Sunday, 26 April 2015

#CrashThePepsiIPL Advertisements - My Take - 2

For someone who's been a self-appointed Ad(vertisement) Critic from time immemorial, #CrashThePepsiIPL campaign by Pepsi - wherein anyone can make an ad, upload it onto Pepsi and try to Crash the Pepsi IPL with their ad being played on prime time television  - has been happy hunting ground.

Here is a very special ad that caught my attention and special appreciation, so much so that I am devoting an entire blog post articulating about & around it:

Ahead of Time

What, for me, makes great advertising is when ad films - a powerful social medium - power a social cause - without even claiming to.  This, in my opinion, is one advertisement video that does it - no revolutions, no placards, no microphones, no sermons; just through its powerful cinematography & execution of the idea - it serves a social cause more powerfully than money or mobilization ever can - such is the power of the audio-visual medium, be it television or movies or YouTube.

Almost all the #CrashThePepsiIPL advertisements revolve around Cricket and Pepsi, naturally.  Many ads also have a twelfth man, if you will - that is, food, which again, is obvious - given that food & drink are bedfellows.

This is one of my most favorite #CrashThePepsiIPL advertisement videos because it serves a social cause when India needs that the most - perception & portrayal of women in the audio-visual medium.

I have been amongst those vociferously expressing disapproval (no, please, I don't even qualify as a feminist - I am just an opinioned, educated Indian woman) about the way India's audio-visual medium (television, movies, advertising et al) portray women.  These portrayals, in my opinion, are steeped in & further an already deeply entrenched patriarchy.  Even worse, most only have women for objectifying women's bodies.  Repulsive for me.  Dangerous for society, I think. I dread to think of four and five year olds growing up on this audio-visual staple.  What image reinforcements about our women are we sowing in their thoughts?  Young four year old boys might very well grow up to expect exactly what the audio visual medium serves up today - from women twenty years from now!  And, even worse, young four year old girls might very well grow up to think 'that' is how they ought to be - to be accepted! 

What a pity that a powerful, potent tool like none other, the audio-visual medium - far from being effectively utilized - is sowing potentially dangerous social seeds.

It is in this background that ads like these need to be rewarded, celebrated and I would say, glorified.

A group of girls playing street cricket - such a welcome sign.  In times when even cricket commentary still is men's preserve - oh, if at all you see women in there, you will find them wearing off-shoulder red gowns & other finery - as mere objects! I cry hoarse "folks, there are so many girls & women who love this game and so many other sports and can articulate effectively - so, let's stop propping up women's bodies in sports broadcasts".  Someday, I hope to make a contribution towards sports broadcasting - drawing from my deep interests in multiple sports & of course, growing up idolizing Dr. Narottam Puri & the very special West Indian woman commentator Donna Symonds, who commentates despite being a woman - not because she is a woman. 

Cut back to this ad.  Its such a welcome sign, as I said, to see an all girls game of street cricket - with the two teams, ironically as well as cheekily, named "Virat's Xi" and "Ranbir's Xi".  And, as every Indian girl will tell you, detractors thrown in as accompaniment.  Talk of realistic advertising.

The batswoman just calmly takes in the detraction - from the two guys on the balcony - the ad doesn't quite zoom in on her taking any special notice of that Pepsi can on the balcony sill - which is another win for this ad - it reserves the surprise for the end.

A very realistically executed ad - the bowler and the field going thru their motions so genuinely as the ball is bowled.  Textbook cricket that.

The ball is bowled.  Then comes the twist - the batswoman, alas, does not attempt any textbook cricket shot.  She lofts the ball high up in the air, aimed to successfully knock down that Pepsi can - if you think this is brilliant, what follows is, to me, quirky & delightful - that act of knocking that Pepsi can now successfully accomplished - the batswoman sets off - no, not for a cricket run - but for that Pepsi can on its way down.  Oh wait, it doesn't end here.  So does the bowler!

Lovely ad.  Breaks stereotypes.  Has refreshing thought & execution.  Is mighty believable (yeah, gone are those days when audio-visual medium used to have that 'suspension of belief' licence, we live in times when its got to be realistic to make an impact). Has all the right production values - casting, location, pace, editing et al.  Most of all, serves a social cause without even overtly seeking or claiming to.  Kudos.

Dear advertising agencies, this is how you can make a winning ad with women in it.  This video ad is incidentally called 'Ahead of Time' but its really 'high time' that India's audio-visual medium took note of this!

This ad might have added a new shot to Cricket folklore - very similar to Dhoni's 'Helicopter Shot' - this ought to be the 'Pepsi shot'.  I won't be surprised if batting and fielding coaches start employing this soon :)

Hope you liked my take on #CrashThePepsiIPL advertisements.

Check out the #CrashThePepsiIPL videos & participate in the activity at BlogAdda.

Cheers :)

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