Mint freshens up India's newspaper market and how to get ahead in Japanese advertising.
Inspired by colour, chaos and a sizeable niche in one of the world’s fastest-growing newspaper markets, Mint (seen here as working-titled Scan) is India’s brand-new financial daily.
The joint venture by HT Media (publishers of the Hindustan Times) and The Wall Street Journal will see the paper provide international content from its 1,900-strong roster of economists, experts and correspondents for the new paper’s print and web versions. Mint will be edited in Mumbai and Delhi by Raju Narisetti (formerly of WSJ Europe) and a news team of 100 staffers; its editorial focus, says Narisetti, is “the business of life”.
India has a population of 1.2 billion, with an average age of just 27. There is money to be made: annual economic growth is around 9 per cent; media companies have seen advertising revenues grow by 30 to 40 per cent annually. The urban migration of the literate, ambitious young means that cash for spending and capital for investment are increasingly found in the back pocket of a pair of jeans rather than in the jacket pocket of a three-piece suit. And Mint was conceived with expensive denim very much in mind.
The key to success for any new media launch is accessible editorial. Achieving this goal means hiring Dr Mario Garcia, the newspaper design svengali whose hit parade of mould-breaking relaunches includes Die Zeit, The Observer and the WSJ’s recent facelift. As with much cosmetic surgery, the good doctor believes you might as well get liposuction while you’re under the knife (his nip/tuck annotations are shown above), so most papers wake up slimmer. Mint is the first shorter, sharper Berliner-format newspaper published on the subcontinent.
Garcia’s pet project is the weekend edition of the newspaper: his Saturday paper swaps the traditional roles of news and lifestyle by wrapping the newspaper inside a glossy magazine. “India is all about the unexpected”, says Garcia. “I love the Wall Street Journal, but we couldn’t just clone an old baby.”
Every year Nikkei Research asks 500 Japanese companies “which three stars would you hire for future commercials?” The results are dominated by small-screen talent. Ladies first:
01 Masami Nagasawa – this homely looking young actress advertises Knorr instant soup for food giant Ajinomoto. 02 Haruka Ayase – a huge dorama star and face of Max Factor Japan, Pantene haircare and sports drink Pocari Sweat. 03 Yukie Nakama – this easy-on-the-eye 20-year-old appeared in the ¥5bn (€32m) award-winning advert for Shiseido’s Tsubaki shampoo. 04 Sayuri Yoshinaga – striking a blow for older actresses, this 62-year-old is a favourite in period dramas while promoting Sharp’s Aquos TV. 05 Nanako Matsushima – this model-turned-actress has been one of the most popular young Japanese stars of the last decade. She stars for Nikon.
01 Takuya Kimura of the all-conquering boy-band SMAP plugs Gatsby “Moving Rubber” hair gel. A man so idolised he had to apologise for getting married. 02 Koichi Sato – this dorama stalwart with a grown-up, masculine image promotes Toyota’s Mark-X saloon. 03 Satoshi Tsumabuki – the young heart-throb stars in a series of humorous ads for Tokyo Gas in which he encounters a series of historical characters sitting in his bedroom. 04 Hiroshi Abe – the 42-year-old model-turned-actor has been a workhorse for Sapporo, Sekisui Chemical and Visa. 05 Joe Odagiri – this young actor is busy promoting credit card company Life Co and Weider In Jelly, a wobbly energy drink.
Kisho Kurakawa’s new National Art Center in Roppongi is a ¥35bn (€224m) glittering behemoth that is yet another chapter in the district’s reinvention. The 14,000 sq m space reflects a new art age in its organic glass walls: it will not stockpile art but have a changing programme of exhibitions. First show, the aptly named Living in the Material World, examines the relationship between art and “things” in 20th-century art and includes work by Dan Flavin, the US minimalist much imitated by lighting designers.