Stories about advertising

TV commercials: Inform, remind and persuade!

While I was watching the news the other night, a newscaster said, “Stay tuned, we’ll be right back after a short commercial break,” making me immediately think, “Oh god! Not again.” The musical rollercoaster of advertisements began – a five minute ride that I seriously did not enjoy. What I learnt in my O-level commerce class was that there are three categories of advertisements – ‘reminder advertisement’ that reminds consumers of the products available in the market; ‘informative advertisement’ that keeps the consumer informed and ‘persuasive advertisement’ which persuades consumers through various techniques to buy the product. And these apply ...

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Can we have more intelligent cricket stories, please?

For someone who loves the game of cricket, irrespective of which teams play, I must concede that covering cricket matches almost became an untenable career option for me. I joined journalism to be involved with the game I loved. Of course, like most aspiring cricket writers, I made a cardinal mistake about the way sports coverage functions – I assumed what I wrote would change the way things are perceived. However, that is not the reality. My initial perception of ‘changing the system’ with my work was soon shattered; I learned that it’s not just the content but how this content ...

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TV ads: Is all the dancing really selling?

Products in Pakistan have not always been sold by armies of men and women dancing to uncoordinated perfection. However, recently advertising ‘charts’ have been hit by four choreographed entries: Tarang, Sooper, Warid and Chaika, which are running on all major TV channels night and day. Does dancing sell? Does this mean that singing and dance routines are what grip the Pakistani people and make them go buy brands? Or, does this simply mean that this is an idea that can be easily sold to clients by agencies? Agencies have developed a stereotypical solution for all marketing communication needs and forgotten the essence of ...

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What advertisements are doing to our children

“Bubloo tumhara sabun slow hei kia?” chants an arrogant, animated girl character in a liquid soap ad, teasing the poor boy who has been silly enough to not know that soap bars are useless compared to liquid soap. Such is the shallowness being imparted on  children during their formative years through advertising. They develop a narcissistic attitude towards what they see as  “me and my things.” As ad filmmakers are formulating the most effective ways of enticing consumers to buy their products, they have found children are good targets. Younger minds are easy to manipulate and are seen as long-term potential buyers. ...

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We’re being stalked by Ufone, Mobilink, Telenor et al!

While surfing through channels yesterday, I saw an ad about ‘talking’ and ‘shawking‘. For the umpteenth time, I realised we are being pushed into a culture of ‘talk more’. Have you ever noticed the plethora of telecommunication advertisements? They are everywhere. Switch on  the radio and the same advertisements are being aired, with their not-so-subtle offers to talk at the cheapest rates in the world. Open a newspaper and the big expensive adverts glare back at you. Lets not forget the huge billboards adorning the city. Its like the advertisement companies and the telecommunication business are following you everywhere. Even if by ...

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How a dog and a brand became celebs in Chile

Some people say marketing and advertising are going to the dogs – that may not necessarily be a bad thing! A while back I saw a very  simple but creative idea in an Adage video with Martin Lindstrom – something he called ‘doggy placement.’ Lindstrom is a marketing guru with a global following and outreach. He partners with Adage to showcase interesting and offbeat marketing tactics from around the world. The doggy placement idea is one he found in Chile. A local dog food firm called Master was thinking up a new way to get their brand onto a popular daily ...

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Quacks with advertising budgets

Here is a shout out to cable viewers in Rawalpindi – everybody who knows who Dr. Adnan Aziz is, say ‘I’. He claims to be the family doctor for the wazir-e-azam of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. (Don’t ask how he can remain the family doctor of the PM for the last three years when AJK has seen quite a few changes on the ministerial throne.) In fact don’t ask anything, just marvel at the amazing messiah–like powers the good doctor possesses. He can cure anything from kidney stones to infertility. And not just that! He will do it all in the environment of a discotheque. (I haven’t ...

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Selling the idea of ‘family’

If we look around us, we see a lot more working women, some single parent families, many grandparents raising children, but advertising is still shying away from reality. So why still this fascination with the stereotypical portrayal of family in advertising when the reality is that life is fast changing? The big question is: does this fascination with old fashioned families in advertising really work?  Women in traditional domestic roles? Joint families? I raise this question in the context of the social break down of the traditional family values, structures and systems that are so visible all around us.  We see modernism ...

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What Olfrute did wrong

Nestle has been having a hard time in Pakistan for the past few years. First, Aquafina by Pepsi snatched its market share of mineral water then Olpers by Engro foods sidelined Nestle’s Milkpak to become the market leader of that category. Now Engro Foods is set to give Nestle a tough time again. Olfrute is a juice brand recently launched by Engro foods. The question is can Olfrute take the market share of Nestle Fruitavitals or will it share the fate of Shezan and Freshers? Freshers failed largely because of poor distribution even though the taste and packaging were different and nice. Shezan has ...

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Graffiti culture in Pakistan: how to control it?

Graffiti that adorns the walls on the streets of Pakistan has multiple reasons behind it and is a host to multiple opinions too. For some people, it is a means of livelihood, for others it is an outlet for their thoughts. At the same time, it is used for political motives such as political marketing. Graffiti, (which is also in a way another kind of vandalism), is often used by low-level companies as a no-loss mode of marketing. When I approached different people regarding this issue, I received a number of different responses. One activist of a major political party ...

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