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September 22, 2012

RSVP, WOMBAT and other popular terms in advertising, media studies

RSVP (Respondez Sil Vous Plait – French). RSVP is usually mentioned at the end of an invitation for a function/invite. If are attending the function you are supposed to say "yes I am coming”. Depending on the number of responses suitable arrangements are made for the guests. So If RSVP is written do say if you are going or not. Keeping silent to RSVP is seen as a major Gaffe (mistake)!

WOMBAT - Word of mouth is the best advertising technique: It is often said that advertising is the most fun that one can have with one’s clothes on. So it is not surprising that advertising is entertaining and at the same time it could be misleading. Advertising is taken with a pinch of salt as it tends to glorify the pluses and gloss over the minuses. Like my good friend KVS Krishna Mohan said “it is very difficult not to be a hero in your own story”.

So claims in advertisements not taken very seriously. So it is important that we cultivate WOMBAT. Word of mouth from our friends, relatives and colleagues is seen as more reliable. After all our friends do not have any ulterior motives in recommending a product that she/he does not like himself/herself. So it is very necessary that the companies cultivate positive word of mouth.

Only three things unavoidable in the world: And they are Death, taxes and advertising. We are bombarded by advertising. So the catch and mice game goes on. The customers try to be as much away from advertising as possible and the advertisers want to catch them at all possible times and at all possible places.  

Man biting dog: Frequently cited in media studies. Dog biting man is not news rather it is the other way round. So when a copy of an advertisement is written it has to bite. It should have that element of surprise and intrigue. Otherwise the reader/viewer would be saying “Yawn! How boring, tell me another thing!”

The head line “No Mamata for CPM in West Bengal” is a very good example. Mamta Banerjee is the maverick TMC leader who ended the very long 34 year CPM rule in West Bengal. Mamata is Hindi/Bengali means Love. So the word Mamta became a very good tool for a clever headline. Similarly Jayalalitha the AIDMK leader who defeated M. Karunanidhi of the DMK prompted one news reporter to pen the headline “Jayalalitha shows no Karuna” Karuna in Sanskrit/Tamil means mercy. The thumping win of AIDMK over DMK was cleverly captured in the headline.

Winking at a girl in darkness: Trying to market a product without advertising is like winking at a girl in darkness. A girl should be winked in broad daylight. Winking in day light could result in plethora of responses ranging from a spectrum of responses including total ignorance to a similar winking by the girl. But this has to be done in broad daylight. Winking in darkness is a futile exercise as it is not even noticed.

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