I was planning to write a blog on the amazing world of Indian TV advertisement for a long time. I find it fascinating because of the sheer brilliance of some of the ads as well as the utter dumbness of many! Before I start let me accept that some of the ideas in this post are taken from few Facebook shared posts which I have seen in recent times. Obviously I have added a few and give some more details of some of those ads mentioned in that post.
In last 30 odd years the Indian TV ads have moved a long way from ‘Hamara Bajaj’ to ‘Ohh Yes! Abhi!’ through ‘Shuddh Dhara’, ‘Nothing Official about it’ and ‘Vodafone Zoozoos’. Here I would like to point out some of the advertising clichés used by these ad-makers to sell a particular type of product!
If you go through some of the recent ads for body spray for men you would feel that the only way a girl can be impressed is by the heavenly aroma coming out from different parts of male human body. They don’t bother about the bank balance, intelligence or good looks! The only thing they care for is the smell of his body which is enough for them to turn on and get wet! The trend which started with Axe is now copied shamelessly by everyone and hence almost all the body spray ads show skimpy clad women throwing themselves on guys who are using some particular brand of body spray. And apparently some of the guys like Ranbir Kapoor knows it and roams around with a counter to count number of girls he could impress with the fragrance of his body! The Faking News people had caught this as early as 2009 and had a hilarious piece on this topic!
Confusion on State of Matter
This is another body spray ads stereotype people use where they try to convince you that the deodorants you were using till now had nothing but some kind of gas sans any liquid content and hence you are not getting true value of money which only there new body spray will give you.
The Jumping Jacks
So you are a millionaire film star, you earn 100 crores while acting in master classes like ‘Kambakkht Ishq’ or ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ but when it comes to get your soft drinks you are always out of stock and needs to jump out of your window from the twentieth floor or run above a train or slide through a moving truck. I never fathom why they don’t just buy one from the road side pan-shop near the corner. But they know better and hence Can make a ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ to get their bottle of Cola!
The other variation is the dare devil ones who just need a sip of their soft drink to turn into superman and perform extra ordinary stunts like
making Fardeen Khan act (Okay… that’s
not possible even by Sir Jadeja) jumping to the Ocean from a cliff!!
You are a young student who wants a mode of communication to go to college and tuition and also to impress a few girls in your college. You hope that your dad will buy you a motorbike and you want to convince him by showing some motorbike TV ads. But let me tell you guys, do not make this mistake! I can assure you that if you show him a single TV ad for bikes he would never buy you one. Why? Because in each of these TV ads the bikers are not human, they are some super stuntmen coming from Mars who only ride their bike in uneven mountain roads and can perform almost every single trick which can be performed by the man who rides his motorcycle through fire in the circus. It is almost like the first thing you are going to do is to ride your bike with the front wheel on the air or jump to river or drive through a jungle.
The Jack of All trades
Now days everyone has a mobile phone, some of us has more than one. With the growing importance of mobile phone the ads have increased and now at this phase of mobile phone evolution all these ads focus on apps and other advantages! Hence in most of the mobile phone ads all they talk about are camera specifications, alarm ringtones, and applications, in short apps. Random apps like news paper application, Geeta Path application, How to Copy in Exam application, how to flirt with girls application and what not! The mobile phone ads now days do not talk about simple things like talking and texting, they all are presented as the greatest device human kind have put their hand on to. A device which could have turned Ravana to compete for Nobel Peace Prize with Mother Teresa!
Offers and Plans
Along with the handsets even the mobile service providers also have some typical ads. Vodafone generally comes up with decent ads but if you think about their main competitor well they are a treat. From the ads showing idiotic friendship clichés to the ads of taxi driver showing Karina Kapoor videos in exchange of change, they reach new low of nonsense ads with their every new offer. The last one specially has created quite a few jokes in Facebook including Arsene Wenger offering to show the Kareena Video along with 40 million Euros in order to make his bid 40 million plus which was the minimum bidding price!!
The Common Man
Ohh… this one is the most interesting one for me. Here I am talking about ads for Banks, Insurance Company or other financial organizations. Now, by nature Indians are a little sceptic about any private financial organizations and generally are not big risk takers. Hence the people from our previous generation have accounts mostly in SBI or other government banks and have policies with LIC.
All the private banks and Insurance companies captured that pretty early and hence decide to target the higher income population group at the beginning. But they had to focus on the huge Indian middle class population and hence all of them started designing ads targeting the middle class. And what best to show which can attract the common man? To them the answer to that question was common man. Hence in almost all the ads for these private financial companies you will see common men, men and women like you and me using their services and making best of it. This is a simple example for advertising clichés targeting a vast customer base!
Racism – Very Bad, Whitening Cream - Very Good
As Indians we all remember the stories of racism faced by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa. We also show our displeasure and hatred towards racism whenever any stories of racism come from any part of the world.
But back home we the biggest hypocrites when it comes to women and men’s face cream. 90% of these cream advertisement talks about the glowing fairness it is going to give to your skin and how by applying their cream for 2 weeks you would turn into a Stuart Broad from your earlier avatar of Vinod Kambli!
This is a very specific ads which I have only seen in Bengali TV channels and not much in national television. The ads about tuition centres and academic guidebooks!
The Bengalis are generally very studious group of people who let their five year olds carry bags of more than their own weight to school. They are also sent to various coaching centres and to tutions from their middle school to be prepared for the great 10th Standard examination which is followed by HS, Joint entrance, IIT entrance etc.
Hence, there are quite a few coaching centres that are making good money by enrolling hundreds of students for their private classes. And the best way for them to attract the parents of potential enrolments are nothing but give example of previous year’s toppers. So, even if the Topper of those examinations stays in the villages of Purulia or in the hills of Darjiling he shows his face and recites how these coaching centres in Kolkata have helped him to achieve his grand success!
The other one is this famous publications house of textbooks and guidebooks who sales their product like the way a newlywed Indian girl has to take pictures in her reception- with every random person present! So either you are a retired sportsman, aged poet, budding film star or celebrity for no apparent reason, you can come to their ad, praise their textbooks and feel sad for not having those books in your school days like in the following picture!
A Few Good Men
After talking about all these advertising clichés let me write about one series of ads which I truly like. These are the ads for Imperial Blue for their ‘Men will be Men’ series. Even those ads are also very typical but they are presented in such a witty manner that I find then quite amusing. The one which is my favourite is the one where I guys goes to a jewellery shop to buy a diamond ring for his anniversary. The salesman found it quite comical that the guy is looking for costly rings for his tenth anniversary till it was revealed that the anniversary was on previous day which he happily forgot!! You can see the ad from 1:51 in the following video. The ads shown before and after that one are also quite funny and cheer my mood any time.
The television advertisements are source of entertainment from a long time and what I found is that the quality of TV ads does not vary significantly from country to country. In fact in my opinion the ads I had seen in abroad are pretty much similar to Indian ads if not of inferior class.
Before I finish, let me tell you that this is my list but dear reader you are welcome and encouraged to add more such advertising clichés from Indian television.