By Shaziya Kazmi


OPTP

The know-it-all caring mother, the oh-so-pretty next door girl, the uber modern youth and an epitome of happiness – a joint family   

Ladies and gentlemen, the aforementioned characters represent a few tried, tested and used to the extent of exploited recipes of our current advertising industry. These are figures that we are forced to watch repeatedly 24/7 in various different attires and dialogues.

Over the years we have grown used to seeing women cooking food, washing clothes & doing household chores whilst men work in the office to support their families at home.

With the advent of social networks and smartphones, our youth‘s lives revolve around ‘status updates’ while school-going kids do their homework, participate in sports and grow only by eating the product they’ve been hired for.New Characters of Pakistani Advertising_1

It is amazing how we can apply the same rhetoric formula to the most different of products & services – Be it automobile brand, a cellular service offer, a financial services product or a snack item; just change the actors and follow the same route.

Is there really any difference between a NIDO mother and a BlueBand Mother, any dissimilarity between the daughter-in-law portrayed in a Tapal Tea Commercial and the daughter-in-law portrayed in a Habib Oil Commercial? Any insight behind what type of women prefers Pantene and what type goes for Dove?

The Children in Omung Ads and the Children in “Gro Aur” Ads are different only by face or do they possess different inner attributes as well.

Yes, we get the underlying, unspoken and even not thought of assumption that these characters belong to the same target market but does that justify the excessive stereotyping in our society that our advertisers are showing us?

Why are we so afraid to change their characters and to reflect on the true face of society?

Why have we never shown a 35 year old average looking teacher using Lux? Why have we never seen a chubby teenager with a bad hair day texting her friend in a telco ad? .

If the consumer can relate with an ad on a personal level, it will bring him closer to the brand and that is exactly what is preached to us by the top advertising gurus.

Speaking about connecting with audience, Kenwood’s latest campaigns for their home appliances has struck just the right cords with the consumer insight and hence, it is being duly appreciated not just by the industry but by the masses too.

 

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The Changing Role of Consumers

As the rhetoric settings in society evolve every day, we have to realize that these new changes must be realized and accepted.

Women now are much more audible in families; they are not just mere housewives but they are home makers, contributors to the household income and active participants in fields that require a high degree of skills.

Men are no longer solely seen as bread winners but also as family men. A father will change the diaper of his child and prepare breakfast for his school-going kids. Mother-in-laws stay at home and work because their daughters-in-law are professional working women. 

It is the responsibility of the advertising industry to highlight these changing aspects in our society to reflect the positivity that this progress is bringing. This is how a society grows.

If an international Pantene ad can portray empowered women in working environments challenging their male counter parts, if an Indian ad can show a man feeling proud of his wife’s achievements, then why do we insist on sticking to typecasts that were defined ages ago?

The world is changing.  New trends are emerging and rhetoric roles are evolving. Now is the time for the advertising industry to break the chains of the old rules of defined roles, get into character researches, bring in newer, unusual insights and emerge as a more aware and mature society that is ready to embrace the new challenges and new roles of people.