Two leading Indian newspapers—The Hindu and The Times of India—have notched up a global first of sorts by carrying a “talking advertisement” two days in a row.
The pathbreaking ad, which first featured in the Madras edition of yesterday’s Hindu, now finds space in today’s ToI in its Bangalore, Bombay, Poona and Delhi markets.
Today’s 36-page edition of ToI (Delhi market) is split into two sections: a 26-page news section, and a 10-page wraparound.
The opening page of the wraparound carries this announcement:
“The Times of India and Volkswagen have created four pages of content as part of a special media innovation. Don’t miss reading and listening to this ‘speaking newspaper’.”
On the last page of the wraparound is a full-page Volkswagen ad for its new model Vento.
As the page is opened a light-sensitive speaker—yes, a light-sensitive speaker— weighing no more than a mere 10-15 grams and stuck on the extreme left panel in the advertisement (above), belts out the line in a loop:
“Best in class German engineering is here. The new Volkswagen Vento. Built with great care and highly innovative features. Perhaps that’s why it breaks the hearts of our engineers to watch it drive away.
“The new Volkswagen Vento. Crafted with so much passion, it’s hard to let it go.
“Volkswagen. Das Auto.”
The same Volkswagen ad runs in other papers without the audio.
This is the second Volkswagen innovation in ToI after the German auto major “road-blocked” all advertisers in November 2009 by running 12 pages of Volkswagen ads on its pages.
Talking advertisements have been done before. Even moving advertisements. (Esquire magazine created a moving cover to mark its 75th anniversary in September 2008.)
However, this must be the first time daily newspapers of the size and reach of ToI and Hindu have done it at a time when American newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post are just about coming to terms with the reality of advertisements on the front page.
(This story which initially mentioned only ToI has been updated following tipoffs from alert readers, reflected in the first two comments)
Also read: Anything ToI does, the competition can do worse