By Jamila Lucas
It’s 8:10 in the evening. You’re having dinner while watching one of your favorite TV shows, The Voice.
The first contestant for the Blind Auditions sings an Alicia Keys’ song – Girl on Fire. 10 seconds into the song and all four coaches have turned their chairs towards the contestant. The crowd is going crazy!
After her performance, the contestant is flabbergasted to find all the coaches arguing about whose team she should be on. Shakira uses flattery to convince the girl to join her team –saying that the girl’s voice was like a refreshing flavor of ice cream. Usher relies on his swag to charm the contestant. And the other two coaches? They’re just arguing for the sake of it. (But, you have to admit, it’s pretty funny watching Blake and Adam argue).
Before she chooses her coach, the screen fades to black, The Voice logo shows up, and a series of commercials follow.
Most of the time we don’t pay attention to commercials, especially when watching our favorite shows. The commercial break just becomes an excuse to go to the bathroom or to go on a snack break.
But what we don’t realize is that these commercials, when done right, convince us to buy products or try out new services. They could also make us laugh at taglines or sing to jingles that soon become part of everyday conversation. They may also inform us about the benefits of Omega 3 for our heart, or of a completely foreign chemical (that we don’t even encounter in Chemistry class) for our hair.
However, these are not possible if the details of advertisements are not carefully planned and executed. I guess this is the most important lesson I learned from my stay in PC&V – details always matter. Paying attention to the small things make the whole campaign work. Details may be incredibly small, but their contribution to an advertisement, or to anything for that matter, creates a whole new meaning.
As a journalism student, my training was different. I was always taught to look at the bigger picture. In writing news articles, I always looked for parts that affect people the most and build a story from there. I was also taught that some details should be omitted (such as the plate number of the car in an accident, or the color of the shirt of a certain speaker in an event). But being a part of the creative department for the last month has made me realize the importance of details. Not everyone will notice every single component of an advertisement, but all the small details contribute to the feel of the ad. The words of the copy, the tone of the voice, the tempo of the music, the color of the visuals, the contrast of the lights…all of these add to the experience that a consumer gets upon seeing the final product. Details affect consumers, consciously or unconsciously.
I guess I’ll never look at ads the same way again. From now on I’ll be considering how much time was spent on choosing the best combination of colors for a certain poster or packaging. I’ll also listen carefully to jingles or the dialogues of TVCs and pay attention to the words and phrases that were coined. I’ll also be imagining how many times the shot is repeated just to show the perfect drop of a cherry on top of a cake (which probably won’t even take up 3 seconds of the commercial).
Now the commercials are over and you go back to watching the show. She decides to be part of Adam’s team – an obvious choice for soulful lady singers now that Christina’s gone. After the decision, you pick up the phone and dial the number of a fast food chain. You just had dinner but somehow you’re craving for something else. What you don’t know is that during the break, a certain commercial prompted that craving of yours.