Monday, 3 March 2014

Advert-ently wrong? Honda City’s latest advert


Remember Cibaca Toothpaste? I do. Not the paste’s taste or how it helped make my pearly whites even whiter. I remember, as a child, I used to open the box for the tiny rubber animals that popped out as freebies. Despite the fact that all animals looked like dinosaurs even when they were meant to be something else entirely. Still, till the offer was ‘open till stocks last’, my family used Cibaca. Two members out of four were hooked to it, after all.

And that phase of 7Up challenges? You collected a certain number of those rings inside the metal caps, snail mailed and claimed goodies like magic coins and fancy straws. What a rage it was! I don’t remember drinking that much 7Up, but I do remember managing a museum of ‘collector’s items’, the biggest one in the colony. But Maggi I ate, all of it, for the empty packets got me fish stamps to feel like an unbeatable philatelist.

But today, my perception of the consumer’s world has changed. I view things differently, not because I am no longer a child but also because I am a mother to a child. And when you bring that role in, just about anything in today’s times transforms into a big warty ogre out to gobble up your little one’s mind. This, mostly through the crystal clear high-definition TV sets that make life flash before our kids’ eyes. And most irresponsibly through the strange advertisements that occupy a large chunk of our viewing time.


Today, it’s Honda City’s latest advert ‘Masha Allah – The Greater Drive’, which amazes me and scares me – for its nonsensical premise and its intent to influence my child’s mind, respectively.

[To read more, please click here.]


20 comments:

  1. Rings true in every word esp. these " – children whose critical ability to view things objectively is yet to even develop. It is addressing them with no subtlety, attempting to create in their heads a certain idea of the role of education and what they need to find at the end of the rainbow." This is what advertising and consumerism has come to today....

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  2. What also irks me is that we see education as the means of only achieving materialistic things. How about inculcating the joy of learning something new in the child, how about letting him enjoy his education rather than just forcing the view point that studying hard will mean buying a bigger/better car.
    I really dislike the way the adverts exploit and use kids these days. In this world that feeds us too much information, we need to know the messages children are receiving, and help them understand the true intent!

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    1. Exactly what I say in Point 3 - Role of education. And yes, glad you agree with me that we need to 'educate' the children behind the true intent of commercial houses. It is the most important thing that we can do. Exactly why I signed off the post with this message.
      Thanks for reading, Ruch!

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  3. OMG Sakshi! Too good.. dat was something I could have never thought of while watching the Ad. I hope..our ad makers someday start thinking out of the box..

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    1. :D Thanks, Zuber. If we actually start paying more attention, MOST ads are working on our psyche without us realising it even. But then, as adults, we know how to switch off from problematic things. Kids don't.
      Thanks for dropping your comment here. Good to see it! :)

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  4. These days you can find kids in every ad, from LIC policies to home loans. I feel this is happening because there is no regulator present and people are either not aware or are not that much concerned. One can't blame the parents as well because they can't go censoring the TV. I got a mail few months back which was about a petition to tell "Emami" to being down their fairness cream ad. I feel more actions like this should be taken and it's nice that you brought this point forward. :)

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    1. I agree, Gaurab. This is just one example. Children are exposed to much more than their parents will ever be able to mind. The kind of petition you mention is a great idea! At least then, we would have tried.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Very interesting take, Sakshi. I hadn't seen this advert before.

    I agree with all the points you make about advertising aimed at children - toys, food products, personal hygiene et al. The messages on TV that kids get bombarded with these days must surely be causing them to be materialistic and judgmental from such a young age.

    My only quibble here (with this particular Honda ad) would be that I didn't think this ad was aimed at children at all. This creative may be flawed but auto advertising is squarely aimed at the Young Male Urban Professional and no one else, pretty much all over the world.

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    1. This creative is flawed, Rickie.
      Thanks for reading! :)

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  6. I fall short of words...
    This is as classic as any of your posts on Parentous.
    A masterpiece with a message, Sakshi! :)

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  7. I remember one joke in accordance with this advertisement " with every wrong answer in your exam paper , you're shifting your honeymoon spot from Melbourne to Mauritius to Manali " You've rightly pointed out the vices ..but who cares ? :-(

    BTW , mention of those Cibaca animals and 7 Up Challenge really made me nostalgic ... :-)

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    1. Oh My! Never heard that one but yes, it is exactly what I'm talking about.
      Yes, me too. I am sure some of those goodies will still be around in my house. :D

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  8. A very important and relevant article. Whilst the old adverts focussed on selling their products and still keeping values, today's companies spend truck loads of money on "creative" people who come up with ridiculous ads. Some of them are stereotypical and are also offending at times. The companies want to sell their product "at any cost". I think that's where the values fall firstly.
    I suggest every parent buy Calvin and Hobbes books and give it to their children. It will certainly make them more curious, more creative and certainly intelligent.
    Thanks for the article.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I like your suggestion. And a few other books too. :D
      Thanks for a valuable comment, Sanjay. Glad to connect!

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  9. As Rickie mentioned the creatives are completely wrong for this particular ad. I still have to meet any Indian parent who buys a car as costly as the one mentioned in this ad simply because his/her child wanted a drive in it. And what is worse is the fact that the Marketing Dept at Honda who paid for this ad to be aired also seems to have missed the point entirely.

    In any case, like you mention in your article, the fact that this ad seems to promote materialism and money-making as the only purpose of the ad is ridiculous at best ...

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    1. ... and ridiculous at its worst too!
      Thanks for reading, Jai.

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