Monday, November 1, 2010

Newspapers and the Ad Revolution

Even with the advent of social networking and online news portals, newspapers still have an indispensable aura around them. Though you can read the most important news right off your tabloid or your smartphone, the traditional print paper is not to be subdued. Recently, I attended the Pre-Placement talk of a company and the presenter talked about how he feels that in the London tubes, newspapers are slowly becoming rare and digitally accessing news is the buzz word. Probably in London. Not yet in India.

Firstly, as goes a hackneyed statement, in many parts of India, the internet is still a luxury and not a necessity. Majority of Indians is not as fortunate to own a tabloid as the corporate white collar men who take the London tube daily. Secondly, newspaper reading is no more considered an elitist activity and has crept into the average Indian household like no other form of media has.

Perhaps, this is why the marketers are spending crores on newspaper ads. Realizing that the normal ad-beside-news is no more the best way to go, advertisers are innovating how the ads are presented to the masses. The ads in ToI are the classic example:

Cover Page ads, preceding the day's news is a common norm these days and it sure grabs eyeballs at the news stands. The half-width cover page ads is another common practice. What prevents us from discarding the cover page sheets is that there's news on the other side which you might want to read. Clever thinking, eh!

But, when people learnt to ignore the cover page, ToI came up with another gem. Ads spanning Page 2 and 3. Once you are engrossed in news on the front page, the ad definitely catches your attention. It plays with your expectations, and in a very in-the-face way. Might not be the best way to please your readers, but it sure serves the purpose. Another common theme is recurring ads - say on Pages 3, 5 and 7 - almost hammering the ad into your system.

Another awesome advertising marvel was when ToI decided to replace all the O's with heart shapes in first page headlines for some heart's awareness drive, or replace all T's with a rotated Uninor logo etc.

The creativity does not end here! Volkswagen has owned every other ad gimmick with its out-of-the-box ads. The first jacket innovation, a Polo car cut-out right through the 16 pages of a special edition of ToI, earlier this year did create buzz among the readers. But the recent audio ad was definitely the zenith. The simple yet effective sensor-enabled recorded audio box was perhaps the best anyone has ever come up with.

While morality or righteousness of these techniques is debatable, no one can doubt the ingenuity behind the scenes.

PS: It's but a layman's perspective. Please direct all comments, protests through comments.


Harish said...

i had read somewhere that if a newspaper in India has to survive only with revenue collected from readers, it has to increase the cost of a copy to atleast 25 rupees. so advertising is a necessary evil.

Ankur said...

Whoa! that's an awful lot of money for a daily newspaper. Thanks for the info.

Post a Comment