Wednesday, August 13, 2008
“Dubara mat poochna…don’t ask again…” (part 1)
Human beings of today resemble guided missiles, going to a programmed destination with self destruction on mind. Our thoughts are tutored and prepared through image and brand recognition brought about by colourful and creative advertisements using the audio visual medium. My thoughts go in the direction of advertisements which are a substantial part of the budget of any company, selling whatever product. It’s an expense spent without any hard feelings or second thoughts as the returns are usually positive and assured.
Without beating around the bush I would like to examine quite a few advertisements, old and new and bring out some points for discussion.
1. Ad jingles- cute one liner lyrics which are given a nice and catchy tune and which will be recalled easily. Take the case of the very old vicks tablet advertisement, “vicks ki goli lo, kich kich duur (door) karo” (have a vicks tab and distance the irritation we feel (in our throat)).
2. Patriotism- advertisements which attach us with our country and therefore build up a responsibility in us to buy it. An example is Amul, the taste of India.
3. Re-writing accepted concepts- we are pushed to question ourselves and then our doubt filled mind is replaced with a product. A clear example is “thanda matlab coca-cola” (cold means coca-cola), suggesting that everything else is not, and “boond boond mein vishwas” (trust in every drop), Kinley water, meaning that other water cannot be trusted.
4. Tickling the male testosterone- in a patriarchal society the manliness of man is brought out to maintain the concept of ‘men are strong’, ‘men are stylish but still men.’ The Bajaj Pulsar motor bike which is accompanied by the slogan ‘definitely male’ and the ‘Raymonds suiting: the complete man’ are instances of this. Men are thus bound to the product to prove their manliness.
5. Conforming to age old discriminations- India’s caste, sex and class discriminations to name a few and its India shining or India progressing symbolism don’t go together. But take a look around ourselves and we are proved wrong. The Happy Dent white chewing gum ad shows people who can be identified as servants or slaves in clan based, landlord India. The apparent servants then eat the chewing gum and smile to give light to the masters (sahibs) and mistresses (memsab or memsahib). The one word punch is ‘muskurale’, smile. So one would wonder what an advertisement like this is doing in the so called modern India. But old habits die hard and the same goes with our attitude. Don't complain about your situation, smile and bring light to the lives of others, preferably the rich.
6. A fast paced, different and smart India- Finally there are the advertisements like Surf: dhaag ache hai (stains are good), ‘what an idea sir ji’ (Idea mobile) and clorets mouth freshener: ‘dubara mat poochna’ (don’t ask again) which are an impression of smart but impatient India, the India which will go to any extent to get things done. The India which would like to get its hands dirty, do what the government is not doing and be so smart that it would be suicidal to ask again or clarify.
To be continued……….