Thursday, 15 January 2015

On Iconic Advertisements and Advertising: A slightly boring essay

Advertisements have always been and will always be the forerunners of India’s collective buyer psyche. Ever since we were little kids, we have been seeing ads and been getting influenced by them. They have created some really iconic images in our minds. The kids from the 80s and 90s can imagine the kind of nostalgia these ads can evoke.

I personally remember how the Onida TV ad gave me chills. The horned devil selling the TV haunted me for days and yet, I grew a strange attraction toward the brand. There is the Nirma girl in her flowing white frock and the Parle G kid who have taken branding to a whole new level. These images render words useless as they convey the message so perfectly and vividly that the consumer is drawn to the product like a bee to the flower.

What is it in an advertisement though, that makes it iconic and the character turn into cult figures? We try to decode this mystery in our today’s post.

1. Connection

The message should have a content that should directly concern the reader. It is always better to say ‘Eat healthy, think better’ than just ‘Eat Healthy’. Tell the consumers what they will get.

2. Clarity

Some ad campaigns, mostly of Pan Masalas and Deodorants forget the message and rely too much on the story. At the end the consumer forgets your product’s name and is just left with a vague image of a hot girl sitting on a bike chewing a random pan masala or getting turned on by a random deo.

3. Standing out

There are so many products in the market that it is hard to tell one detergent from the other. This is why you need to create a unique image in the buyer’s mind. There are so many chewing gums in the market but when I say ‘Zubaan pe lagaam’, your mind instantly goes to Center Fresh because the message is unique.

4. .Being precise

It is the most challenging job for an ad-man. A good tagline is really short and is easy to memorize and reproduce. ‘Chaunk gaye?- Tide’ is a good example.

5. A catchy jingle

Sometimes it is hard to convey the message in two-three words and then the advertiser takes help of tunes and music. I am sure the washing powder Nirma jingle in itself is proof enough for this point.

We talked about iconic advertisements but there are also ads which are not so iconic and make the audience cringe with disdain as they go on air or on pamphlets. There are ways you can make any product look laughable and a good marketer knows how to steer clear of such ad tactics. In the following discussion we will dissect some of such instances and help you identify and manage bad advertisements.

1. Disconnected Repartee
The worst one can do with a product is not talk about it. I came across one such advertisement just recently. It was a pamphlet about antibiotic tablets and 75% of it was covered with a picture of a parrot. The caption on the top read- ‘Beautiful Birds’ with no description of the product being sold. You’re doing one part right when you’re capturing your audience but the other, more important aspect of sending the message across is not being done. 

2. Too Long 
We live in the era of short attention spans. Long adverts get skipped even before displaying the name of the product. In YouTube commercials, the 20 second ones are definitely more effective than the three-minute long ones. 

3. Creating cynicism 
A commercial’s job is to suppress the cynics, not give them a voice. Unfortunately, most commercials end up doing just that. Although there is no good way to sell a fairness cream, hiring a dark model to sell a fairness product is bound to backfire. Some models leave their social impression on the product and then it is hard to wash off. If you’re making an item girl sell your tea, it will be hard for you to target tasteful consumers. Try to look at your product from your customer’s view and then go ahead with the marketing campaign. 

4. Ordinariness 
There are some ads which are just too easy to forget. Don’t be one of those ads. You can get a great model, talk about all the advantages of your product and still get zero attention. It happens because your punchline wasn’t catchy enough. Make sure you say it emphatically so that people notice. Do not be the run of the mill ordinary ad talking about the ordinarily liked qualities about a soap. 

5. Culturally different 
Sometimes you can do everything right and yet not get to your audience. It might be due to the language that you’re using in your ad, not the verbal one but the one of actions, is not the one that the masses in the country understand. If in a conservative country, you show an ad which has a shocking appeal, it will grab eyeballs but no one will be using your product due to the stigma attached. Revolutionary thoughts are good but not in terms of thematic arrangements. It is safer to stick within the conventional themes and setups and within those you can come up with revolutionary ideas.

And thus ends my weirdly long repartee. 

1 comment:

  1. Very nice post. Liked reading it. There are so many informations to get from your articles always. Thank u for the share. Keep posting with lots more.


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