Shedding light on our advertisements

Shedding light on our advertisements

I won’t be exaggerating when I say that all of us, in one way or another, are manipulated by advertisements. This is because we are surrounded by them in every possible way. You switch on the television and you are welcomed by advertisements, you fetch a newspaper/magazine and there they are again, and now even while you are reading this article, there are a couple of advertisements on the right side of your screen. So no matter how hard you try evading them, you simply can’t and there is no denying that they play an instrumental role in shaping our opinions and perspectives. Therefore, I believe it’s necessary for advertisers to think through the content of what they intend to deliver because once it’s out; it goes to influence huge masses beyond measure.
There is a positive and negative side to our advertisements. I am going to highlight the negatives first, not because I am a pessimist, but just because I want to end my article on a positive note! So here you go:
You can’t sell a product without dancing to your heart’s content, period.
Please, enlighten me, why do people change into OTT dresses and start dancing like mad the moment they get hold of the ultimate des ka biscuit? I have been eating them since years but what the enthusiasm is all about? I am still wondering!
There is this internet connection advert featuring actors who are on cloud nine (seriously!) because seems like their internet is working wayyyyy better than they had expected. Now this calls for a party so they arrange one where everyone is welcome to rejoice and dance with them because obviously, this is a huge deal. Okay, we get it, sound internet signals are a blessing, but how many of us hop and skip and go, ‘Ballay Ballay’ when the internet starts to work like lightning?
And oh, out of sheer curiosity, I even googled the benefits or you should say, after-effects of chaye. Yes, it contains antioxidants and increases your metabolism rate but nowhere does it say that it triggers the release of hormones which compel you to dance and gyrate like that! When the advert finally ends, it takes quite a few seconds for me to come into terms with the fact that a bunch of the country’s most popular film stars dressed in nauseously colourful clothes went through great pains to perform such complex dance moves just because they wanted to sell some chaye ki patti. Insane!
Exaggeration, weasel words and even false claims at least make sense when they are being used to ‘convince’ the target audience. But I for one can’t seem to figure out what these bizarre dance moves have to do with the success rate of a product.

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Pakistani young generation: why so farigh?
I happen to be a part of the young generation but surprisingly, there is a lot I didn’t know about my own breed. I extend my utmost gratitude to all the mobile networks out there for letting me know: we don’t read, we don’t write, we don’t work and apparently, we don’t even sleep! According to mobile networks, love has hit us hard and thus we chat and converse with each other all night long! Are you kidding me?
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?
”Aap jayen jidhar, theher jaye nazar’’
A woman is ‘successful’ only when she gets noticed by people for being the ‘fairest of them all’. Devastatingly, the main girls’ colleges/universities of Karachi are surrounded by billboards, stabbing the self-esteem of all the young girls out there with the same, belittling message: Fair is Beautiful!
Talking about appearances, having flawless hair also has a lot to do with the success of a woman. More ridiculous is the fact that little girls are also expected to have straight, silky hair or else no one would want to talk to them. A piece of advice: if your friends don’t talk to you just because you don’t have perfect hair, no need to get yourself another shampoo, just do yourself a favour and get rid of these ‘friends’. Also, who comes to school with their hair flowing all the way down to their waist?
More like expecting them to be Snow White and Rapunzel at the same time!

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Logic? 404 Error: File not found
I know it may sound absurd, but I don’t like the way Bablu gets mocked for washing his hands for one whole minute. Whatever soap you use, washing your hands for ten seconds is nowhere near hygienic but the little kid gets ridiculed just because he has healthy habits. All jokes aside, I actually feel for him, you know?
Okay, so now for the positives;
Positive messages/role models
‘’Tou phir ho jao good kay liye crazy’’
^See, that’s the sort of taglines our advertisers should come up with more often! Remember that Coca Cola Ad in which a bunch of people set out to do random acts of kindness? It was innovative and inspirational at the same time. Also, Alamgir’s ‘Albela Rahi’ in the background added just the sweet little touch that was needed to complete the advert. I watched this perfect advert a zillion times with a constant smile on my face. :D
And yes, Tang’s advertisement was also cute and moving, where a child becomes his dad’s superhero by helping out the people around him, conveying one simple message: Anybody can make a difference. And he did it during the month of Ramadan, thus rekindling the spirit of the holy month.
My purpose to cite these examples is to remind you all that we are NOT running out of creative minds, it is just that creative minds aren’t getting a proper platform.

 

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Humour
Humour has always been an integral part of the toolkit of our advertisers and my my, has it not done wonders! It’s safe to say that many of our adverts actually make us chuckle after a long, dreary day. Ufone ads are always humorous and therefore, they stay with us for long. Remember, ‘teri awaz ka jadu’? ;)

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Catchy jingles
Hands down, we have always been ahead of the game in coming up with catchy jingles and touching background songs. Ding Dong’s cute jingle, Pepsi’s unbeatable ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’, Nestle Everyday’s heart-touching ‘Tum Mai Hai Kuch Khaas’ anddd the list goes on!!
And yes, one simply can’t forget Supreme’s amazing series which included phenomenal songs with beautiful videos like Ishq Nachaya (starring Shamil Khan) and Bas Ishq Muhabbat Apnapan (starring Iman Ali and Rasheed Naz). For a Sufi lover like me, it was heaven! Shoaib Mansoor was the man behind the camera, so what else do you expect?

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We have got tons of potential. I wish our advertisers just step out of their mindless dance routines and try experimenting with innovative ideas that succeed in leaving a mark.
Maryam Mehdi