Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Quirky human nature

Almost every self help book tells you to live in the present moment. The Art of Living teaches us that, Vedanta teaches us that, good sense teaches us that. But yet, there is a deep tendency for the human psyche to hing on to the past. We call this nostalgia and many a time, we revel in it!

It's time for the Marketing Conclave here at ISB and as a promotion strategy for the event, the club guys are playing age old ads to show how brands have evolved. So some names are - Gold Spot - the ad with the typical 70s look people on roller blades, motor bikes and singing - Gooold Spot, the zing thing... Gold Spot! And then we have the Lehar Pepsi ad - with Remo Fernandes (who was a huge rage back then), singing - 'Are you ready for the magic?' Then we have the Nirma Ad - which hasn't changed its tune in all these years - the Hema, Rekha, Jaya aur Sushma continue, their faces have changed, but they still remain. All these triggered a wave of thought in my head. I went back down memory lane to the ads of those days. Think - Lalitaji. Then there was the 'O ho Deepikaji' for the 'Nirma Super Neeli Detergent Tikiya!' And then we had the quintessential Cadbury ads, with 'Kya Swaad hai Zindagi mein'. Oh and how can I forget 'Vicco Turmeric, nahin Cosmetic' or 'Vajradanti, Vajradanti Vicco Vajradanti'. We had ads that were downright tacky to absolutely fantastic!

But do we look down upon the ads of those days? The answer is a resounding NO! They remind me of the innocence of the time back then, where a brand was never really endorsed by celebrity powerhouses! Cadbury's had everyday people dancing on cricket fields celebrating a century. Raymond's and Digjam had nattily dressed men - well, not being 'complete men' or playing soccer with kids and then heading off to board meetings, but rather just being nattily dressed men. A Pepsi ad just had a catchy jingle, no allusion to the uber cool urban man fighting another for 'MyCan'. At least for me, they are my link to the past, my link to the guileless days. They take me back to innocent childhood. They remind me of the days spent playing in the space around our apartment blocks (back then, we used to call them just building) and then coming home to see some random thing on TV, while concentrating on these advertisement interludes. They remind me of Ad competitions in school, where we'd enact these ads on stage in a highly looked-forward-to session on Friday evenings called SCA (Social and Cultural Activities).

As archaic as they may seem, these simple, quasi rustic ads actually bring a smile on to our faces. We have evolved as a civilization, we have travelled, seen the world outside. We have liberalized, internalized the ways of the western world. But at the core, our desigiri still stands out and at some point of time, we really feel happy thinking back about our comfort zone. So, some may say that living in the past is wrong, dwelling in the past is insane. But for me, the hues of memory lane are inviting and soothing and are my refuge from the throes of the madding world.

1 comment:

Sai Pondalur said...

Cadbury's "Kya swad hai" ads continue to be my all-time-favorite. I recently got to know that this the ad that got Shankar Mahadevan his break into movies. He resigned from his drab job at Oracle and never looked back.