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A Tribute To The Box That Shaped Our World

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Kya aapki toothpaste mein namak hai?”

“Washing powder Nirma, Washing powder Nirma.”

“O ho ho school time, Action ka school time”

“Kya aap Close-Up karte hain”

If you are a millennial like us and spend your day after school in front of the TV, you probably read all these lines with the right rhythm and tone. Whether it was the infamous Nirma jingle or the Badshah Masala song, television commercials bring back the nostalgia of the good old days: the days when we watched cheesy adverts on fuzzy old televisions. While most of us now consume ads on social platforms or video apps like YouTube, we cannot deny the impact tv commercials had on us and their influence on brand growth.

So, this World Television Day, let us honor the first ever ‘digital marketing’ medium by seeing how these ads created some leading brands today.

The first Indian TV commercial was seen in 1978 and was for a company called Gwalior Suitings. Five years later, the first colored TV ad came out for Bombay Dyeing, which was exactly 100 seconds long.

Such small moments shaped advertising for the years to come. TV commercials have become an integral part of society. The advertisements showed characters built around products serving as a bridge between the viewers and the brands.

Many brands utilized television commercials after that- some gained popularity, and some waned off. One fact remains, however, the adverts of the time helped popularize many big brands today. Whether it is Complan or Colgate, the best-selling ads today have their roots in television commercials.

In the era of social media, television is slowly losing its glamorous days. There was a time when we fought over who would hold the remote. As technology advanced, so did the screen and its reach.

However, there is no denying the impact of TV on consumerism. Being the first visual platform to engage millions of viewers, it has shaped much of today’s technology.

With the age of digitalization, many consumers shifted from televisions to mobile phones, and the brands followed suit. However, if you ask me about Maggi’s latest ad or Fevicol’s recent campaign, I would not know about it. But if you are me about a television commercial by these brands, I remember them quite clearly.

Why exactly do we remember all of these ads so vividly? Some things were present in television commercials that are missing from digital marketing ads today.

One, these ads were unskippable. Today, when an ad pops up on YouTube or Instagram, you can skip it. You just watch the three seconds mandate, and you click skip. This ad block was absent in television commercials. So, during the break between your weekly episode, these ads were shown, and you had to watch them. The best you could do to avoid them was take a bathroom or snack break. But you still had to keep the volume on to know when the break was over. You had to watch or hear these ads almost daily, which made the brands so popular.

Second, television commercials of the time had a certain charm to them. These commercials focused on selling a mentality instead of building community or brand awareness. The products and characters took the main stage, and the story was built around them. Television ads were made to trigger laughter or shock; sometimes, they use music and distinct jingles. Such things etched these ads, and consequently the brands, in our memories.

With the advances in technology, digital marketing has taken over everything. TV commercials have become skippable, or people simply use their phones during the break- leading to fewer viewers paying attention to the ads that play. The impact of tv ads has grown weaker, and many brands have taken to digital marketing. However, with the increase in competition, people focus more on creating ads that have gotten other people results or use worn-out storylines. Too many ads with low creativity flood the digital world, reducing their impact. TV commercials were simple yet entertaining; they had a strong and specific impact as they were unique, with quirky storylines that made them memorable.

Today, television continues to lose its charm and popularity. So, this 21st November, let us commemorate the contribution of this powerful medium to marketing and to the TV ads we grew up watching on our boxes of joy.

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