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Day 31: A for Advertising

As I mentioned yesterday, I am going to use a theme to help me write posts everyday. So, I am going with the cliched style of using alphabets. Today's post is with letter 'A'. I do not have a fixed style to use these alphabets. It could be anything from verbs, adjectives, objects, places, people, animals, things, food and what not. I might even use a phrase that starts with that specific alphabet. It could be anything, but at least keeping it with the alphabet theme will give me a direction and ease to choose topics.

For today's post, I go with A for Advertising.

Google Images: Advertising is Good
As a kid, we would have said A for Apple. For me, it is A for Advertising, today. So, what is an advertisement? In simple words, it means any paid announcement. If I have to use two words to describe its nature, then it would be ideal to call it pervasive and persuasive. I'm sure, there is not a single person who hasn't seen an advertisement. We have ads for almost all kinds of everyday products and services.

However, it is not that people love watching it. It is just that, the corporates want us to watch them. I remember that at most homes, as they watch their favorite shows, they will have their TV set on. Once, it has a break time and ads are on, it is either on mute or they switch channels.

I was never like that. Yes, of course, I did change, if I was watching another program on another channel simultaneously (which was rare). Usually, I never liked to change as I wanted to watch the ads. I remember, I paid attention to ads from a very young age. May be that is one of the reasons, I chose this specific area under Marketing. Unless the ads are repetitive, I would not really change channels or mute the audio. I have always been an ad junkie.

Before I go on to my story of why and how I love ads, I think it is essential to know what makes advertising interesting and important. For years, we have evolved as a culture of needs to wants. Advertising is an institution and it does reflect in how our society has changed. It is helpful for businesses and also helps sustain economy. However, it also shapes culture and reflects culture. Every society has its take on their ads. With multinationals casting their net really wide and covering  global markets, ads are changing and evolving with time. Technology changes are also causing change of medium. It also changes how people interact with things around them. Since advertisers want the attention of consumers, they want to keep an eye on these trends and grab every opportunity.

Now, when I think about about why I love ads, I think the answer lies in my love for stories and love for creativity. I have always loved listening to stories and writing stories. Be it in terms of listening to it from my dad (a great storyteller), or reading books, watching television, listening to the radio, well, you can see that- I just love it. I loved anything that was creative, fresh and innovative. I used to watch ads on TV (We got cable much later), read every ad in a magazine or a newspaper and of course, read billboards. Well, I was just an ad junkie. In fact, one of the old games that I used to play with my brother was a game using advertisements. Trust me, we did not have any idea of the game that you find here in the US- the brand/logo and ad game. It was our own innovation (or probably, our school friends group, not sure). I could remember (more or less, even now) most of the jingles and brand names.

If you ask me, what attracts me to an advertisement, it is the whole thing. It has different elements - verbal cues, visual cues, color, the brand name, characters/endorsers, music (sometimes not), voice-over, plot, and finally the creativity to knit all these together. Even though, every ad uses each or most of these elements (tries to use), it does not always create great ads. Now, ads are my 'life'. I love to study people and ads reach out to people. Advertising is a big part of consumer culture. We need to realize how crucial it is to monitor how these reach out to people. Race, social class, gender, vulnerable, misinformation, it can go on and on. Having said that, it does not mean, we can and should only look at ads with a critical lens. Ads are good and  important in a positive way too. Just like any other institution, it can go awry, if not handled well.

 A for advertising is a very interesting and great topic to write, and I can keep going on and on about it. So, let me just end today's post with one ad from the recent times, which is one of my recent favorites. It is also the brand that starts with 'A'- Apple!

This is recent but about 2 months old, released around the time iWatch was launched. I chose this because it will be a perfect fit for A for Apple :). Also because, it is one of the best brand's ads. They launched three ads - Rise, Us and Up for iWatch launch. I love the Rise ad the best. The link here is a mix of all three adverts. The agency is TBWA (part of Omnicom Media)

Apple has a great way of creating ads, especially television commercials. They don't give you rational reasons to buy the product but at the same time, use the emotional appeals and place the product in 'a typical everyday environment'. According to a strategy wheel (Taylor's Six Segment Strategy Wheel), if we were to analyze these commercials, they would easily fit the 'ego' and 'social' segment. The reason why this brand uses either of these side, is because, even though we 'assume' man is a rational being, most decisions, do not always happen that way. Advertisers know that and that's what helps shape these ads. So, here you go!

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