaimer (in the newspaper) that this is an advertisement for a brand and not a part of the editorial…whatever goes in the name of editorial in such city supplements.

So, how different is this from the Malaika Arora – Arbaaz Khan divorce drama for a cosmetics brand? In that case, angry journalists supposedly threatened to boycott Malaika – so you cannot fake with journalists, but can do so with the marketing department of publications huh? Don’t the same publications realize that in both cases, it is the public who is being fooled?

When the social media world is crying hoarse on authentic communication between brands and its users, why is traditional media allowed to get away with such costly, thoroughly and obviously fake communication in the name of marketing/ publicity? Or is this what is called ‘showbiz’?

Does the fact that this communication has reached my blog…and that I’m talking about it justify the idea and its spend? I’m sure they do see that I have some uncharitable remarks about the campaign! And no, I’m not buying their campaign enough to start guessing which brand this could be for. Whichever product/ category/ brand it is…I’ll think twice before buying it.



10 thoughts on “Saif is searching for his long-lost girl friend! Does anybody care?

  1. Great – now I know which DTH not to opt for. Whether its Airtel DTH or Asian Paints or some tea brand he endorses or even Rupa underwear or banian…the point is I don’t care about this communication and hate the blatant abuse of print media for a covert campaign, even though the publication is making money out of this.

  2. Wouldn’t you go for Airtel DTH, even if their services are better than their competitors?

    May be this campaign does suck, would you not opt for Airtel – DTH for that sole reason?

  3. Sriram: Very valid point – I’ll definitely choose them if their service/ value is superior. But, I do feel cheated for such a campaign and will continue to diss them for silly gimmicks.

  4. Now see, this bit of garbage would have had a disclaimer if the rag with the TOI actually was a work of the edit room. But the Bombay/Blr Times is all about the marketing department anyway. So why bother… its like those no-name advert publications for job-seekers that never claim to be editorial. The difference is that BT actually does make that claim… unabashedly!

    Don’t even get me started on the ET – ET Now nexus!

  5. Can’t they even afford better photoshop experts? It looks too amateurish for me, If anyone believes in these stories and worry, I worry about them 🙂

    – Naga Chokkanathan,

  6. When I read the campaign on the web site, I didn’t like it. But when I saw the AD on TV, I liked it.

    I like Vodafone’s campaigns better, no big celebrities (Irrfan Khan wasn’t one when he signed the contract), no expensive locals, pure content, nicely presented. IMO among all mobile operators, they are doing the best job when it comes to showcasing their product.

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