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Drama And Communication In Television Advertising: A Study Of Mtn's Sunrise And Indomie Noodle's Make The World A Better Place





  European Scientific JournalMarchedition vol. 8,No.5 ISSN: 1857–7881 (Print) e- ISSN 1857-7431 85 UDC:659.148.4:159.922 DRAMA AND COMMUNICATION IN TELEVISIONADVERTISING: A STUDY OF MTN’S “SUNRISE” ANDINDOMIE NOODLE’S “MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE”  Ekeanyanwu, NnamdiTobechukwu,PhD Senior Lecturer and Director, Department of Mass Communication,Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria  IgweChigemezu (B.Sc [Hons] Mass Communication)  AngelaOsariemeIgbinoba Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication,Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria. Abstract The paper examines audience perception ofthe effectiveness of drama in television advertisements/commercials and howthis aids audience recall, retention and its impact on patronage. From the results,78.5% of the respondents agree that “Sunrise ” actually communicates MTN’s message of love while87.5% of the respondents said that Indomie Noodle’smessage of sharing was well understood. Despite these positive responses, 75% of the respondents state that “Sunrise” didnot endear them to MTN products while 68% said that the “  Make the World a BetterPlace ” did not also influence them to buy Indomie noodles. These responses contradict the position of MTN and Indomie firms’ position that more profitsaccrued to them during the period of running both adverts (commercials). Keywords : Drama, Viewers,Perception, Television, Advertising, Commercial, MTN,Indomie Noodles, Communication.  European Scientific JournalMarchedition vol. 8,No.5 ISSN: 1857–7881 (Print) e- ISSN 1857-7431 86 Drama and Communication in Television Advertising: A Study of MTN’s “  Sunrise ”And Indomie Noodle’s “  Make the World a Better Place ” From our first cry at birth, our existence depends on our ability to inform others or  persuade them to take some action which ordinarily they will not do. As we develop, we alsolearn to listen and respond to others’ messages (Arens, 2004:8). Have you ever wonderedwhy Beauty’s disgust forthe Beast turned to love? Why Cinderella felt more beautiful whenshe was in the presence of the Prince? How the Queen was able to persuade Snow White toeat the poisoned apple? How the villagers got so attracted to the Pied Piper of Hamelin thatthey willingly became his followers thereby abandoning their village in the process? Theanswer is that these timeless tales and characters illustrate the simplicity, complexity and potency of communication which is at the heart of advertising, and therefore the importanceof drama as a necessary tool for effective communication in television commercials cannot beoverlooked.In this day and age, it would indeed be a miracle to go through a day without comingin contact with advertising whether directly or indirectly (Mackay, 2005). The inclination toreach out and touch everyone living and working in today’s modern world through successfulcommunication is the mould from which advertising is cast. In every advertisement, themessage, which constitutes the wordsand images that combine together to influence people’sopinion regarding a product, service or idea is the sine qua non to how effective that advertwill be. Devoid of words and images, advertising becomes a meaningless profession.Messages then, are thejuice of advertising and communication is its crux and its very essence(Mitchell, N. Moriarty, S. & Wells, W., 2009).We would not be in the wrong therefore to say that advertising is communication-avery special one at that. Even McCann-Erikson, the ad agency for Coca-Cola and MasterCardas quoted by Arens (2004: 8) agrees that advertising is “Truth well told.” This means thatethical advertisers, and the agencies they employ, work as a team to discover and use the bestmethods possible to tell their story truthfully and creatively to the marketplace. To succeedthey must understand the elements of the advertising communication process, which isderived from the basic human communication process.Barbara Stern of Rutgers University as quoted by Arens(2004) sees advertising as aform of structured, literary text, rather different from the spontaneous, word-of-mouthcommunication of oral speech. She proposes a more sophisticated communication model,derived from the traditional oral one but applied specifically to advertising as composed   European Scientific JournalMarchedition vol. 8,No.5 ISSN: 1857–7881 (Print) e- ISSN 1857-7431 87 commercial text  rather than informal speech. The Stern model recognizes that in advertising,the source, the message, and the receiver all have multiple dimensions. Some of thesedimensions exist in the real world; others exist on a different level of reality–a virtual worldwithin the text of the advertising message itself (Mackay, 2005).The types of messages typically communicated in advertising may also bemultidimensional. As artful imitations of life, advertising messages typically use one or a blend of three literary forms: autobiography, narrative, or drama. In autobiographicalmessages , “I” tell a story about myself to “you”, the imaginary audience eavesdropping onmy private personal experience. Other adsuse narrative messages in which a third-person persona tells a story about others to an imagined audience. Finally, in the drama message, thecharacters act out events directly in front of an imagined empathetic audience. The dramaform presents a series of events whose information and sequencing combine to imply amessage and require the viewer to connect the sequences, thereby experiencing the messagerather than having been told.The receivers of the advertising message are also multidimensionalbecause they aremade up of the implied, sponsorial and the actual consumers.The implied consumers are the presumed audience usually adressed by the ad’s persona within the text.The sponsorialconsumers are the gatekeepers (the company or organization) whomust be convinced by theadvertising agency that the ad will be profitable beforeit goespublic.The actual consumerson the other hand are real life people who are the target public of the organization.Thus the advertiser and his creative team are always concerned about how the real or actual consumers digest the message because the last thing an advertiser wants is to bemisunderstood.Unfortunately, message interpretation is only partially determined by thewords and symbols in the ad.The medium used may have an effect as well.As MarshallMcLuhan(cited in Arens 2004)said, “The Medium is the message.”This is the reason whymanycompanies prefer to advertise through the television medium. Objectives of the Study The aim of this study is to findout the viewers perception of the use of drama andcommunication in television advertising. Specifically, the study objectives include:1.To determine the perception of the media audience on how the use of drama intelevision advertising influences audience recall and retention.  European Scientific JournalMarchedition vol. 8,No.5 ISSN: 1857–7881 (Print) e- ISSN 1857-7431 88 2.To explore the concept of television advertising and how drama enhances itscommunication element.3.To evaluate the role of drama in communicating Mobile Telecommunications Network’s (MTN) and Indomie Noodle’s messages in “ Sunrise ” and “  Make theWorld a Better Place ” ads respectively.4.To determine if dramatic compositions embedded in adverts can effectively mirror society.5.To present the forms of drama embedded in “ Sunrise ” and “  Make the World a Better  Place ” through the analytical method. Research Questions 1.To what extent do media audience perceive the use of drama in television advertisingas a factor that influences recall and retention?2.How does the element of drama enhance television advertising?3.How do viewers evaluate the dramatic role in MTN’s ‘ Sunrise ’ and Indomie Noodle’s‘  Make the World a Better Place ?’4.Do dramatic compositions embedded in adverts an effective mirror of society?5.What are the forms of drama embedded in MTN’s ‘ Sunrise ’ and Indomie Noodle’s‘  Make the World a Better Place ?’ Scopeofthe Study Thisstudyfocusedon the role of drama and communication in televisionadvertisement using Mobile Telecommunications Network’s (MTN) ‘ Sunrise ’ and Indomie Noodles’ ‘  Make the World a Better Place ’as case studies.The study is therefore limited tothe perception television audiences have on dramatic and communicative elements used intelevision advertising. The media audience in question are undergraduate students of Covenant University and University of Lagos (all in Nigeria) who our pilot study revealed aremedia literate and customers of both MTN and Indomie Noodles respectively. Furthermore,the study will also involve a thorough analysis of ‘ Sunrise ’ and ‘  Make the World a Better  Place’  in order to explore the dramatic and communicative elements embedded in bothadverts.In addition to this, the study will also evaluate the overall success of the advertisingin relation to revenue increase through interviews with the Marketing Departments of theaforementioned companies.  European Scientific JournalMarchedition vol. 8,No.5 ISSN: 1857–7881 (Print) e- ISSN 1857-7431 89 Literature and Theoretical Review Drama is used to create awareness in television advertising. Advertisers have seen theneed to communicate to its audiences through the use of drama in their television advertising because of its ability to effect change in people by bringing reality on screen. In the creationof a television advertisement, after the idea/theme has been established, a script writer isessential and the casting is dependent on the director whose responsibility is to artisticallyrealisethe script. Sometimes the television advertisement may not contain dialogue; it may just be an expression of dance depending on the director’s picture in his mind as he workswith other members of the production team.Brecht (1977) the great theoreticianwas the first to highlight the need for drama to be“quotable” and to convey the message by easily remembered and reproduced phrases,gestures, and images. His idea that the essence of each scene should be condensed in aninstantly reproducible electronicsystem with sound vision and gestures, has found its perfectactualization in the dramaturgy of television advertising.Television is a medium of considerable power and significance which plays a crucialrole in most people’s daily lives.Even though ageneration has fully grown with it, yettelevision is still a relatively new technology.Modern day statistics have shownthat fewhomes are without a television set, and some even own more than one,advertisers thereforesee television as an imperativeand impactful medium which takes products right into thehomes where it will be seen by prospective buyers and other household members whoinfluence purchase.According to a recent study by Ball State University on the media consumption habitsof averageAmericans, despite the Internet's steady rise in popularity over the last few years,television remains the dominant medium in most U.S. households.On average, the general population spends over four and a half hours a day in front of the tube, making TVwatchingone of the most common modern leisure activities(Research results reported in Ekeanyanwu,2009).ManyTV adsfeature catchy jingles (songs or melodies) or catch-phrases (slogan) thatgenerate sustained appeal, which may remain in the minds of television viewers long after thespan of the advertising campaign.Televisionadvertising has become such a potent force that it has the power to createits own TV personalities and run its own soap operas and this add to the power of repetitionand continuity to this form of advertising. Jefkins (2000: 98) supports this statement with thisexample: