TOI’s Volkswagen ad: the new convergence?

September 21, 2010

On Tuesday morning, when readers of The Times of India opened the newspaper, they were in for a surprise.

The supplement of the main paper carried a ‘talking’ advertisement of Volkswagen, which plays a recorded voice when a reader opens the page.

It came as a surprise to many and soon Twitter and Facebook were full of comments, from awe at something so “innovative” to despair at a “lame” attempt.

While it reminded some of the musical greeting cards by Archies — a craze in India in the early years of this decade, others felt the commercial ridiculed the experience of reading a newspaper.

But, whatever feedback the advertisers and the newspaper get from readers, it surely signifies a new era in Indian advertising — one in which companies have realised India‚Äôs potential as a lucrative fast-growth story, leading them to innovate and lavishly spend on advertising.

The emerging Indian middle-class is fast turning into a bunch of brand-conscious individuals, and having realised that, companies are opening up their wallets.

Now with the financial crisis mostly behind us, people can hope to see more innovation in advertising, as companies look for newer ways to lure consumers.

The question though is whether Indians will welcome such convergence of media, especially in advertising.

As noted humorist Anand Ramachandran wrote on his Twitter account, “Did TOI really think that their readers are so dumb, they can’t read? A print ad with a voice-over that won’t shut up? Where’s my hammer?”

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