Today is Dussehra,

Ram killed Ravan or Dashanan today and it was the biggest symbol of good triumphs evil. Today as a marketer I would want these 10 evils in messaging to be removed from the guidebook of the marketing and advertising industry. These are unwritten beliefs that seem to be driving the industry into dizzying overdrive. The brands and the marketing industry is running behind greater reach, Twitter trends and being talked about in news pieces but to what result?

I as a marketer and as a consumer would want the industry to take a hard look at their messaging and remove the evils from the messaging which are now bordering on disturbing or plain stupidity.

  1. I don’t need lessons on morality from advertisements

There are ads that talk about moral lessons and how their product apparently is the solution. How can any product add morality to a person’s character? You can have tear-jerker short stories, not products. The product is eventually what it is – a consumable item. Focus on that, don’t try and tell me a certain brand of alcohol is for everyday hero’s it really does not cut ice.

  1. End of lame projection of secularity

This is something that happened recently with the Tanishq ad. I know people must have written endless posts about it, so I am making it short. I found it lame because 1) the concept is done to death 2) Tanishq is an urban brand and they should have focused on the diversity and inclusion that the urban civilization is moving towards, rather than making it ‘again’ about 2 religions and their seemingly disturbing equation. 3) The ad, just like endless others failed to recognize that India is diverse. It is much bigger than just two religions. Showing how diverse set of families are buying Tanishq as it is as diverse as they are, would have resonated much better than the one they took off the air. 4) It was just stereotyping both the religions, something that the same urban audience is trying hard to do away with.

  1. Don’t make fun of someone’s religion and call it bold

This is something that was recently done in Eros Now ad. I have no idea what their marketing team was thinking and smoking. What they showcased was not just illogical, it was cheap and extremely disturbing. I think they were just looking for some discussion around their brand and believed any publicity is good publicity. But you know what, as a mom and as a content marketer I find it extremely offensive that marketers can make fun or even trivialize anyone’s religion under the grab of creative freedom and being ‘bold.’ The religion is a private matter and it is sacred to people. No one has the right to twist it for 2 min fame.

  1. Women are not to be objectified

It is high time advertisers and marketers realize that women are not to be objectified. You can’t sit and type tweets after every rape case that you read and comment on people’s mentality but refuse to stop bombarding the world with ads where a girl is objectified. No girl was ever attracted to a man, just because he wore a particular deo, used a certain toothpaste or wore particular underwear. Women aren’t dumb nor are they just waiting to get laid.

Advertising messaging evils

  1. Brand ambassadors should relate to the brand

I don’t need Salman Khan to tell me which masala to buy or Amitabh Bachchan to suggest a hair oil. Similarly, I don’t need Alia Bhat telling me she uses Vico Vajradanti or Yami Gautam to tell me that all I need is an ‘HD glow’ – whatever that meant.

We know these people don’t use it. So stop getting them to try and sell us some product. We don’t buy it because of the brand ambassador.

  1. Don’t consider influencers as your salesman

Influencer marketing is something that has come to fore recently, however, it has turned into multi-level marketing now. Advertisers or marketers want influencers to sell their product or get them X number of leads. It is like telling your customer that he can get a discount on the product only if he gets one more person to buy! Instead, advertisers should consider influencers as their ‘beta customer’ Find the right persona and get them to provide you with genuine feedback. This is more important than the quick sale as it will help you make a fantastic product rather than just another one on the shelf.

  1. I want to see the human face of your brand

This is a great time for brands to showcase their human side. I want to know how they helped their workers, migrants, employees etc. in times of COVID. As a consumer, I would love to be a part of your brand’s story. Instead of wasting money on brand ambassadors, find and appreciate their real-life stories to help consumers relate to your brand. I don’t need the marketers to act as if nothing is wrong and continue selling oil, shampoo, laptops and homes just like they did pre-covid time.

  1. Don’t ride on ‘guilt’ or FOMO

Aggressively marketing something and talking about the product as if that is the one thing that will change your child’s future is the worst kind of messaging ever. This is what computer institutes did at the height of boom and that is what is being done today. Why would my 5-year-old need coding when all he can talk about is sports? Don’t try and guilt trip a parent into buying some product for better ‘poshan’ or better education. Let the experts be the judge of that.

  1. Don’t ‘position’ your brand or movies in TV series

This is like the worst trend in recent times. My mom who loves watching serials turns them off the moment such promotions start. ‘Ab 1 week nahi dekha toh bhi chalega’ is what she says. It is high time these guys realize that the one-off program is fine where you aren’t hampering the narration like a reality show, but popping into every serial is just tiring to the audience.

  1. Focus on the story, but also see if it fits your brand

This is like the least of the irritants but advertisers would do better if they get off their high horse at the right time. Have you seen a good ad with no connection to the product or a completely stupid ad that just didn’t make any sense? I am talking about those ads. Focus on what you wish to communicate and how does the product help, then decide the tone and finally start with the creative process of advertising.

This Dussehra, I truly hope I don’t have to encounter any such ads in the future. As a consumer, I would like to tell you loud and clear – I don’t fall for these gimmicks, so it is high time you stop spending your energy on it.


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