Monday, November 21, 2005

"My girl is slightly pregnant"

In 1969, Samm Sinclair Baker( yes ,the guy whom the then ad world called an "ungrateful dog") wrote and published "The permissible lie", which simply exposed the world of advertising.It shocked the world.. The plain speak which stripped ad men thread bare, was nothing short of a blasphemy, but even after decades nothing much has changed.... advertising ,observers accuse, still remains the same.. the same duplicity and pretensions galore...

Who are to blame for this state of affairs ? who will bell the cat..?

Much has been researched and written about advertising and its ill effects in the society.Advertising, “is the rattling of a stick in the swirl bucket of capitalism ” said George Orwell. It has been blamed as responsible for all the ills of the society.Even i( "even" because advertising had been my profession and passion, even now) do accept that it contibutes to the negatives, but it contributes along with others like cinema and internet. Can they be banned because they have bad effects too? The option ,for advertisers will be to stick on to truth as far as possible.. say truth, even hide unpleasent truths but never say a lie...

Ever since the dead and gone residents of Pompeii advertised for marriages and wine, and perhaps even before that, advertising has been the art, science and what we know it today, and what we (ok. most of us) don’t know, is, was and would be the soul of marketing activities. To put it simply, “If Marketing is a whore house, Advertising is the pimp. (For those who took it as offensive), if Marketing is a flower, Advertising is the fragrance”.

So the customer has to alert..The advertiser will sell the client{(the one who makes soaps)(remember the fairness granules )} and will up to an extent be bothered about the client only.One who thinks that a skin which will put coal to shame can be be transformed into something which will glow and reflect, deserves to be fooled.Any house wife who gets carried away by cleaning liquids(liquid bleaching powder added with fragrance and a brandname,which you pay a premium price) which cleans dark, dirty lookin floors(which generally are made dirty during shoot using powdered graphite or such materials) making them glow like polished metal ,is inviting the marketer to beguile her. Any fool will get the kind of advertising he deserves.. As someone from the advertising industry quipped about "too many accusations"about "misleading advertisements" - 'if there are men to eat dog buscuit, why the hell are you barking?.. I dont agree fully to that piece of arrogance.But i will surely say that, the customer should wake up to the reality that no fairness creams shall make a dark skin fair.. it is simple science.

So the people who dont know this science should be fooled and marketing jaggernauts (the same giants make fairness stuff here and tanning stuff in the west) allowed to reap all the profits? Certainly not. But 'caveat emptor' is always better. It is simple.. very few advertisers admit that they lie. " The permissible lie" as Baker called 'slight 'exaggerations- some do accept they do.but it is like admiting that "my girl is slightly pregnant". isnt it?

Footnote:"What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public". ~ Vilhjalmur Stefansson, 1964

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