Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Human Element


They say to include humans in all telecom ads to make them more emotional, and make the product/services resemble the lifestyle of the audience.
The reason given behind this request is technophobia; people are afraid of technology, not afraid in the sense it will invade their countries and kill their children, but in the sense that they will not know how to use it or it would make their lives more complicated. Given technophobia howevr, would it really make a difference if one reads “you can now make calls at half the price” on a plain background, or if s/he sees a person on the phone somewhere (with or without the phone) and reads “now you can talk twice as much with your friends and family”?
What I’m trying to say here is that portraying the human element, be it in terms of showing human imagery or adding a humanizing twist to the message does not necessarily make the ad better.
Personally I’m pro simplicity, and believe that the less number of words and the less unnecessary elements; the more effective the ad would be and the simpler the service would be perceived.
This does not typically apply to all communications, as in certain situations an image can help clarify the product/service for example Video calls, MMS, or in some cases mobile internet. But why focus on the human element specifically the over-used facial expressions that are splattered across all image banks showing either a person with his/her mouth open in awe or with a cheesy smile to represent the comfort this service has provided – why should we show the people how they should feel, as opposed to making them feel it as a result of viewing the communication.
Shouldn’t telecom advertising be simple, especially when the product is good enough to sell itself? Why should all services be oversold in an ad with a twist that takes the reader to mars and back? In many cases creativity can be illustrated through a metaphor but what most ads try to do is play on the metaphor more than the actual service, only to follow it with very high level talk about the offering as if it’s god’s gift to mankind.
In conclusion having humans in an ad do not make it more emotional, and definitely not simpler. Most importantly it should not be a mandatory for all ads.

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