The Interesting Land Of Advertisements

“Utterly Butterly Delicious- Amul !” Remember that cute looking girl wearing a polka dot dress licking butter? The Amul advertisements truly brought about a revolution in the way advertisements were made.

To begin at the beginning, it was Doordarshan which ushered in the advent of advertisement in 1976 when it started to consider them as ways to get revenue. This was also the time when Doordarshan shifted its focus from educational and informational programs to those which entertained. Few of the shows that were aired had sponsors, but these were weekly shows and were meant to be special, like the Chitrahar or the movies that were telecasted on Sunday mornings.

Needless to say from the times of ‘Binaka presents’ to ‘ TVS Sare Gama Pa’ and ‘Head n Shoulders’ presents’, we have indeed come a long way. The improved technology, graphics, sound, animation and most importantly, the freedom to ‘think differently’ has helped the advertisement industry grow leaps and bounds.

Let us go down the memory lane and dig up some of the trends and ads which have created an impression. Those mentioned as not in any chronological sequence.

I possibly don’t know how many of us can recollect, but there was an “8PM” liquor advertisement (in the era when there wasn’t a ban on airing such ads), which showed two officers sharing a drink at nightfall and ending their hostilities. It was a silent advertisement and it was still appreciated because somewhere it talked of peace between India and its neighbours. This concept recently got used by Airtel, which ran an ad of two boys across India-Pakistan border playing football. There are such ads which carry social messages (another ad is by Tata Tea which asks people to vote, ‘Jaage Raho!’). Then there are ads like ‘Tedha hai par mera hai’ by Kurkure and those by. They make very little sense and rely basically on making a mark on the user’s mind and their shopping preference. The aim is to just get noticed, one way or another. Imagine if all advertisements become like these; commercial breaks will become so unbearable.

Quiet yet impressive ads like that of ACT II popcorn and Bisleri water (though it is so hard to digest that a commodity like water needs advertisement) on the other hand are quite pleasing. The ‘An idea can change your life’ advertisement leaves an impression which stays much beyond 5 seconds.

Then there was the Kissan Jam’s ‘Jammy’ advertisement, which was again a special one because it was one of the initial commercials done by a cricketer (Rahul Dravid endorsed the product). It is interesting to note that around the same time, Dravid had not performed well in some major series. There had been an intense debate over whether such advertisements would actually distract the players and hinder their performance. Whether or not, it does still continues to be debated. But clearly, known players from different games continue to endorse products.

Celebrity endorsements have been a dominating feature for almost a decade now and so companies target consumer through their adoration of a particular celebrity.‘Kuch Meetha Ho Jae’ in Big B style seriously adds flavour to the ad’s popularity. While ‘Saifeena’ fans look out for the best offer on Emami creams on their Lenovo notepads. It cannot be denied that celebrity advertisements do influence the consumers. Yet, there continue to be advertisements like that of ICICI, Max New York Life Insurance, HCL etc that do pretty well without attracting the paparazzi factor.

In words of HDFC bank promoters, “Kyunki sabki zaroorat ek nai”, I’d conclude by saying that long gone are times when only descriptive advertisements made a mark. Today if you need to sell a product, you need to hit the consumer psyche at the right time with the right force.

Advertisements change as the society changes and it changes as the way we view television also changes. Along the way, we have managed to create quite a few ads which we wouldn’t be forgetting in a hurry.

Meghna Baveja

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