Sometime ago, Volkswagen woke readers up in the morning with an audio advertisement — in print media. The advertisement, in papers such as The Hindu and Times of India, created waves.

Advertising sells. What about extraordinary advertising like the one above? Mr. Amandeep Singh Khurana of Madison Communications featured this and a few other extraordinary advertisements at the WAN-IFRA India Expo and Conference 2011 in Chennai to show how newspapers and advertisers could join hands to create such campaigns.

He also cited the example of the campaign for Parachute Advansed where women were given a bottle of Parachute Advansed herbal hair oil and a self-addressed envelope. They could use the product, write a recommendation in their own handwriting to their friend and post it to Parachute. The recommendation would then be sent to the friend along with a bottle of Parachute Advansed.

Amandeep Singh said this enabled Parachute to get around the clutter of advertisements promising to stop hair fall. The clutter was so much that people were beginning to lose trust in such advertisements.

Colgate tried to bring awareness about brushing teeth at night by an innovative method. It teamed up with Sakshi newspaper to publish a surprise night edition that was distributed between 7.30 p.m and 9.30 p.m. with messages about the advantages of brushing at night strategically placed among the news.

Such campaigns needed work discipline, a ‘win-win partnership’ with the newspaper, long-term planning and timing. Of course, there is the money factor. Mr. Singh said it was the media agency’s responsibility to make the client keep some money separately for such innovative advertising. For this, it was also necessary to break the rules and have an open mind, he said. It also required team work, an open mind and research.

C.K. Gan, Newspaper Segment Director APR, Kodak Graphic Communications Group talked about variable promotional content in advertisements, where each copy of the newspaper could have separate codes, numbers, barcodes, QR (quick response) codes, and maps. For example, readers could be asked to check the serial number printed in their paper with a showroom or web site to check whether the number has won a prize. A promotion for a Mercedes car had numbers printed in the number plates of the car shown in the advertisement. The readers were asked to visit the dealership. If the car’s number plate matched with the serial number printed in the advertisement, the reader got the car as the prize.

Mr. Gan said the possibilities with variable promotional content were immense. Advertisements could be printed for specific locations even in a single edition without stopping the press.

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