Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dhoni v/s Kobe

Times Square, they say, is the meccah of the advertising industry. During my visit there, I was amazed, as I was supposed to be. After the hectic journey through the Manhatten, quick ferry to the statue of Liberty and a brisk walk in the Central Park, when my tired legs and over-excited mind took me to the Times Square, I expected more glitz than what I saw. Yet, there couldn't be a better fitting finale to that day.

New York stood up to my expectation, and it was the first time, I realized how much wealth exists in the U.S.

Going back to the business of advertising, I thought except for billboard business, US advertising industry was definitely ages behind as far as creativity and innovation goes. In India one could watch the advertisements with satisfaction, especially if there is a new one released. There is as much drama and thrill in those as that in the program they are interrupting. It's not at all true of the U.S. They jokingly criticise the game of football (or soccer, to be correct) for not having any commercial intervals integrated by virtue of rules of the game. The American Football, Basketball and their best pass-time Baseball, all have regular advertising breaks. However, the advertisement don't really catch the viewer's attention.

At times, an advertisement is just like a documentary (especially, if it's about some medicine), more like the teleshopping programs we have here. Hardly any highly-paid actors or sports celebrities endorse any products publicly (or at least, that was my first order observation). In India, it's all driven by the celebrities: Deepika ji (not Padukone) who played the role of Goddess Seeta in Ramayan, advertised for Nirama detergent bar! If you consider these facts more carefully, they are hilarious. Just recently, Indian team's captain Dhoni was seen promoting Big Bazar. 

Now, imagine Manny Ramirez or Kobe Bryant shouting the slogan "Save Money, Live Better," or Nicole Kidman telling you to buy Tide Detergent because she has used it herself for years now... It just doesn't happen in the U.S.

On the other hand, they have some unknown faces (which, over time look very familiar) barking information about $10 products, telling you to call right away so that they can double your order. That kind of advertising just won't sell in India.

I guess, in India, we-the-people look up to our Heroes with much respect. And in the U.S., I think, they-the-people just don't care! They prefer their celebrities doing their business as usual, and don't appreciate any interference with their private preferences...

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