Sunday, May 30, 2010

Advertisement Amusement Bemusement

Any form (almost any form) of media, will carry Advertisements. No matter what the purpose of the event, print, broadcast, telecast, or whatever...there is bound to be an advertisement in one form or the other.

Either they are like a promotion for an event, like a program, or a discourse in the neighbourhood, something which doesn't have to do anything with things like money, 'entry fee', buying etc... Mostly, for something good socially. Some good contacts would eventually turn up there, and something constructive might happen beyond what was planned.

The other is th commercial advertisement, which is growing in excess and largely competitive in this world ruled by corporate houses and business tycoons. Why do we have these many advertisements? Whats so new about the same old thing, just renamed 'all-new'? Why are there so many ads for the same product? Why do you have the cine stars in it, like they were the CEO of the company? Why do we need advertisements?

Let me see how I can break it down...
Every product needs a market, to grow, to thrive on, to profit from. And the market is us. Its not as much as about what the product exactly is, but more about how you are made to believe what the product is!

A, B and C may be the same thing, but if I say A is the all new stuff made in a american based lab, you are gonna buy that, atleast to see what it is... Thats the 'break' the products look for. The first touch. If you can outsmart and outrace your competitor on this, you can very well get the start you want.

When something is good, the news spreads pretty well. When something is bad, it spreads like wild fire. Thats why you see something very careful and interesting in their first advertisements of the season, and live off your enthusiasm for the next few.

The company wants to give you what you wants, or atleast make you feel you are going to get what you want. I still don't understand the fairness cream advertisements. Its an unchangeable fact that there are four or five major skin types. And even if you take a jacuzzi bath in the cream, you won't becomes 'as fair as milk'. Its because the Aryan skin is not going to turn your skin to a Russian/Scandinavian shade of skin-tone! A shade or two may be believable, because of the removal of oil and other unnecessary factors which may have gotten into our skin.

Hair gel, shampoos, soaps - the companies concentrate more on telling what formula they use to make this stuff.. Some actor or a big wig sportsperson would endorse it and retort some lines 'this was made with the all important vitamin-XYZ which does so and so' , or 'so and so thingy...which makes your hair more beautiful'... Really, do you think fierce competitors would really want to let their 'secret ingredients' out blatantly? Anyway, what DO you understand from his scientific part of the speech. Do you say, 'aaah, thats why his hair has become this', 'so thats what making her skin so soft'. If almonds and herbs were all that I need to have good skin, I would've never wanted a soap. I have a garden and own a refrigerator that hosts almonds. And if sandalwood was that good, why wasn't Veerappan that handsome? I bet he even ate sandalwood!

Toothpaste - this gets a special mention. Every toothpaste is recommended by atleast 85% of the dentists and are much better than 'ordinary toothpastes'. Baffles me. Who cares if the girl would fall for you if you brush with a particular toothpaste. You brush so early in the morning, after which you sip tea/coffee, eat breakfast and then pop in some other things before you even head out of your home and even get a chance to flirt. So, unless you brush once every to hours, before and after meals like they really want you to, you are just falling for things, you spouse will obviously not select you based on what toothpaste you use.

Cars - Cars are probably the best in the industry when it comes to making ads. From the day the company gets an idea on a new model, the engineers will work hand in hand with the HR team and the promo-branch will be sweating it out! You have to catch the eyes of potential customers and at the same time let the technical difference or advances shown in an understandable manner! Nearly all of them have been good.

The food ads - I've seen some of the best and the worst ads in this industry... I still don't realise what the Frito-Lays try to promote (the actor/cricketer, or the product), have, at times, appreciated the new comer Bingo's ads... Pepsi and Coke have been good competitors and bring out some ad or the other, while being made to cover for their once in a while pesticide stories... The Dew-Sprite duel was funny and cheap looking. One point I thought, one couldn't think about their own product, and were more afraid of the competitor, that they wanted to bring down their compatitor. Well, they were all implied-meaning ones... but Complan and Horlicks (was it horlicks or something else?) took 'competition' to the next level by directly bringing up the names of the other product in the ad. How healthy that was, I do not know, but I surely feel there were some behind the scenes to it. I've never had issues drinking any particular health drink brand, but I prefer Complan. I guess it played a role in bringing up my tall height :-P. Then we have the Pizza ads, the food-agro brand ads, which pretty much stick to their product but get the boost with the help of some stars. SRK or SRT endorsing a biscuit is much better than the ad showing a couple of kids running around trying to prove the same point!

Myriad other classifications, some I'm not able to remember at this instance, some being pretty similar to the ones above (mobile service providers, Electronics brands etc).

But aren't they getting a little overboard? India loves cricket, I know. But of late, the games have become advertising palaces. A single match would have a fleet of ads on TV, radio ( we all know how the radio ads are, in affecting the radio commentary). And then came the age of T20s, when advertising literally entered the field, every a-b-c was sponsored... I guess soon, every injury, dot ball, appeal, drinks, short ball, yorker, lemon cut will get a sponsor. This is just overdose. I don't care about the mobile that props up in the middle of an over giving me less than zero info about it. Too many cooks spoil the broth! Yes, the same thing over and over again has actually started irritating! The NBA or the EPL could pull of mass advertisement without such irritation or eye-sore frequency of appearance.

Another thing I noticed in the Indian advertisements is, most ads put in women as 'objects', with the ads delivered only for 'men' though some products are not just for men. One, the advertiser is demeaning the women, in this manner, and secondly, do not appreciate targetting women customers, which means, its pretty much like they do not respect women. Things gotta change in that place for sure.

The freebie promotion concept adopted is fine, marketing wise, but the customers should think about what they want to but. If there is a Rs 50 stuff 'A' and you get Rs 5 stuff 'B' along with it, you don't HAVE to buy A to get the B... If you want B, just buy B... You are actually wasting Rs 45 on something that you think was an attractive offer. If you want an icecream, order and icecream, not a four course meal!

I would love to see the quality of advertisements improve (I still love the Siyaram and Raymond Suitings ads, classics...). Some meaning into the ad please (Why would I want to buy a pair of shoes if I wanted "beautiful legs and butts"???). Some more beauty in some places, some less beauty in other places. And prompt people for some ads...(not a 65-70 yr old guy for an ad for chocolates!!!).

Some things may change the way you look at the products, its not about enjoying the ad, but its about knowing about the product, which you would want to use in some manner. Reach out to the one that IS the best, more than what reaches out the best.

Well, I just wrote something waaaaayyyy off my usual thinking zone, but I really had these opinions and this was one easy space to post them.

What do you have to say?
Comments? Suggestions? Discussions? Always welcome...

Keep them coming.

Also visit my sister-blog for some action from the field of sports, including my attempt at doing ball by ball commentary for one whole match (like the ones you see in cricinfo). Your reviews on that too will be welcome, I'm chasing a dream in that field.


PS: those who know Hindi, watch the movie, Corporate. An English movie, 'What women want' universally... You people may have better examples.

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