Latest Uniliver India ad is interesting.
There is a fat fair seth sitting inside an air conditioned chaffeur driven car stopping at traffic junction.
A sweating brown Indian boy in a bicycle stops near by. And the Seth comments with unhidden sarcasm “Patha Nahin Kaise Kaise Log Chale Aathe Hain” (Look which vermin have started).
The boy, wears his tie in double quick time and retorts – “Uncle, there is just a difference of two wheels between your vehicle and mine”.
Apart from the sheer racist rant inherant in the transaction, the ad tries and projects the confidence of the boy. Or does it?
While it can be considered that a car can be a potential aspiration for many if not most in India, this is not a given, considering the terrible driving experience on most Indian roads. This even if we dont take into account problems of pollution et al. generated by proliferation of cars.
What is even more problematic is the projection of wearing tie as an aspiration for Indian boy. Tie symbolises xian west (covertly if not overtly).
While Tie has its merit in engaging with some westerners, its utility in other circumstances in India is dubious and may potentially be harmful – unsuitability in hot and humid Indian environ, wry neck problem et al. Quality ads such as this one present their perspectives without offending native tradions.
So the ad raises interesting questions:
1. Are there any native Indian organisations that can see through the charade and engage with Uni Lever
2. Will Mee Mumbaikar MNS rogue Raj Thakeray, who with the Congress I (islami-isai) support believes in beating up North Indians at the drop of the hat will focus on the issue? Of course his children go to a xian school!
3. Are their regulating authorities that can validate the suitability of such ads?