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How many words can you pack in an ad?

It is said that Japanese television ads pack a lot of words, of­ten in just 15 seconds

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Ambi Parameswaran 



Ambi Parameswaran

I have had a penchant for wearing a wrist watch with a stop-watch feature. This is an old habit predating the smartphone era. Why, you may ask. While working in marketing and adv­ertising, you are in the business of creating and approving televi­sion spots of a fixed length (it was a practice at least till the 2010s). And it was always a good habit to see if all that a copywri­ter has written can fit into the 30 seconds planned for the ad. One rule of thumb was to ensure that the dialogue and voice­over portion of the ad, when narrated in normal style, does not exceed half the duration of the ad. If you have pla­n­n­ed a 30-second ad, the narrat­ion should ideally not be for more than 15 or 20 seconds. Why? Well, television is a visual medium and hence a picture can tell the story of a thousand words.

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First Published: Tue, March 08 2022. 23:07 IST

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