Cannes Lions

Out and Proud Classified

FCBULKA , Mumbai / TIMES OF INDIA GROUP / 2020

Awards:

1 Bronze Cannes Lions
4 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Classifieds: An Endangered Species:

The Times of India’s classifieds section, which is critical to the newspaper’s revenue, was seeing a consistent decline.

LGBTQ: A community living in the shadows:

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code introduced in 1861 during British rule criminalised all “unnatural” sexual acts including anal sex between men and other homosexual acts.

In a historic judgement on September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court of India, decriminalised Section 377 thus ushering India into a new era of social equality and individual freedom.

But little changed for the LGBTQ community. They continued to live a life of social isolation, struggling for acceptance. They found it extremely difficult to ‘come out’, find jobs, accommodation, or life partners.

3 Objectives:

Business

Give declining classifieds a new lease of life to add to revenue.

Communication

Legitimise, normalise LGBTQ community by driving conversations around it.

Behavioural

Make Indians embrace LGBTQ.

Idea

The Times of India needed a simple yet powerful idea to normalise and include the LGBTQ community into society. So, we looked to the classifieds. In India, everything you want to share with the world, goes through the classifieds. Jobs, grooms, accommodation and much more. It’s the bedrock of things. The Times of India decided to make an editorial change in their newspaper: it redesigned its classified section. On the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, The Times of India, unveiled ‘Times Out & Proud’. A free space where everything the LGBTQ community is looking for could be found. Essentially, the LGBTQ community could now ‘come out’, look for accommodation, jobs, love, inclusion, and celebrate life events.

A bold and unprecedented editorial change that gave the LGBTQ community a platform to be accepted and integrated into society.

Strategy

The Insight: Until it is not given legitimacy in a mainstream platform, the LGBTQ community will stay marginalised.

Newspaper classifieds announce key milestones in a person’s life. Due to rigorous checks, they bring legitimacy and authenticity to every announcement. The Times of India needed to use this power of classifieds to create social legitimisation and inclusivity for LGBTQ community, give them their rightful place in society and get the larger population to engage with them.

The campaign aimed to reach LGBTQ individuals across India and empower them with their very own classifieds. It was also aimed at normalising the existence of the LGBTQ community in India by making them feel a part of society.

A national call to action was sent out via the press, OOH & film to generate awareness and more importantly create an inclusive movement.

Execution

The campaign was launched on the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) with a front-page lead story in the Times of India newspaper followed by the first launch ad with a front-page innovation where ‘The Times of India’ masthead turned into ‘The Times of Pride’.

The campaign was launched digitally with a short film that portrayed members of the LGBTQ community telling their story and reading out their 50-word Out & Proud Classifieds message.

Out & Proud also partnered with Mirror Now, a national TV news channel to debate various LGBTQ issues with a panel of members of the community.

The campaign was amplified with Out & Proud billboards, periodic editorial articles, round table debates, pride parades and presence at the Bangalore Times Fashion Week.

The campaign is on-going.

Outcome

The Times of India turned into The Times of Pride. A whole generation answered the call for inclusivity. LGBTQ individuals across India wrote in and shared their stories which were printed in the Times of India.

While other dailies lost readership, The Times of India grew by 2.6%. It also received countless classifieds. Educational and corporate institutions across India opened their doors to the LGBTQ community.

Generated $ 3.3 Billion in Earned Media

Read by 12.2 million people every week

Business Growth – 8.1%

5% jump in revenue from personal classifieds including Times Out & Proud.

Impact: Over 12 million video views in 10 Days

Media Impressions: Over 25 million impressions

It gave hope to millions across India and gained coverage Internationally for being a beacon of change for the LGBTQ community. It helped normalise and integrate the community back into society.

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