Watch this.

What’s the relevance of a Kathakali artist doing Bangra-cum-Disco and offering a soft drink to a chick?

Now watch this one.

What are they trying to tell the audience? I honestly did not understand this at all.

And then this Collar Pe Rumaal Amma Ka Kamaal.


It is ads like these that make me yawn. I can instantly go to sleep or I get so agitated that I feel like breaking the heads of the ones who made such illogical and irrelevant commercials. These are popularly termed as examples of Badvertising.

Bored Cat

Earlier this month, Kangna Ranaut, a popular Bollywood actor, turned down a $200,000 deal to endorse a skin-whitening cream. “My sister is dusky, yet beautiful,” she said. “If I go ahead and be part of this campaign, then, in a way, I would be insulting her.”


Respect for females like Kangna Ranaut and Kalki Koechlin increases manifold with every passing day.

I completely agree that the companies are trying to utilize the emotions of Indian audience. But then there has to be some logic behind every ad. At least an ad must highlight the features/benefits/advantages of the product showcased. I come from the educational segment. To be precise, marketing & brand-building. Imagine us making a commercial or a print ad for a book on Java programming language using world’s top model and without highlighting the version covered in the book or the salient features of the book or the codes available online. I’ll slap myself left, right and center if I happen to sell even a single copy of the book because of the looks of the model instead of the content of the book. I am not a marketing expert. Neither have I studied marketing ever. But common sense tells me that marketing means selling your product based on its qualities and the customer’s need. It is definitely not selling a product because of the model’s statistics. Packaging and showcasing do matter, but not at the cost of the original product. I’m myself a buyer and I buy a product based on my requirements (market needs) and the quality of the product, the competitive features offered (key highlights in content or product) and last but not the least the pricing of the product and the discount offered.

Some of these commercials that I see on television on the rare occasions that I let my mind stop by to capture a few clips, make me go bonkers. Really? Is this how you sell a product? Pity you!

SCENE: A girl in shorts dancing around in a lush green park.

  • Does this have any relevance with a sanitary napkin ad?
  • Or a pressure cooker ad?
  • Or a face cream ad?
  • Or a packaged juice ad?

I mean who makes ads like these in this era. Grow up guys!

Another one that irritates me are the sanitary napkin ads. For God’s sake please don’t tell me that a sanitary napkin makes you want to dance in the rain or win a badminton tournament or go trekking or helps you join the armed forces. Those days are painful and irritating. Period.

And then there are a few ads that make me want to smack the people who made them. The recent Airtel ad which shows the husband and wife in a boss-employee relationship.

Read: What kind of company policy puts a husband-wife couple in a boss-employee relationship? Doesn’t matter which of the two is on top.

And then the ones that make you feel so sick and disgusted at the fact that someone actually made these ads. A recent photo shoot by Mumbai-based photographer, Raj Shetye used the 16th December Delhi gang rape as the theme. His photo series titled, The Wrong Turn, actually ended up rubbing people on the wrong side. I honestly was left wondering about the mental state of Mr. Shetye. I mean what was he thinking when he was doing that photo shoot? What was the motive behind it?

Read: Indian Photographer Makes Gang Rape a Fashion Statement

One ad campaign which I found worth the efforts was the Surf Excel’s ‘Daag Achhe Hain‘ Campaign. It highlighted the brand, the use of the product, the need of the product along with the perfect mix of the emotional quotient.

But what I felt a bit odd was that none of the ads in this campaign shows a Dad worrying or enjoying the Daag Achhe Hain moments.

  • Why is it mandatory in our ads that only the mother cooks, the mother feeds, the mother cleans, the mother washes, the mother baby-sits?
  • Why can’t a father take turns to clean a baby’s poop? Or may be rub his cheeks against the child’s fragrant bottoms? (Read this funny yet powerful post by Red Handed: Gullible Women!)
  • Or is it that the Indian father is always supposed to be busy applying fairness creams and checking his complexion on the Fairness Meter?
  • Or is he busy applying the magical deodorant and cologne to attract the neighbour’s wife? (Read this hilarious post For all my bros: G-spot in(Scent)ives by Sakshi Nanda).

If I go on, I can go on for another decade adding up ads to this list. But I have a few ‘marketing assignments’ at work to be completed tomorrow. So that’s it for now.

Do share your views. It helps me think differently and learn different perspectives.


This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “YAWN: What Bores You?”

The author Rekha Dhyani is one of the contributors to the We Post Daily and blogs regularly at Dew Drops. She also shares her lucky clicks at The Crystal Trance


26 Replies to “Yawn”

  1. Rekha, I have a post on pretty much the same topic lying in my drafts :). Yes, I agree, the ad world has some growing up to do. I remember a Babyoye ad once where the Dad was feeding the baby while Mom was doing something else, and a recent Big Bazaar one where Dad changes the diaper, albeit reluctantly :). Also, more Dads nowadays are concerned about the toothpastes and soaps their family uses. But like you said, these are few and far between – and there are enough of those ridiculous deodorant ads to make up for it!!

    1. Fabida, please do publish it and share the link here. Would love to read your POV too, 🙂 I do not watch television much. And whenever I watch it is either what the girls want to watch or the husband tunes into. I know that in many households the responsibilities are split between the parents. Like at my place, waking up the girls, making them brush and get ready is mostly the husband’s job. While I handle the kitchen, the uniforms and other stuff. So what these ads show sounds extremely irrelevant and outdated to me. I haven’t seen the BabyOye and the Big Bazaar ads. Will check them out shortly. But badvertising is something I strongly feel about. Thanks for reading and sharing your views. 🙂

  2. I agree Rekha. 90% of our ads are just plain stupid, discriminatory and play into the hands of stereotyping. Of course, as FAB aptly put, the reality is that a lot of fathers do play an active role in upbringing of kids and other household chores these days. But it would never appeal to the large part of our “retarded” society. Yes, i use the word retarded because that’s what we are. I know i am digressing slightly here but when educated society chastises a man who cooks a meal or does the laundry or changes a nappy or even becomes a stay at home dad , these stupid adverts will follow suit. And the deo adverts…seriously..some one should ban them all together. Most of them are sexist or sometimes even racist. Sorry about the early morning rant 🙂

    1. Sid, I completely understand what you are saying and why you are saying. You have every right to rant about this issue. Though most of the couples from our generation have grown out of this ‘retarded’ mentality, there’s still a long way to go. These ads somehow encourage such mentality. According to morons who support these ads, it is alright for the woman to go out of the house, earn her bread, come back and finish all the household chores. But the man of the house is not supposed to even pick up a glass of water for himself after a day’s hard work at office. High time for people to wake up and adapt themselves. Ahhh…the deo ads. Who needs to go and watch and ‘A’ rated movie when these ads are broadcast on prime television without any cuts. 😉

  3. These commercials have been made by reputed ad agencies for reputed companies. Some of them feature superstars. Don’t these superstars and the highly qualified and/or experienced people in the companies and the ad agencies have any sense? If Kangna Ranaut can turn down such assignments, why can’t the bigger, richer stars do the same?

    1. It’s all about money and the target audience. The deos are targeted at teenagers and men in early twenties. The nappies will only be used by mommies because dads don’t have any contribution in the pees and poops of the new born. I can smash people for this. The detergents they assume will only be used by the housewives. That makes me wonder what do they think about those women who are full time moms working from home. And the celebrities, for majority of them it is just money. They don’t care a damn about the genuineness of the packaged drinks, nutritional supplements, baby foods, health drinks that they endorse. All they are concerned about is the amount on the contract. Amidst all these people, it is a reassurance to see people like Kangna and Kalki who talk and act sensibly. I wish more and more people join their tribe or rather use their brains.

    2. First up Pro, the same so called superstars act in such commercial and crass movies, that I am sure they don’t have any qualms acting in downright stupid, racist and bigoted two minute ads for some easy money.

  4. I agree Rekha…Some of the ads, well actually most of them, get on my nerves…To add to your list the ads which show women so excited about cooking 10 different types of dishes for breakfast in the morning annoy me so much that I want to catch hold of the person who conceived those..Its sad that people play on such regressive undertones of this society as if things were not worse by themselves…

    1. You bet Naba! I don’t feel like getting up in the morning most of the days just to make that cheese sandwich or a few paranthas and they show women cooking 10 different dishes as per the liking of the various family members. Why can’t they show the husband helping her make just that one dish and the entire family relishing it? Or why not the husband cook a meal in one of those ads? The advertising industry and the brands need to look beyond just money.

  5. ah yes!! agree 100% with you.
    Its like those skinny models who eat potato chips! 😛
    and all the medicines’ ads have women in them – esp digestive issues.. like men don’t have tummy problems?

  6. Well written Rekha. The Ponds ad was the worst. I don’t watch much TV and therefore not much commercials other than the Cartoon NW which my son is hooked on to all the time 🙂 I think the these ads are just so stereotypical and some of them so racist that I am tempted to vote for a censor committee for these ads. My husband offered a slightly different perspective on the washing ads though.. in terms of the companies aim being to make money and not to bring about changes in societal thinking and from that perspective we still have a huge majority of women in our country following gender stereotypical roles.Washing, cooking and cleaning still predominantly fall in the women’s domain for a substantial population for whom the other choices simply don’t exist. To establish a connect with them, these ads work and that is what the companies want to do. Maximize there reach to people who can connect. They aren’t really bothered about the minority like who cant connect.

  7. I like the Daag Achche Hain ad and some other funny one. But most ads these days grate on the nerves. All the fairness creams, fairness cosmetics, bratty child, junk food masquerading as healthy, silly stereotypes, period ads and the list just goes on and on. Looks like it is money which is all that matters. Hence we have top celebrities doing these ads without batting an eyelid.I think there is a huge disconnect between the guys creating the ad and the folks that watch it. It is tragic, really!

  8. A fantastic post by you. *claps*

    We, Indians are people who love lot of drama and trust me the TV soaps, serials and advertisers make the full use of it. The tide ad, with the hand kerchief made some sense, but the first two was plain bs. I wonder where is the logic in all these.If you actually scan through many audio visuals, most of them makes no sense. Movies included.

    Amazingly pointed out by you. Keep writing 🙂 Peace.

  9. Yawn, really. Most ads objectify women and project stereotypes. Some times the controversy helps the ad, like the recent Airtel ad where wife is the boss.
    You have deconstructed most of the stupid ones.

  10. Completely agree with you Rekha! If on one side we get to witness progressive ads like the ones Tanishq and Femina came up with on remarriage, that made me feel hopeful about our changing mindset, then on the other end we have the ads that you have mentioned make me yawn too, like you! That fashion photoshoot made me cringe in disgust to say the least

  11. I think it’s the admakers who are confused by the evolution of our society where some people are progressive yet others still have the conservative mindset! So, the confusion lies in where to place the woman in the equation and they usually come away making a big mess of the whole situation!!

  12. There some ads that can be boring and I agree we should avoid ads bolstering sexism. I saw the Airtel ad and at first though I liked it. But, at second thoughts, its quite sexist. Though, quite a few companies, husband and wives, vice versa are bosses. I am against any form of romantic relationship at work, though.
    Guess, its all about the money!!!

  13. Reks, that was quite the post there highlighting some of the stupidest and meaningless ads being put out there nowadays, and the quantity and quality of comments to this post simply reiterate the fact that most of us find these ads stupid.

    But having said that, I don’t think we even constitute the target population that the makers of these ads are targeting. Given that these products seem to enjoy the patronage of more than quite a few Indians, they are obviously catering to some lowest common denominator in the sensibilities of viewers.

    And that, to me, is scarier than these ads themselves, the fact that we seemingly live in a country where people actually fall for such ads and purchase these products.

  14. What on earth is a pale white or pinkish white? May be they should get a cream for the skin to go beige or turquoise or aquamarine. The Ponds ads I have never seen but its been recreated in a song video of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan without the cream. And why the hell would one leave his or her phone behind or unlocked.

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