Advertising annoyances

Two recent ads managed to annoy me immensely.

One, a toothpaste ad that came up quite a few times before Kung Fu Panda 2 started in the theater. It had a group of international travelers in India – it was deliberately international…a Japanese looking face, a few European looking women etc. They manage to ‘bite into’ things that the rotund Indian tour guide asks them not to…like sugarcane, apple (!!) and so on. At one point, the Japanese-looking chap bites into some kind of tough looking nut (the actual nut) and the village head admires his ‘teeth-power’ and asks him the inevitable question…’How??’. The Oriental guy says, ‘Vicco’ and shows his Vicco toothpaste.

Now, that seems like a normal ad…but this is my concern – which imbecile idiot walks around with his toothpaste inside its cardboard carton? You may argue…the guy who delivers toothpaste to retail outlets…yes, that would be the right guess. But this is an international tourist…an oriental looking one, at that. Wouldn’t it be a wee bit more natural if he were to dig into his rucksack and pick just the toothpaste tube from his bathroom kit/pouch thingy? Can’t these be shown in a few fleeting microseconds and make the ad so much more genuine?

I’m sure you notice how I haven’t made any fun of the assumption that a Japanese looking chap using Vicco Vajradanti – of all the toothpastes in the world – in the first place. I rather wouldn’t – if they can adore Rajinikanth, anything is possible.

The same thing happens in another ad too – don’t recall which one. A bridegroom sitting in the mantap goes, ‘Aaaaooouch’ and the man chanting mantra offers him the solution of a toothpaste that is supposed to help him – this is in a cardboard carton too, quite amazingly!! This ad least has an overall mock’y tone, so I’m not going to let it bother me too much.

Second, a TVC for the well known cooking oil down South, Gold Winner. I don’t recall the exact spot fully, but it involves a little girl talking to her dolls like only little girls do. All cute and cuddly, but at one point, she says to one innocent, hapless doll that she (doll, I mean) need not worry since Mom cooks in Gold Winner oil.

The point is…if my little girl was found uttering the name of a cooking oil brand to her dolls (as against the other brands that they should usually be remembering and uttering – Barbie, chocolates, kids drinks, toys…at best, iPod and a Playstation, perhaps), I would be very, very worried.

When advertisements show (quite ambitiously) that people recall names of brands that are not meant to be remembered based on common sense (I can also add cement and TMT steel rod brands’ TVCs!!), it looks stupid, in my opinion.

I know – the argument is always, ‘But advertisements are make-believe…should not be analyzed or taken seriously’. My question is simply this – if advertisements are make believe, are the feelings and sensations they try to evoke make-believe too? Meaning…it is all fake?



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  • I thought the KKR- SRK ad was annoying to the core…thandi thandi lassi..such a lousy ad coming from some one like SRK..wasnt it?

  • Smritys

    to the toothpastes ad… i would add all the ‘kya aapke namak mein toothpaste hai?’ commercials. the same ‘carry your toothpaste everywhere you go’ funda has been applied to an Emami ad starring Amitabh Bachchan. He offers groom the cream at the marriage mandap… totally insane.