Socially responsible marketing and advertisement…

“Advertising is not just about selling products or services; it’s also about molding opinions on issues…”, said Yasmeen Aftab Ali in her article ‘Advertising and Ethics’ published on March 31, 2014.  A rather simple statement, a principle which seems to have escaped brand management far too long.

Advertising merely to make sales and marketing to steer society in a certain direction, curtailing social evil at a mass level, is how one can tell apart a short-term money-minting machine from a vision which probably stands to be a lot more beneficial in the long run for all those involved.

The myth that organizations which are being ‘socially responsible’ in one way or another or perhaps ‘doing a favor’ or ‘being good’ needs to be busted.  It is nothing but a basic ‘requirement’ for an organization to ‘be responsible’ for and ‘responsive to’ the people and the environment in which it operates.  Being concerned about the surroundings and ensuring amelioration is nothing but ensuring sustained business and growth with respectable existence. Any positive impact on the society at large can only result in a positive impact on business in the long run.

ethics 2It is rather concerning how marketing and advertisement in our part of the world has grown into lies, deceit, mis/overcommitments and much more.  When the very basics of clean, honest communication about the product or service being offered is systematically ignored, social amelioration through marketing and advertisement seems like a monumental task.

The darker shade of skin is still bad.  Really bad.  To the extent that one may not ever get married.  The Pathan (Pakhtoon) can never be intelligent, no matter how educated he is.  If these examples are to be listed, volumes can be written.  Instead of addressing these stereotypes, such sentiments are played upon to sell products and such social evils are further ingrained.

One such factor is how women are conveniently established has nothing more than housewives while men being in-charge.  Knowingly or unknowingly, women are shown providing service to men coming back home from work, no matter how hard the women of the house had worked all day, underlying assumption being male supremacy, men being bread earners while women existing only to raise children, keep the house clean and make sure the men are satisfied.  In this context, Meiji Big has proven to be hope.

Hats-off to the brand managers of Meiji Big and Synergy for such an amazing execution. It cannot be said with surety if all this was part of the creative brief but the commercial communicates a lot more than just the features of the product.  A man feeding young children and flaunting it.  Not only that but the children being all daughters and the emphasis on how important it is for them to be healthy and smart (educated) so that they remain “not out” in every match of life.  A lot touched upon and most beautifully.  Bravo to the team!

On the contrary, as customary, the wife well-placed in the passenger seat, husband in the driving seat in the Bank Al Habib (Apni Car) commercial, at least both of them should have been wearing a seat belt while the car was being driven.  It is a requirement as per law and more than that, a life saving practice.  Knocking in a bit of civic sense doesn’t hurt.

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About baahirezaman

A banker by profession and a human by nature. I have views, opinions, observations about anything and everything with the remotest and slightest effect on human life, even a single one.

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