Outlook does a Time magazine on Obama

There’s an image of a confident Barack Obama. The headline, aping the Time magazine headline of the cover which featured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, calling him “The Underachiever” is exactly the same.

This time, it is an Indian magazine which calls the American President an underachiever. “America needed a reboot – he promised hope and change. Four years on, President Barack Obama’s sheen is gone. Can his lofty rhetoric carry him home again?", says the blurb.

The Outlook cover.

Do enough Indians want a detailed analysis of the Obama presidency for it to merit a cover story? Were there no other stories that could have made it to the cover?

The forthcoming issue of Outlook (which will probably be in print as this is being written) also has a story on Rajesh Khanna’s passing and another on 80 years of Indian cricket.

Both Rajesh Khanna and cricket, one imagines, could have been the cover story as well.

But neither would have got Outlook the PR mileage that the Obama cover will generate. As far as Rajesh Khanna is concerned, newspapers and television have left little uncovered for the news magazines – all that they’re left with is crumbs. 80 years of cricket might be a tantalizing cover when India was playing an exciting, closely fought series or tournament – and a team without Sachin playing Sri Lanka can hardly be called exciting.

That’s what makes the Obama cover a clever marketing gimmick. Tomorrow, when the newsmagazines hit the stands, it’s the Obama cover which will stand out, not the Rajesh Khanna ones. And the image of the cover will be forwarded, shared, liked and commented upon on twitter and facebook by late today.

And, as a bonus, Manmohan Singh might be pleased – and he might smile when he sees the cover.

Updated Date: Jul 19, 2012 16:41 PM

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