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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Humor Me


Once upon a time, some brilliant marketer came out with the concept that with catchy songs and out of this world dance routines, the Bengali imagination can be captured. That began the never ending era of “Song and Dance” TV advertisements - one whose glorious journey still exists even when we run deep at the heart of 2007.
Tracking the history of advertisements in this country, it is common knowledge that we simply love our jingles - starting from Joni print saree ads to Goalini condensed milk. But with too much indulgence in one dish, comes that sour taste in the mouth. And some assumptions - aren’t all ads looking too similar? Are’nt we really getting predictable and boring? In the name of advertising, are we really selling or creating awareness among people or are we just in entertainment business?

Which leads to the biggest question of all - is there life after the “song and dance, jingle based” advertisements in Bangladesh?
The answer of all those questions, by all means, is yes.
But how can we replace jingle-based ads, since its so popular? The simple strategy will be to find something totally different and make it likeable. In the midst of 10 jingle based ads, even one direct, boring public announcement sounds appealing and stands out. In India, in the midst of 10 ads endorsed by movie stars and cinema icons, one ad that does the exact opposite stands out. The trick therefore again - is to find something different and appealing.
Which brings another very important question - what do we like as much as songs and catchy tunes?
There is a number of possibilities. But nothing stands out more than humor - the best medicine that doctors recommend and advertisers follow the world over. If we believe in the power of globalization and taking stock of whats happening around the world, in Bangladesh humor is the new jingle.
It will be shocking to compare what percentage of ads globally are based on some form of humor and what percentage of ours have a humorous touch in it. The gap will be so big that in itself is funny enough to create an advertisement. The reasons that are frequently cited and the misconceptions are varied.
1. Bangladeshi people do not appreciate the delicate humor. They have to be tickled to laugh and enjoy
2. It is difficult to find good comedians with strong writing skills or visual styles
3. People find humor to be offensive and not suitable for mass
4. The illetarate people in the villages might not “Get the humor”
Its fair to say none of the above mentioned reasons hold ground.
Humor itself has the power of recall, like none. It will be an easy experiment to validate this statement - simply think of some ads you recall from last month form satellite TVs or the last advertisements you forwarded to your colleagues. Like i said, nothing quite generates the recall and involvement like humorous advertisements.
Yes, we do have some memorable humorous advertisements - but ours is based on physical humor, the slapstick comedy as it is known. We are ardent believers that to make Bengali laugh we need to fire the big guns, not the feather touch. The delicate, corny side of humor is still mostly an unchartered market. With the ever rising Generation X, this is the kind of humor that can do wonders for our advertising industry.
Shahriar Amin is a full time brand enthusiast who is the creator of the first brand blog in Bangladesh (http://shammograffity.wordpress.com) where he disburses brand related knowledge for Bangladeshi students and businesses

2 comments:

Akbar Ahsan said...

I guess you are right, when we start something, we keep on following the trend blindly...hujug....we forget to think something out of the box. May be the field is open for our jingle-hooked ad makers to explore the humour territory. Who says we don't like humour? Remember the drama serials of Humayun Ahmed? Infact we understand the slightest hints of serious humour...so....the idea is up for grabs.

shammograffity said...

Thanks for the encouraging comments! Only if the organizations in Bangladesh think the way you did, it could have made a big difference