What Indian advertising teaches us (10 essentials)
1) The product and its uses are secondary to what it results in. And more often than not, it is money, happiness and girls.
The Rajnigandha Pan masala ads being the forefather in this movement in Indian advertising, have always focused on selling the loose product in such a way that its user always derives not just infinite pleasure but also academic achievement, accolades, awards alongside other things that perhaps even Fardeen Khan is capable of achieving after consuming. Of course, they conveniently may miss out on a few facts in between, from consuming the pan masala on the way to winning an award for musical talents (say, oral cancer?) but then again if a girl can dream so can our friendly auto-wallahs.
2) If the product is scent oriented, I have just one word for you. Sex.
A home-grown derivative of the Axe ads, the Indian deo/perfume/mouth-freshener/room freshener /car freshener market has taken the sexual tendencies derived from the sense of scent way too seriously. But then again who could blame them, how else would you convince the sweaty Indian population to buy a product that loses its significance in the Indian heat no matter what you do.
3) Mundane activities such as drying clothes is a turn on.
How else can you explain the virgin Bengali dressed appropriately who loses her hormones as soon as she senses a man wearing Wild Stone perfume entering her household? This point also proves the previous one as other wild stone ads have shown that not only is scent a big stimulant but also household chores that career driven women may lose out on.
4) Women belong in the kitchen.
Yes sir, the only thing that brands like Maggi, Safola and Knor have stuck to from the 90s (having changed their image/colour schemes/packaging/consumer group) is the woman who cooks them in the kitchen.
5) Changing quality of sanitary napkins is a constant reminder of the change in culture and or the role of women in the Indian society.
Apparently it was twice as difficult for women in the 70s to bicycle freely, attend a concert, karaoke, stay up late nights, jump around during family events or express her views on marriage. This social independence and freedom has been brought on by the Indian sanitry napkin market that the womankind should be thankful for.
6) The consumer must be made to feel unique.
Though this point is reminiscent of all the advertising that is done in the world, considering privatization made its way into India only in the 90s this new wave of capitalist conspiracy of making every Indian feel unique has been relatively new. So what if the new digital camera Panasonic released has absolutely no new features, you can still sell them clones to millions, each going home and feeling special.
7) Any product that has made technological progress must be shot with the best cameras, the set being minimal, pre-dominantly white and almost UFO-like.
Must also include one main doctor, a few happy researchers with no office dynamics, some ignorant people feeling blessed about now having known the truth, some who are just stunned by the UFO they are currently in and some very graphically shown molecules. Of course, the money that actual researchers do not get paid (not that they have the infrastructure for UFO-like offices either) goes into advertising the product.
8 ) When it comes to kids, anything animated is cool.
A polar bear that turns brown is not, though. Bad take Alpenlibe, I can’t put your toffee into my mouth without remembering the bear’s umm, sexfayce.
9) If you can’t think of anything clever, take the vowels out of the product name and make a tune to go with it.
The era of clever puns and taglines are long gone. The Indian consumer has neither the time nor intelligence to waste over a few well arranged words. Moreover not everybody who may buy the product understands Hindi/ English so a tagline only narrows down the consumer base.
10) When it comes to stars being hired, there are rules.
If there is a social cause involved, get Aamir Khan.
If there is voice-over/ narration involved, get Amitabh Bacchan.
If there is cricket involved, get SRK/ Sachin/ More than 2 crickters/ all.
If there is natural beauty/ body hair removal involved, get Katrina Kaif.
For everything else, there’s Kareena Kapoor.