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January 13, 2014

Depiction of women in Indian advertising

Advertising is the window to the society. It is a story told in a minute. Thus it is not surprising that it reflect what the society’s prevailing views about a particular topic. Let is examine 4 popular advertisements and show you how they depict a woman in the society. 
Bajaj Motorcycle: The first advertisement shows two loving sisters fighting like dogs. They are at each other, they claw, spit fire and have murder in their eyes for the each other. One finally throws the other into the bathroom and locks the door. She takes a helmet and triumphantly leaves the house. Waiting for her is a young man on a Bajaj Motorcycle. She seats herself and is driven into the sunset. The lesson: materialism is everything in life and you can half kill your own sister for a ride on the latest motorcycle.  
CEAT Idiot series: CEAT wanted to highlight the grip of its tyres. It hit upon a funny series. Both the advertisements show women in mundane and inane activities. One of them shows two young ladies involved in shopping. The small child of one of the ladies wanders into the busy traffic. She is almost overrun by a motorcycle only to be saved by a guy with CEAT tyres. The IDIOTS (in this case the women) assail the young man about his driving skills. The voice over says “the streets are filled with idiots……” The young man is shows looking at the women with a bemused jaw  open expression.

The second one shows a lady driver jabbering away with her aunty seated in the rear seat. The driver is overly excited, can’t control herself and cant resist partaking a huge homemade laddu. In her haste to gobble down the laddu, she almost collides into a two wheeler. The two wheeler driver saves himself with a sudden break. The tyre obviously CEAT again. The women are again shown as half-witted bimbos. Is this the real depiction of women drivers or is it the manifestation of deeply rooted stereo types?  

Axe chocolate advertisement: Axe takes the cake (pun intended). The axe advertisements are excessively sexy and too overboard. They show very puny guys suddenly becoming Greek gods with a liberal dosage of axe perfume. The advertisement shows a man covering himself with the chocolate Axe. He turns himself into an axe chocolate man. He becomes an instant sensation. He is adored and women literally take parts of him. The advertisement shows the women biting off his ears, his buttocks and even one of his arms. So women only think of one think is it. Always below the belt! It is funny to a point. After that it becomes blasé. Too predictable and no longer funny. Remember there has to be something in the advertisement hat hugs your heart strings - case in point the recent ICICI Prudential’s – Per Bandhe acche hai advertisement.   


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