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Thursday, August 23, 2012

nauseating Sahara Q Advt taken off - BCCI directs so !

There are some advertisements nauseating  like that of ‘Domex’ – toilet cleaner – they cannot help but showing how their product cleans – but to watch the advertisement when eating can be excruciating …….  Those behind making the advertisements try to cash in on sentiments, mass appeal, popularity, and more to ensure that the product is much spoken of, and some land up creating a bad one.   Perhaps the recent advertisement of Sahara matches that and without going in to the merits of whether the objection of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)  on the recent television commercial asking them to withdraw is right, the advertisement is downright bad.

According to reports, the board expressed its concern over the Advertisement  during a working committee meeting in Chennai on Wednesday.  The advertisement for Sahara 'Q' Shop shows Sachin Tendulkar performing the last rites, shows Yuvraj Singh digging a grave, Virat Kohli putting a wheel chair in a super market  and Virender Sehwag replacing a cradle with a hospital bed. Now it is stated that a shorter 30-second advertisement will run from Thursday onwards and will be viewed by the board to check if certain bits have been edited out.  The board members are believed to have expressed concern regarding the advertisement in a working committee meeting in Chennai on Wednesday with a top Indian player also objecting to the content.
 virat kohli replacing shopping cart with a wheel chair

Everybody tries to make ‘money while the sun shines’ and earns a lot endorsing multiple products. That is the order of the day – never wink your eye for a second when Kohli promotes a particular brand telling a younger player that it will enhance his ‘photograph value’ as more would seek to have photo with him, if he uses that particular brand of sun lotion……..  many a times, it is the advertising that makes product sell more and having famous people promoting the product sure has a great effect.  

The other day, a casual enquiry with a small kirana shop in a rural village revealed that ‘low priced sachets of sun cream’ sell like hot cakes as more village women buy them thinking that it will enhance their looks and make them look much prettier….. perhaps it is not only college girls and boys alone who buy these but their counter-parts in rustic villages as well – a revelation, indeed.  

Sahara India Pariwar is a major business conglomerate in India, with operations in multiple sectors, including financial services, life insurance, mutual funds, housing finance, infrastructure & housing, print and television news media, entertainment channels, cinema production, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, sports, and information technology.  Do you remember the drama on  the day of IPL 2012 auction – Feb4, 2012 when Sahara India Parivar announced its severing ties with the Indian Cricket Sports body BCCI – that left the Pune Warriors not participating in the auction.  After some tough posturing, impasse,  BCCI did bend and gave in to the demand of restoration of auction  purse of $1.6 million and the licence to buy players who were not sold at the auction and also foreign players who were not part of the auction.  After the truce, Sahara Chairman announced continuance of patronage for ‘Team India’.  

Recently Sahara announced launching of – Sahara Q shop with the objective of maintaining higher quality and ensuring that the customer receives adulteration-free products.  They claim that Sahara Q Shop, a venture of Sahara India Pariwar, is, for the first time, offering public completely adulteration-free, 100% quality consumer merchandise products in 73 categories, such as staples, processed foods, personal care products, home care products, general merchandise and lifestyle products, at most competitive prices.

And it is the advertisement starring Indian cricket stars promoting Sahara Q Shop that has raised quite many eye-brows and had made the BCCI asking Sahara to pull off the advertisement.   It is no doubt in bad taste.  The advertisement shows Tendulkar performing last rites, Yuvraj digging a grave for a child and Kohli putting a wheelchair for a man in an attempt to portray the ill effects that adulterated food from the market could have.

Terrible and nauseating, to state the least………. There will be arguments on whether BCCI can decide on whether a commercial good or bad,  even if commercials involve cricketers. There’s a watchdog created to go into issues of fair/unfair or obscene advertising – the Advertising Standards Council of India.  Whatever it be, the stopping of the advertisement does the Nation lot good, as it was in bad taste and was hard to digest the idea itself.  

There will never be an answer to the ordinary Q of ‘what was the player  who has complained now, doing.. when he acted in that’ – did he not care to see the script or care to learn what it was about ? Can one object just because some people now state that it to be bad……. Well the only answer could be – away the money issue, should not one voice his distaste, if everyone in the town seemingly disapproves of such advertisement.  

Cricketers have promoted bats and sporting equipments, shoes and apparel, soft drinks, soda and surrogately alcohol brands and the range extends to food, fashion, and even social media as Dhoni did for Aircel having Facebook.  There are laws that ban surrogate advertising, whether the commercial is made in good taste or bad? – not liking an advertisement or the public opinion being against it may not lead to it being banned… there cannot be an outside arbitration on whether it is good or on its evil effects on the society, and sure BCCI can never assume or stake claims to do good for the society ! …….. but this one being withdrawn somehow makes me comfortable..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.


  1. I too saw this advt and felt it to be too bad - Rajan

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