JournalismPakistan.com June 17, 2013
You go to India and you watch homemade TV ads and a huge swathe of them have white people in them. I don’t mean fair skinned folks but actual caucasians, men and women from UK or the States or Russia or whatever but clearly not Indian. And they are selling deodorants and bottled water and mobile phones and if it wasn’t so terribly sad it would be hilarious to see the stuff.
The background is a kind of little Gatsby meets Liza Minelli in Cabaret with a touch of Bonnie and Clyde and the whole impact is so ridiculous. Even the children and babies in the ads are foreigners. And I am watching this garbage stupefied, wondering what is the reasoning behind producing such tripe in a nation where some of the advertising is incandescently brilliant.
Does the ad company A team trot off to the client with their storyboard presentation and there is the CEO who is probably chocolate coloured and his kids are dark chocolate and his wife could pass for cocoa and he is saying, no no no no, what I want is white people, even the Indian people in the ad should be white, it is upmarket.
Throw out the storyboard, hisses the Accounts Exec, give him what he wants.
They suck up. True Sir, it has more traction, more eyeballs, Sir, the product gets a lift, it is aspirational, good idea, Sir, excellent.
So they get white folks to sell Indian made goods to Indians on Indian TV because it is upmarket and downmarket dark skinned unwashed hordes will fall for this.
You are a chocolate brown CEO, you twit, don’t you have any self-esteem, we are a colored country, go look in the mirror.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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