Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cheap commercials don't make for safer sex

This brand, not in my knowledge, had been around in the market long enough to gain enough recognition to finally launch a steamy ad on television. Despite their best efforts, the ad still lacked the cinematographic class akin to the (in)famous Kamasutra ad of long ago, which many marvelled for its sensual appeal and most condemned for making their sets fume.

Manforce. The very name repels me. And this is almost the last straw of my frustration with the depiction of 'safe sex' by the Indian media for the mass. I don't know why are people still scratching their heads over how and why there as many cases of rape and abuse in this country as no other? With an advertisement that gives him poetic license and contraceptive ads showing pregnancy as entirely a woman's headache, the Indian lay man is roaring to go at her. Its, anyway, ironical how a means of 'protection' can be tagged as 'force'.

The contraceptive ads are only more parochial than the fairness cream ones. Even for married couples, sex is deemed as "Kal raat, bhool ho gayi" (We made a mistake last night). There are some, including those low budget Doordarshan kinds, that are shot with more sensitivity especially suited to the Indian mass and without the judgmental hint.

Strangely, though, I haven't heard a single social cause raising its voice against the messages (overt and the covertly hypnotic) that these advertisements are sending out. I don't deny that many of these ads are only replicating what is said on ground by almost everyone. However, there should be a sense of corporate ethics to not encourage those views that they do to make their product more homely but to revolutionize on rotten myths. The Govt. should play a moral police here, where it actually requires to, by not giving such product labels and ad concepts the clean chit. The greatest of contentions I have is with the Indian media, with all their liberty and opinion, are less into sensitizing and more into sensationalizing.

Sex and/or sexuality is too pertinent an issue in this country to be hushed or taken for granted or worse, hoaxely depicted. Existent rates and vile incidents of abuse, population accomodation, an impending AIDS epidemic, gendered violence are not humanitarian issues anymore but emergencies of survival, both physical and psychological. Its a clear cut choice of restoring maladaptive traditions at the cost of restoring humanity.

1 comment:

  1. I can't stop drooling at how you use long compound sentences and still make a lot of sense lol fanboy :P

    As for the "Ads"; when I was working at Getty we worked on a product brief sent by an agency for a client launching a new condom brand, we had to look for images of a man in control, the keywords were force, control, dominance, and marlboroish so basically the idea was to sell condoms like they were cigraettes, object of expression. And that is what most other condom BRANDS do, they are selling cheap latex using attractive packaging and media material, not advocating safe sex. The Doordarshan ads you referred to are designed to convey the idea of need for safe sex to the same audience, they are not selling any product.
    for oral contraception it's the same, i-pill is a product malaD is an idea for social awareness.

    you are absolutely right about the miss communication that happens with these sleazy ads, especially urban poor and working class, and talking of media ethics, the government has a whole set of confusing legal clauses which at times are contradictory, and everyhting ends with the premise of a clear headed judgement based on observation from a marginal standpoint, and if we know anything that's certain it is that Marginal Stand point got fucked long back and replaced by a Dominant Standpoint whose variables include Money. And most people working as media managers, strat and planning and even with goverment agencies concerned with media regulations are mostly dumbos who screwed four years at an engineering college then used their math powers to get into a so called premiere management school not people like me who have a an Arts degree or spent an year studying media ethisc and law.
    And for the NgOs what can they do, rhetoric is long dead or at least on the cross and bleeding, the consumer(janata) is adamant to recieve messages that tickle fear, and will in all probability suck for happiness, sexual or eye candy in media content.
    Restoring Humanity, such a noble dream has no soldiers to fight for.
    Viva La Vida