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 -

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