Short List
Product / ServiceTHE TIMES OF INDIA
CategoryG04. Social Behaviour
EntrantFCBULKA Mumbai, INDIA
Idea Creation FCBULKA Mumbai, INDIA


Name Company Position
Fred Levron FCB Worldwide Creative Partner
Keegan Pinto FCBULKA National Creative Director
Anindya Banerjee FCBULKA Executive Creative Director
Swati Bhattacharya FCBULKA Chief Creative Officer
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
Raghav Mahendra FCBULKA Brand Services Executive
Manoj Hodawadekar FCBULKA Creative Consultant
Saad Khan FCBULKA National Planning Director
Trinolda Colaco FCBULKA Senior Brand Planner

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Times Out & Proud was created when the Times of India, made an editorial change to redesign its classifieds to make space for the LGBTQ community. By giving them their dedicated classifieds section. The campaign launched alongside a robust P.R. strategy. Which saw topical editorial content, celebrities and influencers creating periodic content, round table debates on national TV, Pride Parades and on-ground activations and more.


Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was an act that criminalised homosexuality. It was introduced in the year 1861 during the British rule of India. On September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised IPC section 377. But it changed little for the LGBTQ community. The community lives a life of social isolation. Society doesn’t accept them as they are. They find it extremely difficult to ‘come out’, find jobs, accommodation or life partners. The task was to give the LGBTQ community a voice and a platform that integrates their community back into society.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

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, or make public announcements 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.

Describe the PR strategy (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. The P.R. strategy sought to leverage different channels of media to make the initiative a success. It was championed by print with periodic editorial articles sparking conversations, supported by digital and social campaigns, with TV and on-ground activations strengthening the cause.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

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. Conversations were sparked with periodic editorial content on pressing LGBTQ topics. 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. Social media was leveraged with the help of celebrities and influencers to help reach the community. 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 campaign is on-going.

List the results (30% 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 about the social behaviour that inspired the work

Being identified as an LGBTQ individual in India still isn’t easy. Finding employment, a partner, accommodation or house help is extremely difficult. Moments, accolades in their lives like change of name or gender often go uncelebrated. Their existence is stifled and they don’t feel like a part of society. In order to make Indians embrace the community, we had to reach out to two audiences: 1. The Shamed, The Marginalised And The Segregated: LGBTQ members who were facing a difficulty in any walk of life due to their sexual orientation. 2. The Sceptics And The Apprehensive: TOI had to reach out to those Indians who had made the community feel unwelcome in society.


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