Thursday, July 31, 2008

Indian advertising: comedy at its best

After moving to Toronto two years ago, I never thought I’d say this, but I really miss Indian TV commercials. In my opinion, there are really two differences between the western and the eastern forms of advertising.

1. North America, the jingle is dead. Or at least kept far, far away from 'serious' products, like car batteries. In India, it's very much alive, even reincarnated!

2. Here in the West, there's an information overload. In India, we just want to know what it does, not how it does it. Tell me that it will make whatever I have go away. Actually, sing it to me!

...Ok, maybe it's not that great.

Sometimes the things you see on Indian television are just absurd, like this ad for Peugeot. A Rajisthani man uses an elephant to mold his old Ambassador into a more sporty and modern automobile.

It’s easy to be zany and come up with bawdy humor, but the agency that dreamed up this Heinz commercial is just brilliant:

Another unique quirk about Indian advertising is its universal appeal. The ability to generate mass appeal in a country where over twenty-nine languages are spoken by over a million people each should not be underestimated. In comparison to the West, commercials in India are really perceived as short films. Marketers use humour, emotion and patriotism to bring a country of over a billion people together, even if it is just for a thirty second spot. Check out this ad for Camlin:

While Western marketers might have moved on from the good old TV jingle to more tangible and interactive forms of marketing, Indian marketers show that sometimes, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.'


Ana said...

Wow, this was an awesome blog! You guys should do a series and have B!G members from different countries talk about marketing communications around the world. That would be truly unique!

I had no idea Indians were sooooooooooo hilarious!!!! Loved it!

Awesome job Sid!

Cindy said...

Hey Sid! Great entry! I sometimes find myself feeling the same way about Asian commercials. I remember I used to LOVE watching commercials. In fact, there's an award show for the best commercials every year. The main difference is also the style and the way the product is conveyed. The Asian commercials tend to use more of a plot/story line and very often, they will use celebrity endorsements. Commercials like that become entertaining to watch because it's like a mini-movie, whereas some commercials in the Western world are so stale that you just want to skip right through it.