Mar 20, 2010

*Creative Visualization

We all love those disclaimers, don't we? I sure do. 
Tucked away into the tiniest corner of that advt that promotes recklessness, ravishing beauty, flawlessly strong hair and healthy food, you will find the words *Creative Visualization.

I love advertisements!
They are entertaining. I am perhaps one of those few alive that love watching an TV advt with rapt attention. My acquaintances are amused to see me watch commercials with the attentiveness of a Market Analyst.

To all the rest, a commercial break is a time to take a leak, set the table, do your dishes, take out the trash and all those things you could finish in a couple of minutes. But to me, its more than just a 'comfort break'.
I love these commercials because they keep getting creative. To think of how creative some anonymous, hugely talented yet under-paid, over-worked artists worked to create a 10 second 'movie' that should salivate you so much that you make a mental note in your 'Things to Buy' list to buy their product/service.

There are the good ones and there are ones that I actually change channels or mute as soon as they start.
When did dusky/tanned skin go out of fashion? 
Living through a movie with the dozens of commercials that promise you to win your husbands back and banish blemishes and spots is the visual equivalent of  passing through a public urinal in India. You know its going to hit you no matter what. 
Our fetish with having a pale skin is so powerful that corporations and the Adman, abuse their creative licenses when it comes to commercials marketing Whitening products. 
Want to get fair, or "white in 7 days' or in time to win a movie award, well look no further, get that over priced, small sized pack.
Or is your husband or that random Security guy/Artist not paying you any attention, well, you must not have used that 'Whitening cream that gives you the glow in your face'. Ahh!! Now that feels good. I got my husband back, got that Security guy to notice me and that Artist drew the color of my skin right and a diamond ring. Nevermind if the Artist didn't get the color of my hair right, I'll just try that hair dye that "covers all my greys"

Which brings me to ask.. 

'Why is all the fuss with covering your greys?'
'Since when did greying become disgraceful?'
Ads that have Aishwarya Rai, one of the most over-paid, excessively hyped and sub par actresses on this planet, deserve a special mention. Did you ever catch Pink Panther 2? She is awful. I would be shell shocked if she ever got another meaty role in an Hollywood movie. 
Bollywood is the only film industry that can stand/sit a disaster like Aishwarya. The only ad that I've ever liked is the one where she pledged to donate her eyes. Hype or not. I liked the sincerity in the ad. But now-a-years, she is a mission to save the world from hair damage. Argh!! And to make matters worse, some of her ads have the worst synced voice-overs.

Now, if Aishwarya was not powerful enough to rid the world of its greying sisters, then we have that upset sister complaining to her 'didi', that 'Rohan' (who we can safely assume is her Boyfriend) is going to dump her. Concerned 'didi' gets her the 'answer' to all her problems. Not only did the flirtatious behan get Rohan back, she got an entire army of men to call her!! 
'Mental note to myself: Never date a girl who thinks with her hair'

Which reminds me of a lady who I worked with. She used to straighten her hair and splurge on the most expensive hair treatments. The result, she lost all her hair in under a decade. While most of the women might not be alive to face the ignominy of seeing their bald scalp, is it too much to expect common sense?
Maybe you are not smart and healthy (enough), but wonder no more. We have almost all known catagories of food products that promise you to keep you healthy enough to run down a thief,  a champion at school (it does not matter if you a college dropout though) and smart, witty and fit. There. All you need is a glass, a bowl or a bottle of our product.

And if you are already having all that, but your IQ matches the number of greys in your hair, then you must get that DTH service, for that is the missing link. 

Our Colonial Obsession is a universal secret. 
Why are we so uncomfortable being dusky or just good in academics or letting your greys stay grey?
I am no expert on any of these products and what they can do to us and our world in the long run, but where does all those empty bottles and packaging go? Its certainly not vanishing off into thin air. They end up in landfills that aren't growing any larger. And I'm pretty sure, those plastics will live longer than any one of us. 

Want skin so smooth that you will never be able to sit cross legged in a mini skirt? 
Get them that cream, Ladies. 
Want the babes?
Get that deo, dude. My fav series of deo ads is the popular brand that have men who have used the deo, netting not one, but tons of women (and men, in rare occasions) to drool over him. Lucky Bastard.

Why?! We even have commercials that want us to live longer. But have you ever noticed how all the old people in them have grey hair and are wrinkled? Interesting! 

We do get to see some true masterpieces, like the 'Jaago Re' campaign, the 'Save the Tiger' campaign, the particular campaign that showed in glaring reality how we discriminate when it comes to social status (I'm referring to the campaign where people respond to a lady who looks well to do when she falls down and how people turn a blind eye when an old man, obviously writhing in pain) and a few more. 

So we have commercials that sell everything that we would ever need in our every waking second. 
But how realistic are they? 
What are they doing to our society and more importantly to our psyche? Commercials that show that you need to live recklessly for that bottle of cola, that you will need to be fair and drop dead gorgeous with absolutely no wrinkle (that you might as well have an expressionless face), that you will need to be pale skinned to be able to win that promotion, that you will need to use that deo to melt the hot chick into your arms, that you will need to exact revenge for not allowing your spouse to watch that serial.. and the list can be endless. 
We, true to our culture love to espouse women centric values, but in 8 out of 10 ads, you see that women are portrayed to be objects that lesser to men. We see women being shown as a being who stays at home, cooks and is otherwise a sati savithri and the men doing things adventurous and living it up.

In 20 years from now, none of us will remember who endorsed what, but what kind of a legacy are we leaving our future generations?
On rare occasions when I watch a VCR Cassette (yeah, I still have a VCR!!) I get to see the ads that were created then. Boy! Were they amateurish? But they still had a lot of sincerity and were not outlandish and garishly stupid.
Over the years, poetic license has been reinvented much like some of the ads that we see.

In a society that promotes consumerism, if only we had a disclaimer that warned us: 'Do not try this at home'
You can catch TV grabs of my favorite (and most hated) commercials here.
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