( Ad ) ding more to our lives ……..

It often happens that a tune or a song attaches itself to my lips every morning and I keep humming it all day to the immense irritation of my friends. More often than not it happens to be an ad jingle- these catchy, short tunes are horribly addictive. In fact, being composed often by aspiring or even established music directors, they are sometimes better than many full- length longs. The target on the part of the company always remains brand recognition but purely from the point of view of a viewer I guess. I would not be wrong to say that we sometimes remember them just for what they are (art for art’s sake!) . In the same way there are so many advertisements that we watch and remember for the “star cast” whether 2D (remember the cute amul girl?) or well our regular cricket or film heroes, the music, or the story that is presented. Gone are the days when the ad break would mean a quick visit to the fridge or the loo, now even they keep us hooked…. God help the viewer! How is the couch potato ever going to live his life again…yes bad advertisements obviously!

While some advertisements are clichéd, others are boring, and some are downright offensive (read fairness creams, washerwoman scrubbing with all her strength). The crazier, or bolder things are , the better it is and yet some just remain close to our hearts by not changing, staying just the same for years .. “The complete man” anyone?? This world of glamour has been the stepping stone to numerous mainstream actresses like Preity Zinta and continues to provide a huge source of income to our Bollywood stars and we as viewers aren’t complaining as long as they have the product to match the superb advertisement. I mean I felt totally cheated “emotionally” (I give you the liberty to label this as exaggeration) .I went “aawwwww” seeing a certain telecom network’s advertisement regarding a couple, highlighting reduced std rates, it was a total “rom-com” packed in 30 seconds while the network in reality was pathetic, I mean the cover or the packaging can never be a substitute for the product, consumers are not fools. A scene from a popular movie where a rag picker, a young boy saves money to buy a fairness cream and in the end is hopelessly disappointed was quite a moving depiction of an existing reality. The ad’s do cash in on our emotions, be it patriotic or romantic. Perhaps this is what prompts H.G .Wells to say “Advertising is legalized lying.”

Advertisements are not only about selling these days or may be they are, I am talking about the recent phenomenon of political advertising, while focusing on the parties own achievements causes no harm (though it may be a bunch of sugar coated lies), I feel airing pictures of blood and gore to malign some other party is in bad taste. Every area of life need not be exploited to fill the vote banks.

Although advertisements exist till up the “breaks”, they continue to hold us spellbound, at least some of them. We are not complaining as long as they make us laugh or feel like we have watched a 30 second long mushy movie, as long as we don’t feel exploited by what they have to offer. Of course some of the ads make us laugh by their sheer “stupidity” quotient, I mean why would a person run madly behind a cola bottle being followed by almost the entire nation? One thing that we have to accept is that the audience itself has matured over the years; I think most families have reached the comfort level where children are not sent to bring the water bottle when an advertisement about AIDS or a contraceptive pill is aired. We may hate some of them and love some of them but none of us can claim to have remained immune to them all our lives , it is true that had we watched the advertisements for a time long enough , all our life would be spent wanting things ! How many times we have been duped not by “them” but more by ourselves, our immense hope and wish to change things, at least I do not find any other way of explaining the huge market for anti-wrinkle creams ! (Yes again a liberty granted to put it down as exaggeration). They may exploit us, entertain us but we can’t deny that they influence us and touch our lives in more ways than one. And barring some extreme cases at least I am not complaining!
Shiny Das


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