Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On the deplorable state of TV advertising

Have you seen the ads for BSNL and Tata broadband connections, in which Preity Zinta and Kajol try to convince us that their respective internet connections are the best? Kajol tells us that she uses Tata Indicom, and urges us to do the same. Obviously, Kajol's vast knowledge of xDSL technologies and frequency bandwidths easily qualify her as an expert on broadband internet connectivity. So naturally, she is the person to consult if you are looking to get a broadband connection at home. And, if you want to get a landline connection, who better to guide you than Preity, who after painstakingly analysing the merits and demerits of all the other available options in the market, has arrived at the conclusion that BSNL is the best.

Look at these mobile phone adverts. Pay special attention to the people who are using the phones being advertised. Is this what mobile phone companies think their customers look like? Maybe.


Whereas in reality, the people who actually use these mobile phones look like this:-



Why then, are normal ugly people not featured in these ads? Don't ugly people form images on negative photographic film, and hence cannot be used in photo shoots? Are mobile phone companies which use good looking models in their adverts eligible for generous tax concessions under The Income Tax Act, 1961? Are Good looking models cheaper than the bad looking ones, so it is cheaper to produce an ad with good looking faces? Are ugly people rare to find? Is it far easier and quicker to find a good looking girl instead?

Maybe the beautiful models look like and represent the targeted demographic segment for the mobile phones, and since companies are forever competing with each other to grab the biggest possible share of the market, it stands to reason that a vast majority of people in India are extremely pretty girls.

Or maybe it was pure happenstance that for a long time went unnoticed. ("Hey!! By the way, did you notice all our ads have had pretty models in them?" "Whoa! Yes!! It had absolutely slipped my attention!")

But I think its because the people in the ad agency figure that people who watch the ad think that because a good looking girl uses the phone, they should also use it. A pretty person is more persuasive than an ugly person. That should obviously be true, because the last time I checked, Priyanka Chopra had convinced more people to buy toilet soaps than Stephen Hawking had.