The Attraction of Interactive Communication is that it is a return to the prehistoric human fascination with telling tales!

Since the beginnings of any civilized society the market place was the hub of civilization, a place to which traders returned from remote lands with exotic spices, silks, monkeys, parrots, jewels - and fabulous stories. Interactive Communication, properly executed, more resembles an ancient bazaar than fits the business models companies try and impose upon it.

People respond to interactive opportunities because it seems to offer some intangible quality long ‘missing in action’ from modern life. In sharp contrast to the alienation wrought by homogenized broadcast media, interactive opportunities provide a space in which the human voice would be rapidly rediscovered.

Unlike the lockstep conformity imposed by television, advertising, and corporate propaganda, interactive communication gives new legitimacy – and free rein – to play.

People long for more connection between what we do for a living and what we genuinely care about. We long for release from anonymity, to be seen as who we feel ourselves to be rather than the sum of abstract metrics and parameters.

We long to be part of a world that makes sense rather than accept the accidental alienation imposed by market forces too large to grasp; to even contemplate.

Remember the market place, of old. Caravans arrived across burning deserts bringing dates and figs, snakes and parrots, monkeys, strange music and stranger tales.

The market place was the heart of the city, the kernel, the hub.
Like the past and the future it stood at the crossroads.

People worked early and went there for coffee and vegetables, eggs and wine, for pots and carpets. They went there to look and listen and to marvel, to buy and to be amused.

But mostly they went to meet each other…to talk and interact!
Markets are conversations.

So…what went so horribly wrong? From the perspective of corporations, many of which by the twentieth century had become bigger and more powerful than ancient city-states, nothing went wrong. Things did change however.

Commerce is a natural part of human life but is has become increasingly unnatural over the intervening centuries, gradually divorcing itself from the very people on whom it depends, whether workers or customers. The result has been to create a huge chasm between buyers and sellers.
Advertising’s failure!

Conventional advertising has failed the natural human need for social interaction. We have created a media society during the last 30 or 40 years where there is an extraordinary reduction in interaction because of the one-way and more passive form of information that exists. People desire to be taken account of, to affect change, learn and personalize their relationships with their environment. These psychological and sociological factors are part of the incentive to interact with advertising. However, these tend to be minimized in the incentive direct response field, there are a phenomenal number of reasons which cause people to interact which go beyond just giving them things.
The one problem facing interactive advertising is the fact that it has become a cliché in recent years, without any very clear or consistent definition of what the word means or how it is supposed to work.

Properly executed it has none of the woolly theorizing that lies behind the arguments about various forms of so-called interactive communication using direct marketing and electronic media (most of which involves at best the minimum of true interactivity).

It is also practical, down-to-earth, and uses a readily comprehensible and verified mechanism to expand the relevance and salience of advertising and other forms of marketing communications.

It can be applied to all major media and to various other forms of communication, including new media. There is no theoretical reason why it should not also be applied to packaging designs or product literature.

The basic elements of interactive communication are very simple, as all communication should be. The target audience – or any part of them – are provided with a Game, comprising a Quiz together with multiple choice answers. This takes the reader/viewer through the detail of a commercial or advertisement and focuses their interest and attention on the product’s selling points.

The answer cards are (usually) presented as an exercise in getting the public’s opinions about the products. The effect is to combine the techniques of programmed learning and game playing to fix the advertising message in consumers’ minds.

By presenting advertisements in the form of a Game it alters the consumer’s perception to the content making the communication process far more effective, by providing an enjoyable mechanism for consumers to become involved with the brand and its advertising message.

This meets the desire, evident among consumers, to open up a dialogue with at least some of the manufacturers or service companies whose products they buy; and also feeds consumers evident wish to be better informed about what it is they are being asked to buy.

Author's Bio: 

I pioneered Interactive Communication to the business community, I have developed Interactive "Events" in Australia,Japan,UK & USA. Additionally I wrote & produced the worlds first regularly broadcast interactive show on Channel 7 Manila, The Philippines sponsored by P&G. Am currently developing TAG for the Information Channel in the UK.