You flick through hundreds of channels on the new generation of TV sets. Every program you settle for announces a commercial break and a series of never ending torturous attacks on your nervous system begins. I do not have a count yet about how many things do I exactly hate about those weird TVCs running on the idiot box these days. Until some time back these ad agencies considered it their duty to sell almost everything from cookies to cell phone connections by shaking their bodies to irritating jingles, and they performed this duty with sincere devotion. When the result of these dance-and-sell ads proved only good enough to provide an inspiration for a disastrous Pakistani reality dance show on ARY, these guys finally decided to bring in a change.
While the print and radio ones are as much pain to my senses of sight and sound (remember are local version of Katrina Kaif on that Maaza juice billboard), however the most torturous ones are those that run on the TV. Perhaps, the reason is that somehow all channels decide to take a break at the same time. While there are thousands of blunders that are money minting progressive ad agencies have a knack of making, I will just include the top 5 most recent and prominent ones.
They claim to get the toughest stains off the garment. Well, that is exactly why they are called detergents, isn’t it? A ‘different concept’ was recently brought in by a local brand of washing powder showing Shaan and Noor as a couple where the husband hands over a packet of washing powder to her wife in a moment of romance they shared. A writer at a major marketing oriented blog gave thumbs up to the ad for its emotional appeal. You call that emotional appeal? My, my! If my husband ever presents me with a washing powder during a romantic moment, I might make him do the day’s laundry.
Cell phone Connection Ads
These guys do not need a concept at all. Just rip, rape and ridicule the competitor’s version and it’s done. However, if I have to choose between their old dance-and-sell ads and the ones currently running, I would definitely prefer the current ones.Warning: The moment you notice those minute scribbling during the ad somewhere on your screen, which are only readable through magnifying glass, and they vanish by the time you even think of getting hold of your magnifying glass, know that they are lying about the rates they claim they are offering.
Fairness Cream Ads
A decade after the world has entered the 21st century, god knows what makes them think that only beautiful (read: fair-skinned) girls make it to their dream jobs. Did someone ever mention Condoleezza Rice to them?
Real Estate Ads
I only discover at the very end of these long ads, that they were actually trying to sell some property. The ad begins with a groom in an awful looking ‘Sherwani’ and enters the bedroom on the wedding night (not to forget, the sleaze jingle running in the background that is made out of a ripped off melody from Bollywood, which by the way is a further ripper of a Korean/ French/ Spanish melody). The bride, in an even more awful dress and a draconian make up (that could easily get her mistaken for the famous Churail if she ever appears on Karsaz with that makeover) is waiting with a smile in the room. That marks the beginning of the family. In the very next sequence, the couple is seen having meals with four kids (proving that population control ads are equally bad), where addressing a housing scheme mentioned to her by one of the friends, the wife requests (read: cries) to her husband:
“Hamein bhi Rizwaana Apartments mein apna ghar dilaadein na!”
“Please buy us our own house in Rizwaana Apartments.”
Are you serious? Do you really call that an advertisement? To be very honest, my 3 year old cousin asks for a lolly pop in a much better way.
Like I said, these are only my five top picks among some greatest wonders in the world of advertising. Unable to tolerate the short commercial break, which in reality is longer than the program itself, you decide to focus on your healthy, low calorie, cholesterol free chicken burger served with french fries prepared in Habib Cooking Oil. The delicious burger is just about to come close to your mouth when your eye catches the screen where a camera is peeking deep inside a stained commode. Sigh! Welcome to the Toilet-Bowl-Cleaner ad.
An edited version of this article was published on Express Tribune Blogs on October 8, 2011.