Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ad Agonies

At the end of all the hectic action of ‘Speed’, I walked out of the theatre feeling that destroying a bus, a commercial airliner and a subway train in order to save a measly one million dollars in ransom does not qualify the hero for approbation. It would have been more sensible to pay up and hunt the criminal later. Probably my finance qualifications at work.

Talking of finance qualifications reminds me of how stereotypic the view of accountants has been. In that ad for a mobile, which appears to be targeted at the phone sex business, the nerd is Mahalingam, an accountant, which simultaneously reinforces two stereotypes – that of a Tamilian and of an accountant. How does one create and/or approve ads with such tasteless stereotypes? (Of course, the word ‘nerd’ has ceased to be pejorative after Bill Gates had his way with it!).

Expecting good sense and logic in all ads is probably too optimistic. Remember the ad where the model is rejected because of her complexion and comes over to wipe clean the glass? I have always been astonished by her confidence about the glass being dirty only on her side. If she had had to come over to the other side to wipe the glass clean there as well, she would have appeared as though she was auditioning for the part of a window cleaner. (Anyone can get carried away. If she came over to the other side she wouldn’t need to clean the glass, would she?).

My mind boggles at the thought of my bald, pot-bellied self being chased down the roads of Bangalore by beauteous damsels – who scornfully reject handsome youths – merely because I use the right deodorant. Nor, indeed, am I confident of competing successfully with sculpted bodies on the strength of wearing the right undergarments.

What with my manhood challenged because I don’t own the right car and my existence laid waste because I am bereft of the hair that is the subject matter of shampoos and styling gels, life in this advertising age is hardly worth living for me!

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