Sunday, March 28, 2010

The IPL advertising horror

Rahul Bhattacharya: The advertising horror that is the IPL | Opinion | Cricinfo Magazine | Cricinfo.com

I love cricket and all its forms including the new - but now old - T20. I like the IPL because of what it could and still can do. Local Indian talent rubbing shoulders with international cricketers. Gilchrist, Vaas and Laxman plotting the downfall of Hayden or Tendulkar. Teams playing the game hard but walking off the field laughing as friends. These are pictures attractive in all their cricketing possibilities.

However, one has to agree with Rahul Bhattacharya, who in the thoughtful post above, laments the horror of advertising that the IPL now is. When do the brands not hit you? A level of imperviousness to all these ads and their messages is inevitable for the sanity of the TV viewer. But how can one bear a constantly operating jackhammer? Subtlety, as Rahul notes, is not something the IPL stands for. In your face ads, the crass brand posturing off every four or six, catch or dismissal, the breaks that are more strategic for the ad vendors than for the teams, all the white cabaret dancers cheerleaders (this is IPL - aren't there any cute Indian girls that can dance?) - all mark IPL for its sheer brash vulgarity.

The following statement (emphasis mine) from Rahul sums it up very well:
The highest possible figure is important because in India money is exciting and a truth.
This is what happens when a people are denied so much. Being told by all and sundry that poverty is the ideal for fifty plus years, people got fed up. The reality of money just is way too attractive for people not to ignore it. Everybody wants money and loves to flaunt it. Gone are those days when people would have liked to be modest. But the then
popular culture had made it cool to be poor and idealistic - the hero would be young, brave and poor while the heroine would be baDe bAp kI bigDi hui beTi - who would then get a lesson on ideals and social equality and ideals would reign in the end. 

Now, the hero and heroine meet in an airport on their way to Switzerland for a vacation. The only thing in their way is their fathers being business competitors. The end of the movie would be a business deal (win-win, of course!).

This change has been drastic- I've seen it in a little less than twenty years. This is thirst for money on steroids. Just like a hungry man ogling a rich food spread - imagine what would happen when he is allowed to eat it. I suppose this will have to settle down. America too has in your face consumerism - but people are used to it. We will get used to it too, hopefully. But when?

IPL is merely one of a million other things that are of the truth, by the truth and for the truth. The truth here - not a truth - being money.


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