Role of Folk Media in Advertising

Q.4 “Folk media can play a vital role in advertising.” Do you agree? Answer with examples.

         Folk Media:

Besides, print and electronic media folk media also play a crucial role in advertising. Here we will first discuss the salient features of folk media and later give an account of some of the common folk media of the Pakistani society useful for advertising.

Folk Media is the creative dissemination of information through cultural and performance arts. In traditional societies, folk media: drama, skits, poems, stories, riddles, songs and dance have been popularly and successfully used to disseminate messages and even to pass on wisdom of older generations to the youth.

In different societies the use of folk media as advertisement is seen in circumcision, betrothal and marriage ceremonies and in all forms of entertainment and festivals. Today the same media can be used for community motivation, mobilizing support and participation in programmes and at the same time for entertainment.

         Salient Features:

They belong to the community.

1.It poses no threat to the local culture.

2.Involve local talent for Iocalised messages which have more credibility.

3.They are cheap media.

4.It does not involve cultural communication hurdles.

5.Its impact is deeper.

6.Their appeal is at personal and intimate level.

7.Cross cultural communication hurdles are not encountered here ;

8.Rapport is immediate and direct ;

9.Available to all and sundry and enjoyed by persons of different age groups at a very low. cost ;

10.Its impact is much deeper ;

  1. Very useful for community development;
  2. They belong to the community and not to individuals, state or private industry ;
  3. No threat of cultural colonialism and foreign ideological domination.
  4. Local talent and localized message-would have more credibility than those centralized ones.
  5. These media are comparatively cheap.
  6. Acceptability, cultural relevance entertainment value, localized language, legitimacy, flexibility, message repetition ability, instant ‘two-way communication etc. are among their virtues

Now we will list a few common folk media of the Pakistani society.


Fair is a periodical festival for the general sales and purchases. Fairs are localized in nature. Besides sales and purchases of goods it also serves entertainment purposes. It is a very effective medium for advertising but its access is limited to a particular area and limited people.

Cultural Shows

Every nation loves its culture dearly as in fact it is its identity. People not only want to preserve their culture but also like to see it having firm roots in other parts of the world too. For this purpose cultural shows are held. These shows are not only participated by the local folk but also by others. Advertisers can find these shows very suitable for advertising their products.


Theatre is one of the most watched and effective folk media. Basically it is an entertaining medium, but also touches every aspect of human life in a very interesting way. It is also local in nature and is very useful for advertising products and services in a specified area.

Folk media also have some shortcomings as media of advertising. For example, folk media have very limited reach, and accessibility. They are not good for national advertisers.


Ahh, puppets: beloved by many the world over, these anthropomorphic beings of cotton and plastic have been used to nurture and amaze children in both television and films for as long as broadcast media has existed.  Some are relatable for their demeanor and message, some for their zany looks, but most for their educational value. While this still remains at least partially true today, a lot has changed since shows like Sesame Street brought them into the mainstream back in the 60s.  Increasingly over the years I’ve noticed more and more puppetry being used in mainstream advertisements, targeting not just children, but adults.  Maybe it’s the fact that my social conditioning forces me to trust a puppet over a talking head – I mean Kermit the Frog would never lie to me, right?  The thing is, advertisers know this, and they sure do flaunt it.

Take the above puppets for instance, all of which have been integral parts of broad market advertising campaigns over the last two decades.  Puppet LeBron and Kobe push shoes for Nike, Animal and Kermit can eat all the Pizza Hut Pizza and never gain a pound, I buy all my shoes from the Zappos Zappets, and the Car Fox will always have my back when buying a new car, right?  These are the things that have been ingrained in my memory, most of which I didn’t even realize was happening when I viewed their commercials.  It’s always been an effective marketing tool in the arsenals of the brands, but takes an awful lot of time and thought to be successful.

With the proliferation of Internet marketing, advertisers are given a new medium for which they make use of these fictitious creations. While they once had only thirty seconds to reach audiences, they now have a massive platform that leverages social media and the likes of YouTube to create complete stories involving their beloved brand identities.  While this is certainly a push in the right direction for interactive media, taking on the burden of getting me interested in a puppet themed long-form commercial is no easy task. That said, I felt it necessary to call attention to one such company, and their recently launched campaign, which is trying – in my opinion effectively – to breach the line between commercials and content; corporate image and trust.

Meet Doug.  He’s that little orange guy in the middle of the picture up top.  Doug is the newest, fast-talking, wise-cracking spokesman for the Ford Motor Company. He’s been preaching about 2012 Ford Focus in a series of comedy themed shorts since March, currently airing on Television and YouTube.  Doug’s done things like saved lives, thwarted a bank robbery, and apparently, can drive a car – and he’s one thing that I think modern day advertising has done right.  That may be only one man’s opinion, but as far as his cohorts above go, I found it refreshing that I was actually laughing at a puppet in a commercial again. Don’t take my word for it, you can check out some of his videos yourself below.  Do you think he has what it takes to continually provide the community connection Ford is looking to create with its target audience?  I can’t be sure, but I wish more companies would take a unique approach to marketing like this one.

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