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Monday, February 17, 2014

Advertisements and people falling for them.... when people are ready to be duped !!!

Decades ago, we used to see players using bats like Slazenger, G&M, Grey Nicholls, SG, SS, BDM  and the like….. now you see bats without brand name explicit but advertiser’s logo prominent !!  ~ players earn a lot through endorsements. Old timers will well remember the global brand Lux … and its advertisements in Kumudam or the bathing girl of Liril.  Lux was touted to be the soap used by cine actresses.  Lux has a long history of the mass marketed toilet soap, the one that pioneered female celebrity endorsements. Since its launch in 1924, Lux has been endorsed by some of the world’s most beautiful women, with stars including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot appearing in some of its early advertising. In more recent years, celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Catherine Zeta Jones and Jennifer Lopez have also fronted Lux campaigns. In India, Sridevi promoted this brand for long……….marketed as ‘soap that cine actress uses’…

Marketing, Advertising, Reality, are all perhaps different Worlds… most times - when some material is entrusted and amount is exchanged, the material in trust serves as a collateral security – that is business economics.  Ask the same Q to those farmers who sold their farmlands and fell victims to ‘Emu bubble’ …  reportedly 15,000 emus also fell victim to contract scam.  Not surprisingly, a Nation which spends more time on Cinema than anything else –  and you had  Paravai Muniyamma advertising for Emu.  So did Sathyaraj who would ridicule the rationale of people masquerading wisdom…. People got carried by the tall ‘flying’ claims of advts featuring cine persons and failed to ask how those flightless ugly looking birds would double and treble the money invested.

When the bubble finally burst, there were more than 15,000 birds abandoned in Erode district alone, leaving the district administration and the police wondering how to handle the situation. It was rank foolishness on the part of people to have invested their hard earned money, without ever thinking ! – they say that got lured by advertisements.  Just as you have IPL heroes promoting all and sundry brands, you had cinema actors promoting Emu farms. Indian Express then reported that in a first of its kind case in Tamil Nadu, well known Tamil actors Sarathkumar and Sathyaraj, both brand ambassadors of Susi Emu Farms in Perundurai  reportedly were  booked on charges of “criminal conspiracy.”

The relief may not be forthcoming but this newsreport that appeared in TOI a couple of days back is interesting….. If the skin whitening cream isn't as phenomenal as advertised or the hair oil not producing a lush mop as promised, you may soon be able to claim compensation not only from the advertisers, but from the celebrities endorsing the product.

The Central Consumer Protection Council(CCPC), under the chairmanship of minister K V Thomas, on Monday decided to set up a sub-committee to suggest strategies to deal with such advertisers. Among the concerns raised was peddling of products by celebrities. "About 50% of the daylong conference was spent addressing ... the huge impact of misleading advertisements, particularly food items, hair oil and health products," said a CCPC member who attended the meeting in Kochi. "Even the celebrities must pay compensation in case there is a complaint," said Joseph Victor, a CCPC member.

What seems to have moved the consumer affairs ministry is a direction from the MP high court to set up an ad monitoring panel as recommended by the Vibha Bhargava Commission. "An ad monitoring committee with proper budgetary support from the Centre may be set up to monitor the advertisements on regular basis... the committee will have the powers to (take) corrective actions and (impose) compensation," the CCPC said. Sources said that the decision was taken unanimously by CCPC, which has members from central and state governments, besides representatives from consumer organizations and academicians. The sub-committee may be formed in less than a week and could submit its recommendations by February-end, sources said.

Some members told TOI the issue of southern superstar Mamootty endorsing products was discussed. "We have similar problems across the country. We have Shahrukh Khan or some other Hindi film star endorsing consumer items and they get huge payment for doing so. A misleading ads featuring such famous faces shown on TV even for a day serves the purpose of advertisers. We discussed how suo motu action can be taken against ads which have been withdrawn. Even the celebrities must pay compensation in case there is a complaint," said Joseph Victor, a CCPC member. Another member, Ashim Sanyal, said he had raised the issue of monitoring ads, which are in huge numbers and across different modes and media. "We need to plan the mechanism for monitoring. The sub-committee will come out with directions and provisions to deal with the menace," he added. Lok Sabha MP Charles Dias, who also attended the meeting, told TOI that concerns were raised on manufacturers' ad spend, which is passed on to buyers. "Most of us felt that there should some sort of monitoring on how much is being spent on advertisements," he said.

You can think of curbing the advertisements, but the fault lies in people who fall easy prey…

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
5th Feb 2014.

Highlighted portion in Tahoma font .. reproduced from Times of India, Chennai edition.

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