Soft Porn – Bring it on

I remember ‘Advertising’ classes by Santosh Sood during my IMT days. Nothing sells anything better than SEX & RELIGION. Only our advertising industry has taken the former too seriously. It is not a recent phenomenon though. One would obviously remember the MR Coffee & Tuff Shoes ad blasting from the past. Today it is a completely different spectacle altogether. I had once blogged about Religion, Sex & branding, but it looks like today’s rant shall remain with SLEAZE.

Recently, a prominent tweeter from Bombay tweeted about such ads being played during prime time (dinner time) on TV. It seems that the sleaze makers in this case had gone overboard and made it difficult for her to have a quiet dinner with her kids in front of TV.

Think of this. You watch TV with your children and this ad plays on TV.

And the resultant questions from the kids may not be a palatable discussion that follows.

Sex education is very unlike the Americas. We have human anatomy discussed in Standard VIII (unless it has changed recently). And schools are not strictly co-education yet. We don’t teach them what it means to reproduce (which partly explains our population burst). And the responsibility is completely vested with parents and is never approached as education. There is no formal, common system of making a child understand this. And we expose them to this:


Amrutanjan Roll-On balm ad by soumyadipc

One has virtually given up on the ‘Deo’ category where the only way to sell is by showing women running behind men in a very pied-piper-ish fashion. AXE started it and we have other brands doing the same. Many industry colleagues have different views about it. But Amrutanjan? Guys, I loved your last campaign based on ‘Funny videos’ where people fall during unexpected moments and ‘Be Ready’ was a fantastic tagline. A proposition to die for. You lose that for this? Mr. Shambu Prasad – I wish we were in touch after our DAV days. I have a few things to talk to you about the iconic brand that your forefathers created!

And Parachute! Whoa! Another iconic brand, which sold a commodity available at the nearest kirana store, branded it and virtually replaced the coconut oil tin cans with brilliant packaging (including the Re.1/- bubble pack available in pan shops) has gotten sleazy with their new product.

Well, there is a difference. The Amrutanjan TVC looks like it has been made like a B grade Boolywood film, while the Parachute TVC has obviously been given a ‘classy touch’. Almost soft porn-ish. Another great comparison would be Gramathu Virundhu by Paravai Muniyamma as against Nigella Lawson cooking up those delicious pastries and digging her chocolate stained dental combination into the awesomely soft lit cake with oodles of flowing chocolate. But hey! Porn is porn is porn.

And all this talk about sensuality is a vague attempt in evading the obvious. Impulse woman was sensuous. Singapore girl was sensuous. Liril girl was sensuous (and certainly bold), but I believe that we have somewhere crossed the thin line between ‘being sensual’ and ‘outright sleaze’.

I am no authority (yet), but I think AAAI can probably look at this seriously. I might be barely scratching the surface, but some ideas (or at least discussion starters) could be:

  • A common ‘story board approval’ body by AAAI like the censor board. This can be debated till cows come home, but at least a starting point.
  • A common forum where viewers can register their complaints for such campaigns to be quarantined to some restricted channels and not be allowed to be aired in GECs, news channels, kids channels etc.

Also, creative guys. Please get creative. It was fun when AXE did it. It is not when Wild Stone, Adiction and a whole host of others do the same. We also call it plagiarism. J

And marketers – Dudes! Seriously, you buy this S&*% from the creative agencies and put money behind it on media? I think it is just a lazy idea! A better brief to start with can be a good point to begin with.

I respect a condom company for coming up with this:

They are talking sex. But they are talking sensuality. Ain’t it? And I am bloody sure they sell well!

Q.E.D






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