JournalismPakistan.com April 14, 2013
I once wrote a piece real life and advertising. It did not go down very well. Come to think of it did not go down at all and my friends in the business thought it was rather undergrad and infantile as an attempt at humor.
Said one: Why can’t you get down to some serious writing rather than being frivolous?
Said the other: Was it supposed to be funny?
And said the third (he completing the whole sum of my friends in the ad world): You really must have run out of subjects.
Let me give you an eye view of, “If life was an ad” or in the words of Alfred E. Neuman, “Madvertising”.
Husband turns to wife, says sit down, my dear, how long have we been married?
He holds her hand and says, nine years and we have to face it, the magic has gone, we did our best but it’s just not there, is it?
Oh please, please, she says, I do everything for you, I cook, I clean, I sweep and make your meals and wash your clothes .....
That’s it, he says, his voice heavy with sadness, it’s the clothes, nine years I have been wanting to rub my towel against my cheek and feel it’s softness but you have never been able to get rid of the itchy feeling, never.
She begins to whimper. He thunders on: Nine years I have waited for the opportunity to drop bottles on a stack of towels and watch them bounce and then once again rub my cheek against the cloth and say, aaah.
I am sorry, she says, give me one more chance, I will change the detergent, I will buy a softener.
No, I say, it is too late, too late for that.
Take this young, bright-eyed aspirant going for an interview and he is carrying impressive credentials and he is a cinch for the job, then at the last minute the panel selects someone else.
What went wrong, moans the hopeful, I am better qualified.
Aye, that you are, says the Chairman but his shirt was whiter than yours, in this company that counts for something, look at it, it’s like snow, yours has that ‘unwashed’ feel, next time you apply don’t forget to use Ultrableu, it brings out the white in your whites, I use it and see, now I am Chairman of the board.
Let’s gatecrash at this party in an ad film that is not going anywhere. It is just sitting there sagging. The hostess dashes off into the kitchen and comes out with glasses of grapefruit juice. Suddenly, you have the swingiest, liveliest affair, ever. It’s Grapolla that did it.
Cut to real life. Party is dying before having lived. Hostess hisses to husband, get the grapefruit out before it goes comatose. Husband traipses off to kitchen, returns laden with sticky glasses of juice. Come and get it, he screams excitedly.
No one moves.
Let’s swing, he shouts, it’s juice time, this is Grapolla, folks.
Everyone looks at him disbelievingly.
Dismay. Disanything. Grapefruit juice!
The party keels over and turns comatose.
People go to the beach. Basically to get sand in their clothes and dirty up their cars. In ads they truly have fun. They bubble with joy and they leap around getting themselves a healthy brown tan. Everything works perfectly and even the sand does not fly. No one is wrinkled or overweight or afraid to go into the water. If they are on a boat they are sailors to the anchor, no one goes green with mal de mer.
In real life you first start two hours late because the families who were to meet at the meeting point have arrived at different times. Then one family’s son has to be fetched so a car goes off to get him and then another car is sent to chase them and about this time someone realizes no one has brought playing cards or Scrabble or some other ghastly game and then the kids begin to fight and sides are taken and finally, on the beach you turn red and splotchy and get a headache from the sun and thermos breaks and there is sand everywhere and you say, aren’t we having fun and no one has the courage to say, we are not.
Milk is an ad biggie. I want to meet these children in the malt ads who say yum yum when Mommy gives them a glass full of the stuff. They come running with glee when called. They are sunny faced and full of good cheer. I want them to meet my kids, whose responses are a little different. Chiii-lll-drennn, time for milkywilky, did you he-aaarrr me.
Drag them to stop by scruff of neck.
It is not yekch, it’s yum yum.
Children love Bonnmalt, I saw it in the ad, they were frolicking in it, why can’t you frolic.
See what I mean, there is a credibility gap that I do not seem to be able to bridge.
(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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