Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Expressing Myself

Statutory warning: Random rant ahead.

Well, these days every time the hero and I have a spat, I like a good wife, give him a shraap – “May you have a wife like that Airtel Ad female in your next janam”.

Yes, that’s my pet peeve ad of the season. I have refrained for the last two months from saying anything about it because it’s too much shop talk. But I HAVE to rant now – because I see that dratted ad five times a day and it invariably and inevitably annoys the shit out of me as an individual, as a female and as an ex-advertising professional.

How can a brand which made the almost sublimely, poignant, minimalist, elegant, goose-pimples raising “Express yourself” come out with such utter trite, stereotyped rubbish? Airtel has always been a schizophrenic brand – it has the most sophisticated communication (viz the express yourself original campaign mentioned above or the football one ) as well stuff which is er..as basic as it can get .

But till this particular campaign, at least they tried to maintain a semblance of consistency within the executions. This one, not so.

Just to cite ONE example You have a woman who can call up her husband to ask him to make salads, but needs the husbands help for doing anything (paying bills, remitting money etc) – so the question is how modern and empowered IS she really? Then, which modern Indian urban couple BEHAVES like that? The cloying, sanctimonious wife. The coyly henpecked husband. The romance oozing saccharine sweetness. Calling sixteen times a day not to not talk?

Seriously?

That whole attempt to get romance in has gone completely haywire. It doesn’t look romantic. It doesn’t look aspirational. Period. It looks contrived and annoying as hell. To get the romance in dig into the archives and pull out something like Pond’s “Bas Yuhi”. The product bombed. But every single female I know across ages, across various socio economic strata got warm fuzzy feelings watching that film.

And who are they talking to? All men I know find that woman annoying as hell and the man a wimp. All women I know find that woman a shrew and the man a wimp. Women do like to hen peck their husbands yes, but this abla naara specimen is seriously no fun. One could argue that the message is getting across – viz the VAS features. And that is what is important in communication. But at what cost?

Ed note: Post written sometime back when the campaign was on, posted now

19 comments:

Mo said...

It's annoying, alright. But as I said, it's probably because it's near impossible to imagine Madhavan and Vidya Balan as a newlywed couple, going all mush on each other.

Epiphany said...

A relief - I thot I was the only one who did not think it was cute!

gauri said...

Never seen this one. From the looks of it, I seem to be lucky to have missed it :P

g

Meena said...

You are right. It is too cloying to sound true. And not a patch on the original Express yourself ad.

Pinku said...

hey Cynic....so true.

The biggest trouble is that Madhavan and Vidya look so mid age not at all the young couple they are behaving like..

u know the kind thats over with the first flush of love etc...

Pinku said...

hey Cynic....so true.

The biggest trouble is that Madhavan and Vidya look so mid age not at all the young couple they are behaving like..

u know the kind thats over with the first flush of love etc...

Pinku said...

hey Cynic....so true.

The biggest trouble is that Madhavan and Vidya look so mid age not at all the young couple they are behaving like..

u know the kind thats over with the first flush of love etc...

Rada said...

Cyn,

I am seriously confused. Which ad are you talking about? If you are referring to the Vidya Balan-Madhavan ad where does "You have a woman who can call up her husband to ask him to make salads, but needs the husbands help for doing anything (paying bills, remitting money etc" come in?

Pls to clarify! :-)

Parul said...

While we are at it, someone slap Kareena Kapoor for needing Saif to put hello bloody tunes on her phone and threatening to 'over' the game (does that mean he will not get any?) unless he obliges.

phatichar said...

heheh..

Nandini Vishwanath said...

Oh, never seen this ad before. Ya, its sickening how they show couples to be all romantic through I miss you phone calls.

They NEVER show the woman to be financially independent though usually, even among home maker women, it is they who handle everyday bills!

Good post, Cyn.

Adi said...

:-) breathe ....

AmitL said...

Hi,Cyn*big smiles at this post*- but,you know what? I'd deem this ad successful-not because it's contrite and/or rubbish..but,because you noticed it,people you talked with,noticed it,even I remembered it.And,that's what matters...you associate it with Airtel,just like the Airtel signature tune. In the smorgasbord of ads that bombard us in every 1/2 hour serial,how many do we really remember?The ads that dare to be different!:)I'm midway through a post on this-might come up soon!!:)

Iya said...

seen the new vodafone TVC?? i am so ga ga over them..

Trauma Queen said...

hmm..i kinda liked the ad..thot vidya and madhavan make a sweet pair

but yes aftwr seeing the same ad 5 times i started hating it and this couple got annoying and i wanted to throw up..so I don't blame the ad..i blame the frequency....

I did hate the salad waala ad and the latst one where they are sitting in the same room and sms. That was just trite..and very eco-unfriendly. On the one hand you talk earth day n then suggest love is about wastage. silly indeed.

Mom Gone Mad said...

Cynic, is this the ad that begins with the guy in the lift? If so, didn't get the salad reference, but with or without salads is over-the-top-awful-syrup.

If calling each other relentlessly to hear the other breathe (serious permission to puke!) constitutes a happy marriage, I'd have lasted two seconds.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

all folks sorry for late response. ill and have been out/will be out of circulation for a few days. will respond to individual comments once am back on feet.

Maddy said...

agreed - it does look quite corny, though vidya looks great (she is from palakkad - you see), also maddy (madhavan in this case)acts well, otherwise

so give them some leeway..let them do what they want, you look elsewhere or remember the airtel ad of the two kids playing soccer across the border..
http://maddy06.blogspot.com/2008/01/on-border.html

Indian Homemaker said...

Not sure which ad... though I kind of like them both, I think some of these ads are meant to be an exaggeration... Is salad ad the one she calls from the car ending up asking him to do everything?? And he watching cricket and generally not wanting to get up at all...??
I'd agree with the bit about some guys just hear nothing when they are watching Cricket on television :)