Thursday, September 21, 2006

No Reading While Walking

Yesterday, I caught the ad the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism is putting out on ASTRO to support the Bangsa Membaca, Bangsa Berjaya reading campagn. It showed lots of people ... reading in public places, and looking really happy about it: a sort of fantasy piece in the style of most information ads produced by government departments. (I'd have hired Yasmin Ahmad to tug at heartstrings and do for books what she did for Petronas, or the guys who put together pop videos for MTV to make reading irresitibly "cool" and trendy to the younger generation. But I guess there wasn't the budget.)

Anway, the ad shows ordinary Malaysians reading at home, in cafes, on the LRT ... and then on escalators in shopping complexes ... and then while walking down the street!

As a certifiable bookaholic, I have been known to try to wring out every second of reading time I can from the day, and read in all kinds of circumstances. (Hey, funny they didn't show anyone reading on the loo! Most of us apparently do enjoy a read there.)

But I learned that it isn't such a good idea to have your nose stuck in a book when you walk down the street, the first time I painfully wrapped myself round a lampost.

And Malaysia has these open monsoon drains everywhere which would swallow a committed reader in a nanosecond!

Perhaps there should be a health warning on the ad?

Anyway. Let's imagine that we have been given free reign and an unlimited budget to design a reading ad for ASTRO, what would it be like? Pitch your ideas in the comments, and if any of you work in the advertising industry, I'll let you be the judges. Prize? Just the warm fuzzies of the heart from knowing that you will have served your nation.


sympozium said...

I'd have a promo showing some pop starlet, like the one who got married recently, wot's 'er name, Sili? Yeah, Sili, when presented with pre-wedding jewels and money and such, turn up her pert little nose (making sure her make-up doesn't crack into fault lines, of course) and say, "Eh, boring lah. Sili doesn't want all these precious gems. Sili wants books. BOOKS!"
Then she turns to face the camera and says, 'Books. Because you're worth it.'

cheekymonkey said...

When I was much younger, I used to make full use of all my spare time just reading books! I'd read in the toilet while answering nature's call, I'd read while walking to tuition (just 1km away), I'd read in the bus, I'd read while I was eating, I'd read myself to sleep and now, I read while waiting for the traffic light to turn. :D I used to be proud of the fact that I could read while I'm walking and reach my destination safe and sound too! ^_^" But after reading a lot about snatch thefts, I've stopped doing that.

As for the ads, maybe the ad could picture a guy/girl immerse in her fantasy book and suddenly she's transported into the world with plenty of good fantasy animation. When the story has climaxed, she's back into the reality and it's already late at night or something. Or they could do the same thing but the girl picks up more than one book to show the different flavours of books. :D

Ted Mahsun said...

Reading's over-rated and boring. Go watch some television instead!

Hmmm... must try reading on an escalator one day. I've read books in a lift though. It makes you dizzy.

Chet said...

I've tried reading while waiting at the traffic lights. Not as a pedestrian, but driver.

I heard about this lady, hor, who got in a taxi and was so immersed in her book, she didn't know where the driver took her. Fortunately, he took her where she wanted to go, except when she looked up, she didn't know where she was cuz nothing looked familiar to her.


Anonymous said...

_You_ are lucky. I once stopped in the middle of traffic because I suddenly got a great idea for a story :) needless to say it was an interesting experience, now I know what it's like to be hit by a bike :)

Anonymous said...

If I had free reign and an unlimited budget.. why would I even bother with an ad ? I'd just keep it. Anyway all ads are fanasy pieces aren't they ? otherwise we'd have truth in advertising.

Anonymous said...

Oh and symp, do I sense jealousy ? :)

sympozium said...

Annonymous - jealousy! :-))))) hehehhehe! No lah...

bibliobibuli said...

anonymous - wow! the sacrifices you make for your art! i hope the story turned out well

symp - ('cos if anon can be that familiar, so can i) i know you'd rather have the books than have sili!

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Bib. I would have a "Hey, What Are You Reading?" ad campaign.

Scene 1: Starts with guy musicians finishing a rock music song and the cool girl fans rush up - only to ask the long-haired technician leaning on a spare speaker, reading a book on the sidelines: "Hey, what're you reading?" He doesn't say, but (close-up of his mug) smiles shyly.

Scene 2: Lecturer notices a student engrossed behind a textbook, goes over to investigate. It's a novel hidden inside the textbook. "Hey, what're you reading?" lecturer snatches it out of student's hands, student falls out of chair, lecturer walks away with book & starts reading the backcover, and goes: "Hmmm..." sorta interested (then show close-up of student's worried mug mouthing, "My book!").

Scene 3: Someone waits outside toilet door impatiently and finally bursts into the toilet, shouting: "Hey, what are you reading?" Person with pyjamas pants around knees sitting on loo holding book pushes out the impatient one while still perusing book. Close-up of his/her mug with eyes just above book with title "The Joy of" (you almost think it's going to be 'Sex' but the camera pans down a bit to show: "Reading". Fades to black (or whatever colour sends viewers over).

Can ah?

dreamer idiot said... ad campaign for reading. Though I don't exactly agree with the principles, but a pretty/beautiful/hot girl should do the trick.

Possible ad scene: a normal looking guy is reading dostosevsky (ok, some other writer) at a cafe, and this chick/babe notices the book comes over and chats him up. She then exclaims/spouts some of those cliche lines about the author/guys who read being err... cool/amazing/sexy or whatever...

Or a reality show with a twist, Dating through books. borrowing on idea of Cornetto upcoming reality show 'love perhaps' (saw the ad in the papers)

However, these might be just too sleak and snazy, and people probably might see the superificality of it, or worse alienatate non-reading pp. Probably go back with Yasmin Ahmad with some romantic story about girl finding her dream guy in a library (some clumsy bit on going for the same book and the librarian sternly staring at thw talking couple, who later giggled to themselves, leaving the library (camera screens down) holding the book hand-in-hand style).

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...first of all,I find it difficult to relate to the fact that Malaysians read an average of 2 books. I am a sucker for books and always come out "poorer" each time I show up at MPH/Kinokuniya/Borders/Times/Silverfish etc, etc. So, as averages go, how was that average computed? Did we include people who cannot read in the first place or only those with reading capabality but no reading capacity. And how is this measured, by the quantum of books sold? I have read more books than what I purchased, there is such places as Libraries and of course recycled books at Xmas bazaars, cahrity shops, etc. Therefore before we really feel alarmed at the numbers, please make our people understand what the numbers mean. That way we can target and focus to work on those who need to be initiated into the reading habit.
For example if it is the belia who likes to "lepak" and will not read even if you shove a book up their eyeballs, then it is this target group that we need to reach. Assuming that it is so, then one approach will be to use "Celebrity" stunts perhaps. As part of their social responsibility, we could encourage celebrities to have a BOOK CONCERT ( heh, heh, assuming they can read lah) where in paying for the tickets, fans get a book which celebrity will give a reading on at the concert. Fans can be invited to read along and as part of the campaign, a contest or a quiz can be held to ensure fans get to read the book in its entirety after the concert and all submissions stand a chance to have a private reading with the celebrity. Hmmm, I may be way off here but who knows...some ha, ha idea may well turn out to be an "aha" one!

sympozium said...

"Symp"haha! Makes me sound like a 'symp-ering, whym-pering child again'
Yes, give me books over Sili No-hairy-pizza anytime!

bibliobibuli said...

wah! there is so much creativity here. can't make up my mind which ad idea i like best. maybe argus lou's guy in the toilet! dreamer idiot's dostoevsky dream is how the world should operate ... the hot sexy chick or celeb. yeah, why not?

i can just see yasmin making th boy and girl in the library ad.

i hope someone from the ministry drops by and snaps up some of these ideas!

anonymous - i'm not too sure how the figures were arrived at as i haven't seen the full data - just the newspaper report i put up a few days ago
... it was based on a survey. and in fact the number of books sold would seem to indicate greater readership.

i think that it may be true though that urban malaysians read more - but the problem is probably much greater in rural areas

i agree that however that dat is gathered it needs to be looked at very closely - and i'm sure the antional library and the ministry of culture arts and tourism is doing this. the bigger problem seems to be how to address the problem effectively.

love your idea of the celebrity concert.

sympozium - you have my symp-athy

midnite lily said...

And Malaysia has these open monsoon drains everywhere which would swallow a committed reader in a nanosecond!
i'd have THAT as a comedic scene in my ad to get the addiction across! hahaha... funny gets the message.

Anonymous said...

Open monsoon drains ? I don't walk around looking at monsoon drains, but the one near my place has a railing over it. The other side is open but has trees and cars. :)