Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Advertising: “Daag Achhe Hain” and “Have a Happy Period”

As an advertising practitioner, former Executive Secretary of the Advertising standards Council of India (ASCI), I am clued in, rather aware, of the trends that Indian advertising is going through.

There used to be a time when advertising copy and concepts used to be subtle, created by people with refined tastes, and wasn’t as brutally commercial as it is today. Today's mantra seems to be, "Anything goes, even guerrilla tactics." I would like to point out two instances that have riled me no end in the past few months:

“Daag Acche Hain”

Are stains (daag) good because that means good sales for your products? In that case it is selfish and biased and not at all good advertising copy. This is guerrilla form of writing copy. I have been told that the lines originated abroad, in that case is it okay for us to blindly imitate even wrong concepts?

If it is aimed at the social realm implying that “stain” is good, the connotations are even worse. You mean to say anything/anyone who is stained is good. (Meaning, the mole of a gangster can appear in a reality show and can be appreciated and applauded; and, obviously, the one flirting with her is the drug addict son of a former politician. Ergo, whoever is stained by “bad morals” and “bad behaviour” is, what shall I say, good?) I am shocked. I think it violates the code of the ASCI which states that “Ads should not be against public decency.”

Have a Happy Period

Oh God! Look what the cat dragged in here? Who gave you (meaning whoever made the ad) the moral authority, nay, who are you to tell a woman to have a happy period? Huh? Does it mean that periods are meant to be unhappy times for a woman? Who? What? Have we gone back again to the dark ages? Oh Almighty!

Every mother should tell her daughter that periods are normal times (at least, the modern ones, I know, I know, there used to be times when a girl with period was made to spend her days in a corner of the house and was not allowed to touch anything or anybody) for a woman. I guess that’s what every modern woman living in a progressive age should be made to think and feel. But here’s this ad by its very implication saying that using their product leads to having “a happy period” and implying that not using them means having an “unhappy period.” Who are they to judge what is happy and unhappy and who are they to associate a woman’s period with unhappiness?

Again, in bad taste. Guess advertising has become more and more aggressive and the ASCI is not doing its job of self regulating the business. The way the above advertisement concepts have impinged on my senses (for that matter any good thinking, good feeling human being’s senses) shows an utter lack of social concerns, even of propriety.

The two instances mentioned above are only tips of the clichéd iceberg. There’s more. What’s ASCI doing about it, sitting and eating hot batata wadas and samosas, which I used to be served when I was attending a complaints committee meeting in an advertising hotshot’s office?


Sangeeta Patni said...

Have a Happy Period takes the cake for being the corniest line ever! I am sure a man wrote it, and a council of men approved it - because no sane woman could have not walked away with disgust at such a line.

Which woman can wish another a happy period? A time when a woman feels bloated, out of sorts, messy - to say the least, and just wants the darned thing to be over!

Its like saying Happy Constipation to a fellow sufferer...

- Sangeeta

ZB said...

i ditto Sangeeta..LOLs, very rightly said. :)

John said...


Yeah, I agree a man wrote it and a council of men approved it. Agree it is also the corniest line ever worthy of the bad copy award.

ZB, Sangeeta, thanks for your comments.


Neha said...

sangeeta said it all...really disgusting on part of the whole team...

I loved the daag ache hai one...lol...:)


There are women who enjoy 'period' as it is a special thing of their womanhood, a time to get away from daily work etc---ravi