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Book Review: The Magic of Print

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The Magic of Print
Publisher: HT Media
Pages: 139

‘The Magic of Print’ is a coffee table book on print advertising launched by Hindustan Times. The hardbound volume showcases some of the world’s finest and deeply revered print advertisements in the last few decades that have remain etched in our minds irrespective of the passage of time. It also features contributions from prominent Indian advertising experts like R Balki, Piyush Pandey and Alyque Padamsee.

Advertising has gone through a marked change in the past few years, with new media assuming critical importance as a marketing and communication tool. In such a technology led marketing scenario, traditional print advertising is no longer the cornerstone to building a brand, with many even questioning the medium’s very existence. ‘Magic of Print’ attempts to quell such notions and highlight the relevance of print by featuring some famous print advertisements.

“This book, however, is not a eulogy. On the contrary, this is a counterargument, a proof of life,” says Rajiv Verma in his foreword to the book.

The simplistic uncluttered design and strong visual appeal bring alive the advertisements. From showing a Mc Cann Erickson advertisement for ‘Hiroshima-Nagasaki Never Again’ Exhibition way back in 1998 to featuring the present day well known Seagram’s ‘Have I Made It Large Campaign featuring Shahrukh Khan- the book takes the readers down a nostalgic path. Brands such as Fevicol, LifeBuoy, Pepsi, Adidas, Axe Deodorants, among others, are some of the other awe-inspiring creatives shown in the book.

The book uses these print advertisements to explain the evolution of advertising, from a time when creating brand recognition was a campaign’s sole motive to one when product differentiation and promotional activities became critical to successfully targeting the present day customer, inundated with choices. Some of the ads are also classified under ‘Tips’ for making a good print ad, which include proper placement in a newspaper, unique and catchy headlines, use of humour and emotion, a celebrity endorser who is also a user of the product, to name a few. The crisp text and one liners are apt embellishments to the advertisements.

The writings of the three advertising experts also make for a compelling read. Padamsee talks of the advantage of print over television commercials because of the ‘believability’ tag attached with the former. “Even today, people who read something believe it more than when they see something,” he says. Pandey discusses the need for ideation, the debate over long copy and short copy and pens down some unforgettable print campaigns in this regard. And Balki confesses how the ‘Unhate’ Benetton campaign rekindled his love for the medium, at a time when video was taking the advertising world by storm.

Both in terms of its look and feel as well as the treasure-trove of advertisements, ‘Magic of Print’ is designed to be a collector’s item and a reference source for the entire industry.

The content of this book has been put together by Rajan Bhalla, Head – Corporate Marketing & Magazines, HT Media, and John Thangaraj, Vice President, Planning at Lowe Lintas.

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