Bronze Spike
Product / ServiceTHE TIMES OF INDIA
CategoryB05. Corporate Purpose & Social Responsibility
EntrantFCBULKA Mumbai, INDIA
Idea Creation FCBULKA Mumbai, INDIA


Name Company Position
Fred Levron FCB Worldwide Creative Partner
Swati Bhattacharya FCBULKA Chief Creative Officer
Keegan Pinto FCBULKA National Creative Director
Anindya Banerjee FCBULKA Executive Creative Director
Jason Samuel FCBULKA Creative Supervisor
Shailesh Khandeparkar FCBULKA Group Head – Art
Amol Annaldas FCBULKA Associate Creative Director
Vishakha Khattri FCBULKA Brand Services Manager
Nikhil Kerkar FCBULKA Associate Creative Director
Rohit Divekar FCBULKA Brand Services Director
Saad Khan FCBULKA National Planning Director
Trinolda Colaco FCBULKA Senior Brand Planner
Raghav Mahendra FCBULKA Brand Services Executive
Manoj Hodawadekar FCBULKA Creative Consultant

Why is this work relevant for Creative Strategy?

The LGBTQ community in India has been fighting endlessly for its rights and mainstream acceptance despite the decriminalisation of homosexuality by the Supreme Court. Times Out and Proud sparked a nationwide movement to normalise and celebrate LGBTQ. A mainstream newspaper became the mouthpiece of a marginalised community. Members made themselves seen and heard through Out & Proud classifieds and garnered the love and support of millions. The campaign also positively impacted business. It not only arrested the decline, but also helped increase the number of classifieds. Readership grew by 2.6% even as the overall readership of English dailies fell.


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 the 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. However, the members of the community are still treated as social outcasts and live on the fringes of an ‘accepted society’. Three key objectives: 1) Business Give declining classifieds a new lease of life to add to revenue. 2) Communication Legitimise and normalise the LGBTQ community by driving conversations around it. 3) Behavioural Make Indians embrace the LGBTQ community.

The Interpretation of the Challenge (30% of vote)

On the commercial front, the newspaper was faced with a serious problem. The classifieds section, critical to its revenue, had begun to lose its relevance and affinity with the audience. A section which was once the barometer for the newspaper’s local connect and legitimacy was on the verge of disappearing forever. On the social front, the LGBTQ community that has been marginalised for decades, struggles for mainstream acceptance even today. The community lives in isolation and finds it extremely difficult to ‘come out’, find jobs, accommodation or life partners. Target Audience: In order to make Indians embrace the LGBTQ community, the campaign had to reach out to two audiences: 1. The Shamed, The Marginalised And The Segregated: LGBTQ members who were facing difficulty in any walk of life due to their sexual orientation –accommodation. 2. Those Indians who are either sceptical or apprehensive of the LGBTQ.

The Insight / Breakthrough Thinking (30% of vote)

Homosexuality had been decriminalised in the courtroom but the 150+ year old discrimination against the community continues even today. Right from coming out to family or friends, to finding a home or a job, it is a difficult journey every step of the way. 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 the LGBTQ community, give them their rightful place in society and get the larger population to engage with them.

The Creative Idea (20% of vote)

Idea: Out & Proud Classifieds, a dedicated newspaper section for LGBTQ to claim their space in society with pride, to ‘come out’, look for jobs, accommodation, life partners & speak out. 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. The campaign was launched digitally with a short film portraying captivating stories of people from the LGBTQ community and their families who have endured social discrimination for years but live with a hope of inclusion. 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, articles about community members and partnerships with pride parades and the Bangalore Times Fashion Week.

The Outcome / Results (20% of vote)

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% 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.

Please tell us how the brand purpose inspired the work

Times of India, the country’s largest-selling English daily is driven by a singular purpose – to be an agent of change. From education to inclusivity, the brand has always used the power of communication to fuel social change. For the first time ever, a mainstream newspaper became the mouthpiece of the marginalised LGBTQ community through the dedicated Out & Proud classifieds section. The Times of India didn’t just stop there. It partnered with the Times Group companies, right from news channels to events, to further spread the message of inclusivity.

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