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The art of telling stories in 30 seconds

Is there an art of telling stories that will remain in your mind for months and years ? Of course yes. Now if I add a clause that this needs to be done in maximum 30 seconds, what will be the reaction – naaahhhh, very difficult, impossible !!! Well, that’s what advertising in television needs to achieve – isn’t it ? And how often we see this as a difficult task when we are just watching TV ? Most often, either we take a deep yawn or run to the loo for the long-awaited leak and run back for the match to restart ….

But the companies have that time slot to make a mark on our minds at least for a near future, if not more. That 30 second slot may be worth thousands of dollars and hence the cost per second is simply huge. And if you can’t make an impact in that duration, all those spent dollars gets down the drain. That is why, it is important that we have a great story to make that impression amongst the huge viewers.

Now, I had the privilege of staying in various cities, countries and cultures for last 7 / 8 years and obviously have had the opportunity to watch many TV commercials. What I have observed (now this my personal observation) is that the advertisements in the western world is more direct, goes straight into the product details or features and rarely tells a great story to remember by. Obviously, there are exceptions – but generally this is what I have felt over years. On the other hand, the eastern world advertisements, specially from India, tend to tell a complete story in 30 seconds and hence makes it more touching, more memorable.

As an example, let us take the case of Cadbury’s. The same multi national corporation has so different quality of advertisements when it comes to say UK and India. The UK ad here is quite direct whereas the Indian ad touches the emotions and make you smile at the end of the 30 second story. Maybe it is just me who feels this way, maybe it is a cultural issue here, but overall I find the average Indian advertisement much more touchy, memorable and enjoyable.

UK advertisement:

India advertisement:

And obviously, there are exceptions on both sides :-)

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