March 14, 2010

BEKAAR Advertising…Indian advertising hits a new low!

A bikini clad woman coming out of water and walkingon the shore…suddenly the reel stops and voice over saying “isme kuch khaas hai, isme jaan hai – JKS Cement. Can I please ask the relation between cement and a semi-bare woman walking on the beach??

This is just one example of DEGRADED  ADVERTISING, there are a lot more playing on TV these days.

I agree that advertising is all about creating a recall in the minds of viewers but does that mean drawing a co-relation between nude woman and cement, or a blind man’s masculinity and his inner wear.  This can again be translated into a question – SO, IS ANY Publicity good PUBLICITY? Certainly not. There is an image that a company has and the job of an ad is to enhance that image not make a mockery of it.

So, when Akshay Kumar acts as a blind man and stops a bank robbery, one thing a NORMAL person pledges is…NEVER TO BUY Dollar club or when a horny monky is playing with a brand of undergarments (I don’t remember the name and neither do I wish to), you can do nothing else but get irritated and change the channel. Just when I’m writing this…I’m seeing a BEKAAR Havell’s fan ad…pity!

Some questions to the companies – Don’t you guys check the sensibilities of advertisements that go in your name? Do you guys measure the success that your advertisements give you or are randomly loading your ad agencies with budgets? You hired an ad agency to create awareness/enhance image or make people irritated and pledge not to even see your product again?

Questions to advertising agencies – Do you guys think that the advertisements these days are QUALITY? Are you sure that these ad’s are creating a POSITIVE impact on the viewers?

Have you forgotten David Ogilvy’s words –  “I don’t regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information”

All said and done…as there are all kinds of people, there are all kinds of ad’s…some good and some bad…I do not mean to degrade all the ads, I have my set of favorites like VODAFONE, HCL, HP, AIRTEL, HDFC, Coke etc) but watching the above mentioned ads has irritated me enough to write about this. .

What do you think of this, do share your views?


  1. Gautam

    This is really interesting…

  2. LOL!! Really, when i had seen that JK Cement ad i was left scratching my head as to what is this ad implying!!! Well written. Advertisers seriously need to know where to draw the line between informing and irritating.

  3. Hey….while I cant agree more on the poor idea bit for those brands…but quite honestly, u gotta act cheap to get noticed….the very fact that we are talking about ads like JKS and Toying shit is a testament to the fact that the campaign caught the eye ( that is what the campaign is made for). Why would a underwear brand worry for brand image, ultimately its about selling things….also the ad agencies dont need to win creative awards for every ad they do, they also have to showcase return on investment for their clients….not trying to justify the creative impoverishment, just giving a pragmatic view of the industry… 🙂

  4. vishalgaba

    @Gautam – Yes, it is

    @Srijoy – Advertising agencies need to pull up their socks or it will be a problem!

    @Nitin – Totally disagree with you…and as I have mentioned above is it only to make people talk..what about the Negative image that you create?
    And why wouldn’t and undergarments brand worry of the brand image?
    Creative advertising does not mean leave the sensibilities and correlation behind..does it?

  5. Well, advertising and brand publicity is surely hitting trademark lows here in India…

    Nowadays, cheap is good and good is cheap. Advertisers and companies want to be noticed and so they resort to such cheap and meaningless methods. We have women dancing to promote a soap, pan masala, there’s this stupid sequels of Kurkure ads and so much more…

    In fact, there’s so much to say on this topic. I’ve written on this topic in a very interactive manner. Please do check it out at 5 Examples Of Brainless Marketing

    At the same time, we should also commend the fact that some advertisements are really creative. Take the case of Vodafone Zoozoo or even those superb Amul ads.

    What do you think about it, Vishal?

  6. @Nitin – Totally disagree with you…and as I have mentioned above is it only to make people talk..what about the Negative image that you create?
    And why wouldn’t and undergarments brand worry of the brand image?
    Creative advertising does not mean leave the sensibilities and correlation behind..does it?

    See the target audience and the impact on the sales is the most critical factor for some ad campaigns, every campaign cannot be a brand building initiative. If the toying bit can stimulate sales….as a marketing manager, I shud not be worried. Cheap and effective are two different things…..sometime the companies need to choose one…the ad agencies cant push ads unless the clients approve so try and get a hang of what are the marketing managers at the client’s end thinking.

  7. vishalgaba

    @ Parth – totally agree with what you have written
    The only expression I have on my face when I see such products is like ‘YUCK’. I hope somebody reads our posts and listens to us- Please change the advertising campaigns that you are undertaking…they are not helping you at all!

    @ Nitin – Sorry, but I still think these campaigns do not increase the sales…have you started buying Kurkure post seeing these ads or is it that you JUST PICK UP.
    I am for sure not with you on this that such campaigns actually help increase sales.

    Stupid advertising is one thing(what Bingo did and was successful)…Rubbish & Cheap advertising is something else!

  8. @ Vishal
    You are ignoring rural India where the creative sensibilites are not understood very well….the ads that you are calling cheap might very well stimulate sales there…think of a not so well educated rural Indian…such ads certainly create that curiosity….the protagonists in the ads are not sophisticated urbanites…those are villagers….the TG of that ad is primarily that audience….cheap but effective

  9. vishalgaba

    @Nitin – I don’t think the rural India buys undergarments when they see monkey’s playing with them or they buy JK cement when they see a girl coming out of a beach. You also need to remember that they are the most price conscious and will evaluate the product before making a purchase!

  10. @vishal

    Dude they are price conscious and thats why u dont sell Tommy Hilfigher to them and hence the advertisement has to be something that catches attention without much creative orientation…..anyways we can have our opinions as it is The Opinion. 🙂

  11. vishalgaba

    I agree…only with the last bit…that all of us can have our opinions as I still don’t agree with what you are saying:0

  12. @vishalgaba
    No I agree with your opinion but find that it is a little too constrained…

  13. If getting noticed would have meant buying the product then Amul Macho would have been the highest selling undergarment brand in India, Lux Cozi would have been a close second and Ibibo would have been the hottest networking site in India. The melons ad for virtual farming of Ibibo has ben dipped with a lot of double meaning and should have been be either banned or edited. I wonder what the Advertising Standards India’s role is in today’s vulgar ads context.

    At the end of the day its not about just getting noticed but also about why are people noticing you, for what reason, has there been a brand value created, brand equity grown. If not then the essence of adveritisng has been lost…

  14. @Parekhit
    Product utility probably matters most but….baalti’s are no good because u cant store water on the web….I agree that there are a lot of factors that influence consumer behavior towards a product or company but we need to consider that there is a categorical difference between a brand building and sales driven ad campaign…..

  15. sowmya

    Yes I had the same reaction to the J.K.Cement ad but at least those folks did not pretend not to like having to display semi clad women like in the Parle Ad that introduced new snacks.
    Yet the second one was funny and no will ask “What is the connection?”

  16. I am still in the process of deciphering the ad and its meaning. Good take!

  17. I come out confused after watching these ads. If advertising could build and shape brands, then the recent JK cement ad and many like it are doing a poor job of it. However if it is recall and awareness then yes it has made an impact. So really the question should be to the marketer. What was he trying to achieve?

  18. vishalgaba

    @parekhit – totally agree with you on this
    @Sowmya – Well, its funny the kind of ads that are being made these days!
    @Mohan – Lol…i bet you woin’t be able to figure it out :)…Thanks 🙂
    @Mansi – I think you are right on this…but its hard to believe that companies are looking JUST to make an impact…but yes, you brought out an interesting aspect!

  19. Completely agree Vishal… there is just too much trash out there. I just couldn’t believe the JK Cement ad when I saw it first. It proves that ‘creativity’ and ‘common sense’ are both scarce…

  20. @nitin: So do you mean to say the JK cement, Amul Macho and Ibibo ads are sales driven ad campaign???

  21. @Parekhit

    JK cement – No

    Amul Macho- Yes

    Ibibo- Worst of all campaigns, no purpose at all

    It seems I am trying to defend poor creative efforts in the garb of commercial sensitivity…not at all guys, I just had a different perspective on Amul Macho :)…I hate it as much as u guys 🙂

  22. Very interesting post
    I agree with every line of it
    I had written such a post 2 yrs back on the ads, the link is provided in the website plz checkout and comment.
    And i would like to say that, even thought there are worse ads but still ads from vodafone and idea are awesome, inculcating abstractness, innovation and social responsibility. But i think the majority of ads is still better than those jingle senseless and cringing ads , on news channels

  23. Interesting, very interesting.

  24. Thanks Vishal.
    Interesting observations and follow-up comments.
    Behind the great Ogilvy quote that you use is his (obsessive?) drive for results.
    I’ve only seen the JK ad.
    It looks tacky and ultra low budget.
    However, if the cost of production and distribution is exceeded by the amount of resulting new business then perhaps the JK folk are onto a good thing.
    Perhaps someday there will be a “polluter pays” tax on people who put out tacky ads.
    In the meantime, the bottom feeders can still survive and thrive.

  25. vishalgaba

    @ Seb – Thanks 🙂

    I like your concept of ‘polluter pays’…if such a concept is implemented across all domains…people could be saved from a lot of crap 🙂

  26. I used to be proud of Indian ads when compared generally to the global ad quality. In fact, ads were the only thing I would watch on TV (apart from Sarabhai). Now, I have stopped watching TV altogether except when forced with loud volume over dinner. (sigh)…

    • vishalgaba

      Well yes, its been a sad time for Indian advertising. More and more companies are opting for ‘any publicity is good publicity’ funda which in my view is totally wrong!

  27. Truden

    I agree…there are some really really rubbish ads floating around these days!

    • vishalgaba

      Totally agree with you

  28. That was a very interesting post! I have always fumed at such mindless ads that think that the viewers a bunch of dodos. The indignation is well aimed; let’s hope the admen creating such ads take notice!

    • vishalgaba

      Thanks…I sincerely hope so too…it is irritating (to say the least) to see these ads!

  29. vishalgaba

    @ Husain – Yes, that was the time…when u had some really CREATIVE ads…

    @Truden – Totally agree with you

    @Zephyr – Thanks…I sincerely hope so too…it is irritating (to say the least) to see these ads!

  30. Reema

    I agree…don’t know what has happened to ad agencies these days…I guess the formula is “do whatever…but people should talk about us”…and that’s sad!!

    • vishalgaba

      That is very sad because…it might create so much negativity around the product that it could cause more harm than doing good.!

  31. overdose of creams, oils, deos and shampoos. Its absurd how long one has to wait to get back to the program. sometimes I even forget. why can’t they show one ad and introduce like 3 products. “is your hair falling? try new ABC! ….or …. try DEF! …. or …. see our next ad”

  32. vishalgaba

    @Diabolic Preacher – LOl…that’s a good idea Diabolic…its actually shocking to see such ‘sad’ ads these days!

  33. Nice succinct comment on the status quo of Indian Advertising…they really need to introspect and ask themselves some serious questions before they bring the next one out. It is downright annoying to have these terrible ads forced down out throats on every channel possible and making the television experience miserable. Only some good work out there saves the sanity I guess…

    • vishalgaba

      Yes, and its getting worse…!

  34. surely i m agree wid u Vishal.. n thanks for voting my post n visiting.

    • vishalgaba

      Thanks Nisha 🙂

  35. Hi Vishal,
    this is a very good one and I agree with you one hundred percent. The horny monkey playing with undies is the worst ever ad I have seen. Yuck!
    Thanks for all your votes. I am sorry that I have been lax in voting on your stories – only I understand very less of technology. But I really loved this gem. 🙂

    • vishalgaba

      Hey Sundari – yes, the levels are just going down and down…don’t know what to expect next!

  36. saksham

    Think like this… sometimes companies deliberately make such ads inorder to have more brand recall…

    sometime back, nobody knew JK cement, now every1 knows it irrespective of the quality of ad.. or for that matter, Amul macho, u will always recall it for the horny monkey in it…

    such type of advertising is a call which company/ad agency takes to increase public recall which maynot actually result in sales increase.

    Now think a level further, now that every1 knows JK cement, company can start making sensible ads after a few months, which could actually increase the sales.. which is basically splitting the brand recall and increase in sales..

    hope it made some sense…

  37. vishalgaba

    Hey Saksham – While I agree that these ads result in awareness as well as recall but what kind of awareness or recall? Negative…and if they make sensible ads right away…they would obviously be noticed. Case in point – celebrity nothing..simple yet creative advertising resulting in positive impact on the company.

  38. Well, the ads back in India are still better than those catering to the indian diaspora.
    Not only do they include this woman-in-bikini-stuff but also have poor graphics, half-ass imagery, bad music and generally a very cut price feel.

    I don’t feel nice about the sort of impression other people are getting about indians through the advertisement. More thought and time should be given to them. Even though im an indian from india (i moved to houston 6 months ago), i find these ads obnoxious

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