Before I begin, I’d like you to watch these seemingly innocuous advertisements linked below so that you can better comprehend what I’m trying to say.
So recently I came across these advertisements on the television while watching IPL and they made me sit up and think. They are for a mobile phone brand known as “Karbonn”. I looked it up on Wikipedia to confirm my apprehensions and yes, there it was. It is definitely an Indian brand and more importantly, its prime consumer base is India as well. That means their advertisements are tailor made for Indian citizens.
Now some of you might have understood the bone I am trying to pick here.
Nevertheless, the thing that struck me as really odd was that in both of these ads, none of the actors in any frame look even remotely “Indian”, so to say. Even the people in background don’t seem to fit the profile. Now this would have been completely understandable(acceptable?) had it been any other multinational brand that thought better to recycle the ad they made for US/Europe instead of spending funds on making another one for our third world country. But keeping in mind that “Karbonn” is a brand based out of India and targets the subcontinent primarily, this seems a farce. As these products are low-range mobile phones, they aim to sell a consumer good to a person by showing him a person which he can’t even relate with, enjoy that product.
But the more I think of it, the more I get it. Hell, I’d go even so far as so to say that this is a very clever move. And I don’t really blame them for exploiting what is out in the open. It is a well known fact that most Indians have a low self-esteem and Karbonn just took advantage of that inferiority complex. Isn’t that what marketing is all about? They just advertised their product to a specific section of the common folk by showing them that “If it is good enough for these “Inglish peoplez”, it must be good enough for you!” And if this isn’t clever marketing, I don’t know what is.
This all is just a by-product of the society we live in. This all encompassing consumerism that seeks to seep to into every crevice, every fissure, every chasm it can make its way into. Exploiting the tendencies that somehow bring us down in our own eyes. Just helping us keep that looming existential crisis at arm’s length, oh how considerate of them! Marketing us with a plethora of products and services that guarantee to help us lift ourselves so that we can see eye-to-eye with the person staring back at us through the other side of the mirror. Exceptional, it truly is.