Category Archives: Advertisements

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I’m proud of you, Pan Bahar

I wasn’t terribly shocked to see Pierce Brosnan endorsing Pan Bahar on my newspaper.

If you’ve been following the Indian Premier League, you’d find a number of international cricketers selling local products like Lux Cozi, Paragon Chappal, and Karbonn Mobile. The idea isn’t completely new.

Look at most of our fashion brands, and you’ll find anglicised names and models selling products that are designed, produced and sold in India. Even established organisations like Madurai Garments and Aditya Birla Group have had to buy foreign brands like Allen Solly, Peter England, Van Huesen and Reid & Taylor to position themselves as up-market brands.

What surprised me however, was the trolling that the campaign was subjected to. Jokes on the same lines, memes with the same image, all mocking the fact that Pierce Brosnan was peddling Pan Bahar. But does the campaign deserve so much criticism?

If Pierce Brosnan was signed on to sell a product that was more in tune with rich Indians, the campaign would have been hailed. If he was selling ‘Only Vimal’, it would have been a matter of pride.

But alas, Pierce Brosnan was selling paan masala. A product that is relegated to the middle and poor class in India. A product that has been facing the wrath of state governments and administrations across the country. With the ban on gutkha, paan masala and supari, it makes sense that a paan masala brand would focus on the lack of unhealthy particles in the product.

But Pan Bahaar thought big. They positioned their product not on taste, but class. Something that was never associated with a pan masala brand.

I choose to look at the campaign through two prisms – a smoker, and an advertising professional.

As a smoker, I am on top of the food chain. I find it amusing how the government is constantly trying to put barriers for smokers. There are the silly disclaimers on television and film screens. Then there are the pretentious friends and relatives who’d rather stuff themselves with ghee and butter, but preach on about the harm caused by cigarettes. Then there are the cigarette packets, with pictures of a throat so badly affected by carcinogenic substances, that it looks shiny blue. Like Neelkanth gone through a mutant experiment.

And yet, ask smokers if it has deterred them from smoking, and the answer will be a resounding NO. That is because every smoker knows that they’re not the worst off. Below them, there are the dudes with the unfiltered cigarettes, followed by beedi, gutkha, supari and khaini. Pan masala doesn’t even figure in my spectrum of options, it isn’t even considered.

From the prism of an advertising professional, the campaign gets a few things right, and a few things wrong.  

Signing Pierce Brosnan was a masterstroke. Brosnan enjoys a huge following in India, probably because he was 007 when our economy opened up to the world. Also, he is not a beefy Bond like Daniel Craig or Sean Connery. Pierce Brosnan is more like Rajesh Khanna – a suave, dialogue-spewing man who is better at charming the women that stabbing the men.

But how far the campaign will go in establishing the brand among its competitors is another matter. Gutkha brands have run a number of campaigns for years to establish brand recall. Manikchand hosted the Filmfare awards for the longest time. Baba Gutkha had Ajay Devgan winking into the screen, now having shifted to Vimal Paan Masala. Rajnigandha has positioned themselves as the secret behind Silicon Valley giants. Pan Parag has immortalised itself with lines such as ‘Baraatiyon ka swagat Pan Parag se kiya jaata hai’.

The positioning is dicey too, because the target audience might not really know Pierce Brosnan, or understand his suaveness. And it is highly unlikely that an urban, yuppie youth would buy Pan Bahar after seeing Brosnan on a hoarding.

In such circumstances, it was important for the brand to establish that they were Pan Bahaar and not Pan Parag. This was even more pertinent as the two brands have the same brand colours, and similar sounding names. You can see it in the memes too. Most people are referring to it as Pan Parag.

Having said that, it is a big gigantic deal for India Inc. To get a British icon to endorse an indigenous brand is reverse colonisation made possible by a resurgent economy that is on a juggernaut.

The fact that it is pan masala, considered cheap and tacky by urban, upper class India doesn’t change the fact that it is a huge endorsement deal by an Indian brand. If we can celebrate Irrfan Khan and Priyanka Chopra when they put on hoaxy accents to act in Hollywood projects, what is wrong with Pierce Brosnan in a Sooryavamsham beard endorsing paan masala?

So, good job Pan Parag Bahaar. I might not pick up your product any time soon, but I appreciate the balls.

My Biwi Sanskari-est

There is only one good thing about the IPL.

Actually, make that two.

  1. You get to see Preity Zinta.
  2. Some of the best ads of the year are out in this season.

There isn’t much I can say about Preity Zinta, but I can surely talk about the ads. From the iconic Zoozoos, to the hilarious Manoranjan ka Baap campaign, the IPL season is bonanza time for advertisers, copywriters, and marketers.

But watch the ads on a daily basis, and like Bishan Singh Bedi on acid, you begin to see patterns. Large, swirling patterns that pop out of the TV screen and come dancing in front of your eyes, like a prop on a Tim Burton movie.

You realise that there is no real fresh thinking when it comes to representation of people.

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Now, before you begin to accuse me of being judgemental, let me tell you that I am not being maniacal about it. Having worked for a few years as a Copywriter, this is certainly not the first time I am talking about ads (subtly plug in video of a Stand-Up act here).

I understand that there is a line between representation and stereotyping. That as an advertiser, you have a very limited time to sell your wares, and you have to use an image that carries across your point in the most effective way, in the quickest time possible.

Meaning, clichés.

Used images. Now, if I showed a sardar singing Thyagaraja keertanas, it might merely confuse the watcher. And so we resort to images that most draw a likeliness to what they’re likely to see.

I understand all of that.

Only, after a point, it gets too stifling.

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And among all the representations in Indian advertising, if there’s one that truly makes me want to pull my hair out in frustration, it is how women are shown.

According to the 2011 census, 48.28% of the country are women. Which comes to 614.4 million people. And yet, the Indian advertising sector, intuitive, dynamic, and whacky as they project themselves to be, choose three major ways of depicting women in advertising.

The three major categories are:

  • The Unattainable Indian Woman
  • The Slutty Indian Woman
  • The Caring Indian Woman

[Readers might note that I am not including the women who want to get fair. I think by now we all agree that ALL women in our country want to get fair, and that is the only way to get successful in life. (Subtly add link to earlier blog here)]

 

  1. The Unattainable Indian Woman

The Unattainable Indian Woman is placed on an altar. An altar that is higher than the rest of us (meaning, male). We need to aspire for her. Everything we consume – from toothpastes, to motorcycles, to hair gels, to cement – are all different means to attain the Unattainable Indian woman.

And as a result, every single ad you watch, will somehow be related to impressing a woman.

Want a new toothpaste? Here, use Close Up. Who knows when you might get a chance to blow some air into a girl’s mouth? Want a motorcycle, here take Bajaj Pulsar. It is definitely male, and as soon as you buy it, a woman will drop down from the sky, remove her saree, put on a short skirt, get behind you, and pout at the camera.

And on and on it goes, till it reaches an absurd level.

Take this advertisement by JK Super Cement, for example.

It shows a woman come out of the water in a bikini. And that’s it.

But before you scoff at the brainlessness of the ad, are you sure you understand it’s hidden meaning?

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  1. The Slutty Indian Woman

The second category of women shown on Indian advertisements are the loose-charactered sort. The sort that would make Baba Ramdev shut his right eye because the very sight of such ashleelata could curse a man, resulting in him being born as an armadillo in the next birth.

The Slutty Indian Woman has only one maqsad in life – to be slutty.

And so, whether she’s married, has a boyfriend, or even a child – don’t matter. If you use the right product, she will fling away the moh-maayas of the world that are holding her back, and run towards you.

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Also, it must be noted that the Slutty Indian Woman will not just smile at you. She’s slutty, remember? She will bite her lower lip, run her hands through her hair, close her eyes, and breathe deeply. And then she’ll slowly slide her hand into your shirt.

All because you bought that hair gel for 12 rupees.

 

  1. The Caring Indian Woman

This is the most common, and quite naturally, the most frustrating sort of Indian woman that one gets to see in our badvertisements.

This Caring Indian Woman wants nothing in her life. She is happy washing the children’s clothes (boy’s obviously! The girl is braiding Barbie’s hair, while the boy gets dirty in the mud outside). But don’t you worry, kiddo.

Magic Mommy will bring out the greatest detergent invented since Michael Jackson’s dermatologist and bleach it clean, till it reflects light off the sun, so much that the neighbours experience a solar eclipse.

And the Caring Indian Woman cares for everybody. Husband returns from work, must be tired. Let me stir something up for him!

A nice fruit juice that has all the minerals and nutrients required to pass a green light through his body and have him spring back to his feet, perhaps? Or may be a chai that has been made from the best tea leaves (picked by Caring Indian Women in Assam), so that he can go from Kamaal Rashid Khan to Salman Dabbang Khan in a matter of seconds.

And what about meals!

Oh God! What is a Caring Indian Woman if she doesn’t cook meals? So when the husband decides to invite his (male) friends over for lunch, Wifey will use the best oils, the catchiest masala, in the best possible utensils, and serve it out for all to see. Even Aishwarya Rai who has done many more films and enjoys a far superior career than her snail of a husband, will coyly point out to you that she uses Pigeon appliances to keep their love-nest happy.

So that the husband can gloat over his wonderful wife, while the guy next to him curses his wife for not being up to the mark.

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Doesn’t it make you want to puke?

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Which is why, the recent string of ads by Havells had me impressed.

Women in rural India probably work harder than their male counterparts – helping out in the fields AND cooking at home. Women in urban India (especially the kind of families you are targeting) work too. And even if they don’t, there are other things on their mind than cooking wholesome meals for the entire fucking mohalla!

Women go to offices too, you tequila-shooting, goatee-wearing morons. When will you ever learn?

And that is why, the new series of ads by Havells kicks ass! Enjoy!

Kaun Hai Jo Summer Mein Aaya…

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What makes a mango special?

I have thought about this quite a bit, and I realise there is no one single reason for it.

Take the fruit itself, for example. Fleshy, curved, juicy – something that makes you want to hold it in your hands and bite into it. Keeping my creepy analogies aside, there are a few more points that make the mango special among other fruits.

The joy of biting into a fruit is enjoyable in itself – apples, watermelons, and bananas – but the thing about a mango that I appreciate is its democratizing nature. Whether you’re a rich man or a beggar – there’s no clean, posh way to eat a mango. You have to dip your hands into the pulp, put it into your mouth, scrape out the pulp while pulling the peel out of your mouth. You will have to lick the juice flowing down your mouth, wipe it with the back of your hand. There’s simply no other way.

Then there is the fact that is available only in the summers. Unlike its ubiquitous brethren, the mango is among the few respites in a season that has nothing else going for it. When the only stroke of luck is in the form of a bad luck resulting in a sunstroke. Amidst such gloom, like Preity Zinta, the Mango floats into our lives for two months in a year and leaves us with terrible tasting soft drinks for the rest of the year. And after spending ten months of the year trying to make do with those soft drinks, when it is time for the Mango to come into our lives again, we celebrate.

And also, to an extent, that it is found in areas with tropical climate. Like God took pity on us and said, ‘You people are toiling under the sun every year. Here, take some mangoes.’ The mango is a giant orange lining in this grueling weather without any clouds.

It is surprising that with all these qualities of the mango – its saffron colour, the promises it holds, the joy it brings – the BJP has made no references to it at all. The only party with any semblance of aam in it, is the one that the party is at loggerheads with.

I have never liked giving titles to fruits and vegetables. I could never make peace with the idea of the Brinjal being the King of Vegetables, for example. The Brinjal always appeared to be a shady person with many names (Egg plant, aubergine, brinjal). Someone with an evil scheme up his evil mind.

But when someone says that the mango is the king of fruits, I can accept it.

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The first signs of the coming summer are the mango drink ads.

When the stale ads that have been running through the year are replaced by ones that will run for another year, you know that summer is knocking on the door.

And yet, in spite of three major mango drink companies in the market, not one of them has managed to capture the imagination of the nation.

Frooti had the first mover advantage, thanks to the nostalgia associated with the Mango Frooti – Fresh and Juicy campaigns. And yet, none of their recent campaigns have registered a strong recall value.

There is Maaza, which ran a half decent campaign with Satish Shah. It helped that the man looked like he could devour a dozen mangoes just for the fun of it. He had the expressions, and the belly for it.

And finally, there is Slice. The worst of the lot. Firstly, there is the taste – synthetic, unnatural. Then there is the colour, a bright shiny orange that no mango in the world actually has. And then there is Katrina Kaif, sipping on mango juice in a series of ads that are neither creative nor titillating.

If Freud were alive, he’d sit up and take notice of the ads. Of images of a pretty woman holding a mango in her hands, closing her eyes, whispering, and licking her lips. He’d no doubt notice the fruit in her hand and leave no stone unturned as to which body part the makers of the ad are alluding to.

But since Freud is no more, there is nothing in the ad to interest me.

And yet, I think the greatest campaign for a mango drink company would be to stop this facade of pretending to make their shit from real mangoes. By now, even kids are aware of processed food and packaging, so who are we kidding?

Now that, would make a man go 'Wow!'

Now that, would make a man go ‘Wow!’

 

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Even if the love affair with mangoes began in childhood, quite recently, me and Mango went to a nearby temple and had a second marriage of sorts. We strengthened our bond, took a new set of vows.

And all this through a random discussion online about eating mangoes after smoking pot. The benefits of mango as a push-upper were being debated, and me and Sarthak, my friend in boredom, decided to test it on ourselves.

It helped that the weed we were smoking was called Mango Weed. And so a joint was smoked, a mango was cut, and eaten. And it was in that moment, when I fell in love with mangoes all over again. The sweet, sticky taste of mango, combined with the pristine, clear feeling of having no thoughts scrambling about in your head.

I cannot scientifically assure you that it gets you higher – I wouldn’t be sitting here writing a blog if I had those capabilities. But I can assure you that it is a blissful feeling.

And this year, the European Union banned the import of mangoes to Europe. The British are still debating about the impact of the ban, and it might just be revoked.

But until then, it is good news for us. The ban might cause a surplus in mangoes in India, resulting in more mangoes at lower prices.

So go ahead, buy a few mangoes. You can spend the winter looking at Katrina Kaif’s videos in 1080p HD.

What a (rotten) Idea, sir ji!

Yet another Indian festival is coming up, and like every other brand, Idea has decided to make a new advertisement for Raksha Bandhan.

Every year, Idea has been making ads on everything that plagues the nation. Corruption, Cultural Differences, Overpopulation, Illiteracy, and Environment.

Each and every of those problems, solved by some half shit idea that wouldn’t be published in Champak, and a smug Abhishek Bachchan at the end smiling like he pooped an Oscar statue in the morning.

Now, I don’t have anything against bad ads. Pepsi has been making shitty ads since decades. Brainless montages of clips and punchlines that have no link whatsoever to each other. There’s no harm in that (except to MJ’s hair).

But it is pretentious ads that make me puke. And I don’t really see a point in it. I mean, it’s not as if you are educating the people about the problems of the country. Neither are you putting forth a serious (or even a funny) solution to the problem.

Instead, all the ads have asinine hypotheses like wives watching 3G on their phone to reduce population, or people using their phone numbers instead of their names. Which not only makes a mockery of the problems in the first place, they mock our intelligence. It is not interesting, it is not funny.

It is plain stupid. The kind of thing I would make my enemy watch on his deathbed.

With Rakhsa Bandhan coming up, the think-tank drink-drank at Idea Cellular decided to come up with another idea.

In this ad, a girl is riding towards somewhere, asks a cop for directions, and then ties him a rakhi. In the end, in the same smiling, pompous tone like in all their ads, we are told what a brilliant idea it is.

It is not, sir. It’s a fucking stupid idea.

Here’s why.

1. Cops are assholes.

The police is supposed to be the protector of law. The ones who enforce that everything goes in order and no one harms anyone else, and perfect law and order is maintained.

But in reality, the cops are hated. They are scoffed at, loathed, feared. Anything but respected. And with reason.

I have never seen one, not one, policeman who is polite, and seems like he is paid to follow some rules, and is not fucking Zeus.

The cops are bullies, modern day bandits who go around in their vans, immune and fearless – shouting, beating, bullying, and extracting money from anyone who they see fit, on that particular day.

No one questions it, no one says a word. You keep quiet and avoid a cop at all costs. I have seen young Home Guards – hardly 25 – abuse and slap an elderly gentleman. Films like Dabbang give the image of a cop a halo, making it even more acceptable that a cop can enter a room and start beating up people. No one finds any problem with that.

The government pumps in money, fuelling their vans, so these fat, unfit, uncouth bullies can go around striking fear in the hearts of people.

And no one says a word.

Transparency International, in its Global Corruption Barometer 2013 survey, that tracks public opinion on corruption, reported that about 75% of the country thought that the police was corrupt. Second only to political parties. Also, 62% of the respondents said they had paid bribe of some sort to the cops. Also, the figure for annual bribes paid on the road in India is 4.5 million dollars, and Transparency International themselves say this figure might be understated.

But it is not really the corruption that is unsettling about the cops. It is the impunity with which they treat people – like thieves and slaves.

But then, that’s not the only reason your idea sucks donkey balls. Here’s the second.

2. Cops don’t give a fuck about women.

Keeping general behaviour aside, cops mutate and transform into monstrous assholes when there is a woman involved.

You may get away with a few hundred rupees, or a litany of apologies, but take a walk with a girl at night, and you are walking around with a can of worms. They will haul you up, ask you for identification, your parents’ numbers, and generally talk to you as if you are a pimp and a whore, taking a walk in the night.

You have to watch how cops look at a woman in a police station, even if most times it is she who is the wronged one.

And before you accuse me of basing my opinion entirely on personal experience, kindly google up on crimes against women by policemen themselves. Forget sensitivity and a sense of duty, even basic courtesies aren’t observed.

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An intelligent system identifies a problem, and tackles it in the most efficient manner. Crimes against women have been reported everywhere, even causing ripples in the heart of power in the country.

Do you think anything at all has been done, anything at all, to even solve a bit of the problem?

Zero. Zilch. Shunya.

On the other hand, Salman Khan, a criminal who ran over people, will star in Dabbang 34, Sanjay Dutt will star in Policegiri, and Ram Charan, who asked his bodyguards to beat up two software engineers on the road last month, will star in the remake of Zanjeer, where he will play a cop who beats up people.

I am sure he’ll be natural in the role.

And still, no one says a word.

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So dear head honchos at Idea Cellular, if you could step out of your boardrooms and have a look at the real world, a world that isn’t infested with Bachchans, you’ll realise that the girl would stand in front of a raging bull, than approach a cop. No good can come of that.

And oh, you should fire the guys who make your ads for you.

They’re fooling you. They’re whoring out the biggest problems of the country to you, making you seem like an educated, concerned conglomerate. Do you have an idea that you seem like a bunch of no-brainer idiots, parading around with your lazy, hair-brained ideas, that have no link to the product you’re selling?

No? Well, how about you get idea?

Unfair and Ugly !!

If one were to do an analysis of Indian television after the liberalisation phase, one striking feature will be the huge influx of fairness creams into our lives. I don’t know why, but I can’t seem to remember any fairness cream ad during the Doordarshan days.

Is it that just after liberalisation happened, people started realising that they need to get fair? Was there a feeling that we need to be fair and ready to face the world? Or did the entire country just become dumb, after eating McDonald’s and drinking Coca Cola?

The earliest one I remember showed Genelia D’ Souza getting rejected for having no talents (the only shred of reality in the ad). She then, looks down dejectedly, and someone suggests she apply Fair and Lovely. She applies it, and lo and behold! She gets a ‘fair’ selection in the commentary box with Krish Shrikkanth. Which is a disturbing thought, considering that Srikkanth is now the Chairman of Selectors, and Virat Kohli applies Fair and Lovely. What message are we giving out to budding cricketers?

For years, we have tolerated outrageous ads that show girls who are rejected, unsuccessful, and untalented, change their fortunes, due to a fairness cream. It’s almost like saying, “Life is not fair, so you have to be.”

There have been fairness creams for girls, for women, for men, and for sportspersons. The ones for men are disguised under names like skin lightening, skin whitening, power whitening, and what not. I suggest some company comes out with a fairness cream for infants as well. Make the child fair from childhood, so that future is secure. And what about bure nazar wale? Why should their mooh be kaala? How about one for them too?

If we are showing girls of today that they need to be fair to be successful, what kind of message are we sending out? As long as there are ads like this, people like Shakti Kapoor will have something to do. Because we are endorsing the idea that good looks is the way forward, that one needs to apply fairness cream to get a job. It’s as if companies mention in the job notification – “Candidates who do not apply, need not apply.”

Then there are the ones that show the girl applying cream and becoming more presentable for the numbskull who has come to choose a bride. In the 30 seconds that the girl has applied the cream, everything about her changes. Her skin, her dressing, the walls of her house seem brighter, even her parents seem to be in a better mood. I am sure in a few days there will be a fairness cream for ‘maximum pleasure’ as well. Apply cream so that your wife looks fair, guaranteed to make you last longer.

It is revolting.

I don’t know who are the douschebags who do research and market surveys for these fairness creams. I am sure it is someone from Arindam Chaudhri’s ashram who dared to think beyond the IIMs. Well, here’s where you went wrong, dickheads:

DUSKY GIRLS ARE HOT.

Since times immemorial, from Draupadi to Chitrangada Singh, Indian men have fantasised about, worshipped, loved, chased, and proposed to dusky women. I am not saying fair girls are not hot, but not all of them are. If only being fair was enough to make someone hot, I’d have a Dolly Bindra wallpaper on my computer. There is nothing as sexy as a wonderful, intelligent, dusky girl. Dusky girls seem more earthy, and sensuous. I somehow have found fair girls to be more finicky about getting tanned in the sun, getting their skin dirty, about pimples, dimples, and crumples. I have always wondered if it was a constant pressure to remain fair. At the same time, I know morons, guys, who apply Fair and Handsome. May be they took the phrase ‘Everything is fair in love and war’ quite literally. It’s sad, because as long as you have men applying skin whitening shit on their faces, there will always be ads that talk about changing your life through fairness lotions.

My problem with the terms is more than just the usages. The problem is with the etymology itself. The word ‘fair’ has stood for “justice”, “nobility” and “good looking”. At the same time, “dark” has stood for the evil, the ignorant and the sinister. With the usage of these words, we are just reinstating what our idiotic ancestors thought of such issues. Our mythology is replete with stories of queens who are cursed by rishis for being too proud of their good looks. And what does the curse entail? That they turn dark and ugly.

While I do not have huge respect for such kind of stories, what is saddening is that our parents and grandparents have all believed that, and enforced it upon us.

If one believes that today’s people have gotten over such beliefs, one has to open a Matrimonial page and have a look. No matter what the religion, caste, educational achievement or income levels, what unifies us as a nation is our obsession with being ‘fair’.

Check this out: Wanted Fair, homely girl for boy, 28. B.Com now running family business. Caste no bar.

The guy is probably some dimwit who completed his graduation and now sits in his father’s sweet shop, but he wants a fair bride for himself! And notice the magnanimity in his search for the perfect girl. She can belong to any caste, but needs to be fair.

Fair is everything in love, obviously.

The Worst ads in this World Cup

Every World Cup comes with its own set of advertisements. The ads, and the jingles remain in your memory long after the World Cup has gone. Like the ‘Hoodibaba‘ and ‘Karlo duniya mutthi mein‘ ads in 2003 and the ‘Nothing Official About It’ ads in 1996, all of them remain etched in the memory for a long, long time.

This World Cup however, has to be the one with the worst ads ever. None of them make you see them again, and all of them seem to be setting really low standards in creativity, and then digging further.

Lets begin with the ones that seemed ok. Vodafone did live up to the hype created for the 3G ads, and the ads peaked at the right time. Just while I thought the Zoozoo ads were getting a bit laborious, the Zoozoo ad showed everyone who’s boss. The Change the Game series seemed ok if you could stretch your imagination a bit, and did not ask some vital questions. What, for example, was Dilshan doing, trying a saree in the first place?

I wish they had one for Shanthakumaran Psychopanth. They should call it ‘Pull Shot’. In this, the captain is behind the stumps and has a gun. When he sees Psychopanth abuse the batsman, he ‘pulls’ the trigger and the bowler is shot. Ho gaya ‘Pull Shot’.

But anyway, that is wishful thinking. Coming back to the ads, all of them seemed to be following the trend. For eg, all toothpaste companies still had the white coat man endorsing them. The lemon cola drinks had a close up, slo-mo shot of a face getting drenched with water, Rocky style. All the ads for TVs seemed to show that the picture is so realistic, that you will believe its all real.

But among this clutter, there are a few who have truly managed to catch the eye. So, here’s the countdown to the 5 worst ads of the World Cup. Thank God India won the World Cup, otherwise some Creative Director was going to be shot in the parking lot.

So without much ado, here are the five worst ads of the World Cup.

5: Krishidhan

This is a seed company, and in an act of terrific copywriting, came up with the tagline of ‘Beejon ka Tendulkar’. Sad news is, you cannot use the name of a cricketer who is already endorsing other products in the World Cup without paying him. But I am sure even Sachin let the company go scot-free after seeing the ads.

The Krishidhan ads seem like the serials in the afternoon slots in Regional Transmission in Doordarshan. There is a man, who is talking to a young man over the internet. The young man, whose hands are suspiciously under the table, is surprised to see his father on the internet and says, “Papa, aap yahaan?”

In the meanwhile, to show that the guy is in America, there are two American flags diagonally facing each other, on the guy’s desk. Then, his father explains to him how his life took a U-turn once they started using Krishidhan.

In a truly Swades moment, the son takes his hands out from under the table, and says, “Main wapas aa raha hoon, papa.”

4. Hyundai – New Thinking, New Possibilities

There is Shaan, ex-popular singer and annoying host of countless talent shows, sitting in a recording studio. He is given the mike, and he croons, “New Thinking. New Possibilities.”

Right then, we are shown a number of cars, that are forming the words ‘New Thinking. New Possibilities’ on the road.

Exactly. WTF??

3. Parryware – What a bathroom!

Though this ad should feature in the Hall of Fame of bad ads, it manages to stay third because of some truly inspiring stuff that is coming later.

This ad, reiterates the fact that India Inc. is yet to get out of the recession. A total of 15K must have been used for this ad.

An umpire is standing in a match. The crowds behind him, the cheering, the grounds, all fake. The bowler, of who we can only see the left hand, raises his hand and appeals to the umpire. The umpire raises his hand, looks at the camera with a ‘I did it in my pants before reaching the toilets’ look on his face, and raises his pinky.

The next shot, we are shown pictures of a bathroom, along with a voiceover saying, “Parryware. What a bathroom!”.

2: Suzuki Slingshot

This ad has the feel of a detergent commercial. It has all the features of an Indian ad – cute children, clean shaven fair man, hot girl, and annoying Sardar who begins every line with the word “Oye?”.

So this man is getting ready to go to work, and a kid throws him the keys, saying, “Bhaiyya, yeh lo aapka ‘O! Suzuki Slingshot’. The man wonders, “O! Suzuki Slingshot??”

In the next shot, he is shown kicking ass on the road, and wherever he goes, people say, “Oh! Suzuki Slingshot”. To add to the horror, there is a ‘Slingshot, slingshot’ track running in the background, sounding suspiciously like a Nirma ad.

At the end of the day, he gets the girl, and that kid comes back and gives him an “I told you so” look, and everything is right with the universe.

Except that the ad truly sucks.

1. Idea – Keep Cricket Clean

For a company whose tagline is ‘What an idea, sirjee!’, Idea comes up with the most disastrous ideas. Each of their ads, is pushing each other, fighting to break new barriers of stupidity.

At any given point of time, (even if you are watching Sahara Firangi), the worst ads are by Idea. After dishing out crap for two years, how does ‘Idea’ prepare for the WC? By making the baap of shitty ads.

The ads raise a few pertinent questions. Firstly, who is that woman who has the numbers of Clive Lloyd, Allan Border, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev and Ranatunga? Isn’t that unethical in the first place?

And what is Steve Waugh doing there, talking about keeping cricket clean? Where was he when his brother was talking to bookmakers? It so happened that somewhere in 1994, bookies asked Mark for information about the team and pitch.

“No Idea”, said Mark.

“Well, get idea”, said the bookies.

The ad makes you thankful in a way that India had never won the WC. Imagine Azharuddin talking about keeping cricket clean. If he told a journalist to ‘get idea’, trust me, he’d get ideas.

Not only does the girl seem extensively ignorant of an iota of common sense (“Sir, what to do when someone asks to throw away a match?”). What was she expecting? A tutorial video by Mohammad Asif??

The ad makes you cringe everytime you see it, and is another feather in the crap of Idea.

Like I said, thank god India won the World Cup!!

What is it with insurance advertisements in our country? I liked the one which had rupee notes falling off trees. That one was a childhood fantasy, but the others seemed like a trap. They show you the promise of a good life, followed by an InsureanceisthesubjectmatterofsolicitationPleasereadtheofferdocumentcarefullybeforeinvesting. I understand there is cut-throat competition in the industry and all that, but why are they hell bent on using scare-tactics so that we run and get ourselves one of their panaceas for a happily-ever after life?

As it is, the earlier ads were an eye sore. There is this one ad in which a kid goes around the house saying ‘Statue’ to everything. When her had asks her the reason, she says, “Papa, ab kuchh nahi badlega”. I mean, what do you expect? Your audience has the intelligence levels of an anteater?

The there was that one with this kid with a bad hairstyle which talks too much. “Papa, kya aap mere future ke baare mein soche hain?” Which child talks to his father like that? They are more into video games/clothes/latest mobiles, that kind of stuff. Future? Really?? Bad research, dude. They are children. They don’t bother about that their future.

But the recent ad from HDFC just takes things to a different sphere of what-the-fuckness.

There is this guy who is leaving on some tour. Next to him is his ‘friend’. Now, if you were leaving somewhere and someone was coming to see off, what would you expect him to do? Wish you good luck, give you a hug, promise to call, that kind of stuff. No? This dude has to sell you insurance. He has to sound like a pain in the ass. How else can he do it?

So, our guy is about to leave and is in the taxi. He takes out some money that he forgot to give his wife. Hint 1 that he is leading a good life: His wife doesn’t control his finances. On careful observation, he has about ten notes in his wallet, of which he takes out 3-4 for his wife. Hint 2: He is not miserly with his wife.

The ‘friend’ takes the money and then asks, “Listen, dude. What if you don’t come back for a week?”

“You are right. Here’s some more.” You can see the glint in his eye as he takes the additional amount of money. Not to be satisfied, he goes on.

“Listen, what if you don’t come for a month.”
“Haha, you got to be kidding.”

(Our insurance selling dickhead pauses for effect)

“What if you never return? Will this money be enough for your wife?”

ONE TIGHT SLAP!! “Get the fuck out of the car. You are eyeing my wife, and you are a pessimistic-fatalist-death predicting-cheapskate insurance seller who exploits his friends”. In normal life that is. But no, not happening here.

Our guy falls for the moron’s lame efforts and his head is bent with sorrow. He has to go on a trip, mind you. Then, wise insurance guy says, “Sar jhukake kyun baitha hai yaar?”

Well, let me guess. He is going away from his wife and kids, has forgotten to give them some money. His friend is probably eyeing his wife, and is basically being a dick. Isi liye sar jhukake baitha hai.

Wise insurance guy then tells him, “Sar utha ke jiyo”. What exactly is this ‘Sar uthake jiyo’ wala funda? I am not covered by any insurance and if I die, my family will only inherit lots of diaries and unwashed clothes. But I don’t walk with my head stooped down in sorrow. And do people who have their lives covered walk with their head held high, like cranes? Absolute rubbish, I say.