Friday, May 09, 2008


Oh, I just love this. Too much, I say!

Dr. Anubami Ramadoss, our dear ol' health minister, surely means well when he wants to ban all tobacco and liquour advertising. Fair enough, given that combined, both are responsible for more deaths in India per year than suicides relating to studies (or the lack thereof), and in a country as educationally paranoid as India, that's saying something. So let's forget fag or booze as far as advertising is concerned.

Now, a simple mandate like that can't stump our account planners and media planners, now, can they? Oh, no, no, no. Companies go one step further and the end result is, and forgive me for laughing everytime I see this, is packaged drinking water made by breweries... Too much! Just look at the Foster's ads during the IPL... Refreshing Australian Packaged Drinking Water? As opposed to? Dehydrating Indian Loose Vomiting Water? It would be great to see an Australian see this ad - what sacrilege, I say... Remember the uproars when a French Lingiere tried to use the name 'Darjeelig'? Imagine the insult to an Australian when beer is marketed as water! Hoo-ha!

The second tactic, of course, is to record a music album with vocalists who can just about carry off a tune... And end up calling it something like McDowell's number one Collection, or Bacardi Blast, or Royal Stag cacophony, or whatever.

Method three is to check whether your surname is Mallya - and then go off and start an airline. The most hilarious extension of this, being a recent ad in the papers - where, flaunting off their fifth team endorsement in the IPL, pictures of five of the players and copy like 'Kingfisher Premium' and a backdrop that could be nothing but chilled beer! And if you look carefully enough, possibly with that electron microscope every house should have, you will find the text 'Premium Airline' tucked away in a deep, dark corner. Ah, it's only an airline advertisement. I thought someone violated Dr. Ramadoss! Shudders!

The good doctor, nastilly referred to as 'Killjoy' by one publication, surely means well. But there is nothing that he can do to stop brand extension and surrogate advertising. It could be a strategically placed bottle of Old Monk in a movie, or seeing a Smirnoff bar of soap in the supermarket. And anyway, I always believed word-of-mouth is more important. First-time drinkers always seek the advice of more experienced drinkers before taking the first plunge.

Maybe one day, the good doctor will come up with someting. But till then... Foster's drinking water... *rolls off chair in hysteria*