Has print conditioned readers for false covers?

31 Oct,2018

 

By Sanjeev Kotnala

 

There has to some logic behind the magic of multiple false covers in dominant newspapers across the country. Come festival time, and suddenly you have to wade through a barrage of the false front page to reach the real front page with news.

AM I THE ONLY ONE MISSING THE LOGIC OF MULTIPLE FALSE COVER?

There must be some science behind it. Is there a magic formula only known to smart agencies and clients who are willingly splurging on the nth front jacket /false front-page?

I ask this with sinking confidence. It is questionable wisdom.

My question is not a result of social media questioning the non-conventional wisdom. I have observed readers interacting with these fattened newspapers. They do notice the first and the last false cover. In between false covers are just flicked. They seem to ignore many such pages jumping to the real news. No media audience is interested in the advertisements. The reader is only interested in the content.  Am I missing something? Has the conventional wisdom changed? Are the advertisements the new content?

The brands are using these false front=page as a reminder catalogue for the message already amplified in TV and digital media.

I presume a lot goes into selecting the products featured in these vibrant cover catalogues. Self-evolving algorithms and many tetrabyte of AI lead big-data mining tell brands what to highlight in them. Major advertising agencies buyers are consciously punting on it. Reputed brands are approving these plans. Publications now have a new magic wand of false cover/jackets to convince otherwise rational buyers and planners. Maybe brands and agencies are trying to mirror consumer expectations.

MULTIPLE FALSE FRONT-PAGES ARE NOT TOO OLD A PHENOMENON.

I remember, in the late nineties, the clients hated the second front page. They would not even consider a front-page advertisement whenever there was a false cover. Something changed.

False covers are a rich cultural tradition among brands. Clients believe in its simplicity of planning and execution. The print owners are not complaining.

E-commerce, malls, electronics, durable, mobile and real estate dominate false covers. They have access to the best brains in the business.

IS A SIMPLE ANSWER TO EXPLOSION OF FALSE COVERS?

There is a simple answer. Mr Anoop Verma, my mentor voice and an avid print reader explains:

“Kotnala, it is simple. Just like Hallmark cards created many days, we now ritualistically celebrate. Like print created Akshay Tritiya and the colour code for Navratri. Multiple false covers are just another such creation. Print has managed to condition the readers and the advertisers through the years”.

He added: “Today, readers expect big sale ads on the front cover. They see the dominance and popularity of the newspaper in the number of false covers it manages to publish during festivals. No Brand managers want to be criticised for missing on such opportunities”.

While I was contemplating on his line of thinking, he simplified it for my understanding. “You must give credit to the print sellers. They have managed to redefine the resistance of not featuring on the second cover to false cover at any cost. It does not matter if is the nth false cover”.

I am not convinced. However, it makes ample sense.

I would like to know if there is another explanation, how brands are measuring the effectiveness and how they agree to feature in the nth false cover?. My traditional media thinking is constrained by my learning’s.

The question has bugged me for long, and I do not have a plausible answer.

 

 

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