Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nobody reads copy anymore

I cringe everytime I hear this. A visual and a logo is fine, but what about the sanctity of the written word? The words which build your trust, the joke which amuses you, the promises that make you shake your head with disbelief. I go as far as to read every cereal box and every wrapper that comes my way. When I buy my pouch of ground coffee, I read about the aromatic beans imported from some faraway country, mildly roasted to perfection. I read, I visualize. Am not gullible enough to believe every word that is written but atleast I allow myself the pleasure of reading. You will never find me chucking the written word without reading it first.

Think about a print ad which has copy and a logo but no visual element. Billboards do it all the time. And some print ads do it too. Some of them have shown us how much fun can be had with just the copy. Take the Economist ad or the Femina ad shown above for example. We may be on our way to reading newspapers/mags online and e-books on Kindle. We may have gone past the thrill of newsprint on our thumbs. But words still possess the beauty and power to persuade, to entertain and to it on a moth-eaten book or a back-lit computer screen.

In these days of interactive ads, copy is not given its due. The digital innovation is the main draw, but if you want people to look deeper, make sure you use words which can be read or heard. Words which engage consumers with your product. Words build relationships when said right.

If reading is so passe as some people would like us to believe, then why do you think I heard a 4-year old burst out "Listen to what this says, Mommy! Creamy blend of chocolate ice cream with rich caramel swirls....." He was reading out from an ice-cream carton in the frozen goods aisle and trying to persuade his Mother to buy some. Trust a kid's imagination to see the description for what it is. So what if sometimes the words do not match the product? As long as it is just a stretch of imagination and not a lie, we might as well enjoy the written word in all its glory. I know I do.

Image Credit for Femina print ad -

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dove and CW present the Cwingers!

After pod-busting, we have another innovative TV advertising format, the "Cwingers". As the name suggests, this format swings from TV to Internet and will be broadcasted by the popular US network CW, owned jointly by CBS and Time Warner.

April 27, 2009 is the D-day when CW will unleash this new format on its young viewers. Studies suggest that viewers, aged between 18-34 are constantly switching between various media. More often than not we are hooked on the net and our mobile devices while we watch TV. Can't say I disagree as am guilty of all three right now. CW and Dove have decided to share the cost of producing formats which allow them to follow our zig-zag pattern of media consumption.

According to Advertising Age, "Unilever's Dove, which is getting set to release a new product, Go Fresh Burst Body Wash, aimed at women in their 20s, will sponsor video vignettes about four real 20-something women who once lived lives similar to the characters in the popular drama about wealthy Manhattan private-school kids whose adventures often border on the decadent. The first part of a vignette will air during "Gossip Girl," and then viewers will be directed to watch the rest of it online."

We all watch our favorite shows online at our own time and pace with minimum commercials. This cannibalizes the viewership ratings of the actual TV show. Last year, in a desperate bid to make us watch live TV, CW stopped streaming "Gossip Girl" videos on their website for five consecutive episodes and even had a live TV contest. "CW ran "watch and win" contests that allowed viewers to enter to win a "Gossip Girl" party if they found the program's signature "XOXO" in a scene and reported its location within 36 hours of the episode's on-air debut. More than 100,000 viewers logged on to to enter, and more than 50,000 people entered via mobile. - TV Week.

If the above numbers are any indication, Cwinger ads will be a huge hit. Talks are on for other shows like "90210" to follow suit. And of course, if the viewer profile matches, it won't be long before we see cross-promotions. Instead of forcing people like us to watch more of live TV, CW is trying to find a multi-media solution for the multi-tasking generation. Come next Monday, and am ready to zip!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Magic of Touch

It is time we lost the keyboard, the mouse and the remote control. It is all about touch, tap and flick! On March 13 2009, Levi Strauss & Co.'s Dockers San Francisco brand launched the first interactive “shakable” mobile advertisement. Of course, the innovation made use of iPhone's inbuilt accelerometer technology and is available within a custom-built ad network of iPhone applications such as iBasketball, iGolf, iBowl and iTV.

Motion sensitive and sound-enabled, these ads are here to stay. Though a relatively new advertising format, they are catching on fast as the world gets caught up in "interactive play". Apart from ensuring that the consumer spends some time with your brand, these ads also help by having a targeted reach and capturing the all-essential data. Here I must mention that though knowing your consumer inside-out sounds like a sweet deal, the world of data capturing is murky and it is best to obtain the required permissions before plunging into a sea of information.

"The Dockers iPhone ad, titled "Shakedown 2 Get Down," features Dufon, a.k.a. Orb/Orbit/Orbitron, a freestyle dance expressionist from a Seattle group called "Circle of Fire," dancing around the screen wearing Dockers Vintage Workwear Khakis. In between levels of gameplay in the select application, users are prompted to shake the iPhone setting off Dufon's dance moves." - says

"Click to view" will soon become a faint memory. It is all about tilting, shaking, rotating, pinching, swiping, flipping and tapping. You gotta touch it to play it. Think of your GPS, your grocery self check-out, movie tickets, train tickets, ATMs and many more applications of daily use. It's all about interactive touch-screens.

Technology is moving ahead and so should advertisers.