Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Advertising Vs Reality

Note: If you are offended by the following post then please know that it does not aim to take away from the creative accomplishments of the team on the project mentioned. It simply aims at bringing out a facet which probably was lost during all the presentations and pitches.

I had seen some photographs of it some time back.

I have seen a few shares and re-tweets of the same.

I have received email forwards about it too.

They weren't directed at me. I just happened to be in its course to a larger audience. May be it was a self congratulatory bulletin to the industrywallahs or a ceremonial justification to those who paid for the campaign. It could very well have been a public service announcement as well. I simply happened to be in the path of this piece of communication.

As an idea I agree, it is superb.

A company tied up with Dhaba owners in the Kumbh Mela and handed out more than a couple of million chapatis/rotis, heat-stamped with a message asking people if they had washed their hands with a particular soap. They said it helped them reach a larger audience in a low cost but effective manner.

These self-honouring circulars end with a claim that the soap company increased awareness about cleanliness in people as they ate with cleaner hands.

Seems like a perfect end to the powerpoint presentation too. But there is another aspect to it. The reality of basic human instinct & feelings.

Let us look at the chronology-

1. People who will pay for their rotis and are here at the Kumbh will not eat anything before their holy dip because they are here for the Sangam snan. They have reached the dhaba after walking for a minimum of 3 kilometers after their bath.

2. People who will not pay for their rotis (assuming that maybe these rotis were distributed free of cost) will be eating them at free langars/dhabas. They have been standing in a queue for a long time to get their share of rotis.

3. In both cases they are extremely hungry.

4. They finally have the plate of food. The joy of seeing your meal when you are hungry is beyond compare.

5. At this moment, when they are about to eat, they see a stamp asking them if they have washed their hands.

6. Most people cannot read so they will continue eating.

7. Those who can read will have an instant emotional drop if their hands are not washed.

8. So basically what has happened is -

A tired and hungry person who was about to have his/her meal has been made to feel at fault  because some soap company wants them to know that 'you are supposed to wash your hands before you eat'. Trust me, anybody who can read and write in this country already knows this!!! In fact those who can't read, they know this too! Add to this the the loss of face, if they are there with their children.

9. Even if they left their plates (which I doubt happened often) to go wash their hands and eat, their appetite is gone.

10. The result -

Clean hands (maybe), indifference (by those who cannot read), loss of feel good factor which they had achieved after undertaking a long journey which comes along only once in 12 years, embarrassment in front of servers, loss of face in front of kith and kin, loss of zest for the food they are going to eat.

To top it all....burnt rotis are being served which nobody likes to eat!!

Free food langars @ Kumbh 2013 serving chawal & dal

1 comment:

  1. i could'nt agree more vandana. i was at the maha kumbh in the last week of feb myself and can vouch for what you are saying.

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