A revenue-generation reality or a welcome break to head to the kitchen or loo… Whatever you may call them, A lot of us – do watch the Ads on TV with an intent to be shocked / amused / entertained and informed. Ah.. The actual purpose of advertising, isn’t it?
Perhaps its my ‘formal’ grounding in advertising (bless the semiotics course at MICA- the only session that was worth attending the entire 2 yr course in communications management, the rest one learns ‘on the job’) or maybe a knack of seeing beyond the obvious (err a million-thoughts-a -minute disorder to put it politely), one thing that’s always, always been a put off is the depiction of women in most of the modern day advertising.

Using Women?
At the cost of sounding a true blue feminist, I’ll go a step further and say , however advanced our graphic rendering techniques may go and the production quality may have enhanced by leaps and bounds – but women have been and remain the same old ‘object’ in most of the advertising that hits our TV screens.
She’s either the pretty face to keep you hooked for 30 sec or the soft voice of worldly wisdom guiding you to make the right ‘commercial’ choice.
Be it, preaching about the general goodness of anything and everything one may feel the need to purchase (from a nail paint to an enamel paint) or being pitched as some one to woo as the sole reason one might need to purchase something that by a long shot might be absolutely irrelevant (from a motorbike to men’s suiting range), sometimes it surprises me to see how well the ad-‘men’ have been using women and well using them, to sell stories and more.

It’s all about getting hooked!
One always finds reasons, when one looks for them. Perhaps , the reason why women have been and would remain a permanent fixture in most successful ad campaigns and I am saying this after a lot of thought is because of the sheer canvas of emotions that they bring on screen to match up to the techni-colour quality of our TV screens.
From envy “Uski saari, meri saari se safed kaise?” to pure indulgence” Kya swaad hai zindagi mein”, thousands of iconic brand campaigns (and millions of totally forgettable ones) have found their footing with a strong female persona to string it all together. Expecting, men to act like that kind of ‘Hook’ , would be a little too much to ask for ..eh?
But the question remains, are women being used to enhance only the ‘visual appeal’ of the campaigns or there’s more than what meets the eye.

When was the last time one would have seen a commercial being aired on TV and seen ‘one of us’ – the ordinary working moms, newly weds , or college students play ‘ourselves’ in them.
Doesn’t happen too often. But and that’s the turning point in the whole argument, it does happen. Not very regularly, sometimes, once in a couple of light years. But it does happen that I tune the TV on and see some one just like me talking about the product in question exactly in a way that I would think about it in my head. The latest Tanishq commercial is a case in point.
(Catch it here)

A gem of a commercial from Tanishq
I wouldn’t really harp too much on the whole marriage and women debate. But it’s quite an interesting change to see the parents talking to this young girl about ‘how marriage is a good thing’ when all she says as she’s driving them around is ‘Not interested’. Until of course, she dresses up to the hilt in the most exquisite jewelry and realizes, it’s worth getting married for to own a piece of those ‘gems’.
Now, I am not a jewelry person, and am not one of those either who were dreamy eyed about weddings since i was 10. But If an ad about jewelry that makes a girl (just like me) consider the thought of arranged weddings, then isn’t that what ‘smart advertising’ supposed to do?

My take: Is Indian advertising coming of age?

Now what really sets the tone for this commercial ‘right’, apart from of course the easy going, non – preachy way the message is packaged, is how it doesn’t seem like the whole set up belongs to the vedic era!
The girl drives around the parents, the parents talk to each other through SMS; the dad tells her how ‘marriage is a good thing!!’ Amidst the regressive television that one is served along side of our dinner everyday , when was the last time one saw something this rooted in tradition yet modern in approach ?
I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t take away most of the awards and make Tanishq sales shoot in the upcoming wedding season. Can’t wait to see another one in the series… anyone listening?

PS: had submitted this one to be rated online at Chillibreeze , got any comments to make .. please make them here

Much ado about Ads!!
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