Brand wars – The Times Of India vs The Hindu

And they hit back and how! not one but 3 full frontal attacks.  The Times Of India(TOI) had recently, around november, taken a dig at The Hindu with its campaign ‘Wake Up Chennai‘.  With its no nonsense, and conservative image, i thought that the newspaper would never respond to TOIs commercial. But they did.

The Hindu commands a Numero Uno position in the Chennai market, you can call it the Rajnikant of newspapers in Chennai, followed by The Deccan Chronicle (Secondary data – to be verified). Now it has come up with its ‘Stay Ahead Of The Times‘ campaign making an aggressive “up yours” counter attack at the TOI. And not just on television but through print ads.


“The Old Lady of Bori Bunder didn’t just wake up Mount Road Mahavishnu, she literally taunted him to a wrestling match.”  (said someone)

Agencies involved:
TOI : Taproot India
The Hindu : Ogilvy

The  TOI Wake Up Chennai  [Taproot India] commercial below, see The Hindu shown at 0:59.

The Hindu – ‘Stay Ahead Of The Times’ [Ogilvy]. No explanation needed.

And this one…

And this one…


42 thoughts on “Brand wars – The Times Of India vs The Hindu

  1. Deccan Chronicle had one but it was like “just another commercial”. And moreover it comes second only to The Hindu. But now with these kind of aggressive marketing DC will have to wake up.

  2. The simple fact is that there is an element of truth in both the ads.. The hindu is terribly boring, while TOI is really nothing more than a tabloid!

    • I have never read The Hindu here in Mumbai.In fact i doubt if it has a presence here. So cannot rally comment on it. However, The Hindu Business LIne is indeed boring, if compared to the Economic Times.

      And yes, TOI is a glamour paper!

  3. Nice reply .. or counter advert …… but seriously the concept is good but the questions are plain stupid …… The Hindu cannot be pitted directly against the TOI … the Hindu is far far superior in terms of quality and news content to the TOI and this is one paper in India or probably the only one which doesn’t come with grammatical errors … however the TOI also covers all the news but more in a tabloid reporting format with loads of grammatical errors

  4. Stay ahead with the Hindu, is mainly not to give, free publicity to TImes by mentioning Staying ahead of times in the heading, cause thats most read even if u dont watch the video.
    So its intelligent to mention it only in the video, cause it makes sense there.

  5. I think the TOI is going to fall flat. Unlikely to have a response to something like this. Hmm, on hindsight, I might be wrong.

    PS: I read the TOI and I knew the answers to all those questions. 🙂

  6. Initially, I laughed a lot when I saw the ads.

    Then I realized how horribly patronizing they were. The Hindu seems to be pushing us to perceive some knowledge as superior to others. For some of us that knowledge may matter more, but it doesn’t have to be for many others. If they think Hritik Roshan’s nick-name is more important, then I don’t see why their case should be taken on television, even if it is to get back at the Times of India, which may not be a paper I read but a paper which many others like to.

    I read the Hindu, but I found it ironic that they thought of themselves as being “ahead of the times”.

    • I would respectfully differ. Some kind of knowledge is always better than the others. HR’s nick name, ash’s baby’s sex and size-0 heroine’s name are not really useful in terms of either quality or applicability.

    • The Hindu did a fantastic job! The ad is meant to be awkward and mildly patronizing.Sure knowledge cannot be compared, but if you read the The Hindu and didn’t feel that it’s article and quality of journalism was “ahead of the times”,you must be reading a ToI the rest of India doesn’t get.

      • I, personally, would value details of Bollywood stars lesser than I would value other information.

        I am a student of political science and love my subject and hence other topics would take priority over the rest. I do agree that some information, like pet-names of film stars would not be very applicable or help benefit a lot of people, but if some take a keen interest in it rather than something else then let them do so.

        Sir, I’m not the biggest fan of Times of India either. I just feel that the Hindu, while choosing what to report on very well, seems to offer little in the form of a diverse set of alternatives, or for that matter even one alternative at many times.

        Their editorials have grown increasingly homogeneous and critical without providing interesting alternatives which can strike well at policies which they seek to criticize at a broader level, which is important, but details which are important to readers who need to be well informed in order to form their own opinion get left out.

        Many of us read the Hindu over other papers in India because it still chooses to report on many issues which other papers blatantly skip. But it just seemed important to be a little critical of the Hindu, especially when they chose to target another newspaper and its readers the way it did.

  7. Never thought that “The Hindu” would reply so strongly against “TOI” .

    Obviuosly both newspapers strength are different and TOI should not made an issue of it initially.

  8. I would appriciate ogily’s work in terms of creating such creative . This ad will help fo a single buy of HINDU , just to see what is content in it.

    TIMES ki puri baja di hai !!! Tap root has big challenge now.


  9. When my daughter was 9 and growing up, I called up the Brand Director of TOI to tell him that i had to discontinue buying TOI because of its sleaze content. I got the reply that the paper focuses on giving people what they want and the youth of today wants that. I stopped buying TOI around that time.

    Today, my daughter is 17 and i take a more balanced Hindustan Times. In Delhi, HT has already gone ahead of TOI in circulation.

    I believe that the educated gentry has a responsibility to reject media that, instead of enhancing our cultural heritage, is doing its bit to accelerate the westernization in the name of “youth wants it”. We certainly do not want 50% plus divorces in India and a breakdown in relationships.

    So quit being a tabloid TOI. Give us what we need rather than what we want.

  10. Example of gamesmanship instead of focusing on improving the product! All we get to see is entertainment–where’s the branding that connects with the customer?

    The reality is that ToI has little news/analysis while The Hindu is boring. The “brand wars” can only help the agencies, neither the client nor the end customer!

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  12. I beg to differ. you say DC is number 2. Wake up.. That was long ago. Times of india is certainly number 2 now and it is threatening Hindu big time. That is why Hindu is this aggressive. Thanks

  13. Just when you thought Taproot was going to wow them all. Great ads by the Hindu. Ogilvy doing a great job. Love the thought.

    Pity I’m a Times loyalist. The ads seem to be mocking Mumbai Mirror pretty well though. The TOI has a great editorial board and offers the perfect mix. Haven’t read the Hindu though. So cant comment on the product. But hope there’s more to come from where this came.

  14. Hindu boring? You must be slow-witted! Hindu crossword, best thing 6 days a week! Too bad TOI only has Bangalore Times in response 6 days a week!

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  16. I am glad to see a paper like The Hindu fighting a war, and not surrendering like Deccan Herald did in Bangalore. What i would love to see is Hindu going places, TN and Ker are their strong hold, going to northern part of India and making a mark…

    All the Best..

  17. toi has full of ads and all funny masala stuff but the hindu has intellectual rich and a good articles.the hindu truly captures the image of india while toi has only public interests news,for good knowledge one should read the hindu.

  18. Hindu should first be present in all the states and be a national newspaper before calling itself ” Ahead of Times” …But there is no doubt that its content is way superior than newspapers…I like this humble newspapers correction of the previous day mistakes in the open-ed… Missing it now..!

    A south Indian migrant to North!

  19. Pingback: Brand Wars – The Hindu vs The Times of India « The SIESCOMS Blog

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