Who’s eating up Taj Mahal?

Updated on Feb 21, 2008 11:36 PM IST
The fact that a news channel is taking a double path, an ad campaign and an editorial effort, simultaneously, with the ad campaign supporting the editorial effort, is quite interesting. Anita Sharan tells us more about CNBC TV 18's 'Unfinished Agenda'.
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Hindustan Times | ByAnita Sharan

What’s Network 18’s new, ongoing ad campaign, “Unfinished Agenda”, really aiming to achieve? Released in print media – magazines and newspapers – and outdoor hoardings, it is a visual representation of what the network’s business news channel, CNBC TV 18, is covering editorially, currently.

The ad campaign supports the editorial focus on CNBC TV18 on the programme, CNBC Universe, which is currently running a wide coverage of Budget 2008.

The fact that a news channel is taking a double path – an ad campaign and an editorial effort – simultaneously, with the ad campaign supporting the editorial effort, is interesting. Is the ad campaign’s main objective to support the editorial coverage on the channel, or is the intention to draw greater viewership to the news channel?

Both, actually. With every channel and publication rolling out their budget campaigns, there is a need to ensure that the message from CNBC TV18 does not get lost in the crowd, feels Network 18.

But Zubin Driver, network creative director, Network 18 Group, who heads the company’s creative division, The Cell, which created the new campaign, insists that the ad campaign visually represents what the news channel is representing editorially: that India's economy is booming rapidly but in every sector, there are some or the other unfinished agendas that still need to be addressed in the budget.

“The ad campaign is symbolically trying to represent the state of the Indian economy, where sectors have incompleteness. So in infrastructure, you have luxury cars but inadequate roads; there are strides being taken in higher education but the state of primary education is dismal.”

So, he insists, the advertising campaign, as much as the editorial focus, is meant to point out the existing gaps in the economy to the government.

But advertisements are normally for end users, right? In this case, that would surely be CNBC TV 18’s viewership, right? Sure, agrees Driver, adding, “Unfinished Agenda is for everyone. What draws the viewership is when you say something relevant and create stickiness. In India’s economic framework, the budget is a critical milestone. The editorial coverage is speaking to the converted – everyone knows about the gaps in sectors and conscious of how it affects their lives. The ad campaign strongly supports that.”

He adds that feedback on the campaign indicates that it has been well received by people in industry.

“Everyone is struggling with some kind of issues that in some way relate to the Unfinished Agenda. CNBC TV 18 is amongst the most watched English channels in the country.”

He believes the ad campaign is relevant on both fronts: as a marketing effort to draw viewers’ attention significantly to CNBC TV 18 on budget coverage; and in representing, in a support capacity, the channel’s effort to create awareness and raise questions on the unfinished agendas in the economy.

Whether what looks like bites chewed off national monuments such as the Taj Mahal or the Gateway of India in the ad visuals gets the message across clearly, may be a matter of varying opinions, but the visual idea does create a pause, mid-stride, out of curiosity.

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