Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jesus s(h)aves!!!

Advertisements have become such an integral part of our lives. It is another thing whether we like it or not! Many will feel the bite while watching a movie and getting interrupted by hundreds of advertisements asking, luring and begging us to buy a particular product. It is another matter all together that we end up paying for the exuberant bills associated with award winning adverts. Like it or hate it, it is here to stay. A testimony to that is the advertisement industry which is worth billions of dollars world wide and crores of rupees in India.

The good side of an advert is that it is the product of hard hours of burning the midnight oil and waiting for that one creative burst of energy which will bring forth something so unique and eye catching that it will lead us straight to the product. Many such products then lead to a replacement of identities and truth itself. We replace in our minds natural products from nature with products that are manufactured by companies in real time and in our minds as well.

The other side of an advert is that it is made so that it helps a product sell! Nothing else matters pretty much. It is true that there is an overall view that adverts should try to tell the truth but much overlapping blurs what truth is. So we advertise everything. We advertise our child’s baptism, our wedding, our success (our enemies advertise our failure :)), and eventually even our death is advertised.

The new Gillette ad doing the rounds now has women in India vouching for how smooth the skin of their boyfriend/husband is after such a smooth shave and how they prefer this over against a beard or stubble. The ad blitz even came out with Women Against Lazy Stubbles (W.A.L.S.). So much that even a bearded priest like me, strokes my chin to see what it would feel like after gliding a Mach 3 blade through the unruly beard. I wonder what kind of pressure boys/men feel to get that perfect smooth skin? After all they have to be presentable and acceptable to their girls/women. The video showing the depressed man with a stubble changing into a confident person after the shave does get one thinking. Should I or shouldn’t I?

I guess religion is also going through the same phase of high income adverts. Jesus saves is a very old slogan which has been in use in India. So much like the Mach 3 comfort one will feel. Posters and banners hanging from trees and posts, bible verses on walls, preaching on TV, we are all into the s(h)aving business. So much that Jesus is portrayed like a young, shaven, confident man, asking us to jump into the bandwagon. But what about the bearded Jesus we are all so used to? Maybe not so confident and seemingly much ordinary than the macho, all knowing young man. Also every bit vulnerable and a bit more attached to ground reality rather than being a high flying, super man capable of doing anything and everything at the flick of a switch. Hmm…following Gillette…should we then run high flying adverts saying, Jesus, the best a man can get or just leave Jesus as Jesus, with stubble, beard, et al.?

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