As I was non-chalantly browsing the TV last weekend, an advertisement caught my attention. It was the Indian AD for Quaker Oats. A pretty lady comes down and throws a statement saying that a husband’s life is precious and if you really want to take care of his heart , feed him the low cholesterol Quaker oats everyday !

That really set me thinking. Yes, husbands and their lives and hearts are  indeed important. But why should an advertisement nudge a woman to take care of only her husband’s heart? Isn’t her heart or any other lady’s out there as precious as his??

Although we talk a lot of women’s liberalization, promotion of their rights, provide for their security and protection, at the core of it, the perception of a woman and what the society thinks she needs to deliver in this eco system has inherently not changed much. At least not in the AD world. While the advertising Directors have become very creative and interesting, there is no paradigm shift in their basic gender specific conceptualisation I feel.

You see that the Ads for Detergents , Cleaning agents , Room fresheners, Toilet Cleaners, Cooking ranges  et al, always showcase women. Its always the  good ‘Mom’ or the “Wife “ role that is portrayed. A petite lady needs to use “Mr.Muscle” to keep her kitchen tiles sparkling. Why can’t just her own Mr.Muscle do the job instead? I am surprised that even macho ladies like Ms. Kiran Bedi are shown in Detergent ADs. She could beat the hell out of criminals and have fought the toughest men, but still, the woman who goes back home to authenticate the brand of the detergent that she uses….Ariel  oxy blue! 

Occassionally, you do see a man..oh yeah, the sexy Khan saying ‘Hi…Hi…” only to woo his partner who has done the laundry,with Active Wheel! I would have been delighted to see her saying ‘Bye..Bye…” while he scrubbed the clothes! Impossible…a super star, a male, seen doing a simple household chore. No way, what a shame!

On the other hand, an AD for a Smart phone – yes, now it’s the man’s world! While I liked the “BlackBerry”  jingle which did drive home the point that it was not meant for just professionals but also for mundane people, the first part was clearly only the dancing Blackberry Boys! Why couldn’t there have been a couple of professional ladies too shown out there? Why not a BlackBerry Gal? Beats me! I have been using one and a great fan of it too since 5+ years! I’m sure there are many more users just like me.

And then, you have the Paint Ads, Nerolac, Asian Paints etc where the great Khans Sharukh and Saif  jump in to show their colourful tastes and artistic talent to the vulnerable women of the households. And guess what, all they have to do is splash some colours around and lo and behold, there is a masterpiece!

How about the four wheelers ? Ofcourse it’s truly a man’s arena again! It’s tough to find ladies in the Automotive domain anyway…but how many women don’t drive their cars to their work places invariably after dropping the kids off at school, do shopping in the evening, visit their parents on the way back and may be even come back and pose for a beverage AD! Nope, only a man knows the worth of something as sophisticated as a machine on four wheels!

Well, the list is quite long. But let that be!

Irrespective of what the AD world portrays the precious ladies as, the women in India have come a  long way from ancient India having fought various challenges . You may click here if you are interested. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_India.  There are so many credit worthy professionals in various fields which will require another blog for me to elaborate. Hail the Ladies! Hail their confidence!

Before I sign off, lets just take a moment and think of a world without these women. Going by the above,  there would be men hanging around in stained and dirty clothes, stinking kitchens, eating junk , obese and maybe even dropping dead on the road because of high cholesterol food, chatting on their BBs with their gay friends and driving , again to a dirty office and reeking toilets! They would at least be sitting in colourful homes I guess.

Ahhh…men! 🙂


14 Responses

  1. Hema,
    Cholestrol in Tamil = kozhuppu. The ad copy writer may have been a woman who thought that Indian men had too much kozhuppu in them.

    Again, gotta appreciate men’s charitable thoughts worldwide; men think so highly of women hence the scantily clad women in SUV pictures. The scantily clad may not have been the idea of a man.

    • Hey Mangs,
      Good to catch you here! Yep, the kozhuppu part may be true! Would love to deep dive into the subject withyou sometime 🙂

  2. Hema, I don’t see what the problem is… It is equally split though… Isn’t equality the goal…You do want everything, don’t you women? … 🙂

    I never really understood the idea of ADs. I do agree that there is a minimum marketing appeal needed to get someone’s attention to watch an advt. But, if the advt is masked by a really good looking guy/gal, I think the purpose is lost… I like cute babies and hot chicks.. But, I am not going to buy a product just for them..;)

  3. Argh!!!! MEN !!! 🙄 Amen!!

  4. Argh!! ADS !!! 🙄 AMEN!
    Argh!! blackberrys!! 🙄 AMEN !! 🙂 🙂

  5. Ouch. We poor men !! We already get beaten down everywhere …. ! Spare us some small mercies like not doing the laundry or the dishes :):):)

  6. I wouldn’t blame it on Ad agencies. If they don’t succeed they would have stopped long back. Smart/Good ad alone bring more ads to that company.. products/companies should see a correlation.

    I don’t know what is the metric they use to measure ad effectiveness but some of the big companies..(Surf, Colgate/Close-up etc. comes to my mind) with heavy market pretty much put others out of market. Particular brand becomes synonymous with the product.

    Detergents, Cooking ads target women who watch serials in the evening. They are the biggest audience. Modern women who is working full time doesn’t have time to watch these ads and hence are not the targets.

    Finally coming to men/women disparity, it is everywhere. It is showing up in different forms in different place.

    • Sri….cool…have just written in a lighter vein.
      I may not be part of the target audience for those ADs. But still, even for the complete house makers, it reiterates the fact that they are supposed to do those chores and do it well. When do we change that mindset is what I am wondering.

  7. Ha! My pet grievance…blogged about this a while back in http://nourishncherish.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/i-dare/

    Somehow, could not stomach somebody like Kiran Bedi urging women to wash husband’s socks

  8. You’re right. Ads can be irritating … and sexist … and stereotypical … and just plain stupid … and that seems to be consistent all over the world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: