destination india

Monday, December 13, 2004

wake up call

Children control the purse strings of parents. Therefore, it is but natural that, while working out strategies to make parents part with their rupees, the ad agencies rely on child artists to influence their parents’ decisions.

Today’s children are depicted as arrogant specimens – for example in the ‘shudh namak kya hota hai malum nehi?’ and the famous ‘toss-ka-boss’ kid who yells and shouts at seniors just to get his way. The other extreme is to depict them as angels – remember the kid who wanted to leave home and even went up to the railway station. Ultimately, his grandfather coaxes him back with the promise of ‘jilebis’?

Most of the products advertised on the small screen pertain to washing powders, detergents, sanitary napkins and soaps apart from cold drinks. Apparently, ours is a country where untidy men, women and children come home to roost. Dandruff is a national phenomenon. Our women do not know how to take care of their hair. Our floors do not measure up to the expectations of the medics.

Children are roped in by the dozens to showcase these products and justify changeovers. The ad agencies cannot be blamed because they are there to sell coals to Jharia and Raniganj.
In the recent past, cold drinks have suffered some sorts of set backs – but that is another matter. Of course, surrogate advertisements of hard drinks still continue – like the hypnotizing music of a hundred pipers that tames the furious demon of the waters.

An area gaining notoriety is the undergarment section – the age old ‘yeh andar ki baat hai’ is losing ground to undergarments hanging on clothes lines and coming closer and closer … what all ideas they can think up!!

Another popular segment is the automobile and accessories segment – here also, kids are extensively used to endorse the coziness of seats or the advantages of owning a particular brand of car or installing certain specific makes of tyres and batteries and how financers are waiting in the wings to ensure doorstep deliveries at the flourish of the pen.

The markets offered by India are huge and one of the most lucrative to Multi Nationals who are making a bee line for our shores with attractions of all shapes and sizes – ad agencies are here to ensure that these MNCs get their dollars worth. In the bargain, a large section of our population keeps sighing and hope to entice Lady Luck by resorting to lotteries. Some expect to turn their fortunes by sneaking into the race courses on Saturdays. And – a few take to illegal means to fulfill their desires.

None of these are good signs. The wake up call has been given.


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