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Innovations in television and print advertising

Innovations in television and print advertising
Highlights

Television is the ultimate idiot box. It allures the viewers and pulls them into thinking uni-dimensionally. Watching television comes with a catch....

Television is the ultimate idiot box. It allures the viewers and pulls them into thinking uni-dimensionally. Watching television comes with a catch. It is the advertisements that drive the programming and the audience are forced to watch them. Viewers got their break with the invention of the remote control. The control was in the hands of the viewer and with a flip of a button the viewer could swap the channels and watch two TV programmes at the same time (popularly called Zapping).

The ultimate threat to advertisements is the invention of the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). DVR is a revolutionary product, which can record live television and has a memory of around 500 GB. This effectively means that many hours of live TV can be recorded. A viewer can now practice time lapse television watching.

Time lapse TV viewing is watching TV at a time convenient to the viewer. The biggest sufferer in time lapse television watching is the advertiser. The advertisements are generally fast forwarded by the viewer. The biggest challenge for the TV advertiser is to make the viewer watch the advertisement and not forward it.

Innovations in television advertising: The following are some of the innovations that the advertisers have tried to make the viewers watch in their advertisements.

1.Increase the sound of the advertisement in relation to that of the programme. As the sound is louder it attracts attention.

2.Have an advertisement that is totally silent. Television falling silent would also create attention.

3.Have an advertisement that has rerun value. An advertisement that is memorable or humorous is tolerated or even welcomed. Some advertisements have attained iconic status and are admired and watched repeatedly. The Fevicol series of advertisements of India are a case in point.

4.Advertisements that run as a series by themselves. Pond's Kabhi Kabhi Pyar Mein tried out a five part serial advertisement in 2008 and was watched with a lot of curiosity.

5.Many advertisers drew the viewer by creating contests centered on the advertisements. Viewers who could correctly answer the questions got a prize.

6.Advertisers also put some numbers in their advertisements. Viewers have to see the advertisements to know them. When one sees the advertisement and sends an SMS with the numbers mentioned, a prize is awarded .

7.Advertisers have also made their advertisements a part of the programme. When the next part of the serial (aired after the commercial break) is shown, the name of the main sponsor or his product is displayed.

8.Many advertisers have tried the “crawlies”, which are small messages or advertisements that crawl from left to right at the bottom of the television screen.

Innovations in print advertising: The biggest challenge is to design a print advertisement keeping in mind the medium's cons which are the clutter, the problem of cheap quality of paper and of printing. Let us examine innovations in print media that have stood out and have become the talk of the town.

On April 16, 2000, readers opened their copy of a national English daily and were shocked to see the front page blank. A line in small print read, “we decided to shift our headlines to the last page.” When the reader turned to the last page, larger-than-life headlines screamed: “India is now Indya”.

The newspaper always stood for innovation and bold thinking. Most readers were amused to see it’s masthead. Most purists objected to the idea of the masthead becoming a part of an advertisement but like the adage goes “it is all about money - honey”. Even the newspaper had to bow its head before the lucre of money.

Smelling advertisements: In many cases the press advertisements are visual in nature and leave the reader cold because he/she can't feel, touch and experience the product. One innovation that is very appealing is found in many foreign fashion magazines. The perfume and toiletries advertisements feature glossy photographs of models, perfumes and a patch of rub on. The reader can rub his finger on the patch and smell it. And presto, the fragrance of the perfume! Talk about effective product demonstration. But care should be taken to see that the smell is nice and that it does not leak and spoil the entire magazine.

Touch and see advertisements: In case of comparative advertisements it is very difficult to believe the veracity of a company’s claim over another, especially when the claims are based on perceptions that are very difficult to explain. Ariel tried a very innovative campaign to show that it washes better than its famous competitor. They claimed that their detergent is better by sticking small bits of cloth washed by its famous competitor and a small piece of cloth washed by Ariel itself. Needless to say the cloth bit washed by Ariel was cleaner, brighter and better looking. Like the saying, seeing is believing.

Talking advertisement: The biggest problem with the press advertisements are that they can't speak and move. Both these issues have been addressed. The earlier mentioned English daily had featured the talking advertisement. A particular day’s edition was split into two sections: a 26-page news section and a 10-page wraparound.

The opening page of the wraparound carried this announcement: “The newspaper and Volkswagen have created four pages of content as part of a special media innovation. Don’t miss reading and listening to this ‘speaking newspaper’. On the last page of the wraparound is a full-page Volkswagen advertisement for its new model Vento.

As the page opened, a light-sensitive speaker—yes, a light-sensitive speaker— weighing no more than a mere 10-15 grams and stuck on the extreme left panel in the advertisement, belted out the line in a loop. “Best in class German engineering is here. The new Volkswagen Vento. Built with great care and highly innovative features. Perhaps that’s why it breaks the hearts of our engineers to watch it drive away.“The new Volkswagen Vento. Crafted with so much passion, it’s hard to let it go”. “Volkswagen. Das Auto.”

The moving press advertisement: In October 2008, to commemorate the magazine’s 75th anniversary, Esquire published a limited edition digital cover that featured electronic ink with moving words and flashing images. In 2009, Esquire launched an augmented reality where actor Robert Downey Jr’s avatar can be controlled using QR code barcodes printed in the magazine.

By:Dr M Anil Ramesh

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