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Art and craft of making heads turn

Catchy advertising, with its interestingly funny, even bizarre, content, also provides some solace amid media sob stories.

It’s D-day. Wife is angry, husband forgets wedding anniversary... but in the end it turns out that in a desperate attempt, proving that he is no absent-minded professor, the husband has placed the gift in a very very select place... the refrigerator.

Of course this sequence of events is followed by the wife shedding tears of joy, or maybe she is just crying thinking that her beloved husband had had the dash of the season’s heat!

This interesting scene leaves us wondering whether it is an advertisement for the jewel or the refrigerator, or maybe it’s just a promo for a drama school. This is the era where there is a need for newer ideas to market products. The time has come where the concept of blind trust isn’t trusted anymore and reason reaps respect. But such reasoning and judgment have crossed all limits, and in the name of novelty viewers are put through a series of comic absurdities. Here is a sample: Biscuits are to be bought because they have the secret ingredient which can turn even the wimpiest of kids into macho ones, and the once-famous six-pack wrestlers of the town tend to develop jelly legs at the mere sight of them.

How can anyone forget newspapers, the main gallery of extraordinary advertisements! We see ladies in gorgeous saris with ornaments galore, and it is evident that the make-up artists are indeed pioneers in abstract art. This leaves me in awe as to how their ears are still standing and how they manage to pose without bending despite the weight of the myriad trinkets. And immediately my eyes fall on a bright red declaration, which I reckon has been placed in that right spot by a genius to satiate my curiosity: ‘Feather Light’. Whoever said the laws of physics are constant? Laws are meant to be broken.

These newspapers were once considered a mirror unto the outside world. But now they have turned out to be the best canvas for budding facial artistes! How can the heart of a seven-year-old child resist ‘beautifying’ the face of that aunty in the jewellery ad or that uncle in the watch ad, not to mention those huge life-size portraits of the various brand owners with their er... reassuring smiles! Be it full-page advertisements or those ads in strips attached to the main newspaper that make the often tedious task of reading a newspaper under the ceiling fan even more Herculean, there is no limit to creativity!

On the other hand, on television, we have chatty faucets, animals driving vehicles (wonder if they are 18 yet), soaps and disinfectants which now do not leave even that single germ they used to leave under the magnifying glass before (99.9 per cent pure has become 100 per cent pure!).

And my personal favourites are the air-conditioner advertisements. Such subtle humour in a polar bear sleeping under these ‘artificial cooling’ systems, leaving their natural habitats which have warmed due to global warming! Because, I distinctly remember my teacher listing the various causes for global warming, and one of them was the air-conditioner.

But all these pale in comparison to the ads for fairness creams, which are now available for both men and women. These products mock the power of time and it is quite regrettable that Snow White’s stepmom didn’t have access to such pleasures of life!

On the whole, I must say, hats off to the brains behind such advertisements, because they have achieved their goal of making heads turn. Gandhiji said the means matter as much as the goal. But to our advertisers, finding the means will never be a problem because ‘bizarre’ has become the hottest route now. We owe it to them for the fact that you, I and most of us find some solace in their interestingly funny advertisements between the sob stories of the daily soaps.

We can’t dismiss the point that, these ads, both on TV and in the newspaper, are extremely amusing if you understand the nuances. And they provide stiff competition in comprehension to Picasso’s portraits and the Nolan movies!

25samyu@gmail.com

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 9:22:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/Art-and-craft-of-making-heads-turn/article14545972.ece

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