Thursday, May 15, 2008

Is this the future of advertising?

It is small, cute, almost non-obtrusive and maybe an indicator of the types of media advertising has to adapt itself to in the future.

The key to most brilliant things lies in their simplicity and singularity of purpose.

Chumby ( is a wireless network device that displays widgets, let's you check email, displays photos, streams Internet radio, displays headlines as they happen, shows you You Tube videos, serves as a wake up alarm...while you go about your morning or evening routine.

It's small. The touchscreen is only 3.5 inches across. The information or the widgets change every 30 seconds. But you can interact with the device. Say a thumbnail of a YouTube video pops up. Just tap on it for the video to play.

Now think. How would an ad widget work with this device? Will it be at the level of a YouTube video. A special offer that opens up as the consumer taps. Or, even a brilliant way to deliver direct mail. The possibilities are endless...

Advertising, it is said, is a reflection of the context we all live in. As technology evolves from the PC to singular web-devices like chumby, ads need to adapt and evolve a new grammar to exploit the medium to the fullest.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A different treatment makes the Nike commercial interesting

At times, the treatment of a commercial becomes the difference that makes it stand out from the clutter.

This Nike commercial is a good case in point.

If you look at the storyline, it is as simple as can be. A league football player making it big-he becomes a part of Arsnel and the perks and the attention that are a given for players in the elite league. And finally, the story coming full circle with him executing the same free kick at the next level.

Simple and straightforward. Except that the camera throughout is from the player's point of view. And because of the different perspective a normal story becomes: "Now, it looks interesting from this point of view, let's see what all happens".

Full marks to this commercial for grabbing the viewer's attention. The first, and the most important task, of any advertising.

How to let the context set up the product attribute - The Corolla way

In advertising there's always the easy way. Take a feature, do the boring brand window, do a couple of close ups with dramatic CGI effects take the music to a crescendo and finish off with a well modulated voice over. Another commercial in a sea of me-toos.

It takes a bit of daring to take the meta level of a singular thought and plug away at it relentlessly. Over the years, the Corolla brand has stood for quality and reliability. The brief has been to reinforce the consensual opinion that this car has rock solid reliability.

With such a bedrock of brand belief all that the current commercial does is to clue in the reliability in an interesting and engaging manner that becomes another chapter in the continuing brand dialogue with its target audience.

Monday, May 12, 2008

When Less is More – What we can learn from Great Cartoonists

Cartoonists ply their craft under an almost similar set of constraints as advertising. The real estate is limited. The brief is to grab attention, get the message across and while doing so engage, educate and at times leave a lasting imprint on the mind of the audience.

So my advice to all aspiring advertising professionals: bone up on all the great cartoonists.

They know how to synthesize complex and varied themes into communication that’s concise and relevant. As this brilliant cartoon by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Ramirez aptly demonstrates. Look and Learn. This is effective communication at its leanest, meanest best.

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