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     Volume 10 |Issue 44 | November 25, 2011 |


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Bad Ad Fad


The judiciary has recently questioned the validity of paid news on television. This is perhaps because the situation is really going out of hand. And the examples are for you to judge, for example, Flat Tyre headlines, Hard Brake break, False Teeth main news, then again a Toxic Ship Breakers break, followed by Slip Disc sports, and Acme Umbrella weather. Even the end of the news is sponsored by Goodbye Travels.

The advantage these channels or for that matter even a newspaper has is that 'in good times business people want to advertise; in bad times they have to'.

It is all very good that the media companies are making a lot of money, which is one of the reasons why they are in the business and thriving. But, given their adopted sacrosanct policy, would it be possible for a TV channel (or for that matter a radio station up to similar monetary melange) to air a genuine news against (say) a pharmaceutical company that was paying for that very news to be aired? So the obvious turn of events would see the genuine news to be concocted, partly if not wholly, to save the sponsoring company. That would be a disservice to the nation the media is committed to serve.

Other than the TV, they are everywhere: on your freshly painted wall, on your car's windscreen, on the trees, buildings, over-bridges, underside of boats, and down on the pavement. The advertiser assumes that any empty space is for the taking and seeks no permission. Therefore, one fine morning, you find a notice pasted on your boundary wall, 'For Sale'. At the commencement of a heart attack, you have the wisdom to take a closer look and realise while coughing that someone is selling his car, but hey! on your wall. To save lives advertisers and peddlers of various commodities must begin to show respect to others' property and that of the government, which they firmly believe is theirs, which it is but unfortunately not solely theirs.

Too much advertisement can be bad. Or, is it? I found this on the net.

Joe: I can't understand why you failed in business. Pete: Too much advertising.
Joe: What do you mean too much advertising? You never spent a dime on advertising.
Pete: That's true, but my competitors did.

But, you cannot stop advertising to save money as that would be like stopping your watch to save time, they say.

Not much in it for the sceptic because times are such that it is a necessary for business, fata-fati, as the advocate of commercials may say, but then an overdose may be fatal. And, great thinkers have taken time off from their thinking to jot down a line or two on the business of advertisement.

Mark Twain, the author, not known so much as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, said, 'Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising'. Did he mean any of our cricketers?

William Shakespeare was philosophical: 'We are advertised by our loving friends.' And I say, dis-advertised by our enemies, although I am no Shakespeare.

Politicians take a different view and a swipe as they do of everything around them, including of their constituency after an election. So said, I believe, Thomas Jefferson that 'Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper'.

Advertisement has flourished over time and shall remain to be rebuked and enjoyed because it is natural in human behaviour. Its strength lies in its ability to arouse the imagination. You have got to catch the twist, not all of which are so designed. Here are some that emerged as involuntary quips in different newspapers, thankfully not in ours:

* Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home, too.
* We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.
* Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.
* Man wanted to work in dynamite factory. Must be willing to travel.
* Used Cars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first!
* Wanted. Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.
* Mixing bowl set designed to please a cook with round bottom for efficient beating.

The reason why I embarked on this discussion on adverts is to throw light on a serious matter. There is a TV ad doing the round for some time that imitates the sequence, wordings, and intonation used in real life by devastated family and friends announcing the loss of a child they are desperately looking for. Every time the imitated harano biggoptee is seen and heard by parents and the near ones of a child really lost they cannot but relive the agony of a lost child never found. Such insensitive and distasteful ads should not be allowed. The call for stricter censure and censor of public advertisements can only grow louder than the speakers used by the TV ad.




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