Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Anchored by Melissa Bell  |  About  |  Get Updates:  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed

Talking newspapers invade Indian breakfast tables

(Jochen Eckel/Bloomberg)

On Tuesday, thousands of Indians got a rather jarring surprise when they opened their morning newspaper: a voice started hawking a Volkswagen vehicle.

"The new Volkswagen Vento, crafted with so much care, it's hard to let it go," the voice said.

Some people thought a cellphone had landed in their paper. Others didn't know what to make of the interruption.

Welcome to Modern Media 2010. What people were hearing, in fact, was a small voice box embedded into the back page of the Indian newspapers Times of India and the Hindu. When readers opened the paper, the box was light-activated and the voice started talking about the new Volkswagen car. The voice would play on an endless loop until the reader shut the paper.

The voicebox alternately delighted readers and frightened them, according to Raja Murthy at the Asia Times. He reports that even the Mumbai police bomb squad reacted to the talking advertisement. They had to investigate suspicious noises coming from a trash can after a reader threw the paper away.

Volkswagen spent more than $1 million on the campaign, according to the Indian newspaper Economic Times.

The response seemed to be generally positive from the online community, but the idea of chattering newspapers frightens me. Even Harry Potter's moving newspaper photos had the sense to stay silent.

By Melissa Bell  | September 23, 2010; 6:06 PM ET
Categories:  What the Post?  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Teresa Lewis's execution and the reaction to women on death row
Next: Morning music: Eddie Fisher walks ahead of us


This is a cool technology that, once it becomes cheap enough, might be applied in many ways. For example, I can imagine opening a package of medicine and having certain critical warnings and key information immediately announced. Although this might get embarrassing if you do so on the bus.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 24, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company