Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Papaa is at Mudra!

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Invitations for Mudra’s 30th Year celebrations were sent out rather unconventionally! A large hoarding can be seen in Gariahat inviting Balki, who had started his journey at Mudra, beckoning him to visit his old agency.

I remember coming across another hoarding concerning Bobby Pawar, the line in which was something to the effect of, ‘Bobby you’re in charge of the bar!’ This Billboard, if my memory serves me correctly was near the Salt Lake bypass. I went back to photograph it a couple of days after I discovered it to find that it had been removed so, tough luck!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I caught the Rin advertisement last week on one of the more prominent television channel and to be honest it didn’t register at first glance. Long after the ad had run its course I was running the visuals in my head, masticating, trying to digest the sheer blatancy of it all, “Am I seeing things or have they actually done this?” Well, turns out they really have. Sad but true. I cringed in my jammies as they showed Tide ‘Naturals’ (I’ll get there a little later) and Rin side by side as the voice over said, “Rin is better than Tide”. Well that’s advertising Harakiri right there, disparagement in its purest, defamation et all, litigation on the cards and surely enough, in a few days a prominent business channel announced that P&G had gone crying to court.

One may argue that the Proctor & Gamble’s trepidation is unnecessary; the Dabur India v. Colortek Meghalaya (February 2010) decision as passed by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court says that it is possible that aggressive or catchy advertising could cause a partial or temporary damage to the aggrieved party/brand but finally it’s the customer who is the final adjudicator in deciding what they want, I see this as a classic example of what I would like to christen, a seemingly harmless ‘Corporate Shaitaani’ on the part of HUL whose agenda seems to have been; ‘Air it on prime time TV a few times till the lawyer’s notice comes through, then can it, at least people will yapp about it for sometime…litigation or not it’s a win-win!’; a ‘Kamikaze’ advertisement!

This, albeit, cannot hold true in the present controversy as the advertisement in question reflects an illegal transgression of commercial speech; false, misleading, unfair, deceptive and proposing illegal transactions. Its textbook disparagement.

Simply put, you put two products next to each other and declare one is better than the other on prime time TV, no matter how cushioned you are by data and research reports from third party testing agencies, you’re begging for litigation.

And that’s not it. There’s more. On the one hand the ad attempts to exalt Rin’s superior whitening power vis-à-vis that of Tide, replete with the former’s trademark thunderous benediction from heaven; on the other, they show ‘Tide Naturals’? Turns out, Rin is cheaper than Tide Naturals and Tide Naturals is not Tide. I don’t get it.

All that aside, the Rin-Tide squabble is the latest entrant to the bandwagon that advertising disparagement is and my bet is, there shall be more.

Kamikaze advertising maybe a pain in the corporate derriere but one cannot deny that the theory has its plusses;

You enter surreptitiously just when most of your target audiences are ensconced comfortably before their television sets. Start running your ads fervently in every commercial break on every television channel. Shock and awe! Blitzkreig! Considerable harm to rival brand’s image. Consumers cannot get over the advertisements as your product is imprinted in their minds. Lawyer’s notice arrives at your office. Court awards injunction to rival company. Your ad gets off air and disappears somewhere in the court’s cause list. Blogs and discussions sprout all over the web. Business channels get hysterical. Your job is done!

Frankly I am not one for violence. I prefer a quiet game of chess instead. It makes much more advertising sense. Ask Audi and BMW…