My sister had already told me about the shocking audio that leapt out of the pages of the Times of India when she opened it, so I knew what to expect. But even so, I was quite amazed. Well, yesterday, Volkswagen placed a ‘Talking Newspaper Ad’ in the Times of India. As soon as you opened the newspaper, a recorded voice reading out the benefits of the newly launched Volkswagen Vento, began playing.
I found myself more interested in the technology used to make the ‘Talking Newspaper Ad’, than the high-tech German engineering advertised for the Volkswagen Vento. The Volkswagen newspaper ad works on simple solar technology, using a PhotoDiode. A PhotoDiode is a small photodetector tool that can convert light energy into electrical energy, like those present in solar calculators. This electrical energy is then converted into sound energy, when the audio speaker in the little gadget begins saying its lines. When a person opens the newspaper, the natural light activates the PhotoDiode, which begins playing the sound clip.
At a time when newspapers are losing out to the Internet, this gimmick serves to bring back interest. The idea was truly innovative and very soon, I expect to see more companies joining the bandwagon, and flooding newspapers with such audio advertisements. Oh…the cacophony of technically dead voices greeting you every morning….
I suppose, an audio newspaper advertisement would work best for films and music companies. They can send clips of their music or movie dialogues, which people would actually like to hear repeatedly. They could also put a colorful sticker on their gadget, with a bit of information about the product. The black plastic audio player for Volkswagen looked quite ordinary. No one would guess it was given out by Volkswagen, unless one saw the actual printed advertisement.
What was your reaction when you first saw the Volkswagen PhotoDiode ‘talking newspaper ad’? What do you think it harbours for the future of newspaper advertising?