In the normal course of things, it’s rare for Internet companies in India to take out print advertising at all. On Monday, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) stunned Internet users with a high voltage campaign that broke as jacket ads (equivalent of full front page ads) in national dailies, including The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Mint and DNA. Simultaneously, the ‘You’ campaign’s TVC broke on television channels while a digital campaign broke out on the Internet and mobile devices. An out-of-home campaign also went up in four cities–New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The same day, Yahoo’s new home page, which the company has been beta testing since December 2008 and partially migrating users to since July, went fully live (became the default option for all users).
“Yahoo! once again reaffirms its commitment to India by rolling out this campaign in India along with the US and the UK. With over 72% of the Indian Internet users already coming to Yahoo! every month, this campaign will reinforce our leadership position and attract new users to Yahoo!” Yahoo India MD Arun Tadanki wrote in an email response.
Yahoo India’s marketing director Nitin Mathur declined to tell us what part of the $100 million global budget for the campaign is being spent in India, but said the campaign was part of a multi-year transformation of the brand. “It comes with a transformation of our product mix and the campaign is about communicating the new Yahoo to our large user base,” Mathur said. Apart from the new home page, Yahoo has revamped Yahoo Mail, incorporating “open and social” elements to it. Yahoo Messenger also gets some new features, apart from other products.
Ogilvy did the creative work for the campaign globally and the India team worked with the LA office of the ad agency on the Indian campaign. Mindshare is the media agency.
The dramatic use of print was to achieve “disruptive visibility”, Mathur said, adding that print will be used at a later stage in the campaign for business-to-business communication, but for little else.
Mostly, the campaign is going to remain at a brand level, but some parts, especially in digital, will focus on specific products. Print was used to achieve disruptive visibility, television is about reaching out to new customers and digital is about driving usage of Yahoo properties, Mathur said. “Digital is also about getting the conversations about Yahoo going”.
The company was taking the digital campaign very seriously, Mathur said. “We will go all out on showcasing the digital might. In a sense we are walking the talk by leveraging the power of the digital medium, both on the Internet and mobile,” he said.
Interestingly, the campaign is also going to cybercafes, where, according to Mathur, 40% of all Internet traffic in India originates from. There will be some brand communications through cyber cafe chains and some work will also be done in terms of driving usage through Yahoo toolbars and other widgets. Earlier this year, Yahoo had also tied up with Tata Indicom, and developed a co-branded portal, which was the default homepage everytime an Tata Indicom Internet customer fired up her net connection.
On television, the media plan includes some mass market channels as well as infotainment channels such as Discovery, Nat Geo and Fox History, and movie channels. The digital plan is a combination of hi-context, niche websites and larger portals, Mathur said, elaborating on the media mix.