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The foundation of the Tata group was laid by Jamsetji Tata in the 1870s with a textile mill. The
young Parsi had made a tidy profit of Rs40 lakh sending supplies to the British troops in the
Abyssinian war, and had held nationalist sympathies. After his death, Lord Curzon, the viceroy
of India between 1898 and 1905, said that “no Indian of the present generation had done more
for the commerce and industry of India.”

The Tatas continued to be regarded by many as patriots after Independence. But the Indian
leadership at the time also held strong socialist ideals, and both advertising and large private
enterprises were viewed with suspicion.

Early in 1968, JRD Tata, in a letter to World Bank adviser George Woods, wrote: “I am afraid
that in spite of all the lessons of the past twenty years, there’s no real change in Delhi’s attitude
toward “big business”, nor have our politicians and bureaucrats realised that what seems big
business to them would be little more than peanuts elsewhere.”

Companies in the private sector faced strict government controls and often felt that they were at
the mercy of politicians’ caprices. Author and researcher Claude Markovits observes in his essay
The Tata Paradox that the group lost the unique position it held before Independence, when it
enjoyed the protection and support of the colonial state and benefited from patriotic enthusiasm
simultaneously. “When British rule came to an end, other big Indian firms had a more intimate
connection to the Indian state as a result of the support they had given the Congress during the
independence struggle,” wrote Markovits. “This was particularly true of the Birlas and some of
the Ahmedabad textile magnates.”

Against this backdrop, it’s clear from the advertisements that the company wanted to be seen as
a force for good—one that wasn’t focused on accumulating wealth and power for its owners and
shareholders, but devoted to improving the country.

Veteran adman Roger Pereira, whose early assignments involved working on Tata advertisements
at J Walter Thompson in the 1960s, mentions a time when advertising helped the company
navigate political hurdles. In 1977, George Fernandes, the industry minister at the time, wanted
to nationalise Tata Steel. In response, the company ran a campaign that detailed its philanthropic
work and added, almost in passing—”we also make steel.”
“They said, ‘we’ve built these hospitals, we’ve done this and this…and we also make steel. This is
how we spend our money’,” said Pereira. “(The Tatas) weren’t profiteering for the sake of
profiteering, they were investing in the country. That was a brilliant campaign, the most brilliant
advertising campaign of all time in India. That’s what made Fernandes really look like a fool.”
This brand positioning is also seen in a Tata Iron and Steel Company advertisement from
October 1955 that was created by J Walter Thompson. It portrays a man in a loincloth holding
a long sheet, and says that India has come from importing the bulk of her textile requirements
30 years ago to having the second-largest textile industry in the world. Written in a larger font
size below this, it reads, “Private Enterprise Serves the Nation.”

An advertisement announcing the opening of the Trombay Power Thermal Station in 1956 said
it was “yet another Tata contribution to a higher standard of living through an expanding
economy” and an “example of the work of enlightened Free Enterprise.”

Earlier in 1949, Tata made the connection between steel and agriculture in an advertisement
that talked of the mechanisation of agriculture. It had a photograph of Nehru watching a tractor
in operation. That same year, the company ran an ad that said, “Steel links India’s Frontiers,”
and described how 7,000 tonnes of steel were used in the newly-laid railway line connecting
Assam to the rest of the Indian Union.

Indian companies at the time strove to distinguish themselves from multinationals by

emphasising their swadeshi credentials, and Tata was no exception with its Hamam soap—“Tata’s
Hamam is a bigger soap—it’s truly swadeshi, too,” read one advertisement. Another reminded
consumers that Jamsetji Tata had set up the Swadeshi Mills Co. in 1886, twenty years before the
swadeshi movement gained prominence.

“Winning the government’s approval was important during the Licence Raj days—this meant
appearing to serve the people,” said Arvind Rajagopal, professor of media studies at New York
University. “Large companies also began to reflect aspects of national developmentalist ideology.
Advertising agencies all publicly avowed support for the planned economy, for example, and the
biggest ones were all foreign.”

“Nation-focused ads were released not only by Tata but by all companies,” said Arun Chaudhuri,
head of the marketing research company BRAND and the author of Indian Advertising:
Laughter and Tears. “Obviously, all these ads helped to support the government line that India
was on a rapid path of progress. The reality was that the majority of the people lived pitiable lives
hardly managing a square meal a day.”
According to Chaudhuri, another reason why advertisements tended to focus on the country
and its progress before liberalisation may have simply been a lack of creative output from
agencies. Since demand for goods was greater than supply in most industries, companies didn’t
need bigger markets and didn’t care all that much about the content in ads. They were bought
to keep newspapers—an important tool for public relations—happy.

Also in short supply were Tata Mercedes Benz trucks, which were “speeding prosperity to the
countryside,” according to an advertisement from August 1960. The truck was compared with
the Gwalior Fort that played a role during the Indian Mutiny (“Stalwarts Both”) and the India
Gate (“Gateways to Prosperity”).
The messaging was clear: Tata wasn’t just driving India to a brighter future; it was also taking her
back to her illustrious past. An ad for Tata Exports Limited, talks about “reviving the age-old
glory of Indian exports.” Other Tata Iron and Steel Company advertisements refer to
“implements of steel used by master craftsmen of ancient India”, “exquisite swords of Indian
steel” used in the past and admired by outsiders and Indian ships being “once again on the high
If this rhetoric sounds familiar today, it is because it is used by politicians to invoke a sense of
nationalist pride. But for the Tatas, that was not the only motivation. Even today, according to
a recent survey, Tata Motors, a company that was founded 73 years ago, is viewed by Indians as
the second-most patriotic brand in the country.
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN | Values Stronger Than Steel

In the 1990s, Tata Steel ran a television ad campaign that showcased its corporate philanthropy
projects, without a single mention of its primary business, but signed off with the line: “We also
make steel.” Tata Steel , a company synonymous to values – trust, transparency and total
Community Care announced the launch of a corporate campaign “Values Stronger than Steel
(VSTS)” in 2011.The campaign presents the company’s very own achievers who have paved their
own way to success and recognition like R&D Chief- Mark Denys, the Head of Tata Steel
Adventure Foundation – Bachendri Pal, the young talent in Archery- Deepika Kumari,
empowered members of the Tejaswini Project like Asha Hansda amongst others. Everyone has
a story to tell and they are the brand ambassadors for the campaign.There are a total of 10
creatives for Print Ads which have been produced in ten different languages (English, Hindi,
Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Telugu, Oriya, Gujarati, and Bengali). Each of the 10
creative ads depict real-life heroes which the company has chosen from around the company’s
birthplace here — each trying to depict one focus area of the steel major’s future thrust.

The campaign aimed at reaching out to the Indian citizen to reinforce the image of the company
as cutting edge, global steel major which is dedicated towards social & economic sustainability,
green-technology and community empowerment. The core of the campaign is to showcase the
organization’s involvement and commitment beyond steel making, while embodying it’s
overarching “value system”.

The endorsers of these ads were neither a celebrity nor a very famous person but were part of
the company. The company intentionally selected its employees to be endorsers of this campaign
because this is a campaign to promote the company’s culture and values. This way the company
wants to show that their people (employees) are their real heroes. As this is a campaign to
promote the value system of the company, the choice of endorsers is very apt. Not always using
celebrities will help. This is one such instance. The company’s campaign is focused on the
human resources and their position in the company. So ads endorsed by its own employees
create an image in people that the company really values its people.
VALUES STRONGER THAN STEEL | Segmentation & Targeting

The campaign was not targeted at selling any product or service in particular to the viewer. The
objective of the ad is brand positioning and re-positioning. The ad depicts how the company
values its human resources more than its products. The ad is mainly targeted towards
professionals and educated class. Along with the brand building and repositioning the ad
campaign mainly focuses on the company’s human resources and its commitment towards it.
The campaign mainly portrays the roles and success stories of different employees in the
company. So the targeted segment is young talent who are looking for a meritocratic place to
work where everyone has an equal opportunity to grow.

The advertisement focused on cognitive arousal of the motives of the individual and enhances
the image of the company. This ad campaign assures to satisfy the Social (affection, friendship
and belonging) and Egoistic (prestige, status and self-esteem) needs in the Maslow’s hierarchy of
needs. The ad is achieving them through the success stories of the employees portrayed in a
professional way. The choice of words and the tagline clearly shows that the company wants to
position (or re-position) its brand image deeper into people’s minds.

The brand TATA already has a great position in minds of Indians. Through this ad the company
aimed at its brand re-positioning and taking the relation to a whole new level. The company
through this campaign tried to register in people’s mind that TATA is a metaphor for values
and people. The campaign used both women and men equally as brand ambassadors to show
that the company values gender equality. The company through this campaign also tried to
create a perception that TATA Steel the best place to work and it is the place where your talent
is nurtured and a place where everyone is given equal opportunity to grow and become future
leaders. The ad is also targeted to create a perception that TATA is more than just a company.

The tagline “values stronger than steel” by itself is very powerful and catchy. The tagline shows
the company’s commitment to ethics and values. It reflects the main function of the company
and goes a step further and speaks about the company’s priority of the “value system”. Half
success of the campaign can be attributed to the tagline.
TATA, one of the most valued Indian brands has been thriving restlessly to maintain the brand
value it has achieved all these years. Through this campaign the company tried to advertise a soft
and intangible asset of the company i.e., its values. Unlike popular ways of advertising the
company tried a new and totally apt way to advertise. The ads may not appeal to all but would
definitely appeal to the targeted segment i.e., young talent and working class. Using employees
as endorsers is an innovative move to showcase the values of the company.