Monday, May 3, 2010

Really, people...Part III: Ad Nauseum

I love Indian advertising. The Bajaj bulb ad ("Jab main chhota ladka thha..."), the Fevicol series, the Happydent ad and Vodafone pug? Good stuff there. For the most part.

As for the rest...
Forget the rampant sexism (Tanishq wedding jewelery ad anyone?: the archetype of the independent Indian woman being lured by bling, like a cud-chewing cow...also commented on by fellow blogger).
Forget the ridiculous fear-mongering (fear of sunlight, aging, rice, singlehood, ad infinitum). That's staple.   

Because lately, there's been even more insidious shit going on. For some reason we have turned on Africans and it makes me cringe right down to my toe nails. The new Sprite ad shows two ditzes in a jungle. One of them with a handbook on how to deal with African tribals (because, God forbid there should be any other type of African), which he proceeds to do with a jhingalala type Vyjanthimala dance. I don't know how this ad ends because I can never see it through (if one must be racist & stereotype, I'm hoping the tribals turn cannibalistic and eat that porcine motherfucker).

I thought this ad was the most abysmal low we could sink to. Until I saw one so disgusting that my brain retched out any memory of the brand name. I do know it's for a lemon drink (tried searching for the ad online. Failed). The ad shows an African man (again, loin-cloth'd, hut-dwelling, cave-man type) in the desert, parched and trying desperately to collect water in some kind of pot. Hours go by and he manages to get a few drops. He lifts the pot above his head to take the much needed sip. A passerby (cave man 2) enters frame, distracts thirsty cave man 1. Cave man 1 misses his mark, water spills onto dry land and disappears into it. The ad ends when Cave man 1, enraged, chases Cave man 2 around the one straw hut that stands in the desert. Cut to look-ma-I'm-funny tagline and big graphic of beverage bottle.

It's bad enough that we reduce an entire continent to a caricature, that we're ignorant about its culture & people, but to mock its misfortunes and worse still, to use it to sell some lame-ass, over-priced synthetic lemon drink is something I simply cannot stomach (Not feeling well, madam? Nimbu paani?)

Here's a concept, then: How about an ad for a brand of luggage. Luggage so solid, it survives terrorist attacks at railway stations & 5 star hotels. Hahaha...look at that goofy Kasab-lookalike wasting his bullets on our faux-leather finish...that'll show him.
Buy that bag wontcha?

Bit much? Ya. It's late. I'm being stupid. That's what happens when I watch too much TV.


  1. i do not have vishesh tippani, but i have very many taaliyaan.

  2. :D
    Hello! And thanks. And I'm addicted to your blog. Please to be writing that book now.

  3. I hate the Tanishq ad and everyone else seems to think it's hilarious and cute. Arrrgh! Same to same for Sprite. I spend most ad breaks alternatively cringing and hurling abuses at my TV.