by Fozia Tahir
There is generally a random plot to every ad you see in Pakistan, but if they don’t have a plot; get a wedding set and let the bride and groom or their friends dance to it. Sometimes the ad takes you in a whole new direction while the product is left behind somewhere in the background. My cousin and I, often watch ads only to see what product will be displayed in the end and laugh it off.
Our nation as a whole needs education and awareness on many things and having a big fat desi wedding is not one of them. We have news channels constantly discussing the same political issues and dramas showing the same wedding and divorce problems which has become so unnecessary that even the screens shout “give me something with more substance #iamsick”.
One would think that our media might have better things to show but unfortunately they don’t bother much on awareness and focus on views, rating and budget. Now, who must we blame for that? The writers, directors, actors, producers, production houses, audience or the brands themselves who are keen on endorsing their products with celebrities who will never use it themselves. It’s amazing how many ads you see famous actors appear in. Take Mahira khan for example; Here are some of the ads she has done
Master Molty foam, Lux Soap, Nescafe Coffee, Veet hair removal cream, Q mobile. Hwawei mobile, Samsung mobile, Gai washing powder, alkaram clothing line, Cocacola, Nestle nesvita, Aquafina water, TUC biscuit, Omore, Jazz, Tapal tea, Kashmir banaspati
You have probably understood already, that I am blaming it on the actors: who are very often educated, have exposure and may have long bills to pay but should be sensible enough to at times say no to a product for one reason or another.
Then there is the issue of objectification. Women who work in the fields and are taking care of their cows don’t wear full makeup, wear designer clothes and pose that happily with their cows as does Armeena Khan a British Pakistani actor for a dairy product, nor do we follow men for the fragrances they wear, as does Meera Sethi a foreign educated actor, equally those of us who cook for big families don’t dance in the kitchen for how amazing our cooking oil is as does Hania Amir another young Pakistani actor who is very vocal and bold. In reality we fight with one another for how much work one has done and why the other one should go to kitchen next.
The problem with feminism and many other movements in Pakistan is that our words and our actions are in conflict with each other, take the example of the three actors mentioned already and they are few of the many examples that I can quote.
Indian ads do come to the rescue at times and you can differentiate an Indian ad from a Pakistani one. By the way, I am not saying that all Pakistani ads are bad and there is no content at all but we are speaking about the mainstream channels and brands right now. Neither me or you will have the patience to look at local ads that often appear on cable operated channels…
I probably should have put more research into this but I didn’t think it was worth putting it in an area that lacks any research at all!!!!
Can anyone wake our media up? Soon please?