Finally, the season for the biggest farce of the year is here — Akshaya Tritiya. Grab hold of at least 10 persons who turned immensely wealthy because of the so-called lucky occasion, and I bet all 10 would be gold traders. They became rich because they did not buy gold, but they sold it. That is the power of advertisement.
Nobody knew the ‘auspicious’ occasion before 2000. Some wise guy dug up a hidden link of good luck, linked it with gold, and presto! All jewellers were lapping up the bogus. Their greatest weapon — advertisement.
"The process starts with the manufacturer or his agent coming to me with their product for a catchy advertisement. I then look at the product, assess the stupidity of the viewer on a mental scale, and create an ad with a measure more," said Joy (name changed), owner of a major advertising firm. "I make the ads, so know I should keep away from the products that I don’t need."
Going by the ethics, media should refuse to take ads that mislead the public. The saddest point is that it will not happen. Newspapers and channels survive on advertisement money, and they will neglect anything to retain it.
As an intern in a Bangalore newspaper in April 2005, I had filed a report based on a personal survey on Akshaya Tritiya, busting its tall claims of super-luck. The bureau chief of the newspaper took the copy, and it vanished into thin air. "Sorry son, but the editor did not clear it," was the explanation I got from him. The reason was apparent — it was the ad season.
To know how silly advertisements can be, just check any of the ‘male deodorant’ ads. Sadly, most of the men fall for the impossible claim of attracting all women with just a whiff of some chemicals. Yes, there were some painful realisations, LIKE THIS. Even though this is a genuine case of tricking the consumers, the press or the channels will not report this, for they will lose the crumbs fed by the multinational company in the form of ads.
Think. Did that fairness cream make you fair enough? Was that gold pendant lucky enough? Did the fruit drink energise you enough? Did you finally get to see the Bollywood beauty/hunk? NO. But you still buy those products. Advertisements are powerful enough to fool you because you allow them to do so.