I was a little apprehensive, but I still asked Amit of Mashed Musings fame to do a Guest Post for me. And it turns out, he agreed – Just like SRK says that the universe conspires to fulfill wishes of people who dream!
Amit needs no introduction here, but for those who don’t know him, a click on the above link can change your life forever, for good. I landed on his blog a few months ago, via a few random clicks and it was love at first read. I couldn’t keep away as I can’t afford to miss a dose of humor served on a platter by this talented man who (oh so adorably) calls himself a male feminist. I wish I could find one like him. Mr Perfect, you need to be a Mr Perfect Feminist now. The standards just got higher! 😉
Over to Amit now.
Oh wait, a little something – SRK is still the Prince Charming he always was. But there are a few things which bother me as well, like pointed by Amit in the post. So, I accept him with all of that, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad untill death do us part 😉
Following is a brilliant piece by Amit and I am honored to have him as a guest.
Over to Amit now. Really!
The Inception Industry
Remember the Lijjat Papad advert from the 90s? There was a family of bunnies who promoted the papads and urged the nation to eat them as they were very karrrram-kurrrram. I was flabbergasted by the advert. What does a bunny know about a papad? And why should I eat something that a freaking bunny and his wife (who wears a bindi!) eat and end up reproducing a baby bunny at the end. For a long time I thought that babies are created by eating Papads and watched my parents at the dinner table with horror as they crunched the bunny product.
Years have passed and the bunnies have vanished from the television but I don’t find the advert that stupid anymore. After all we have now seen women running after every man who uses AXE and SRK promoting ‘Fair n Handsome’ as ‘Mardoon wali’ cream (Men’s cream). We have seen Indians singing pumpkin-dumpling-honey-bunny(!) which I think is Mandarin. We have seen Malaika Arora breaking a walnut by a neat stroke of her hair. We have seen women getting empowered by vagina tightening creams. So yes, the bunnies seem sane now. Really.
Sometimes, it is hard to comprehend adverts that use celebrities to sell their products. Since years, Lux has been showing actresses moaning and rubbing the product all over them in foam-overflowing-bathtubs placed in bathrooms of the size of a Boeing 777 and getting away with it. That is another story that all those actresses use only imported products in reality. Sachin has been saying for years that Boost is the secret of his energy. I would have believed that if Gandhari had said that because she was still breathing after popping out 100 sons but not Sachin. If you remember his pictures as a teenager, he looked devastatingly malnutritioned. And then there are those Cola wars. There isn’t a star who has not tilted those bottles in his mouth and inspired the whole nation to follow suit. And we drank that stinging, bubbly, blackish, filled with carbon-di-oxide liquid because every star asks us to do so. Liril seems to have vanished but I could never make out any sense of the advert showing a woman showering in a monstrous and deadly waterfall and going laaaa-la-la-la-laaaa. If the advert was about surviving a tsunami, I would have made my peace with it.
What is really interesting is that most of the times the adverts do not talk about the product at all. For example the ‘Aaj Kuch Toofani Karte Hain’ advert. You gulp a drink and jump off buildings and that is supposed to be cool? Or the new Virat Kohli advert where he flirts with a girl and then takes her picture without her permission. By the time it ends, you won’t even remember what the advert was all about. The SRK advert about demeaning a man for using a ‘girly’ fairness cream takes the cake. A wrestler applying a girly fairness cream = him applying lipstick and nail polish. And then SRK gifts him a ‘Mardoon wali fairness cream’ and all is hunky-dory. The wrestler is a man again. Sometimes I wish that if the amount of time and money Indians spend on getting fair was spent in getting a sensible perspective, we would have been a different nation.
Advertising is not about selling your product. It’s about planting a thought. It’s about inception. The customer must feel that the product will make his life immensely fulfilling. He should have a relationship with the product. If you have followed the advertisements that have been hitting our screens since the last decade, there has been a tilt towards showcasing the product as a ‘family’ to the customer. Whether it’s Maruti Swift’s ‘Hum rishtoon main jeete hain’ or Cadbury’s ‘Kuch Meetha Ho jaye’ or Dominos ‘Ye hai rishtoon ka time’ or ‘Hamara Bajaj’ or Airtel’s ‘Jo tera hai wo mera hai’, they all focus on relationships and the happiness they give and the product is very deftly slipped in. But happiness is not the only emotions advertisements thrive on. Some thrive on our insecurities. Some thrive on our social conditioning. It is the customer who has to decide what is acceptable. On a positive side, in the last few years a lot of advertising agencies have focussed on social issues and have inserted subtle messages while promoting the products. A brilliant example of this is CEAT tyres advert with taglines – ‘The roads are full of idiots’ and ‘Kaha rukna hai pata hai (I know where to stop)’. Another one will be Nirma’s latest where Hema, Jaya, Rekha and Sushma push an ambulance out of mud as men stand by and watch.
So, the next time they show a hoard of women washing clothes and wonder why the clothes are not white enough, think about why they never show a guy washing clothes.
The next time you see an advert where a guy on a bike performs unimaginable stunts before he reaches his girlfriend and tells her that talking is such a waste of breath, think about what the advert was trying to prove? Who rides bikes like that?
The next time they show a mother-in-law shouting at her daughter-in-law about why the utensils are not washed yet and the daughter-in-law reply back with a 100W smile that she has already washed them thanks to the new liquid soap, try to wonder why she didn’t tell her mum-in-law to buzz off.
The next time they show a person having dark skin lacking confidence, try to wonder what skin colour has to do with intelligence or confidence.
There can be nothing better than a good advertisement with a hidden social message and the media needs to focus on this. God knows this country needs some direction.
p.s. My favorite advert remains that of Close Up where a girl is hit by a tornado the moment a guy opens his freshly brushed mouth and then she falls in love with him. I had no idea girls get turned on by air coming out of a huge mouth directed towards their head. I thought it was….never mind.
[Image from here]
Don’t be overjoyed. SRK bashing is still not allowed out here. Happy Commenting!