I love watching advertisements. But it would be much fairer to say that I loved watching them as I grew up, more before than now. And what is so good about them? Probably because I relate to the people in the advertisement. Probably because I am one of the breed that goes by the name – common man. Probably because they help me everywhere, right from setting up a home or buying a conveyance or even getting all the essentials I need for a luxurious life. But then when the same media that helps a common man upgrade his standard of living, starts conveying not so right messages to the society, questions start popping up over the standards and ethos of advertisement and media. Which now brings me to the fundamental question – What are advertisements?
In simple words, they are a means of communication that convince an audience to go for something they have been speculating over whether to buy or not. Needless to say, every advertisement exudes a message too. And today, the world runs on advertisements. Be it clothes, cosmetics, footwear, jewelry, food items, gadgets, books, vehicles and so on, advertisements make it a lot more easy for the consumers to compare products and buy them. Just because an actress seemingly looks younger by applying an anti ageing cream, females get lured into buying products that promise to stall ageing. Just because an actor looks fairer by applying a fairness cream, people are convinced about the authenticity of the product. Who knows for a fact that celebrities would never use the products they market for, considering they are all so made up for most part of their life, camaflouging their blemished faces behind makeup, getting frequent face lifts and going under the knife to stay ‘young and beautiful’. Believe it or not, advertisements influence our lives by a great deal.
However, despite all the cons of the advertising industry, there are good ones as well. There are meaningful ones too that convey profound messages that leave us pondering. Advertisements should be such that they make the person think, rationalize and make his opinions after careful assessment. At least they should pass on a good message to the society.
I grew up listening to ‘humara bajaj‘, ‘mile sure mera tumhara‘, ‘Ek tithli‘, ‘Lijjat papad‘ and ‘purab se sooraj uga‘ and many more. All of them have one thing in common. They all make us associate with it. We feel a sense of belonging when we see them. For instance, I can still enjoy the music of ‘Humara Bajaj’. It brings back fond memories of bumpy roller coaster rides on that sturdy Bajaj scooter, which I rarely get to even spot one now. Even as you watch that ad, you can make out that it belonged to all classes of people. Be it a Parsi uncle or a working lady or a milk man or a family, the scooter belonged to all. When the advertisement of Lijjat papad used to come, I used to jump in joy as the rabbit cracked his Pappad to take a bite. ‘Ek tithli‘ still reigns supreme over genuinely good advertisements for children. Thanks to Youtube, as those videos exist at the least. However, that personal touch is just going away in today’s advertisements. It feels like advertisements have evolved only to pick on a new audience who are more tech savvy and are ready to accept the ‘modified ethos’ of modern times with ease. Perhaps, the present generation is growing in a different world. And advertisements will continue to influence their lives intensely in their own way.