Ilha de Calma, Sense making, Consumer perception and Breaking through the Clutter

‘Ilha de Calma’

‘ Have you found your Ilha de Calma yet?

Every about ten minutes of television programming, consumer’s attention is interrupted by a commercial break. The word ‘break’ takes us to two lines of interpretation. One is ‘brake’ that is connected to brake paddle which when pressed slows down or stops a speeding vehicle.  The second means disruption or discontinuity. Advertisers want to break into consumer’s mind and leave behind a message with varying intentions like building awareness, interest, desire, and action (AIDA).  But cutting through the perceptual veil or filter is not easy. Consumers erect defense systems to save themselves from these commercial breaks which are like aggressive assaults on their senses. Marketers expect consumers to process their messages which are far more than they can cope with. Therefor a large amount of exposed messages are filtered or blocked out.  This is called selective attention.

An average person may be exposed to over 2000 messages in a day. Processing all these would be akin to stuffing a refrigerator with things multiple times of its capacity. It would certainly break down. Consumers avoid this break down by selecting only a few of the stimuli demanding their attention.  This is called selective attention. This process helps consumers but it creates problems for communicators. They face a serious challenge: how to cope with this screening out process or selective attention. Money is wasted when ads are created and placed in media but they fail to survive through perceptual process.  Once ads achieve exposure, then the next challenge they face is to capture and retain attention.  Marketers complain that consumers do not pay attention indiscriminately. Only a miniscule portion of total ads succeed in capturing and retaining attention.

So what strategy would you adopt in crowded destination marketing space? Starting with Kerala’s brilliant campaign (God’s own country) to attract tourists, several other states have joined the bandwagon including Gujarat (Vibrant Gujarat), Uttaranchal (‘Dev Bhumi’), Chattisgarh – Full of Surprises, Arunachal Pradesh ( The Land of Dawnlit Mountains), Andhra Pradesh (Essence of Incredible India, Goa (A perfect holiday destination), Puducherry (Give time a break), Jharkhand ( A new experience) and Karnataka (One state many worlds). One thing that runs common to these campaigns is their focus on attracting tourists on the promise of sense stimulation.  They take journey is a sense which involves movement of body on a physical surface tempered delivery on senses like eyes (visuals like jungles, mountains), smells (habitation, flowers, pure air), sound (animals, folk music, prayers), touch (people, land, terrain, rocks, breeze) and taste (gastronomical delights). The destination market is not only crowed (so many states and UTs) but is also heavily advertised.  The commonness in their communication as tourist attractions subjects them to the phenomenon of ‘stimulus generalization’. And high cumulative spending on communication subjects their advertising to perceptual filtration process.  Hence cutting though or capturing attention is a real challenge for a player who is entering the market late.

So when watching television as soon as commercial break begins the target consumers commission their defense systems to protect them from barrage of intrusive messages.  So they look at screens without paying attention. One ad very calm and serene in its construction (as against loud music or characters engaged in noisy conversation) showed camera gently rolling over blue beaches, silent buildings, sun kissed caves, quietly flowing  breeze and whispering trees. The ad managed to break through perceptual filter and captured attention by not following typical ad mold. Further, the ad closed with words ‘Ilha de Clama’ appearing on the scene and a simultaneous voice over pronouncing the same which did not make sense.  The inability to make sense  due to lack of conformity (ambiguity) is likely to disturb mental balance and it increases consumer’s involvement which forces them to look for information to get back to the state of equilibrium. The ad relied upon visual and verbal ambiguity to capture attention. It set people looking for information to make sense opening up their receptivity and sensitivity.

This is followed by print ad in major newspapers. One such ad announced ‘Ilha De Clama is Diu’. Its body copy read as follows (attempts to cash in on heightened receptivity to related information created by television ad):

 If you are wondering how to pronounce it, it is Eel-ya-ji-kaal-ma. Don’t rush to get it right. Once in Diu, you will have all the time and quiet to do it. Peaceful beaches, silently swaying hoka trees, gentle sea breeze, quaint churches, and baroque monuments await you here. Come to Diu. Who know , you might find your Ilha de Clama.  Another asks directly to its readers: ‘Have you found your Ilha de Clama yet?

Capturing attention is one of the most important challenges for advertisers. Advertisers use many strategies to capture consumer attention. One such strategy relies upon the theory of ambiguity. Things that don’t fit mold are generally noticed. It helps you break through the clutter.


4 thoughts on “Ilha de Calma, Sense making, Consumer perception and Breaking through the Clutter

  1. it’s one of the ad where silence is used an instrument to communicate.

    Viewers sub-consciously wait for some voice overs / information but finds none or very little. This triggers mind into internal / external search for more information and human mind tries to fix the puzzle with limited information.
    I think the way ad has been shot is also beautiful and communicates well to those travellers who want to go for a peaceful, quit holiday away from popular & crowded tourist spot.

    Overall, a wonderful cinematic execution which serves the very purpose of it… get viewer’s attention !!

  2. What a coincidence! During my last class, I discussed Ilha de Calma with my class as a great example of advertising for tourism. Another element used effectively by Ogilvy & Mather is “Suspense”. Their initial promos piqued one’s interest by asking “Where is Ilha de Calma?”, with prizes to be won for guessing the write answer. Brilliant concept!

  3. Please can anyone tell me if there is a longer version of the background music in this ad? I really really want it.. It’s such a great one, unexplainable..

  4. Answering to Niladri Shekhar debroy – You can download the background music from You tube while watching the add video , download the video and convert the background music to audio with YTD converter .

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