Sunday, April 4, 2010

After Cadbury's - Havells follows suit?

Some days ago, I wrote about Cadbury's TV ads going from bad to worse. over the years. Now another company which had caught people's attention with their catchy ads seems to be going the same way. I am referring to Havells of course.
The ad I am talking about is doing its rounds on TV currently. I am sure you have all seen it, but just in case, here's the summary.
A hangman 'delivers' the criminal to the noose and walks back distraught to his home. As he enters his dark home, he switches on the light and the voice over says "जिंदगी में हम सबको पाप करना पड़ता है, तो क्योँ ना पुण्य कमा ले ... बिजली बचा के. Havells CFL ज्यादा बिजली बचाए." We all have to commit sins in our lives. So why not also do a good deed. By saving electricity. Havells saves power etc etc etc.
I am quite stumped by this ad. I do understand the need to save power and am all for it. Really. ALL the lamps in my home are CFL. Its another matter that they are not Havells! 
Is it really necessary to twist this issue to such extent to make people understand it only in the light of (sorry, pun not intended) sin and virtue and morality and all that? The chasm between sin and virtue in the ad is far too stretched, I think. On a silly note, are they saying that the hangman won't feel guilty pulling the lever once he has fitted  his home with CFL lamps? It's somewhat like bathing in the Ganga once a year. Commit all the sins that you want to for 364 days, then visit Hardwar once.
On a parallel note, there is a strange link between this issue and my earlier posts about punishment. Particularly death sentence. Does the hangman really commit a sin, or is he doing his duty? I can understand what a hangman must feel like. No matter how duty-bound one is, it surely must not be easy to pull the plug on someone else's life.
Be that as it may, please convert from using conventional bulbs to CFL if you haven't already done so. It makes sense. Sins or no sins.
For the inquisitive ones, the ad has been made by Lowe Lintas.


Vinay said...

This is what happens when you have unlimited channels running 24 hrs? You need to just flood the advertisement space to make sure your product catches attention.

In the DD days, the time for the programmes was restricted and hence the advertising time too. That restriction did force ad makers to come up with catchy ads which would have to take you by the storm, else the product would be lost.

Pushkaraj said...

@ Vinay - I think it should work the other way round, right? Today the viewer is spoilt for choice and can switch channels at will. It is common practice to surf channels as soon as the commercial break happens. In such case, companies actually need to have better ads to catch people's attention.
That's all my conjecture. You do have a point there...

Giri said...

I haven't seen the ad you describe in your post, but it sounds pretty awful. I guess some bright light bulb (pun intended) at the said company's ad agency came up with the idea!

Vinay said...


It is human tendency! The scarcer the resources, the more innovative or creative is its utilisation!! So, if I can achieve visibility just by flooding my advertisements, why should I care too much about quality?

Pushkaraj said...

@ Giri - Thanks for visiting. It appears that you are not an IPL T20 fan. If you are following the matches then you just can't miss the ad.
@ Vinay - Hmmm. I am no media expert. I was trying to figure out a common-sense explanation to the equation between media exposure and media quality. Maybe you are right....

Mary in India said...

Haven't you noticed a lot of Indian commercials are like this? I have. I'm sure you've seen the series of ones including Amir Khan and 'Incredible India' campaign. I esp think the one where he makes the guy who returns the woman's purse out to be a "hero". I thought that was funny. They actually call a man a hero for NOT stealing when he could have. It should be the normal thing to do, no? Many people in this country remain uneducated, I believe this is why these commercials are so extreme at times. They're covering a huge audience that is India, educated or not.

Pushkaraj said...

@ Mary in India - Thanks for the comment. Maybe you have observed this phenomenon, while we in India are so much a part of it that it often doesn't strike us as odd.
In one of my earlier posts on advertising, Swati had made a very relevant comment that agencies face the problem of addressing a VAST variety of population with the same communication. So I suppose they want to achieve some kind of a 'least common denominator'