Mixed response to `talking ads’ in print

IN Opinion | 22/09/2010
Impact of this `speaking ad’ was amplified by the social networking websites. The Times group’s critical comment on this ad is a step forward for the community.
Letter to the Hoot from JAGDEESH KRISHNAMURTHY
September 21, 2010 turned out to be a day when most people were woken up with an "innovative" and "engaging" advertisement in the Times of India. German car manufacturer Volkswagen along with its communication partners DDB Mudra and Mediacom managed to make the newspaper a talking point.
 
For the uninitiated, two leading Indian newspapers—The Hindu and The Times of India —have notched up what is termed to be a global first of sorts by carrying a "talking advertisement" two days in a row. Though The Hindu advertisement appeared on September 20, the Times of India managed to gather all the PR mileage, thanks to its presence in the Mumbai market. 
 
The advertiser had implanted a light-sensitive chip on the last page of the special pullout distributed along with the newspapers, which read out the copy of the ads. Impact of the advertisement was amplified thanks to the viral effect generated by social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. While there was a mixed reaction from readers, it was quite evident from the posts on these sites that the number of those appreciative of the concept is on the lower side.
 
While the blogosphere and trade portals on media, advertising and marketing were filled with expert opinions and reader views, it was interesting to note that the Times of India published an article that was, for lack of a better word – informative. Though not a great fan of the editorial policies of the group, one needs to appreciate whenever given a chance.
 
A newspaper brand, which is known for its advertiser-friendly ways, publishing comments that are not exactly supportive of the advertiser is a step forward for the community in general. An article on the subject matter goes on to talk about the reactions – positive as well as negative -- generated through the "innovation". This is a refresher of sorts from most of the previous articles published on various other marketing initiatives from the publication that usually touched only upon the positives.
 
 
Jagdeesh Krishnamurty

September, 21, 2010

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