I have a problem. I have two brothers.
One brother is in advertising, the other was put to death in the electric chair for murder.
My mother died from insanity when I was three years old.
My two sisters are prostitutes, and my father sells narcotics to high-school students.
Recently I met a girl who was just released from a reformatory, where she served time for smothering her illegitimate child to death, and I want to marry her.
My problem is, if I marry this girl, should I tell her about my brother who is in advertising?
(Plaque presented to Arnold Barban by the staff of Leo Burnett on his retirement from the agency.)
Media and its role...
Media is commercialized. Profit is the very idea and competition is very much around, threatening. Recession and the resultant media expenditure cuts are eating into the revenue streams of media houses. (IPL may be an exception though.)
Just like Coca-Cola having Pepsi, Colgate having Pepsodent and Hero Honda having Bajaj, Star Plus has Sony, Sun has Vijay and x has y…... The more the competition, the more you have to commercialize and then, it is the sponsor or the ad agency that decides on what program should be on air and when….. if you think this is MISERABLE, so be it… watch a channel like Asianet and you will know how media violates all the norms to show ads than the actual programmes and make money ,I guess I should say mint money….Here I guess one should also admit the fact that some programmes, or many of them of the serial and reality show genre are disgusting watch than the commercials that interrupt them... care fully observe when you get home today, this phenomenon is there happening even at your home...
Practically all the shows and soaps, which we see are controlled by the advertisers…. ( I know that it is not news for you ..many of you..!!) Many people wonder why there are so many ads around. The simple fact is that without ads all these media will be costlier- more price for newspapers and magazines and more money for the cable operator. And as the corporate preferences about media change,( new media forms come up every day) media has to stoop many times for existence.
Reports show that local media which has largely ignored by the corporate before, now has started gathering more attention. Local cable channels mop up any where between 15% - 30% of audience share in prime time as per a recent Business World report. The fact that Grocery store chains like Food World, with many outlets across , spends pittance on mass media budget, but in abundance on local media is proof enough…
Print ads are generally considered less effective and hence less offensive, because they can be easily ignored but T.V and internet ads are more intrusive and often distasteful T.V ads appeal to all senses, they encircle, capture us in a carefully woven web.
The question of ethics ?
Giants like Hindustan Lever with its gigantic product mix and multitudes of brands and varieties of each brand in each product line, hence adopt a strategy of continuous communication with the customer in a well planned “pull strategy” and they are what they are today. Seemingly harmless ads, which appeal to our emotions like love and fear, are also not so harmless on a second thought. Hue and cry was raised against media for having shown some ads. Kamasutra and Moods resorted to enact a bedroom with all the sensuality associated with it in their ads only to be opposed far and wide.
Indian hypocrisy has now to a large extent died down, compared to the olden days when even the Liril girl in her bikini was considered a blasphemy and moral police troops worked overnight to send her into a bath room… When Marc Robinson and the girl in the KS ads were seen like devils, when Milind and Madhu were accused of being the reason for all the ill’s of thei otherwise heavenly nation…
Having said that, I must also say that Ad makers also go over board some times….How can any one substantiate the use of half – naked women in coffee and tea ads, talcum powders “for men” which drives women behind and lipstick stains on a man’s body? There was some coffee ad which showed a bed room, with its full glory and action, and 20 seconds of a 30 sec commercial went for the jerking of the bed leaving a mere 10 second for the brand name and the product to be shown and sold. No one wonder I don’t remember the brand name ( read it again !! I said SOME coffee ad )…Most of the people who saw the ad didn’t see the coffee thing… those few who saw it kept wondering whether to have coffee before bed or after bed !!!!
Even liquor is advertised, mostly in disguise as a soda or a plan water of the same brand name…. this is when it is clear to the thinking common man ( that is a new tribe in India) that a Vijay Mallya does not need a Kingfisher Mineral water to survive…..
The media, it is clear should play a more reasonable role but then the big question comes – on what cost and at whose expense?