I’ve remembered TV ads from when they were interspersed between Doordarshan shows till a time when there were TV shows being interspersed between product ads. There have been definite takeaways from the sometimes captivating, sometimes inspiring, often dumbfounding and mostly annoying shorts. Here are my top five.
1. It doesn’t matter if you have a fat, portly husband whose most strenuous activity during the day is switching channels on the TV remote. You, milady, must be in the prime of health, with a mid-riff as toned as possible. Also, the constant paranoia of you gaining pounds and curves means you will chew on brown, crusty, jagged bits of oats-cereals-muesli-magic-substance every day and admonishingly rap your fatter-half’s hand every time he reaches for carbs or sugar.
Your workout versus his workout
2. It doesn’t matter if you fail every single subject in class. If your dad has a fancy sedan to pick you up from your fancy residential boarding school, he won’t give two hoots about how you fared, ‘cos apparently the gear changes so smoothly that he can’t be worried about the fact that 20 years down the line you’ll probably be servicing cars, given your rather dismal track record.
3. It is totally normal to pretend like your rather happening group of friends also includes an anthropomorphic soda bottle. Yes, not only does he walk and talk and understand sarcasm, but also has the ability to crack jokes with the comic timing of my desk calendar. Now, I understand why my parents were totally cool with the imaginary orangutan that kept me company during our family vacations. Totally cool.
4. Cast a bunch of cheery-faced, rosy-cheeked children preferably with a slight lisp and watch the magic happen. It doesn’t matter whether they’re selling detergent powder or demolition weapons. It will always work.
Also, when you realise this works, use them in an corporate social responsibility (CSR) ad to tell us how ecstatic they are that you’ve pilfered their lands, displaced them from their homes and given them lives they couldn’t even have dreamed of before.
5. If your prospective career as a B-grade actor disappeared before it began - much like Sonu Nigam’s stint in Bollywood movies - fear not. There are at least 10 prospective ads you could sell on teleshopping networks. Not that it takes much emoting or even a camera presence. And the variety of roles is truly endless. You could play the fat guy without a social life, the lean guy who has supposedly spent more time on the ab cruncher than with a shirt on, the girl selling the magical white-skin-is-best crème, the other girl who has to get her face rubbed with charcoal to pretend she is dark, the grandmom with fake arthritis and the grandfather who can’t.. umm.. never mind. As you can see, teleshopping is a true democracy, with something to offer to everyone who participates.