Amidst constant ad clutter, how does one differentiate oneself? Advertisers have used different media to grab consumer attention. Large outdoor hoardings, buzz marketing (word of mouth), innovative use of Radio, Programme Branding in Television etc. but Print as the oldest media vehicle has been most utilized for innovative advertising Among these innovations, one used the ad space of an entire publication to promote a single brand. Illustrated Weekly, the erstwhile broadsheet magazine from Times Group, was the first to introduce this concept, which they termed as the “Road Block”.
A nostalgic Chinnen Das, Director South, says, “We introduced the concept for the first time about 15 years back. We had approached Bajaj Auto with the proposal and the ad space was used to tell the story of Bajaj Auto and the way it evolved. The ad agency was Lintas. The ad was spread across about 16 pages with 8 pages in colour and 8 in b&w. The concept was used thrice in the same year, the second with Dunlop Tyres and the third time it was done in Dharam Yug, the popular Hindi equivalent to Illustrated Weekly, for an Ayurvedic company.”
P R P Nair, Senior VP, RK Swamy BBDO says, “It is important that media vehicles be used innovatively to create the right impact and remain in the mind of the consumers. Advertisers have to constantly come up with novel ideas to grab their share of consumer attention.”
Different publications including, Business World and Times publications have followed this concept. Recently, The Week has implemented this, in its Jan 4 issue, showcasing Maruti Zen. Says, Varghese Chandy, GM, Marketing Operations, Malayala Manorama, “This enables the brand to gain high visibility and provides an excellent platform to stand above the ad clutter.” However, he declines to divulge the details of the deal between Maruti and The Week.
Ninan Thariyan, Deputy GM, Times Group, says, “People still recall the ads of the BPL mobile launch, which appeared on The Times Of India issue using the roadblock concept, about six years back. It definitely gives a lot of mileage to the brand. A task like this requires a lot of coordination and effort in terms of convincing other regular advertisers, who have regular contracts.”
Talking about this trend in advertising, Kaustav Das, Vice President, Euro RSCG, Chennai, says, “It is a great way of getting consumer attention, but one must really figure out if the money that is put in this one single medium is worth it.”
K Satyanarayana, Media Director, R K Swamy BBDO, says, “The objective of such a concept is to create impact through advertising and stay in the mind of the reader. However, it would have created a better impact if the ads that appeared in The Week, were launched for the first time. As one has seen ads before (though not together), it may not arouse the curiosity of the consumer and justify the full impact of the concept.”
Talking about adspace gaining prominence over content, Varghese Chandy says,
“We do not invade the editorial space, even the strip ads that are done in the front cover occupy the bottom panel and are designed to gel with the rest of the front cover. On days when the editorial team requires that space for content, we give it up. It is an agreement that we have, only after which we were allowed to carry the strip ads on the front cover. The Week has 70% of content and 30% of ads and it has remained that way and we try to utilize the most of that 30%.”
While the debate on adspace encroaching editorial space is a subject for another story, which by the way, has already been covered on this site, it is interesting to see advertising innovations that worked 15 years ago still holding good. However, there is also the danger of a concept being overused and thus adding to the clutter.