Advertisements and advertising have undergone massive changes, especially when it comes to the traditional landscape of television. From Lijjat Papad’s bunny to the Hutch Pug and Vodafone Zoozoos. And from FMGCs to fin-tech players and even food delivery apps. There has been a big change in ‘what’ was being advertised and ‘how’ it was advertised. As advertisers, we like to ponder more on the ‘how’ than the ‘what’ and this has resulted in our new series- Dotty Dissects the Decline!
Remember the twins Ranjan and Mano, who live with their single-mother, and are taunted throughout their young lives because they don’t have a father? Unable to bear the constant teasing and humiliation, their mother is about to commit suicide, when she’s is stopped by her children, who claim that their father has arrived. Then came the words “Aa gaya manoranjan ka baap” on the screen. An excellent take on the Hindi word for entertainment.
Well no doubt- before it was “India ka Tyohaar”, it was “Manoranjan ka baap!” This ad definitely set the premise for the Indian Premier League, first-of-its-kind league on the small screen that promised sports and entertainment on top for all. Check this for a refresher: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cn1mFe_MbnC/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
What’s the common thread between Zee Cinema’s ‘Paap ka Anth’, Mentos ‘Dimaag Ki Batti Jala De’ featuring a stone-age era man and a donkey, or Big Babool’s ‘Chidiya Rani Badi Sayani?’ They were long, they had a storyline similar to movies and they were funny! Oh… here’s another one from the same era- https://www.instagram.com/p/Cn6177csyKz/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
The tear-jerker ads of the 2000s, which ran across our television screens for a good two minutes were a reminiscent of Bollywood tear-jerkers of the 1980s. And more than the plots, drama and cast, it was this element of humour that stuck the audiences’ minds.
Commercials back in the day were beautiful stories packaged in 1-2 minutes –impactful enough to hook the audience to the screen for minutes, and be recalled even years later. Ads that generated sales and made brands household names. This is the power of storytelling and how formidable it can be, if done right.
What’s also to be considered is that media plans back in the day weren’t as elaborate as their counterparts today. Yet despite the limited resources in hand, long ads thrived and ruled the screens.
Today we have technology at our disposal, and the digital game is at its prime. There’s no denying, that well, running a digital ad costs peanuts, when compared to its traditional counterpart. Our dependency on the web and mobile devices for fast, easy access to information can work in the favour of advertisers. So why hasn’t the digital era seen the revival of long-form storytelling in advertising in yet?
With the decline in traditional TV viewing habits and the rise of on-demand viewing, there are considerably more media options fighting for a consumer’s attention. This has also led advertisers debating on the most effective length for a TV commercial.
It is also the reign of what experts’ call- the Impulse Generation. Many believe that today concise ads are exactly what you need to hook your viewers and convince them of your value proposition from the outset. One that prompts them to buy your product on an impulse, and not rethink over it for another second.
Which poses another question. Is the reduced attention span of our audience to be blamed? And are 5 seconds ads and un-skippable ads the only way to catch your audience’s eye and generate?
As advertisers, we think that the digital realm could still be used for long-form storytelling. Or have good storylines made way for puns, wordplay, and pop culture even on our TV screens?
What’s your take on this as neo-digital advertisers? Do you think, the long form storytelling via digital has not been used to its fullest potential and that we as an industry can do better? Let us know your take in the comments below.