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Posts Tagged ‘Rowdy Rathore’

We appear to be living in an age of profanities and vulgarity. Be it our advertisements or movies, the content is becoming increasingly bold. If self-restraint does not get exercised soon, we could end up becoming a society of the most frustrated youth, forever on the lookout for an easy outlet for its innate urges and profane tendencies. The world-wide-web already has us in a thrall, leading to an exponential increase in the influence of these forms of entertainment.

Titillation and Commercial Success 

Cinematic content these days makes one rather immune to all the dare-and-bare acts. After an overdose of cleavages and thunder thighs, one only carries a feeling of contempt and disgust. Show of skin has become a necessary evil, the language has become expletive-laden and the lyrics somewhat soul-less. Titillation leading to commercial success is surely the name of the game today; social mores and cultural values appear to have taken a back seat.

From the days of delicate handling of romantic overtures (like Mughal-e-Azam, Guide and several others), we now have petite heroines mouthing profanities in movies like Who Killed Jessica, Ishqia et al.the-dirty-picture-02-s

In The Dirty Picture, in a particularly offensive shot, the heroine’s tummy is demonstrated to be effective in converting a raw egg into a half-fried version! Our hapless housewives who in the recent past were chasing a higher quota of subsidized cooking gas would surely approve of this environment friendly way of discharging their cooking responsibilities.

Lure, Offend and Succeed!

The advertising has become crude and offensive. In the 1980’s, Doordarshan used to beam the serial Ramayan into our drawing rooms. During breaks, it would also show a simple ad of Mala-D, a contraceptive pill for women. Once my daughter, all of four years then, was prompted to openly wonder if Sita-ji used Mala-D tablets to ensure that she conceived Luv and Kush only after a gap of more than fourteen years!

These days, we have enticing and naughty ads of condoms being promoted on some channels, depicting PYTs with hour-glass figures seductively disrobing themselves while sashaying down into a bedroom. One really pities today’s poor parents who have to answer a barrage of searching questions from curious children while keeping a straight face.

In the 1990’s, a Cadbury advertisement showed a comely nymph rushing into a cricket field and breaking into an impromptu jig, while another one promoting Liril soap was depicted dancing her way into our hearts under a waterfall. Now, we have a young Nokia user scaring an ‘aunty’ by displaying rash driving skills on his phone, while a Pepsi campaign keeps aside any pretensions of decorum and mocks the Indian cricket team!

Internet-ional Advertising

Entry of internet is proving to be a game changer. Marketing plans are increasingly being tweaked to use this platform, so as to reach the target segments more effectively. Despite the restricted availability of broadband in India, young and old alike are getting addicted to internet at a faster pace.

Increasingly, brands are getting wired to digital space. The creative juices of our advertising honchos now appear to be targeting social media platforms, and TV appears to be grudgingly yielding precious space and revenue to the web. Eventually, the two are getting together, offering a seamless experience to today’s highly connected generation.

According to YouTube sources, more than 70% of its viewers in India are less than 35 years of age. Also, 30% of its views in India are through mobile phones. This indicates the potential of penetration internet has in the marketing and advertising space.

Several prominent brands have faced the music over indecent content in their promos on the web. Smart ones have been quick to apologize and withdraw such content. Goes on to show that there is a limit to which sex and violence can help in selling products and services. The belief that higher ‘shock value’ results into higher sales in the long run is a doubtful proposition.

Is Audience Really The King?

Speak to either a movie maker or an advertising honcho, and the argument invariably is that they have a need to ‘connect’ with the younger audiences these days. But, can one really blame it all on the audience? For every “Rowdy Rathore”, a “Ferrari Ki Savaari” also hits the screens. There are several advertisements one can easily enjoy with the entire family.

According to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI), only around 121 million of 1.2 billion Indians are logged on to the web. Of these, only 2% 0r 2.2 million in rural India have access to the same. We are therefore talking of urban, young and tech-savvy audience which is said to be at the helm of defining what is popular in culture and content. One would rather admire today’s youth who have the courage of conviction to stand up for probity and justice for many of our social ills, much unlike their earlier generation.

In their relentless pursuit of higher visibility and better margins, most makers of movies and advertisements go for higher ‘shock value’ in their products. Our cultural values and a basic sense of decency appear to have gone into oblivion. Those who create content appear to be placing a higher premium on salaciousness and commerce rather than on civility and social mores.

Twenty Years Hence!

Twenty years down the road, when the babies brought up in present obscenity-ridden times become discerning adults, and when the youth of today assume the status of ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’, the trend may well reverse itself. The need for our dream merchants and creative minds then would be to ‘connect’ with a different profile of target audience, possibly brining in products which are more sober and decent in their content. One does hope for the same!

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