You get to hear this a lot from marketers, especially when it comes to traditional media,
that they have to become interactive.
Marketers go on and on about how far interactivity can take those conversations you’d wanted to have with consumers, and how great it is to be able to carry it online from offline.
All that is great by the way, but I’m just not sure if we are missing out something vital in this
rat race to make everything interactive.
Growing up, here’s what ads meant to me – they were stories, packaged beautifully within
a few minutes and invariably ending on a note that either tugged at my heartstrings, or tickled
a funny bone, or left me with a warm fuzzy feeling. Nothing more, nothing less.
I still remember characters from those ads. (Heck, I wanted to become like some of them, but that’s another discussion). That girl who comes home after completing her PhD, only to find her grandma waiting for her as always; those short dialogues between them, the eye contact, and in the end, grandma handing her a soap or hair oil which the girl has used growing up, asking her to continue using it as it’s good for her – now that’s one plug I didn’t mind at all.
Or, that five-year-old who is so upset with his strict parents that he leaves his home, only to come back after hearing that mum has cooked his favourite dessert. The voice over then introduces the healthier oil in which the dessert was cooked. Simple. I still remember the brand (and ended up using it as well). Watch the ad here:
There are so many more that come to mind and I revel in delight. As a colleague rightly put it, ads are like art. If tastefully done, they need no explanation and linger in your mind for a long time.
All this makes me wonder, if brands now are a bit too “kan-chiong” to trust creativity and messaging.
The realities of business are different, many may argue. Granted. Besides being subtle and letting creativity take charge would require enormous amount of guts too. Striking a balance between the new and the old is a tall order and the pressure on businesses to perform is real. The means, therefore, are in accord with the end.
But as a consumer, I will continue to feel about advertising what most ads today are not – a piece of art, a gentle nudge, a subtle reminder, a pleasant story.
The author is Rayana Pandey, editor of Marketing Magazine Singapore and A+M Malaysia.
(Photo courtesy: Shutterstock)