3 reasons Tech Brands should keep it Simple

02 Nov,2015


By Ajai Jhala


Albert Einstein famously said that the wire telegraph ‘is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles’. Radio operates in exactly the same way: You send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.

A memorable and simple story by one of the greatest scientists of all time, explains a technology of an earlier time. Today, so many decades later, there are still compelling reasons for technology brands to keep the message simple when communicating on TV. This has to do with three primary things – the nature of TV, the nature of people and the nature of brands.

1. A plug-in drug

TV is essentially a low-involvement medium which is best for story showing. That is why it has often been referred to as a ‘plug-in drug’. Television is about lean-back entertainment and works really well when information is delivered emotionally, and the absorption of it is implicit rather than explicit. The beauty is that emotions are so important for our survival and well-being, that they work best when we are in a low-involvement mode.

2. Irrational rationalisers

People are fundamentally emotional beings. We are not so much rational but rationalisers. We have been referred to as cognitive misers. Processing information is very exhausting and consumes a lot of our energy. That is why humans are hardwired for storytelling and not for data retention. We love to hear stories, not a recitation of a laundry list of specifications and features.

3. Nature of Brands

Brands are like leaky buckets, constantly having to recruit more people than they lose. Most consumers are promiscuous and are always shifting between a shortlist of brands. As heretical as it sounds, recent research demonstrates conclusively that differentiation matters less than standing out in a compelling way. Therefore, brands have to create salience in a manner that can incite feelings by owning a simple and powerful theme that is constantly refreshed with new TVCs.

These three reasons, based on the nature of the medium, people and their relationship with brands, is why the best technology brands create stories that are salient and simple. The next time someone is crafting a TVC for a technology brand, it might be worth reflecting on something else Einstein said: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”.


Ajai Jhala is CEO at BBDO India

This article first appeared in dna of brands dated November 2, 2015


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