By Sanniah Hassan
Making an advertisement is serious business. Strategy upon strategy goes into finalizing the target audience and what appeals most to them. Coming up with a concept that grips their attention and hooks them [target audience] into buying the product whatever that may be from household items, to cosmetics to entertainment among others is just the beginning. In the recent years, as the use of social media has increased a thousand-fold, so has the people’s criticism of it as a directly proportional push and pull of things.
Many people have gained popularity and fame by making videos and posting them on various social media cites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram et cetera. In fact, entire businesses base their success to social media cites and their ever growing use. Where there are people whose fame is put to a constructive use, there are others who are merely hopping onto the bandwagon of success without any logic or sense to what they are doing.
I accidentally stumbled upon a video compilation of Pakistani ads that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Now I am not one of those people who puts people down if they try to think out of the box or be innovative but these ads are nothing short of ridiculous. Advertisements are supposed to be like short stories in the film genre, a mere skit that ranges from 30 seconds to a preferred 2 minutes. Within that time limit, the brand or product must come up with a complete, logical sequence of events. These ads in question range from a computer shop to a Channa shop [Street side restaurant].
The first ad is about a computer shop but for some highly illogical reason it begins with two men engaging in a wrestling match. Suddenly, a young boy comes and says “Abu main pass hogaya houn, muje computer le kar do” (Father I have passed [in my exams], buy me a computer). Thus begins a debate of why a computer should be bought and from where? When the shop is introduced, it comes off more as an advertisement of the owner/employee rather than the shop itself. Now, considering that they are trying to sell computers, shouldn’t their focus be more on the computers instead of the team selling them? Also, what’s with the music in the background? It sounds as if explosions are going on which does not bode well with the image of a computer. Lastly, an ad which could have ended between 30 to 40 seconds goes on forever [about 1 minute and 37 seconds].
Then the second ad starts, which focuses on Kit Kat Talcum Powder. A girl randomly starts a conversation with an unusual man about the perfume he is using. This leads to him telling her that he does not use any cologne because he has Kit Kat talcum powder which is the best. A few days later they bump into each other again and lo and behold he says, “Axcuse me, app bhi?” which is his way of trying to charm her but comes off as sleazy. There is no logic in the sequence of events in this advertisement. Irrespective of empowering women and the various feminist movements through the ages, the ad is not such that the audience can connect with because the Pakistani culture does not allow for men and women to mingle so easily in private or public places. Therefore, this ad is a failed attempt.
Then the third ad begins which promotes a tailor’s shop by the name of Haji Hanif tailors. This ad has the same issue, that of the audience being unable to relate. There is no tailor shop across Pakistan who guarantees that you can get your clothes stitched over night, so the fact that this ad claims Hanif tailors can manage the job overnight is just an exaggeration.
The last ad in this compilation is that of Butt Murgh Channay aur Bong Paye. It begins with what one can only presume is a married couple who are shortly joined by another woman. She asks them what their dinner plan is, and the man replies that they are going to Butt Murgh Channay aur Bong Paye. He tells them that today we will also have bar-b-q to which the ladies reply, “bar-b-q ka tou apna hi maza hai”. No doubt bar-b-que is delicious but, the ad does not seem coherent. There is neither any back story nor any connections. Therefore, this ad is another fail.
We live in an age which is no less than that of enlightenment. This age demands well thought-out and well-performed stories whereas, the above ads are more of half-baked ideas. They succeed not in advertising but rather in testing the patience of their audience making them more suited to the IQ of a monkey instead of a human and leading me to conclude that even though there was innovation behind the ideas they have failed miserably in their execution.