Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Alternate reality TV

I was looking through bills last night while my wife was watching ZeeTV. For those that don't know, ZeeTV is an Indian channel which shows Indian movies as well as soap operas. My wife will kill me for saying this, but she's addicted to those soaps.

But that's another story, for another day :)

In any case, there are some pretty odd commercials during these soaps. Normally, my wife forwards through these ads (Thank God for DVR!), but last night she was watching live TV so no forwarding.

An ad comes up and I caught this slogan in between flipping through bills: "Don't marry the biggest mistake of your life"


It seems pretty odd that a company would use such a slogan, but I couldn't help but laugh at this one. What company would try to scare me into using its services? Well, it's a company called JeevanSathi.com. In Hindi, that means Life Partner. So clearly it's a marriage hook-up site, but why scare us? Do the genuises behind this ad really think that if I'm looking for a mate, I'm going to run to this site because I'm scared? Moreover, if I'm really that scared I would probably just run to mommy and get her to find me a good obedient bride

So that got me thinking about some other wierd ads on ZeeTV. There's this one ad for loose black tea. I'm not sure what brand. Set scene with a marginally decent looking girl walking into an Indian grocery store. Ok, let's just call a spade a spade. She ain't all that. The tea company clearly didn't pay for a make-up artist and chick can't afford even walking by the MAC counter at Macy's. So then a guy walks into the same grocery store. Now this guy is clearly a FOB. Don't ask me why I know this, I just know.

So both these two look at the shelf and there's only one bag of tea left! Oh No! So they both run over and the fobby dude gets a hand on the bag before the ugly chick.

Now, if this ad was aimed at a more western audience, what would you expect to happen? Amongst various things, I'm sure the chick would somehow end up with the tea bag and the guy would be assed out. Or maybe the two would work out some sort of deal to both enjoy the tea. They would be some snarky comments between the two and that would be the end of that.

Now, what would happen if this ad was aimed at a fob audience? Well, the two do work out a deal of some sorts. But it's gotta be the most sexist deal I've seen in an ad.

As soon as the dude grabs the tea, the chick says in Hindi, "I make really good tea" in this really flirty voice. The Fob bugs out his eyes. I'm sure if the camera zoomed out we'd notice the guy's gonna have a tough time walking (ahem). So this doesn't seem all that odd since it would set the scene for the chick ruining the dude's day somehow. Afterall, it's pretty common for a guy to get assed out in a TV commercial. But what happens next is really surprising. The scene moves to what must be the fob's house. Dude is wearing old school pajamas, chick is wearing some sort of Indian outfit. Both are drinking tea at the dining table.

So what I get from this turn of events is that the chick wanted the tea so badly that she would sleep with an ugly fob to get her caffiene high. She'd not only sleep with him, she'd wait until the next morning to get her hit. Moreover, SHE made HIM the tea!


Ok, let's look at this calmly. What audience would this ad be appealing to? The only guess I can make is that ugly fob dudes would love it. They can now stalk Indian grocery stores and get random chicks to sleep with them. More realistically, these dudes would laugh at the ad and think "Man, I wish I was him, he's cool"

But let's look at the reality. Most of these shows are watched by Indian women. IF an Indian man watches it, it's probably alongside his wife, mother, daughter, or some other women. Not to say these shows can't be appealing to men, but seriously, how often are guys watching these things alone on weeknights? The guys who might do this are more likely still in the office tapping away at their keyboards.

That being said, the guy who's watching with a woman may want to think he's got game like the ugly fob in the ad, but outwardly, he's gotta act like the ad is outrageous. The woman watching it should clearly think the ad is outrageous. Who the hell would sleep with a dude for tea?! The women watching this ad should rightly be pissed and not ever want to buy that brand of tea. The guys watching this with their spouses wouldn't want to buy the tea because once they brought it home it would be thrown straight in the garbage by their wives. Plus, they'd have to go without dinner!

Think about that? Most of the people watching this ad would immediately hate the brand and think, "What the hell is this company trying to tell me? If I don't get what I want, I should do whatever's necessary to get it, but I should make sure to serve men so they'll be happy with me?"

These ads clearly show there is some other alternate reality for these companies. One company feels comfortable with scaring potential customers into using their service. The other company feels comfortable is showing blatantly sexist scenarios even though the majority of their audience is women.

I dare say it's an alternate Fob universe, but seriously, no matter how conservative or clueless you are, you can't be encouraged to spend your money on these brands. They just insult everyone's intelligence.

And you wonder why I don't watch these shows :)

1 comment:

rashid1891 said...

That being said, the guy who's watching with a woman may want to think he's got game like the ugly fob in the ad, but outwardly, he's gotta act like the ad is outrageous. The woman watching it should clearly think the ad is outrageous